New Beginnings for Families and Work Institute

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

At Families and Work Institute (FWI), we aim to be ahead of the curve, so as our 25th Anniversary approached in 2014, I began to think about how best to preserve our legacy and position our work to thrive in the years to come.

Most people think about succession as the perpetuation of an organization, but I have been thinking about the perpetuation of our work and came to the conclusion that we needed a different approach.

From a place of strength, we are taking the bold move to divide the organization into two parts: our workforce/workplace work and children’s work, including Mind in the Making. As much as I believe in a two-generational approach — that adult and children’s issues are inextricably connected — that is not the way the external environment functions when it comes to the cognitive neuroscience approach of Mind in the Making and workforce/workplace research. Most importantly, there are different knowledge and leadership skills needed, different constituents, and different funders for the issues that FWI has focused on.

Thus, with the incredible help — every step of the way — of FWI’s Board Chair, Mike Carey, and with our Board of Directors, I began to work to find the right partners for these two sides of our work — partners where our work could not just be funded and continue, but prosper. Today, I am very happy to say that this quest has been realized.

As announced today, Mind in the Making has become a program of the Bezos Family Foundation (BFF). We have partnered with BFF since 2011 on its amazing initiative called Vroom (see, and they have provided instrumental, creative and wise counsel on Mind in the Making. Together, we know we can accomplish so much more!

Our workforce/workplace research is continuing through a partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). We have worked with SHRM since 2011 on When Work Works (see, and it, too, has been a wonderful relationship. We are finalizing additional opportunities to partner with SHRM and with others, so stay tuned.

I will continue working with both sides of our work, as the Chief Science Officer and Executive Director of Mind in the Making at the Bezos Family Foundation and as a Senior Advisor to SHRM Research.

Any significant change like this can be difficult. We have all worked hard to ensure that our current and future endeavors are consonant with our goal of “living” our research on effective workplaces. I am really proud of the work that we have done and of our approach to ensuring that it will continue to grow and thrive.

It is because of all of you that we have been able to make the contributions we have made. We look forward to working with you on this new future.


Ellen Galinsky
Families and Work Institute

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