The BCC Compass – January 2022

by LA Spagnola

 

At the Board of Child Care, we have always been committed to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

People with diverse lived experiences and backgrounds consistently come together with unique voices to help push our mission work forward and uphold the belief that we can and will enrich communities, one family at a time.

Still, we never had an established plan to ensure we grow in our EDI efforts.

So last year, our dedicated EDI Committee developed BCC’s “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2022-2025” – a three-year plan that includes multiple approaches to elevate the overall culture of BCC. We have identified the following goals:

  • Enhance engagement and intercultural development
  • Sustain assessment, accountability and commitments
  • Expand pathways for access and employee success

Over the next few months, we will dig into these goals on The BCC Compass, sharing our objectives for each and steps we are taking to achieve success.

We will also continue to offer the open forums we launched last year. These forums help BCC leaders understand barriers and identify strategies to increase the overall sense of belonging.

Each of us has a role to play in this important effort. My hope is that in three years, the benefits of diversity and inclusion will become undeniable and will be embedded in the way we create policy, interact with our community and maintain professional environments.

Together, our team can magnify our impact, foster a healthy culture where we engage in joy and purpose and remove barriers while building momentum.

Thank you for joining me on the journey!

Warmly,

Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola

President & CEO

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The BCC Compass December 2021

Holidays Across Cultures

The Board of Child Care has the pride and privilege of being the workplace of choice for so many people representing countless cultures and nations. During this time of year, our community’s focus shifts to reflect on the year and prepare for the new year ahead. As an organization that is striving to be progressive and aware of our diversity, we take the time to honor and learn the different ways our community chooses to celebrate this time. Check out a few tips on acknowledging differences during this holiday season:

  1. Host a Diversity Potluck where team members can bring foods that represent who they are. The act of eating together is communal for so many people and will allow for genuine engagement to take place.
  2. Share photos from the holiday to give your teams a preview of your life outside of work. While doing mission-driven work it becomes easy to lock in and only focus on work. However, we are people with lives and stories it’s important to share and create community.
  3. Host professional development opportunities that allow for people to learn the history behind holiday practices. Call on your team members to lead these conversations to add personal stories and experiences.

Maintaining inclusive workplaces allows for you to be creative on how to build community. During this holiday season take the time to lean in and embrace the diversity that exists within your teams.

On behalf of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.

Read more from The BCC Compass December 2021

The BCC Compass – November 2021

Expanding Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion competency through Professional Development.

Professional Development opportunities, in concept, appears to be super easy to organize. “I get to grow as a professional, for free, with my co-workers” who wouldn’t want that? However, when it comes to creating and maintaining workplace environments that are knowledgeable and forward thinking, the intentionality behind creating professional learning opportunities becomes even more important. At the Board of Child, we believe that educating our communities on core Diversity and Inclusion Competencies is the foundation to promote inclusion on all levels of an organization. To take on this huge responsibility it was important for us to identify partners and teachers in an industry that is so broad and dynamic.

As an EDI facilitator my first job is to be aware that I am the “knower of nothing”. Regardless of how much formal education I have completed, books that I read, and trainings that I have led, there is no way that I can ever be an absolute expert on all things Diversity and Inclusion. What I do know is that my passion, my lived experiences, and of course my professional training provide me with a foundation to bring people together to learn about and move in a justice mindset. I pride myself most on being able to identify other professionals to partner with to ensure that the policies, initiatives, and learning opportunities that our agency creates is effective and truthful.

This year our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee worked hard to identify outside partners that could assist in our learning journey. To ensure that our goal of educating our employee population was attainable, the committee decided to host 4 professional learning opportunities on a quarterly basis focusing on the following topic areas: Anti-Black Racism, LGBTQ+ & Affirming Care, Cultural Humility, and Equitable Workplaces. To ensure that the content being delivered was interesting and relevant, we chose to partner with Diversity Trainers from diverse professional backgrounds with experience and passion for the subject matter. Collaboration is essential for any human service organization, especially for matters of Diversity and Inclusion. This journey can’t be done alone and its important to reach out and build community with professionals who can push your organization in the direction of inclusivity.

Tapping into social media networks like LinkedIn, Instagram and Clubhouse are both casual and professional ways of searching for Diversity speakers. Google is another great tool to use to identify other organizations that are doing great work in the community. Attend networking events where you have an opportunity to share the EDI journey that your organization is on an solicit the advice from others. As you can see, creating professional development opportunities, especially about Diversity and Inclusion is no easy task. It takes time to research and find the right person to partner with and speak to diverse audiences on matters that cause for vulnerability and unlearning, and that’s okay. In the end you are creating partnerships with longevity and professional development opportunities that will be impactful.

Read more from The BCC Compass – November 2021

The BCC Compass – October 2021

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

by Courtney Mercado

 

 

When you think about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion what is the first thing that comes to mind? You may think about diverse cultural holidays or interactive educational workshops. Maybe you thought about diverse leadership teams or wellness initiatives.

For most diversity and inclusion professionals our first thoughts are about money. What’s my budget? How much money has the organization allocated to a Diversity and Inclusion Department? How many people have been hired to do this work?

Money is always a touchy subject, but it is also a necessary one when it pertains to creating a culture that is more than just diversity language and marketing buzzwords. Inclusion, like everything else in the world, costs money to bring to life and organizations must think and plan about how much money will be needed to turn ideas and conversations about inclusion into your organization’s “new normal.” Here’s a few examples:

  1. Yesenia enters a building and jumps on an elevator to get to the next floor. Yesenia isn’t thinking about the reality that elevators are strategically installed into buildings to help people with mobile impairments access spaces easier and faster. What she sees as a quicker route to her destination is really an intentional inclusive practice for people who are differently abled.
  2. Ade is installing new signs for all the bathrooms in a law firm. They read “For Those Who Identify as Woman” and “For Those Who Identify as Man”. These signs were professionally designed and installed by an outside vendor and promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
  3. A Board of Directors has hired a diversity coach to partner with them to create Diversity and Inclusion goals to make the board more diverse and reflective of the agency’s client population. This diversity coach works with the Board of Directors for three consecutive years and helps the board successfully meet their outcomes.
  4. A client who is in a wheelchair makes a building manager aware that there are no ramps to safely enter or exit a building. The building manager takes this feedback to the owner, who now must bring in an engineer to effectively plan and estimate the cost of installing ramps at all the entry points.

Each of these scenarios illustrate how money is necessary to bring inclusive practices to life and it is imperative to research the costs of inclusion to be effective. At the Board of Child Care, we have a strategic goal of educating our senior leadership team on a variety of EDI competencies. To reach this goal, we needed to research and identify professionals in our community who were skilled at educating and guiding our leadership team through tough topics and helping build confidence around EDI issues and practices. This research has helped us become aware of the cost of educating our teams. With this knowledge we were able to project a budget for our next fiscal year so that in the future we can successfully reach our goal.

Embarking on your own EDI journey can be exciting and sometimes intimidating. Dedicate time to setting goals and researching the cost to meet your desired outcomes. Never shy away from advocating for funds because this work and the steps that need to be taken are important and deserve the same financial security as any other department, initiative, or strategic goal.

Read more from The BCC Compass – October 2021

The BCC Compass – July 2021

BCC Commits to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At the beginning of our EDI journey, we wanted the Board of Child Care to be an organization that not only enriched the lives of the families we served but also uplifted those who are doing this mission-focused work at every level of the organization. With an employee population of 800+, BCC’s stance on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion needed to be prioritized and clearly communicated.

We started with a simple question: As an organization, what does EDI mean to us? This guiding question led us down a path to understanding our staff’s individual visions about the legacy for the agency. Through individual interviews, formal data collection, and commitment from executive leadership, the Board of Child Care released an official EDI statement and updated Core Values in May 2021 to display to our entire community our commitment to ensuring inclusive and equitable experiences for all our stakeholders. This is what we believe…

Our Commitment

The Board of Child Care is committed to honoring differences, acknowledging uniqueness, and amplifying all voices. A culture of inclusivity empowers individuals at every level to enrich communities, one family at a time.

Diversity statements are not to be created by one single person or group. It is important to be as collaborative as possible and use the words, vision, and experiences of others to guide how the statement should sound and come together. Once we created this statement, we literally toured this statement around to various groups (EDI Committee, Executive Leadership, Senior Leadership) to ensure that the statement felt realistic, relevant, and represented all stakeholders in our community.

An Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion statement demonstrates an agency’s commitment to building an inclusive, varied workplace welcoming people of all backgrounds. Much like a mission and values statement, the diversity and inclusion statement are, ideally, more than just a marketing exercise. It should guide your hiring, employee benefits, customer service, and workplace culture. Keep in mind that a good statement is:

  • Direct and Concise
  • Around 20-75 words,
  • Is on an 8th-grade reading level
  • Uses positive and inclusive language
  • Relates to the agency mission and purpose statement

Creating and publishing an EDI statement was a significant first step in the EDI journey, here at BCC. It provides us with direction and refocuses our vision to incorporating EDI principles, initiatives, and standards into our functionality and strategic planning. With an established commitment to all things Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion the real work begins to bring this statement to life in a real and palpable way.

Read more from The BCC Compass – July 2021

BCC’s Leadership Statement on the Verdict Yesterday: April 20, 2021

On behalf of the board of directors, and the entire executive leadership team, we would like to take a moment to respond to two events from yesterday: the Derek Chauvin trial verdict and the unfolding events surrounding the tragic death of fifteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. Continue reading…

Read more from BCC’s Leadership Statement on the Verdict Yesterday: April 20, 2021

BCC Condemns the Atlanta Murders and Racism in all of its forms

 

To the communities BCC serves, our staff, and stakeholders,

I am disgusted and appalled at the murders that took place in Atlanta, Georgia recently.  The news of what appears to be targeted killings of Asian women and reports of increased violence against elderly Asians prompts me to reiterate condemnation of racism in all of its forms.

At BCC:

  • We will condemn racism, inequality and oppression in all of its forms
  • We will work to fundamentally change systems that perpetuate racism, inequality and oppression
  • We will continue to encourage and promote dialogue about racism, inequality and oppression with all of our stakeholders utilizing our core values of empathy and relationships creating a culture where we can engage with joy and purpose
  • We will use the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion to guide and structure our special work of enriching communities one family at a time.

As CEO, I continue to actively participate as a member of our equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.  I will continue to update the wider BCC community and public via the BCC Compass blog and other channels of our work pursuing an environment that we all – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, religious beliefs, disability or age – can engage fully with joy and purpose in our special work.

My heartfelt prayers are with all those impacted by the recent events.

Warmly,

Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO

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BCC Launches Open Forum Initiatives

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is all about PEOPLE. At the core of this work is ensuring that people who make up organizations, companies, corporations, etc., experience fairness in its various forms and are seen as unique individuals who have something valuable to contribute to the community in which they serve.  Here at BCC, we are beginning a journey that is focused on creating opportunities for members of our community to be present, heard, and harnessed. BCC’s Open Forum initiative is the first of many that will be creating a safe opportunity for members of our community to come together to honor the hard work that we all do, share ideas on how to push forward in the right direction, and maintain a culture where we can learn and grow together. Continue reading…

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