In recent weeks, Groundwork Ohio has published a “Get to Know Groundwork” series, spotlighting members of our amazing team! This week, we’re getting to know Becca Thomas, Director of Communications. Becca joined Groundwork Ohio in July 2022.
As Communications Director, Becca oversees and directs Groundwork’s communications outreach, sharing the critical work accomplished by the dynamic Groundwork team and its partners to support children and families throughout Ohio.
Becca has more than 16 years of experience with non-profit communications and media relations, previously serving as the Director of Communications for The Wexner Foundation. There she curated and edited the newsletter focused on themes present in the Foundation’s leadership curriculum, amplified the work and provided support for the more than 3,000 Fellows associated with the Foundation’s leadership programs, and led a comprehensive website and database redesign.
Prior to that, Becca served as the Director of Communications for Susan G. Komen Columbus, creating the non-profit’s social media channels, coordinating extensive media relations in the Central Ohio community, and providing opportunities to connect breast cancer survivors with each other, volunteers, and donors.
Becca earned a degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and Spanish from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Check out our Q&A with Becca to learn more about why she’s a passionate advocate for young children and families in Ohio!
Q: What drew you to early childhood policy research and advocacy? Tell us more about your “why”!
A: Some of my earliest memories as a child are of volunteering within the community with my family. From supporting athletes at Special Olympics events to providing meals for those facing cancer or sickness, I grew up recognizing when and how I can provide support to others. When I began my career, an impactful internship at Habitat for Humanity set the course for my future as I’ve never lost that interest in having meaningful work. Being able to share others’ stories and connect people together plays to my strengths and inspires the work that I do every day. Supporting other parents and their children in the earliest stages of development became all the more important to me during the pandemic when I saw the disparities between families really come to light. I’m in a position of privilege and able to support my own children and their needs – it’s important for me to live out my values and lift up others when I can.
Our children will carry our successes and failures into the future, and I’d like to do all I can to arm them with the best knowledge, opportunities, and experiences to meet the needs of that moment.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or a lesson that you’ve learned that has helped you in this work?
A: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to better. It’s not.” Dr. Seuss may have written those words decades ago, but they’re timeless to me. I saw them present in my parents’ work ethic and something I’ve tried to lean on as my career has evolved.
Q: Groundwork Ohio’s word for 2022 is ELEVATE. What’s your word for 2022?
A: Authenticity. Being a model for the kiddos in my house has made me step up my game when it comes to relationships, work, and how I carry myself in the world. They’re always watching, and I work to make sure they’re seeing an authentic person, a present parent, and a strong leader in the example I set. It’s also how I want to show up for my friends, family, and colleagues, no matter the need or situation.
Q: When you aren’t advocating on behalf of young children and families, what do you enjoy doing?
A: I love to spend time with my kids and husband exploring new hiking trails around Columbus, digging in our garden, or making a mess (and hopefully something edible and delicious too) in the kitchen. I’m always reading one book while listening to another one and can often be found taking daily runs or walks around our neighborhood – usually with my family or dog in tow.
Q: Describe a scene from your vision of the future for Ohio’s youngest children and their caregivers.
A: A new class of Kindergarteners files hesitantly into their classroom. Their backpacks are loaded down with supplies, their bellies are full, and their nervous and excited energy is palpable. Parents watch them interact with their fellow students, immediately taken with one another and eager to discuss the books and art projects they see around the room. Inevitable and important differences between the children remain, but they’re all arriving in the classroom ready to learn and able to access all the resources available to them thanks to the parents, advocates, and policymakers who have made their best interests a priority.