This year, Sari Bari celebrated fourteen years of New Life in the Making. Throughout those years we have experienced many leadership transitions. New leaders entered into our family, while others have grown from within the company. Sarah Lance, Sari Bari’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, has guided the community through each of those transitions.
Today, we stand at another leadership juncture. As of the end of March, Sarah has stepped away from her day to day involvement with Sari Bari. While this may come as a surprise to you, we began preparing for this announcement fourteen years ago, when Sari Bari opened.
From the beginning, Sarah dreamed that local leaders would eventually manage Sari Bari in Kolkata. She intentionally built leadership development into the ethos of the company. This is who she is. Sarah sees the best in people and discerns their potential. She invests time, energy, and relationship to foster their talents and strengths. Sometimes it even seems that Sarah believes in a co-worker’s capacity more than they do themselves.
Each of us who has worked with Sarah has experienced this gift. In a society where leaders often work to consolidate power, Sarah intentionally works to disperse power and raise up leaders around her. She invites us to trust ourselves and to grow into our own style of leadership. Her constant messages of “I believe in you,” and, “Now, let’s take this next step together,” built confidence and shaped our experience. Consequently, this current transition merely extends Sarah’s natural leadership and original vision for Sari Bari.
We will all continue to celebrate Sarah Lance's legacy. Sari Bari exists because her heart was broken for women with no viable alternative to working in the sex trade in Kolkata. Out of that broken heart emerged impossible dreams. Sarah invited countless others like you to join her in making those dreams a reality. Sarah believes in freedom. She believes in the power of community. And she believes that with both freedom and community in our grasp, we hold immeasurable potential that far exceeds our expectations. Sari Bari exists as evidence of this truth.
Sarah will remain a board member of both Sari Bari USA and Sari Bari Private Limited in India. For the past year and a half, we have keenly prepared for this transition, positioning new leadership over a year ago to learn from Sarah firsthand. As a result, an experienced David Grant will continue as the Executive Director of Sari Bari USA, and a seasoned John Joel Das will continue as the General Manager of Sari Bari in Kolkata. Although we will miss Sarah’s presence deeply, we are excited to see what future freedom will be experienced through Sari Bari. Despite current challenges related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we hold on to hope because of Sarah’s passion and your support. We believe the reality of global freedom is no longer an impossible dream and we look forward to New Lives In the Making in the days to come.
All of us at Sari Bari
Photo credit: Alice Laing Follow her on instagram @light.365