Founded by Melinda French Gates, Pivotal Ventures accelerates social progress by removing barriers that hold people back.

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Rise, Fall, and Try Again: The Path We Travel Toward Progress

By Brooke D. Anderson
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This holiday season, I spent a lot of time hiking—finding the clarity, calm, and perspective that being in the mountains can offer. As I alternated between steep switchbacks and flat terrain, I found myself reflecting on the past year and how hiking can be a powerful metaphor for all we’re navigating in our work together to expand equality and opportunity.

Sometimes, the landscape is supportive, and the pace of progress is swift and steady. Other times, the path is steep, requiring savvy footwork and stamina as each step strains against the pull of gravity.

This kind of challenge is familiar to anyone who has worked to drive social progress in our country. We rise. We fall. We sprint. We recover. We press forward. We stumble. We pull each other up and try again.

As we start a new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about how Pivotal and our partners can build on what we’ve accomplished together already and continue advancing against the forces that would hold us back.

By some measures, we’re entering this new year in a strong position. There are a record number of women serving in Congress and state legislatures. Thirteen states plus Washington D.C. have passed paid family and medical leave policies. Women now lead every major news organization in the United States, and last year, women won Nobel prizes in four fields historically dominated by men. And, of course, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and the Barbie movie proved that people want to hear women’s voices and stories—in record-breaking numbers.

"We rise. We fall. We sprint. We recover. We press forward. We stumble. We pull each other up and try again."

Brooke Anderson
Brooke D. Anderson
President, Pivotal Ventures

But there’s no getting around the fact that the last year has also been extremely discouraging and sad. There are multiple wars raging—with millions of people, and especially women and girls, facing terror and displacement. And here in the United States, there are continued efforts to roll back reproductive rights, new attacks on LGBTQ+ youth, and a disturbing campaign to reverse progress toward greater equity and diversity.

As Pivotal Ventures looks toward 2024, we’re redoubling our commitment to supporting organizations, companies, and leaders accelerating social progress. We’re championing efforts to expand women’s power and influence, especially for women and girls of color. We’re advocating for a modern caregiving system and helping young people get the mental health support they need. We’re backing our partners who are working to make the field of tech and AI more inclusive and change the face of power in venture capital.

And in this presidential election year, we’re especially focused on our work to dismantle structural barriers in our electoral system to help more women get elected to public office and lead effectively once they’re there. That, I believe, will unlock progress on every other issue, too.

As we move into the new year, it’s essential that we keep sight of what’s possible when we aim high and climb steadily—and when we commit to traveling this journey together.

Many of you are doing this crucial work already, and that couldn’t be more important. For anyone who is still looking for a foothold in these efforts, it’s never too late. I hope that you can find ways this year to use your voice, your time, your platform, your expertise, your network, or whatever resources and tools you have available to contribute to the progress you want to see. Most of all, I hope that you refuse to get stuck in what is and dare instead to help create what ought to be.

Onward,
Brooke Anderson
President of Pivotal Ventures

Brooke Anderson's Signature

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