Today, our Board of Directors sent this letter to the Crisis Text Line staff and community of Crisis Counselors.
In 2018 the Board of Directors was made aware of concerns at Crisis Text Line about inappropriate conduct of individuals in leadership positions, including CEO Nancy Lublin. We were given the opportunity to take action, but failed to do enough.
Crisis Text Line is not the safe and welcoming place it should be. We recognize and apologize for our role in enabling this environment to persist. We take full accountability and are ready to address these issues head-on. No form of racism or bullying of any kind will be tolerated at Crisis Text Line.
Today the Board voted to terminate Nancy Lublin effective immediately. She will cease all activity associated with Crisis Text Line, including vacating her board seat. Board Member Dena Trujillo will serve as interim CEO as we begin a nationwide search for the position.
As Crisis Text Line Board members, we want to ensure the voice of Crisis Text Line staff is heard at the Board level. Nancy’s vacated seat will be filled with a member of Crisis Text Line staff, to be elected annually by your peers, for one-year terms.
In order to ensure our Board better reflects the communities we serve, in the next 60-90 days we will also replace at least two members of the Board with BIPOC candidates and will transition the role of Chairperson.
Ashley Womble is currently on administrative leave; an independent investigation is being conducted to better understand her actions and behaviors. We need to give them the space to be thorough. *(update below)
Moving forward, we will explicitly empower all managers, including the C-suite, to make the decisions necessary to ensure a safe, open, and anti-racist work environment for all team members. We will create opportunities to better equip management and employees with tools to do this. We will begin this work at the company-wide Town Hall scheduled for Wednesday, June 17. Preceding this, an all-staff meeting to introduce interim leadership will be held on Monday, June 15. Members of the Board will participate in both of these sessions.
Anti-racist trainings for Board members will be held on an ongoing basis with the first scheduled for next month (July). We will create a new permanent position dedicated to DEI and schedule similar anti-racist trainings for the staff. We are also dedicated to working alongside the staff to create a strategic plan to ensure that Crisis Text Line can grow as an anti-racist organization. We will ensure that DEI trainings and these new roles will be permanently included in the annual budget.
The Board stands in solidarity with the senior leadership team and empowers them to take on the following actions:
Immediately dismiss Crisis Counselors who exhibit racist behavior. Our zero tolerance policy for racist and/or otherwise hateful actions and behaviors will extend to our Crisis Counselors.
Educate Crisis Counselors on anti-racism. Crisis Text Line leadership is committed to working together with the leaders of the Training Initiative to prioritize this.
Diversify our C-suite. We acknowledge the detriment of our non-diverse C-suite and are committed to fixing this. More details on how this will happen will follow by June 30.
Restructure the format of internal employee feedback processes to incorporate active dialogue. We will have a new feedback format by June 17.
Actively participate in anti-racism conversations in the areas in which we work. As we learn and grow, we are committed to engaging with others in our sector to do the same.
Conduct a comprehensive audit of compensation across all levels of the organization in order to ensure pay equity.
And finally, we have asked Chief Program Officer Becka Ross to provide the board with detailed information concerning active rescues (especially including non-consensual active rescues) as well as investigate alternatives to law enforcement for active rescues. We are committed to saving lives, but must balance between the live-saving work of active rescues and the potential risks associated with sending law enforcement to people’s homes.
These actions are the first steps in a larger and longer conversation dedicated to improving our organization. We are committed to listening and working together to make Crisis Text Line the best organization it can be. We look forward to continuing these discussions in our scheduled meeting on Monday.
With a deep commitment to partnering with all of you to create a safe, inclusive, and empowering work environment moving forward,
The Board of Directors
Update: After completion of an independent third party investigation, Ashley Womble has returned to Crisis Text Line focusing on public affairs.