Wednesday Wisdom from SCAN State Mobilization Director on Advocacy


SCAN’s State Mobilization Director Ed Stierli could once be found making award-winning ice cream flavors at a homemade ice cream shop in New Jersey. Before joining SCAN, he worked at the National Parks Conservation Association and even taught middle school in New Orleans.

When he’s not sharing wisdom with us in the office, Ed is busy spending time outdoors with his wife and 2-year-old son.

Today, we’re in conversation with Ed to learn what sparked his interest in advocating for kids. 

What do you enjoy most about working for SCAN?

The SCAN team is incredibly talented. It’s fun to work with an experienced, innovative team that never lets anything stand in its way. It’s even better that our mission to help kids is bipartisan and something everyone should get behind.

What advice would you give someone entering this field?

Change doesn’t happen in a day, a month, a year, or many times, ten years. Being an advocate for investing in education or saving the lives of moms and kids takes time. It’s important to never become disheartened in the face of daunting challenges. If you work in this field long enough, you will be part of groundbreaking victories and suffer major setbacks.

I’ve had a pleasure of working alongside people who have dedicated their lives to these causes and who have taught me the importance of continuing to push, organize, build and keep fighting—because giving up won’t help anyone.

What is the one thing that you are most proud of?

At SCAN, even during a challenging political climate, I have been proud to support the bipartisan effort to expand funding for full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire and for pre-k programs in Seattle.

What is your most memorable moment from working at SCAN?

The annual Advocacy Summit hosted by Save the Children Action Network and Save the Children is a truly inspiring experience. Getting to hear stories from hundreds of advocates working to change the lives of kids in their communities, both in the United States and around the world, keeps me motivated. It was fascinating to hear from speakers such as former Second Lady of the United States and Save the Children Board Chair Dr. Jill Biden. It was also memorable to hear our advocates share their experiences with their members of Congress.

Ed Stierli (far right) meeting with Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL) with Florida SCAN advocates at the 2017 Advocacy Summit.

What would you say to Save the Children founder Eglantyne Jebb if you could go back in time and meet her?

I would ask her about how she stayed motivated and relentless in the face of opposition. As a teacher with a vision of a world where children should not suffer, she became a serious activist and was even imprisoned. It takes an extreme amount of determination to continue to take her fight all the way to the League of Nations at the time, and eventually become the founder of what is now the preeminent children’s advocacy organization in the world.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Teleportation! Think of all of the amazing places you could visit without having to get in a car or on a plane? Plus, I could meet with my colleagues and volunteers across the country in person on a regular basis.

Inspired by Ed’s story? Join us to learn about ways you can use your voice to help children survive and thrive.

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Samra Khawaja manages Save the Children Action Network’s social media. She hopes to be a voice for children around the world, one tweet and one hashtag at a time. #InvestInKids