Welcome, Lena and Helen!

Meet our two newest team members

In order to achieve our vision of a multiracial feminist democracy, one where everyday people hold the power to transform their communities, we know we need to scale up, build deeper relationships, and organize with even more people across the country. This was true last year when we welcomed eight new folks to our team, and we’re continuing to grow this year.

We’re excited to welcome Lena Afridi, our Chief of Staff, and Helen Powell-Busch, our Finance Manager. Get to know them below!

We're building people power across the country so that we can transform our communities, our economy, and our democracy. What excites you about being a part of achieving this vision?

Lena: As we work across cities and regions, I’m excited about the opportunities for us to learn from affiliates and for affiliates to learn from one another. There are very real differences city to city and state to state, but there are also so many similarities among working people across the country. I’m excited to be a part of bringing people together to build power. 

Helen: The current systems we live in (patriarchy and racial capitalism to name a few) are not providing for us as people, for our communities, or even for our planet. I am really drawn to PowerSwitch’s Long Term Agenda, and the plan and direction that we have as an organization to get to the world we want to see. I want to be a part of achieving that vision. 

Where are you from (whatever that means to you) and what is something about that place/space/community that you’re really proud of?

Helen: I come from a practice of resilience, resistance, and positivity that I learned from my mother. Now in her late 80s, she is ever-learning and constantly evolving. In the 1960s she helped to open a birth control clinic in Wales, and when she came to the United States in the 1970s, she and my father joined a group of volunteers in opening another clinic. I am really proud of her, and I draw from both a historical and a personal legacy of feminist thinking and leadership. I want to share what I’ve learned from my mother – that positivity and commitment to making change — and help people show up as their full, best selves. The reality of our current world makes it difficult for folks to do that, but that’s why it’s all the more important. 

Lena: I was born in Karachi, Pakistan and I moved to Queens, NY when I was young. I’ve always been in NYC and I’m really proud to be from Queens because it’s a place where working class people build their lives and fight hard for them. Queens is a place that is multicultural, multilingual, and committed to keeping that part of itself. 

What is something that you’ve read, watched, or listened to that constantly inspires or grounds you?

Lena: Last summer I joined a book group where we read Abolition Geography. It’s a long book, but reading it with a group that was committed to deep, political thinking was such a formative experience. The book itself made me rethink the structural and material reality of our time, as well as the strategies and possibilities for power-building. 

Helen: Some things that ground and inspire me are: the We Can Do Hard Things podcast with Glennon Doyle, Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair (which I also read and discussed with a book club!), literally everything that Oprah does, and being at a Michael Franti concert!