Leadership transitions are always tough for young organizations—and especially so when the outgoing leaders are as strong, caring, and irreplaceable as Jolinda Hackett. Jolinda joined GOALS back in January 2012, and two years later, she became our second-ever Executive Director. Three years later, Jolinda's term as Executive Director has ended, and we owe her an enormous thank you for her hard work. As I wrote in 2012:
"Jolinda has been making a difference on the ground in Haiti for over three years now. Since joining GOALS in January 2012, she has proven to be an exceptional asset. She is fluent in Haitian Creole, extraordinarily impactful, and takes on oversized challenges with a smile. Not only has she weathered hurricanes with us (two, in fact!), but she worked alongside our coaches and players to lead clean-up efforts afterwards as well. As a program manager and then Country Director, Jolinda has been responsible for many of our proudest moments, including winning the Beyond Sport award in London, partnering with Coaches Across Continents ... and the Klinik Lasante for health services, and sending some of our most talented girls to the national youth football training academy."
I have heard time and time again from partners, donors, and volunteers about Jolinda's extraordinary abilities leading GOALS' programs in Haiti. I have personally appreciated our adventures hiking up and down Haiti's beautiful mountains and trekking around the country in pursuit of Kanaval, R&R, and Barbancourt. If you visit our programs, you'll hear one thing from our kids over and over again: "kòt Jolinda? Where's Jolinda?"
We benefited from having Jolinda as our organization's leader for far longer than we had hoped to expect back in 2012. As Executive Director, her accomplishments are impossible to summarize in just one blog post, but the highlights include:
- The construction of GOALS' very own community center in Destra, which recently weathered Hurricane Matthew
- Winning our second-ever international Beyond Sport Award for a truly incredibly youth literacy program
- Helping our first-ever Jovan Julien Dream Team Scholarship students graduate from high school!
There are many more accomplishments that we could share. In addition, Jolinda has helped increase GOALS' capacity internally, which is less glamorous, but just as critical to our organization as we near our seventh year. This work would be difficult anywhere, and Jolinda has led GOALS under extremely difficult conditions in rural Haiti. Under Jolinda's leadership, GOALS weathered multiple hurricanes, grieved the losses of players who have passed away, and kept things running smoothly amidst tumultuous political upheavals in Haiti.
It is impossible to share what Jolinda has meant to GOALS over the past five years. From our youngest players—whom Jolinda called our "ti pwason," or "little fishes"—to our founding Board members, we thank Jolinda for her hard work and her big heart. GOALS, along with all of our far-flung members of "Team GOALS," is better as a result.
Founder & Board Chair
PS - We are excited to introduce our newest Director who is helping GOALS with this transition, and beyond - more news coming soon!