Approaching their fifth year anniversary, Women’s March SLO (WMSLO) has announced Dawn Addis and Andrea Chmelik as the new Co-Executive Directors of the nonprofit devoted to creating a women-friendly world through education, advocacy and action. Their combined experience in community organizing and public policy, along with their dedication to advancing gender equity will help lead the organization into a transformational next chapter. 

Dawn Addis is a Morro Bay City Councilmember, Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund Board Member, Principal Officer of Shatter PAC, and an inspirational speaker, presenter, and strategist. In 2017, she was awarded a Congressional Woman of the Year Award. She has previously served as an appointee to the Morro Bay Citizen’s Finance Advisory Committee.

Andrea Chmelik is a communications professional, Chair of SLO County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Principal Officer of Shatter PAC, and a founding member of Women in the Pipeline San Luis Obispo County. She has previously served on the advisory board of the Cuesta College Central Coast Writers Conference. 

Addis and Chmelik co-founded Women’s March SLO in November 2016 along with Jen Ford, Pat Harris and Terry Parry. The organizing team was later joined by Gail Bunting and Rita Casaverde. The founders have since transitioned to Emeritus Board members.

Since its inception, WMSLO organized over fifty public events including marches, rallies, vigils, educational panels, town halls, workshops and awareness campaigns. The inaugural Women’s March in San Luis Obispo was the largest single-day demonstration in the history of the city, attended by 10,000 people. During the Covid-19 crisis, WMSLO started the “Answering the Call” zoom series focused on highlighting women making a difference in their communities, which is now approaching 30 episodes.

“I couldn’t be more proud and excited to lead WMSLO into the future. This organization is the premier and singular organization in SLO County focused on approaching all issues through the lens of how they affect women, and then advocating and taking action to make positive change. From representation, to the wage gap, to childcare, to reproductive rights and the #MeToo movement, there is no shortage of ways we must continue to make change. Our organization is ready for these challenges and this transition will help us meet the moments ahead,” said Addis.

“We have recently completed a strategic planning process, identifying our goals and recalibrating our mission to better serve our community,” said Chmelik. “The disproportionate negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic on women continue to deepen pre-existing inequalities, and expose vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems. Unless we address these with education, advocacy and action, women and girls will continue to be held back.”

WMSLO is a fiscally sponsored non-profit organization with a strong foundation and legacy of creating positive change. This includes the historic election season of 2018 where record numbers of women were elected locally and beyond, and it will continue serving the community in the inspirational and active ways people have come to know and support. In upcoming weeks, WMSLO will host “Answering the Call” zoom episode with Lucia Mar Unified School District Board Member Colleen Martin on October 6, and a virtual Town Hall with Congressman Salud Carbajal on November 10. For more information about Women’s March SLO, go to www.womensmarchslo.com.

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