Executive Director

Statewide | Pronouns: She/Her

Jessica is deeply committed to the liberation and freedom of cis and trans women and girls and gender non-conforming people.  Jessica has spent the majority of her career working to develop and implement innovative programming and strategies based on the principles that those most impacted must be at the forefront of decision making about their own lives.

An example of the ways that YWFC builds leadership, Jessica Nowlan came up through the program, walking in the door in 1996 as a homeless mother of three escaping domestic violence and with a history of incarceration and then developing into the Center’s first Deputy Director. Returning first as a board member and then agreeing to come on as the Executive Director in 2016, Jessica has grown YWFC from one to four sites and launched the Sister Warrior Freedom Coalition with 12 chapters.

Her own experience as a young person navigating the juvenile justice system, as a single mother dealing with poverty, homelessness, and intimate partner violence, coupled with her experience in the field,  propels her work to advance the field and she was recently named a 2019-2021 Leading Edge Fellow for her work. Prior to her current role, Jessica worked for several years as a Social Entrepreneur and as a consultant to organizations working with women and girls and at the intersections of violence, poverty, racial justice, incarceration/ re-entry and workforce development.  Jessica is a Bay Area native and currently lives in Oakland with her youngest sons.