time to vote badge with the word vote surrounding it

Time to Vote: EnCompass Joins 700+ Companies Supporting Inclusive Democratic Processes

Written by: Michelle DeFayette, President,

We are glad to announce EnCompass’ participation in the Time to Vote coalition, in solidarity with more than 700 other U.S. businesses that have committed to providing their employees with time and resources to vote in this November’s election in the United States.

What is Time to Vote?

Time to Vote is a business-led, nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in the U.S. elections. Voter turnout in the United States is one of the lowest among higher-income countries, and one of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they are too busy with the demands of life and work. Time to Vote is addressing this challenge by asking the private sector to give employees the time and tools they need to exercise their right to vote in the November general election.

Time to Vote was founded by Levi Strauss & Co., Patagonia, and PayPal ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, when 411 companies representing all 50 U.S. states and a variety of industries joined. The goal for 2020 is to have at least 1,000 companies on board by November 3. More than 200 have joined in the last two months alone, according to a recent press release.

Why join this U.S. coalition when EnCompass’ focus is global development?

From its founding in 1999, EnCompass has built a business model around flexible work schedules—what co-founder and CEO/CFO Tessie Catsambas calls “work that fits your life.” EnCompass employees have always had the company’s full support to ensure they can participate in voting and other democratic processes in their countries. By formally joining the Time to Vote coalition this year, we are publicly affirming this core value of our organization and encouraging other global development organizations to join us. Together, we can communicate our shared commitment to inclusive governance in our country and around the globe.

The 2020 U.S. elections are anticipated to face many unique challenges. With the ongoing pandemic, the stakes for removing barriers to voting are higher than ever. Recent primaries have suffered from a lack of poll workers and malfunctioning voting machines, resulting in long wait times. And, with the elections approaching in the midst of a global movement for racial equality, it has brought to the forefront how communities of color are disproportionately affected by systemic voter suppression and the role employers can play in helping to protect our democracy for all people.

Our commitment to inclusive democratic processes

Many Time to Vote companies have announced a variety of measures to ensure their employees are able to fully participate in the general election. EnCompass already has many of those measures in place for all elections, from flexible work schedules to digital staff forums where people regularly share information with one another. For this year’s U.S. general election, we are also encouraging our staff in the United States to make November 3 a day without meetings, so everyone has time to participate.

As we approach Election Day this November, EnCompass will be participating in the discussion about Time to Vote through our Twitter feed, @EnCompass_World (using the hashtag #TimeToVote). We also invite you to share your personal or organizational stories here: What are your commitments to voting and voting access—in the United States or another country? Use the comments below to offer your ideas.

We also invite other global development organizations to join the coalition and make their own direct commitments to ensuring voting access, flexible schedules, and time off to vote this November and beyond. To learn more or sign on for your organization, visit maketimetovote.org.

Michelle DeFayette

President

Michelle DeFayette has over 25 years of experience as a versatile leader in design and implementation of adult learning, performance improvement, cross-cultural exchange, and development programs for government and non-profit organizations. In her role at EnCompass, she assesses and develops growth strategies with new and existing clients, positioning and preparing for larger and more complex opportunities and developing strategies for new business lines. Ms. DeFayette has worked in management and leadership for over 15 years, including as the project director for the $53 million USAID-funded Program/Project Management Training contract and the follow-on $60 million Worldwide Training (WWT) contract. She built and led a highly profitable learning practice area supporting USAID and the State Department and supported business development, staffing, operations, and policy management at multiple organizations. She has substantial experience with design and delivery of customized training curricula on disaster response, acquisition and assistance, leadership and management, media relations, cross-cultural communication, strategic planning, and team-building. Ms. DeFayette holds an MA in International Communication from American University, and she is proficient in Portuguese.

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