As we enter a new year, it’s natural to feel a medley of emotions when it comes to setting goals for the next 12 months. The pressure of knowing exactly what resolutions will drive your professional and personal successes, and adversely what will fail before the month’s end, can create a mountain of exhausting anxiety.
But if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be flexible to change and open to opportunities that will help us grow and learn from others that are not like ourselves. This is especially true when it comes to investing in your diversity, equity and inclusion journey. Not all the answers are apparent at the beginning but with each milestone reached, a new goal will be set.
Recently, our team got together to write down their reflections on 2021 along with their goals and hopes for the new year ahead.
Tim Kaelin, President and CFO:
I had so many fun, challenging, eye-opening, thought-provoking, life-altering, and positive experiences in 2021 it’s hard to pinpoint one. Something that I keep coming back to is one of the books I read in 2021, “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson. Absolutely changed how I look at the world. It is vivid, fact-based, gut wrenching, horrific, and inspiring. A very important piece of literature that, in my opinion, should be required reading in every history program.
Recently I’ve listened to a song titled W.M.A by Pearl Jam. W.M.A stands for White Male American and one of the lyrics is “he won the lottery when he was born.” To me the song is about white privilege and police violence against BIPOC. It was released in 1993. Unfortunately, 28 years later every lyric in that song is still true. That is what I am thinking about as I start 2022. There is still so much we need to do to create a world where equality is the standard.
Laurie Bell Bishop, Brand Manager:
I’ve photographed many bold, energetic, strong and fascinating women over 50 and it was disheartening to learn that so very many of them do not feel seen.
A goal for 2022 is to help women 50+ feel seen. My medium is visual, and I dearly want to keep learning about what I am not seeing. Step 1: Read my latest library book “White Feminism” by Koa Beck.
Jennifer Simpson, Head of Operations and Business Development:
This past year of the world living through a pandemic and social injustice exacerbated different levels of hardship in everyone’s lives. Not one life was left unscathed. Despite all the hardships and various levels of pain, our humanity, our need for connection, our desire to help one another, our resilience, and smiles on our faces continued to send a strong message that as humans, we all have a need to survive and thrive in communion with one another. 2021 for me has been a year of “Be.” Being in stillness in order to appreciate all that truly completes my heart and soul so that I can be my best self in all that I do.
One of my goals for this upcoming year is to put together a curriculum to help educate others in cultural conflict. A lot of the great work in diversity and inclusion is focused on elevating our behavior and thinking on topics such as bias, inclusion, belonging, cultural awareness, sponsorship, leadership, and allyship; however, there still exists the issue of conflict in workplaces. Cultural conflict is an area that needs some special attention and many organizations will do well to focus on this specific area.
Neena Abraham, Social Media Manager:
The most important thing I learned in 2021 was a simple yet profound truth – we are all connected. Even across geographies and boundaries, our struggles and shared experiences unite us in a compelling way. Beyond that, we need each other. After being isolated for so long, I realized that we need community now more than ever in order to uplift and persevere. So COVID-19 left me asking, what have we learned as a society? How will we apply lessons learned moving forward?
In 2022, I will continue my personal development through travel as well as continued studies in history and archiving. Preserving human stories & promoting intercultural exchange inspires me to move diversity forward and I look forward to sharing my experiences with the world.
Manejah Terzi, Content Strategist:
In 2021 I learned how to be a more patient and understanding listener. Listening to people’s stories. Particularly those of people who think very differently from me and come from different places. I’ve really enjoyed picking up a book I wouldn’t normally read. Listening to a podcast I wouldn’t normally listen to, or watching a show or documentary I wouldn’t normally watch. All this helps me to see what someone else is talking about outside of the circle I live in every day.
A goal of mine for 2022 is to support change in my own community, however small they may be. This starts with my leadership role in a newly formed DEI community at the food pantry in my city. As part of this role I will have the opportunity to participate in a racial equity workshop with The Boston Foundation later this month.
We hope our goals inspire you to make some of you own to help move diversity forward.