Minerva’s End of Year Newsletter 2023

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Each quarter, we send out a newsletter featuring Minerva news, awesome client achievements, plus a reflection from one of our team members. Subscribe here to make sure you don’t miss the next one!

Dear Reader,

The close of 2023 marks the end of Minerva’s 10th anniversary year. I hate to see a party end, but it’s time to look forward.

Peering into the future, some things are clear. Minerva’s team has never been stronger, and I’m thrilled to welcome new leadership from my Partner Sara Veltkamp and our Director Elise McGlothian. Our clients are doing catalytic work trying new models of philanthropy and tackling big challenges like access to affordable housing, life-saving medical interventions, and life-changing treatment for addiction.

But a lot is murky. Minerva is operating against a backdrop of sometimes scary stuff. Global conflicts continue to upend people’s lives in ways that are stunningly brutal and, in the case of the Israel-Hamas war, turn Americans against each other with increasing vitriol. The U.S. is entering an election year where our democracy hangs in the balance. In my own family—like a microcosm of the world—we are struggling with a loss that constantly morphs but is consistently painful.

The uncertainty of our world can seem overwhelming. But I am buoyed by the outsized empathy and fierce determination of my colleagues, clients, and friends. This spirit shines through in deeds and words, whether it’s one of our clients taking bold action to redistribute wealth, a colleague warning against burnout at work, or a friend simply texting me “How are you doing?”

As Minerva enters its second decade, I wish I could say that the future will be filled with sunshine, but I can’t. I know the future needs work. I know we can help shape it. I know that communicating for justice, equity, and kindness is critical.

Those are great intentions for the next ten years—a much better kick in the ass than sunshine.

All my best,
Joy Portella
President and Founding Partner, Minerva Strategies

New Director Elise McGlothian reflects on how she and Minerva have changed over the past three years and what she’s excited to do next.

Minerva Goddess Kayla McMenamin talks about her trip to Hawaii to experience a ceremony of remembrance and hope with our client Shinnyo-en.

Former Minerva Intern Kati Rodríguez Pérez highlights the importance of choosing language that promotes care and prevents harm.



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About The Author

Joy Portella

Joy Portella

Founder and President

Joy leads the Minerva Strategies team, providing senior-level direction to every client. Her skills have been honed through more than two decades of experience helping organizations more effectively communicate with media, donors, policymakers and other key audiences.

Prior to establishing Minerva, Joy spent five years as director of communications at the international humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. She guided Mercy Corps’ messaging, media relations, and crisis communications, and traveled extensively to document work in global hotspots including the Horn of Africa, the Gaza Strip, and North Korea. Previously, Joy worked for a decade at leading communication firms – Burson-Marsteller, Ruder Finn and SS+K – in New York and Washington DC.