This is OUR Movement. This is OUR Cause.
Susan Carter | Executive Director | SHE RECOVERS® Foundation
SHE RECOVERS® Foundation has the women, the power and the presence to be a mighty force in our world. And until ALL women in or seeking recovery from these challenges are celebrated, supported and deemed essential to healthy communities, we will not rest. This is our movement. This is our cause.
~ Susan Carter | Executive Director | SHE RECOVERS® Foundation ~
I first learned of SHE RECOVERS® in April 2017 over coffee with a magazine publisher here in Santa Fe. In speaking with my new friend, who also happens to be in recovery, he told me about a woman he knew who had struggled to get sober for years and finally managed to cobble together nine months by “going on yoga retreats and hiring a recovery coach through a group called SHE RECOVERS®.”
My best friend and I were in the process of setting up a therapeutic program with safe housing for women transitioning out of residential treatment, and I wondered if this organization could be a good referral source. Being unfamiliar with SHE RECOVERS®, I immediately came home to learn more online. I discovered the organization was hosting its first annual Recovery Conference for Women in NYC the next week and was disappointed when I saw it was sold out three months prior. After reviewing the amazing line-up of speakers for the event, I immediately put my name on the waiting list and booked my flight to New York knowing that I needed to be there regardless if I had a ticket or not. Six days later I was off to Manhattan on a mission to cultivate referrals for our soon-to-open transitional living program.
I’ll never forget the moment I walked into the ballroom of The Conrad in NYC.
The fervor of more than 500 women packed in a ballroom was palpable. Gabby Bernstein, New York Times best-selling author and self-proclaimed “spirit junkie,” had just finished speaking and women from all walks of life exploded with exuberant applause and knowingness that they were deeply connected to every other woman in that room. Tears flowed and hearts joined – everyone seemed to let go of any shame they brought with them and pride quickly took over. Pride that they were there and connecting with others just like them in a safe and transformative space.
It ignited an immediate flashback. As a founding employee and a 20-year career with an international breast cancer organization, I had the privilege of witnessing breast cancer survivors come together for the first time in a hotel ballroom – stepping out of the shadows to connect with one another and share their life-altering experiences. It was right then that I knew I was not just there to cultivate leads for my new endeavor, but I was being called. I was being called to share key learnings and vast experience from my previous career to be of service to SHE RECOVERS®.
I don’t think Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong, founders of SHE RECOVERS® even remember meeting me as there were so many women waiting to grab their attention, but we had our first call on May 30, 2017. With the help of amazing legal counsel, SHE RECOVERS® Foundation filed its certificate of formation in April 2018 and its application for tax exemption status in October 2019. And in April 2020, SHE RECOVERS® Foundation received its official 501(c)(3) status as a public charity.
Serving as an executive in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years, I have been incredibly blessed to have worked alongside brilliant, creative, deeply passionate professionals and volunteers to: launch a global grassroots movement in women’s health, develop an iconic brand identifying a world-wide cause, create and execute multi-million-dollar cause marketing programs with internationally recognized brands, influence public policy and improve access to care, develop mission and grant programs to address the unmet needs of women in more than 125 affiliate communities throughout the U.S., and raise and distribute more than $2 billion to advance research, improve access and quality of care, and impact the lives of millions of women, their families, and their communities around the world.
As a woman celebrating 27 years of continuous sobriety, I am deeply committed to giving back what I have so graciously been given.
And after meeting and working with the beautiful intelligent and impassioned women who have shepherded this community to where it is today, I knew this is where I wanted to put my stake in the ground. Working alongside these brilliant women in recovery would be the jewel in my career crown, not to mention a treasure in my life.
Serving as Executive Director of this vibrant movement is a true honor and privilege. And while this is a very unusual and uncertain time for health-related nonprofits, I have watched SHE RECOVERS® demonstrate agility in ways unimaginable to continue to connect, support and empower more than 325,000 women in or seeking recovery. The need for this community has never been greater as maladaptive coping mechanisms fueled by fear and isolation have escalated exponentially in 2020. Women are dying needlessly because they don’t have the resources and recovery capital needed to weather this storm. SHE RECOVERS® Foundation has been able to provide a lifeline to so many, but there are still so many who are unaware of our support.
Our foundation has audacious goals moving into the new year.
In addition to strengthening tools and resources for our community at large, we will continue to increase access and trauma-informed programs for women sharing similar backgrounds and struggles like we have for Veterans & First Responders, Mothers of High Needs Children, and Black, Indigenous & Women of Color. We will continue sparking inquiry through provocative Critical Conversations like the most recent entitled Healing the Effects of Racism for Black Women in Recovery. We will actively engage in research discovering new modalities proven to strengthen individual pathways and patchworks of recovery that will complement our currently offered SHE RECOVERS® Trauma-Informed Yoga with Taryn and SHE RECOVERS® Dance.
And to ensure access to care for all women, we will continue to build and add designation programs to bolster the recovery workforce like the online SHE RECOVERS® Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training Program coming up on January 28th, 2021. And when the world starts to rebound from the restrictions created by pandemic, we will be ready to launch our SHE RECOVERS® Chapter Network in local communities allowing us to create welcoming spaces for peer-based and peer-led recovery support groups and programs leading to lifelong relationships.
But while we continue to respond to the needs of our community, we MUST broaden our reach if we are truly going to shatter the stigma and shame for those suffering from mental health, addiction and other life challenges. Collaboration with other organizations, corporate partners, philanthropists, policymakers and individual contributors will be essential to create awareness and provide critically needed funding enabling us to succeed.
SHE RECOVERS® Foundation has the women, the power and the presence to be a mighty force in our world.
And until ALL women in or seeking recovery from these challenges are celebrated, supported and deemed essential to healthy communities, we will not rest.
This is our movement. This is our cause.
Deep bow of gratitude to Dawn Nickel, Taryn Strong, Payton Kennedy, Lisa Wall, Kim Timothy, Liana Kennedy, the amazing SHE RECOVERS® Designated Recovery Coaches, SHE RECOVERS® Trauma-Informed Yoga Teachers, past and present donors and sponsors, and all the women in SHE RECOVERS® who give tirelessly of their time to protect, maintain, and foster our community.
To explore the many ways you can support SHE RECOVERS® Foundation, please click here.