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Tarsha McCrae, Co-Founder

Tarsha McCrae and The Women Network

The Women Network (WN), a Washington, DC based non-profit, serves its community through educational and networking forums designed to help women collaborate professionally, socially, and politically. With its doors open to all ethnicities, WN strives to ensure community uplift by spreading its values of respect, integrity, accountability, personal & educational advancement, professional growth, community building, and cultural/ethnic bridging. Co-founder Tarsha McCrae, has her hands busy as she works to support the agency (outside of her full time job with the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities) in maintaining administrative roles including communications, finance, marketing, and human resources. Often feeling that there are too few hours in the day, she thrusts more of her time and efforts into The Women Network because she knows what it means to the ever-expanding group of the women it serves. Read more to discover what’s in store for The Women Network, where you can join, and how your helping hands can make a world of difference.


The Women Network (WN)


May 2003




Tarsha McCrae




Baltimore, Maryland

Current residence

Rockville, Maryland


George Washington University
Masters in Public Health

University of Maryland
BS in Community Health Education

Work Experience

National Cancer Institute
Public Health Analyst/Program Director

National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Program Assistant

University of Maryland
Health Educator



About the non-profit

The Women Network (WN) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization focused on uniting women of color nationwide to unite and empower us to work towards eliminating the societal barriers that disenfranchise women with diverse cultures and future generations. We are dedicated to working with women of color from the Asian, Hawaiian-Pacific Islander, Hispanic, African and Native American descent. This organization aspires to unify women with similar interests and enable them to become active citizens in society and their respective communities. The mission of WN is to serve as an educational, networking, and social organization committed to bringing together women of color around the issues of health and wellness, professional and personal aspirations, community involvement, and political awareness.

As a collective unit, we can inspire women to work together on issues and topics that affect our way of life and create lasting change within our communities.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

In my administrative role, I maintain and update the administrative policies, procedures and controls and ensure efficient reporting capacities.

I also work to develop and distribute communications materials such as the WN newsletter, presentations, events and seminars and other related documents and monitor electronic communications.

I assist with the organizational budget, financial reporting and cash flow.

I also work to ensure WN meets and upholds obligations in the following programs and service focus areas:

  • Health and Wellness
  • Political Education
  • Community Development
  • Education Development
  • Financial Education

I especially work to develop and maintain a detailed project plan for the health and wellness program area because of my background in public health.

Moreover, I work with the infrastructure development of WN for the following:
  • Human resources – professional learning and support, selecting and orienting board members and committee chairpersons
  • Technology – hardware, software, facilities and website
  • Committee development

Most notable milestones

Helping to build the network from the ground up. That means handling the administrative details such as organizing events, increasing membership, and helping form community alliance partnerships.

What’s the niche?

We are an organization committed to working with women from all backgrounds and cultures and bringing them together to discuss our commonalities and how we can push the women of color agenda forward.

What’s the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge working with WN is also having a busy full-time job. This causes me to have to fulfill several commitments within short timeframes. I’m also going back in school for a doctorate degree. It can also prove challenging to link with other non-profits with similar missions and following-up with contacts. We have also had difficulty finding enough funds to keep the organization going for day to day operations.

What’s in store for the future?

We look forward to continuing the growth of The Women Network. I hope one day that WN will be well known as a group committed to eliminating barriers women of color face everyday. For the future, we also hope to hold fundraisers and further establish the program areas.

Best way to keep a competitive edge

To always, always network! There are so many other organizations and individuals that are working towards the same goal of helping people in one way or another, but are just taking different routes to get there. There needs to be more partnership and less emphasis on seeing each other as competition.

Guiding principle in life

A roadblock should not be seen as a negative. We all know that everything will not go our way, but it in the end – whatever the outcome is – it is meant for you for a reason whether it is a roadblock or a success to learn from.

Yardstick of success

To be able to measure how I have helped others through our members benefiting and being able to access resources and information that were previously unknown.

Goal yet to be achieved

Reaching the ultimate place in my career where I feel fully at peace.

Best practical advice

To never give up! There are those days where you feel so tired that you can’t go on but you have to realize its all for a greater purpose. At times, there are so many things to juggle from work to school to home life and on and on. You have to find your own ways to cope with feeling overwhelmed and get past the tough times, because they lead to better days. You cannot have the attitude that if you don’t do it that someone else will. You will always bring your unique backgrounds and talents to the job that no one else may have the same perspective or way of thinking. It’s true that sometimes you may need to take a step back and reassess your situation to make sure you are where you want to be and you can honestly handle the pressure without over-committing yourself. It’s always better to do a job with your all. Go all the way instead of half way, because no one will benefit and you will have wasted your time.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

To know that you’re still in the beginning of establishing WN as a brand and a reputable organization that stands true to fulfilling its mission. Sometimes it’s challenging when there isn’t the turnout or expected response to our activities. We will just be patient and keep forging ahead.


I have several role models whose footsteps I hope to follow, including Dr. Harold Freeman, previous Director for the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities and the current Director, Dr. Sanya Springfield. Dr. Freeman is well-renowned for his work in developing patient navigation, a program designed to address barriers minorities face when seeking medical care, and his passion to eliminate social injustice.

I look up to Dr. Springfield for her strong determination in raising the level of recognition of health disparities within a large cancer research organization. She previously led a teaching and research program to increase awareness of biomedical research to minority undergraduate students. She has also served as an advisor to several committees charged to find effective ways to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities in biomedical research.

What motivated you to get started?

I was motivated because I wanted to get involved in the development and growth of an organization dedicated to helping people of color, especially with relevance to addressing the community’s pressing needs. Also, to see the drive and passion of the founder of WN and her tenacity and outgoing nature in getting this organization off the ground and interacting with people to also commit their time to working behind the scenes of WN. I sincerely feel this is a good way to spend the little spare time I have each day to a non-profit that I have the ability to provide my input in everyday decision-making.

Like best about what you do?

What I like best is learning from my interactions with different people; from the WN board members to the audience, from our sessions to our members.

Like least about what you do?

What I like least is struggling to manage my schedule and be able to find time to reach out to others to join WN and help us further establish our program areas and educational and networking events.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I have always loved animals and grew up with pets for most of my life. I wanted to be a veterinarian.

What was your first job?

My first job was as an order taker for a pizza delivery carry-out.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Spending time with family and friends.

Person most interested in meeting

Maya Angelou, because of when I was young and first read her autobiographical series. I learned about everything she had been through in life – a life filled with tragedies and successes – and yet she continued on and still saw the joy and happiness in life, as expressed through her artistic works.

Leader in business most interested in meeting

I would be most interested to meet Oprah Winfrey. She represents the epitome of not only a successful businesswoman but a sincere philanthropist.

Three interesting facts about yourself

  1. I like 80’s music.
  2. I love going to live performances such as music concerts or the theater.
  3. I’m a big daydreamer.

Three characteristics that describe you

  1. Persistent. If there is something I feel passionate about pursuing, I go after it wholeheartedly and do not easily give up. And if it so happens that it doesn’t come through, there is nothing wrong with knowing defeat. It keeps you humble.
  2. Calm. I feel it is extremely important not to be too hotheaded and not to jump to any premature conclusions. Outcomes may or may not be in your favor, but I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and that you have to learn from each situation.
  3. Quiet. It allows me to really listen to people and their ideas or issues and lets me think and picture issues from all aspects. Being quiet should not be taken as a sign of not being determined. There are other ways of portraying ambition.

Three greatest passions

  1. Educating others. With my work in cancer research and my volunteer efforts in the nonprofit field, I constantly talk to people who do not know about certain programs, activities or resources that would be helpful in their lives. I’m always learning everyday and I like to help other people do the same. It’s why I spend so much of my time either at work or volunteering with two nonprofits dedicated to eliminating disparities among women of color.
  2. Home decorating and fashion. I like to make things beautiful whether it’s a new home design or changing up someone’s fashion style. I like to shop for home decorations and accessories and toy around with matching different coordinates, colors and textures blending contemporary and traditional designs. I also like to shop for clothes and shoes – keeping up with today’s fashion, but not too trendy and keeping a relaxed casual and sophisticated look.
  3. Travel. I love to explore new cultures in different places. It’s good to get away from home and the everyday wear and tear and relax as well as to take part in learning how people do and think differently. It provides a chance to see firsthand a view of various cultural perspectives.

    Favorite book

    “Cane River” by Lalita Tademy

    Favorite cause

    Social responsibility and eliminating social injustice. Helping others that are less fortunate and finding ways to locate how to bring resources to communities that are struggling with everyday challenges. Always remember to give back!

    Who would you like to be contacted by?

    Other non-profits and corporations that work with or are looking to increase their reach to minority communities and discuss feasible collaborations and sponsorship opportunities.


    Interview by Elizabeth Mhangami
    Introduction by Sara Ortega
    Edited by Valerie Enriquez

    Article published on Jun 16th, 2007 | Comment | Trackback | Categories »

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