Statement from NNEDV Announcing New CEO
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Dear Supporter

I'm happy to share with you the same information the Board of Directors of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is also sharing with the press and all of our partners today:

I have exciting news to share with you. Deborah Vagins has been selected as NNEDV"s new President and CEO by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors. She will start in early December, but has already begun reaching out to NNEDV staff and coalition Executive Directors to prepare for her role.

Deb brings to NNEDV decades of experience working in the women’s and racial justice communities to protect and expand civil and human rights. The board of directors unanimously voted to select Deb and said that her strategic plans and passion for working with coalition Executive Directors and a diverse set of experts was key to her selection. 

As the Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Research at the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Deb led campaigns focused on protecting women’s economic security and educational rights. While in top posts at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union, Deb led on workplace protections for equal pay, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and racial disparities, among other issues. 

“We are delighted that Deb Vagins is joining NNEDV as our next CEO. She is a strong, visionary leader whose energy, intelligence and commitment to our shared values struck us from the first moment we met her in the interview process,” said Jenny Backus, Chair of the NNEDV Board of Directors and President of Backus Consulting. “Deb brings a life-long passion for women’s economic justice and combating intersectional discrimination to her new role as NNEDV CEO.”

NNEDV coalition members on the board played a key role in the search as well.

“Deb understands the important and critical role our coalitions play in our policy work and how powerful grassroots and grasstops advocacy is on the local, state and national level” said Gloria Terry, Vice Chair of the NNEDV Board of Directors and the President of the Texas Council on Family Violence.

Karma Cottman, Board Member and Executive Director of DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says, “Deb Vagins has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of those who have been oppressed and left behind. She isn’t afraid of hard challenges and doesn’t back down from the fight.”

Deb was an EEOC representative  on the White House Council for Women and Girls and the White House Equal Pay Task Force. And while at the ACLU held leadership positions in coalitions such as the Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition, the Democracy Restoration Act Coalition, the Human Rights at Home Campaign, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Reform Task Force.

An extensive national search was conducted by a search committee comprised of board members that included several state domestic violence coalition directors.

Deb joins NNEDV several months after Kim Gandy’s retirement as our immediate past CEO and President.

Please join me in welcoming Deb to NNEDV. I know she looks forward to meeting and working with you to achieve our goal of ending domestic violence.

For safety and peace, 

Jenny Backus
Chair, NNEDV Board of Directors
President, Backus Consulting


National Network to End Domestic Violence
1325 Massachusetts Ave NW
7th Floor
Washington, District of Columbia 20005
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