202-269-9441 info@dcfapac.org

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Spotlight on Najiba Hlemi

We asked Najiba Hlemi, FAPAC’s Executive Director, a few questions to get to know her better.

What does a typical work week look like for you?

Where do I begin? On any typical week, I am figure out ways to better serve children and families, editing grant applications, submitting reports to funders, meeting with stakeholders or our team, strategizing on our various goals, moving boxes, ordering supplies, answering phone calls and emails, looking for new funders, catching up on recent studies and trends in the foster care world, and so much more. No two days are the same for me, and I love every minute of it!

How did your journey at FAPAC begin? What drew you to this organization?

It feels serendipitous that I get to work with youth and families in foster care, being that I also came out of foster care. If you told me years ago that I would have the opportunity to lead a foster care organization, I would not have believed you. This work we accomplish with an incredible team of amazing people feels like a dream because I get to do what I love daily for a cause that is dear to me. My background is in marketing and nonprofit management and working with various nonprofit organizations. FAPAC became my home because of its mission and the opportunity to work directly with families involved in foster care.

What was your background prior to joining FAPAC?

Prior to FAPAC I was the Executive Director for an after-school program for underserved youth, and before that for an association where I really got to sharpen my legislative advocacy skills. Before that I worked for a teacher’s union, and then prior to that I was in sales. I have a master’s degree in nonprofit management, an MBA, a bachelor’s in business marketing, and another in French. I love being able to market and grow nonprofit organizations.

How has FAPAC changed over time? What is something you’d like to see in the future?

FAPAC has had a strong history in advocacy for foster parents, and my predecessor and our co-founder was an incredible advocate with exceptional knowledge. Thanks to her leadership at FAPAC, critical policies were developed and implemented in the DC child welfare system. Looking forward, we seek to bring more voices to the table to expand our services to foster, adoptive, and kinship parents and youth with lived experiences. In the future, I would like to see youth and parents come together more frequently to problem-solve to better the “system”.

What has been your favorite part about working at FAPAC? What makes your role and this organization so special to you?

My favorite part is our team! When we’re together, we do amazing things, but we also laugh a lot and enjoy being with each other. My role at FAPAC is to be a servant leader. Whatever my team needs, I will step in, as we all are willing to do. This is our work of heart!