November 18, 2021 •
DEI as a Lifelong Journey
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) efforts, particularly over the past few years, have taken center stage, with a number of organizations releasing statements of support and hiring Chief Diversity Officers. While these things should not go unrecognized, it is important to note that work in the DEI space is not a “one-and-done” event; rather, it is a lifelong journey of learning, engagement and reflection. Along these lines, it is imperative to acknowledge that conversations around DEI go far beyond just those of race and gender, and thus, opportunities must be created (and available) for people to come together on a consistent basis (and in a safe and brave space) in order to engage in the plethora of these DEI conversations.
As Chair of Women In Government Relations’ (WGR) DEI Committee, one of the things that we do to engage the membership around DEI issues is to host a discussion topic during the first half of each of our monthly meetings. These conversations not only provide an opportunity for WGR members to connect with one another, but they also nurture and encourage that sense of learning, engagement and reflection that I mentioned earlier. Though at times uncomfortable, this dialogue produces a greater awareness for our committee members, and also helps to develop a sense of community – meeting people where they are, while creating the space to have these crucial conversations in a non-judgmental setting. For this year, our discussion topics have included: Allyship; Colorism; Age and Organizational Power; and PTSD Awareness. I would argue that our monthly discussion topics have become “legendary” within WGR; but more importantly, they have bridged gaps and brought all kinds of people together!
While my work within WGR is rewarding, there is an equal reward that comes from working for an organization (State and Federal Communications) that also values and understands the importance of DEI. Our CEO, Elizabeth Bartz, convened staff members from across departments to take a deep dive into how well we, as an organization, are “walking the talk” when it comes to our DEI commitment. As a result, we fine-tuned our company mission statement, and began to offer trainings to the staff on a variety of DEI topics. Recognizing, however, that we are not experts in this space, we have partnered with Heart To Heart Leadership to assist us with strengthening even more our DEI engagement.
I want to thank both WGR and State and Federal Communications for supporting me as I move along in my DEI journey! When organizations are committed to DEI, everyone wins – what will you do starting today in support of DEI?
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