Q&A with Tides Interim CEO Tuti Scott

Q: How did you first arrive at Tides?

TS: I first came to Tides in 2010 by raising my hand to strengthen the transition for a founder-led organization and act as a governance lead to unify the different entities that Tides had. I raised my hand because they had a black woman as Chair of the Board and had just hired one of the few out black lesbians in the philanthropy space. I came in with recognition of Tides broad and bold reputation as a coalition builder on tough issues with a commitment to healthy governance and support for black women leaders in philanthropy.


Q: How has your work in the social change space evolved since you started here?

TS: My work has actually been pretty steady—I’ve been consistently trying to raise visibility of previously marginalized people. Most often it’s women and girls—black and brown women, queer women, queer people in general. That’s been my steady stream. I think I have a keen eye for talent and for people who have a bold vision, and I’ve been pretty fiercely aligned with how to elevate their voices and their work.


Q: What are you most excited to accomplish during your time as Tides Interim CEO?

TS: Transitions are fabulous times. There’s room for all voices and work to be uplifted and enhanced. The organization has a lot of great new questions and opportunities. I mean, the real goal is just to really strengthen the pride, the team—strengthen effectiveness and efficiencies, and how the work gets done, so the new CEO can come in and just run with it.


Q: What’s the biggest opportunity you see right now for Tides?

TS: Living our values both internally and externally. You know, we have a great opportunity right now to showcase our creativity, and to demonstrate accountability to our partners. We’re promoting our work on equity and empowerment and how we have that as a throughline in our work. I think the opportunity is huge. We’re in a great position to help define an agenda on shared prosperity and social justice. People have always known what we stand for in terms of Tides’ organizational DNA, but we have a chance to be more explicit about it.


Q: We’d love to learn more about your work with gender-lens investing. How did you first get interested in this topic, and can you share more about what you’re working on right now?

TS: I’ve been in gender lens investing for 30 years now, and the dial still hasn’t moved beyond 5-7% of dollars going to girls and women. So I looked at the capital markets as an opportunity with some great movement builders out there—Joy Anderson, Suzanne Beagle, Jackie Vanderbrug. I followed them and their work, learning where I can be an effective translator in philanthropy and helping people learn about socially responsible investing and impact investing, specifically with gender and race in mind.

I just put out a guide out last month on giving with a gender lens, and did an event called What Will It Take: Making Money Moves That Matters for Women. I’m doing my best to stir up and catalyze connections, opportunities and conversations.


Q: What are some of the values or qualities that you and the board are looking for in the new CEO?  

TS: An organization is as strong as the people in it, and an organization with the scale and complexity of Tides goes beyond the person leading it. We have such an incredible team here, and what we need are the critical skills of someone who can hold the whole and see everyone’s potential while uplifting the work. The key ingredient is someone who can drive a strategic vision alongside an agenda that really shows Tides’ potential.

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