I feel very privileged to be CEO of Mission 44. I am lucky enough to work with a wonderfully diverse and talented team, all committed to transforming the lives of young people from underserved communities. But as the year draws to a close, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to switching off for a couple of weeks! It’s been a hectic year to say the least.
Just like our founder, we move quickly at Mission 44. We’re an ambitious organisation, driven by our desire to tackle the structural and systemic barriers that prevent too many young people from being able to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. The world we live in is complex, ever-changing and young people are disproportionately impacted by these shifts. In the UK, we’ve seen a sharp rise in persistent pupil absence, pressure on school budgets, a teacher recruitment crisis, a surge in reported adolescent mental ill-health and an increase in childhood poverty. We know that many of these challenges are being felt by young people around the globe.
It’s clear that building a fairer future for young people will only happen through greater collective action, in communities, nationally and internationally. One of the things I try to remind myself regularly is that Mission 44’s role is ultimately to act as an enabler – our role is to empower transformative organisations and leaders to deepen and widen their impact. That’s why I am incredibly proud of the work we have done at Mission 44 to grow our network of partners, including:
A personal highlight was meeting young women and non-binary young people of colour in Austin (like Jade!), hearing their stories, their ambition and their hopes for amazing STEM careers in the future. At a time when the world can often feel dark, there’s nothing like spending time with young people to reignite feelings of hope.
I am incredibly grateful to the Mission 44 team, our partners, donors, the Youth Advisory Board, our trustees and Sir Lewis for their unwavering support. As we look to the new year, we are more committed than ever to continuing to work with our partners to break down barriers and create opportunities for young people to succeed. Every young person should have the power to shape their own futures; and we are determined to do our part to make that a reality.
Happy holidays and see you in 2024.
CEO, Mission 44