If you’re reading this, you likely know exactly why you’re here. In case you arrived by surprise, I hope this message finds you well.
At the start of the new year, I challenged myself and my peers to #DontWaitCreate. Encouraging ideas and conversations sparked a renewed interest in supporting the communities I care about.
Let’s talk about purpose.
We join clubs, communities, and organizations with the aims of helping us find purpose – or direction – that feels right in line with who we are and what we do. Finding direction may feel easier for some than others, and we become active participants, leaders, and doers.
My intention was to open the door for discussion about leadership development and leadership transition more broadly, but it became clear that there is a critical piece that is not being addressed.
Why do many organizations’ mission or values statements contradict their practices, specifically in terms of DEI? Here are some recurring challenge areas for organizations:
Diversity in membership, in staff and volunteers, in leadership at executive levels
Equity in policies, in protocols, in practices
Inclusion in internal and external communications, in decision-making processes
When thinking about your organization, ask yourself:
If your organization is diverse, is that reflected in who you are and what you do?
If your organization is equitable, is that reflected in your policies and are those policies implemented accordingly?
If your organization is inclusive, is that reflected in who makes decisions at all levels of your organization?
Are you ready to acknowledge that you need to have answers to these questions? Meaningful change starts by accepting that you may not yet be equipped to answer these questions, and by listening and learning. Many communities need to see that change start with you – not simply in your words, but in your actions, too.
It’s essential that under-represented communities are given space to address critical issues; however, it is impossible to provide seats at the table without acknowledging this hard truth. Your organization may be missing voices at the table because you have neglected to give access to the room.
There is a difference between acknowledging all-male or all-white leadership teams at the table, and actively re-configuring your leadership team to shift away from a monolithic representation of knowledge or expertise.
After years of seeing these trends in the workplace, student organizations, nonprofits, fraternities and sororities, churches, and community organizations, I want to help you change the culture, commit to meaningful leadership development, and keep your communities alive and thriving.
Are you in?
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