SUCCESS, TOGETHER

About Us

SWAN is a BIPOC led organization that believes balanced and sustainable organizational systems and culture result in greater positive impact within and beyond.

Given the events of 2020 and 2021, organizations and their leadership are facing a tectonic shift that has exacerbated the need to look at internal structures and organizational culture. Most current organizational cultures are not able to effectively address the racial, gender, gender identity, age and other tensions we collectively face.

SWAN leaders and stakeholders asked the powerful questions – What are the biggest challenges organizations, foundations and networks are facing? and What is SWAN’s role in providing solutions and support to address these challenges?

In 2021 we embarked on a strategic planning process that included an environmental scan, deep listening sessions, and a niche analysis based on our strengths and the work we do with partners and allies. This resulted in a four-year strategic plan that guides our work and supports the vision and mission of the organization.

MISSION-DRIVEN

We Are Committed to helping our Clients overcome Organizational challenges + attain spectacular results

Values we live by & The
Methodologies We Use

Here at SWAN we apply Strategy & Wisdom to help individuals, teams and organizations align themselves and normalize the qualities, culture, values and goals that matter most to them!

1

Strategy

noun

a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

2

+ Wisdom

noun

the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

3

Aligned

verb

come together in agreement or alliance.

4

+ Normalized

verb

bring to a normal condition or state.

Our team
of experts

With decades of proven experience, our team is prepared to help you achieve your goals, and beyond.

OUR CONSULTANTS

We support individuals and teams through services tailored to your organization's specific needs. We created a pool of experienced consultants that expands the depth and reach of SWAN’s expertise, diversity, and backgrounds. This ensures your strategic, capacity-building, and coaching needs are addressed effectively, sensitively, and in service to racial, gender, language, and geographic focus and environments.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

SWAN is led by an Advisory Board that represents a wide range of experiences and skills. The work is implemented under the leadership of Lupe Lopez, the Principal, and Founder of SWAN, A Project of Tides Advocacy. Our Leadership Team uses a participatory approach to assess, develop action plans, implement strategies and evaluate the impact of our services.

Lupe Lopez

FOUNDER + PRINCIPAL

Lupe Lopez is an expert in facilitating organizational transformations. During the last 30 years she has coached dozens of executive directors, senior managers, and leaders to help them be effective agents of change.

 

Lupe’s purpose is to promote collaborative leadership and create environments that are transparent, support collective participation and support positive and profound transformation in individuals and their organizations. The strategies that emerge from this approach support healthy, thriving individuals and organizations that are valued, increase impact and have a culture that supports the long term work that is needed to create a positive change.

Lupe specializes in facilitating complex situations and implementing ambitious plans. Her areas of expertise include fundraising, women’s issues, diversity, equity, and inclusion, management, working with young people, immigrant rights, strategic planning, board development, team building, organizational culture, coaching and mentoring.

 

Audra Nichole

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Audra comes to us with over fifteen years of business management experience and over six years of retreat facilitation experience, Audra helps us keep everything running smoothly and all engines running on schedule!

She is a Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, a Licensed Spiritual Practitioner with Centers for Spiritual Living, a Ministerial student through the Holmes Institute of Spiritual Leadership, and a Certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer. She was born and raised in California and now resides in the midwest. When she is not helping us here at SWAN, seeing private clients as a spiritual counselor, or hitting the books, you can find her hanging out horseback riding with friends. Audra is an organization wiz and a boundaries expert. She specializes in enhancing relational dynamics through agreements and boundary work, elevating systems and processes optimization, efficiency improvement, organization and internal structure development, production, facilitation and team development. She keeps us all on track and constantly improving!

Tamara McDermott

Marketing + Production

Tamara is the marketing enthusiast for SWAN, and assists with general production support. She has a multi-faceted background in leadership towards healthy relationships with self, each other, and nature. 

Tamara’s passion-driven mission is to help others remember, reclaim, and integrate what it means to be a harmonious human living in kinship on the earth.

She is certified in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy, Holistic Life Coaching, and Mediation through Resolve Center for Dispute Resolution. She is currently studying vitalist herbalism.

As Tamara coaches and teaches, she continues to learn, expand, and grow. It is her hope and prayer that the world is indeed going through a transformation that will inevitably lead to unity as we remember our sacred connection to all of life.

Tamara is a nana of two little grandsons and loves to spend her free time hiking new trails, exploring consciousness, deepening friendships, and creating beauty through her art, gardening, and writing.

Meet Our Additional Consultant Team Members

Vanessa Phipps

HUMAN RESOURCES ADVISOR

Vanessa is an experienced leadership development and HR consultant who believes that a strong workforce must be built “from the inside up.”  She describes her consulting style as “curious, open, creative, collaborative and fun – but serious about her clients’ success.”

Vanessa has twenty years of successful executive and management development, coaching, and team conflict resolution, combined with a strong background in compliance and global diversity and inclusion consulting.
Vanessa serves as the Board President of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR New Jersey), an organization that provides ongoing professional development for the Association’s HR and business members, university students and Women and Minority-owned Businesses.
She sits on the Trustee Board of the Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair, New Jersey which, since 1982, has fought to combat food insecurity, provide limited client medical services, and offer a variety of outreach and support resources for local and surrounding communities.

Shanaé Calhoun

CONSULTANT + FACILITATOR

Shanaé is raising three teenage daughters with her spouse, Michael. She has thirteen years of community organizing experience for faith-based grassroots organizations in the DART (Direct Action and Research Training) Network. 

She organizes regularly 1000 people direct actions with public officials that has led Kansas to make systemic changes in policy and bring community transformation.
Shanaé has built a sustainable local non-profit organization by raising 72% of her budget through internally generated funds and developing and maintaining 30-active board members. Through Willow Consulting, Shanaé supports community organizers and organizational staff through coaching and training to effectively challenge systemic in justice and creating healthy communities.

Meet Our Amazing Board Members

Lynn English

ADVISORY BOARD CHAIR

Lynn is the Managing Partner of English Hudson. Lynn launched her consulting practice over twenty years ago in Washington, DC. Lynn holds a B.A. in English from Georgetown University and a M.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland at College Park.

She has also served as a fundraising executive for organizations including AARP Experience Corps, Center for Community Change, Latin American Youth Center, Year Up National Capital Region, and others. She serves on the Board of Directors for Safe Shores, the DC Children’s Advocacy Center and is Vice Chair of the Access to Integrative Medicine Institute. She is the co-author of Winning Grants, Step by Step, 5th Edition (Wiley Press, 2019).

Hubert Dixon III

ADVISORY BOARD

Hubert is an elementary teacher working in Washington, DC. He has served on the District’s Social Studies Research Institute and as a Ford’s Theatre Civil War Fellow.

Before becoming a classroom teacher, he worked for a variety of social justice organizations as an organizer, grant maker, and organizational development specialist. He was a long-term member of the board of the Highlander Center. Dixon is originally from Nashville, Tennessee.

Casey Thomas

Advisory Board

Casey Thomas is a fundraising strategist and a local political power-builder. She has a decade of fundraising experience, and has been involved in a variety of social justice efforts for over fifteen years.

She served as Deputy Director of Development at People’s Action, a national organizing network; is a co-founding steering committee member of Guilford for All– a chapter of the Carolina Federation; and is the Development Strategist for Addition, which seeds working class organizing across the country.

Born in New York, with roots in South Carolina and the British Virgin Islands, she made her home in Greensboro, North Carolina. She and her husband are the proud parents of one delightful baby boy, and roommates with a pitbull who believes himself to be a person.

Judith Enright

ADVISORY BOARD

Judith is a semi-retired attorney and “of counsel” at the firm of Enright & Ocheltree, LLP, which she founded, along with Julie Ocheltree, in 1999.

Our Clients
Rave About us

“It has been a pleasure working with both Lupe and Audra. Lupe is a phenomenal coach. She coaches from a place of care and it shows up as she leads you (not tells you) to decisions, realizations, and ideas. Working with SWAN has been good for my work, as well as allowing me to cross professional development goals off my list. I am grateful for the amount of role confidence and self-awareness I now have after my time with Lupe. What was most impactful for me is the growth I have experienced since January when starting my sessions. My greatest takeaway is that it is absolutely OK for me to come into my own and own my leadership.”
Bettina Marshall
HR & Staff Development Director
People's Action Institute
"Lupe really helped me own my professional experience and confront some insecurities that I was carrying with me. Lupe is the most amazing coach. She has made me both feel seen while also challenging me to believe in myself. She has been a steady guiding hand, asking insightful questions, listening, and offering very clear and actionable steps. She has deep experience in all aspects of non-profit management so her guidance is always on point and her feedback has really helped me navigate my organization. I am convinced that what I have learned from her will continue to help me in the future as she has taught me skills to be more self-aware and courageous. Her help was crucial in helping me figure out what I wanted for my next professional challenge and lighting my fire to go out and get it."
Arthur Clark
Business Owner + Fundraiser
New Company

OUR JOURNEY

The Evolution
of SWAN

We identified some major needs in the community & stepped up to serve them.

RESEARCH

In 2012 a group of women experts in leadership development asked why there are not enough women in positions of power. We embarked on a three-year assessment and research project to identify the challenges and barriers for women to achieve positions of power. The findings, across age, geography, and economic backgrounds, can be grouped into five areas:

ACTION

SWAN (then spelled as Strong Women Action Network) was founded in 2017 to address these challenges. We developed a series of retreats and webinars to help women, specific women of color, to become strong leaders in their communities and organizations and to create circles of support in their communities.

The events of 2020 and 2021 further increased these gaps. Organizations and their leaders face a tectonic shift that has exacerbated the need to look at internal structures and organizational culture. Most organizational cultures cannot effectively address, without additional support, the racial, gender, gender identity, age, and other tensions we collectively face as we navigate these challenging and uncertain times.

EXPANSION

Based on these findings, SWAN leaders and stakeholders asked the question – what are the biggest challenges organizations, foundations and networks are facing to address barriers to BIPOC and LBGTQ+ leaders, and what is SWAN’s role in providing solutions and support to address these challenges? We embarked on a strategic planning process that included an environmental scan, deep listening sessions, and a niche analysis based on our strengths and work with partners and allies. What resulted was the creation of a four-year strategic plan that guides our work and supports the bold vision and mission of the organization.

In 2022 we went through the process of rebranding the organization. We changed the name from Strong Women Action Network to SWAN – Strategy, Wisdom, Aligned, and Normalized. We relaunched our website, expanded our coaching services, increased support to organizations and networks, and grew our strategic planning services to local and statewide organizations. We also recruited a diverse and powerful Advisory Board to guide the implementation of our new vision and mission. Our team has expanded to bring more diversity and expertise to ensure we achieve our 2023-2025 strategic plan.

path to success

ready to reach
new heights?

Let’s get there. Together.