One year ago today we dropped the ‘of’ and became YW Calgary. It took five years of vision, programmatic and strategic organizational change to launch a brand that represented who we are today: an organization that is women-centred, brighter-future focused.
The process began in 2012 with a market survey to help us clarify our impact and position in the community. Research showed that people had positive feelings about us but lacked understanding of what we actually did. With that information, we focused on creating more clarity and refine programming that was more responsive to the needs of women in the Calgary community through the expertise of the YW team.
Three years later, we turned focus internally and created of a new culture statement to help connect our teams to more cohesively to each other and the work. Next up was the release of our Practice Framework, a visionary, ground breaking document clarifying our role in the community as a women-centred organization committed to helping women thrive.
The Practice Framework changed the game. It created unity for all areas of our organization and articulated our work to enhance support for women and their families in Calgary. The Practice Framework is the rulebook that all our team members play by and helps explain how we view women’s homelessness, poverty and gender-based violence. It looks at these experiences through a lens of oppression, inequity and constrained choice that we know women experience.
Our new brand reflected an organization that was ready for change, ready to intervene, empower and lead when and where women need us most. Over the last year, we’ve taken the boldness of our brand and been bold in our community. We’ve advocated for affordable housing, we’ve spoken out in support of reconciliation, we’ve published opinion pieces on the abuse of women in politics and we have stood our ground on why women need safe, secure places to recover from trauma.
As the needs of women in Calgary change, we will continue to remain agile and nimble to meet their needs. We will always advocate to transform social issues and empower people to use their voices and feel empowered to effect change.
As we approach our second year of this brand, we will not be constrained by rules, we will continue to support women to gain control of their lives, become economically secure and live free of violence.
We are YW.