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Day 353

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

Yesterday I attended a conference of nonprofit executives and corporate executive funders. The CEOs of the fortune 200 companies that have headquarters in our area were there. In breakout groups, each table chatted about nonprofits/social enterprises partnerships and what they need to do for success. I spoke out about the critical issue of inclusion. When the group facilitators had an opportunity to share with the entire audience my group's leader declined. Eventually, the organizer asked for final comment and I raised my hand.

I hate public speaking. My natural aversion to it was elevated by the several cups of coffee I drank to get there. Nevertheless, I felt that in a room full of mostly white, wealthy people, with large staffs it needed to be said. When I got the microphone I gave an impromptu monologue. I will summarize what I said this way:

"We will not solve the complex challenges of our community without diversity and inclusion at every level of our philanthropic organizations and associations. To make that possible we have to compensate people working for nonprofits well. Otherwise, we will continue to have organizations led by people who are in the privileged position of not needing the money.
In addition to competitive compensation, there are things we must all do at any position in our community to foster inclusion."

My remarks were the only comments that got applause.

When I sat down my hands began to shack to the point I couldn't pick up my coffee. I turned to the guy next to me and explained, "I hate public speaking." He smiled and handed me his card. I spoke up because I had Constance as a daughter and got to see the benefits of inclusion in her life.

The session concluded.

There were three people of color in the room. I have had the privilege of working with two of them before. They both came over to hug and thank me. It made me think about how impossible it would be to expect people who might already feel that they are on the outside to speak to inclusion in that environment.

I think if anyone is in the privileged position to be able to stand up for inclusion they must do so no matter how much they hate public speaking or the attention. I have Constance to thank for teaching me that.

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Miembro desconocido
03 mar 2019

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