Cecile Richards stepped down today after 12 years as President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
It is a sign of my age that I have known many of her predecessors: giants like Alan Guttmacher and Faye Wattleton, and, dare I say, my grandmother. To be great leader in our movement, and Cecile certainly was one, takes, above all, authenticity. This on top of all the skills required to raise the money, speak the speeches, lobby the lobby-able. You have to inspire, and this takes authenticity. A potential believer, supporter, donor can spot an actor, someone who is putting on an act to get on your good side, to get in your wallet, to get your vote. Cecile spoke from her life’s experiences, much as my grandmother did and Faye Wattleton did. She was the real thing.
I thank her for carrying the torch so boldly and so effectively for so long.