EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY ALEXANDER TAYLOR
THE ARC OF ELIKEM ARCHER
CULTIVATING GLOBAL CITIZENS
Elikem Archer is a social investment executive driving multi-sectoral change globally. Deeply believing that talent is universal but opportunity is not, she is passionate about removing barriers so people can have a fair shot at living to their fullest potential. Elikem is committed to driving change for the collective good by using her experience and expertise at missionfocused organizations.
Alex: What is a day in a life like for you during the pandemic?
Elikem: Well, I’m a mom, so my day typically starts with rallying the troops and getting the boys ready for school virtual school in this case. However, that’s what happens when I get out of bed. I have during this time started to journal - so I take a few minutes (5-10) each morning to journal, sometimes read a poem or a quote and set an intention for the day. I do this before I get out of bed and before I check my phone for messages.
When I start my work day, I typically check my calendar to see what my day looks like - which often determines the cadence of my day. My days are typically meeting heavy, although now I’ve also started to block time for deep work. Last summer was just hectic- we were going through so much, being fiscally responsible, caring for our team members globally and also innovating quickly to design the Academic. So my days were super long. Often back to work after my boys were in bed for the day.
I’m also intentional about taking care of myself each day. I take an hour-long walk every day - at the end of the business day. It’s kind of my transition to family time. It’s a way to clear my head and re-energize. No matter how busy my day gets, this time is something I guard jealously, and has helped me stay grounded during these unprecedented times.
Finally, I end my day just as I started - journaling and reflecting on the day. I always include three things: moment of joy, something I’m grateful for, and prayers.
“…talent is universal, but opportunity isn’t."
Alex: Tell us about yourself and your background with Global Citizen Year.
Elikem: I joined Global Citizen Year five years ago as the organization was looking to bring executive leadership to the Programs team. At the time, the question the executive team and the board was asking was could we grow without compromising program quality? So, my first job was really to ensure that we had fixed programmatic and operational holes that potentially compromised our program quality. From this,I had to build a strategy that had responsible growth at its core. The last piece was really to deepen the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as make sure that we were centering that in all aspects of our work: from staff recruitment to program design to Fellow support. Before joining Global Citizen Year, I worked in global health for a decade and also spent the early part of my career in economic development, specifically as a strategic management consultant. For me, the throughline in my career path - which by no means is a straight line - is my commitment to working on issues that close the opportunity gap globally. I believe that talent is universal, but opportunity isn’t and this knowledge has shaped my choices as I chart a path in this world. 125 AWARENOW / THE MAYDAY EDITION