Leading with Compassion: A Decade of Impact

Saturday April 15th, 2023

Julia Raiskin is Head of Markets for Asia Pacific, Citi. The former Chairman of Babes’ Board, she has recently stepped down after ten years of dedicated service and invaluable contributions. Her vision, leadership, and dedication have left a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire and guide us in our mission to support pregnant teenagers and their families.

“The end of my tenure as a board member of Babes seems like the right time to reflect on the ten years I have spent with this amazing group. Babes as an organization went from infancy to adulthood in that time. We have spun out of Beyond at inception and yet have coninued to benefit from the guidance of Beyond’s leadership on our board and were given a “nest”—our office—within Beyond’s premises. So in a way it is gratifying that we get to celebrate our “adulthood” with our very own office –carefully selected after many false starts by our team. The new facilities, while modest, will allow us to meet our service users in a safe and tranquil environment, and will allow our team members to face post-COVID 19 challenges in an office that encourages collaboration and brainstorming.

As I reflect on our path as an organization, I am very proud of the many steps along the way. We have journeyed intensely with many young women and their families through pregnancies, terminations, adoptions and steps as young parents. Each of our service users has a unique story and we have been able to support them on their unique path. We have worked hard to engage their peers through forum theatre workshops, public bus stop campaigns and our presence in print and social media. We have brought them together with their mothers to our incredible empowerment camps that combined counselling, learning and a whole lot of fun. We have supported families through COVID 19 with vouchers and care packages, and distributed strollers, high chairs and other supplies from our generous donors. Our volunteers have done everything from babysitting, makeup and financial literacy classes, to candle making and running fundraising stalls. Their support has known no bounds!

As I reflect, in gratitude, on my time here, I am so proud of our incredibly committed team at Babes who have been thoughtfully led by Melisa. I am also thrilled to be leaving such a diverse and energetic Board who will, no doubt, guide this organization through new challenges. I leave with the image of one of our pre-COVID 19 Family Day celebrations—balloon arcs of jungle animals greeting our costumed staff, volunteers, masseurs, face painters and most of all the laughter, cheers and excitement of the many toddlers (chased by their overwhelmed parents). I can’t think of a better celebration of youth and life!”

To celebrate women in this month of March #iwd2023, we will be featuring 10 inspiring women from our Babes community. In a photoshoot to capture the essence of courage and strength, they are our volunteers, partners, and community members—women with different stories with different starting points. We #EmbraceEquity as we celebrate their resilience, kindness, and determination, incredible role models striving for a world where everyone has the same opportunities and rights, and where inclusivity and diversity are celebrated and embraced.