Leadership

Leader to Leader: Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

By /
Jan 2, 2013

What role does the board play in your association’s diversity and inclusion strategy?

Flora M. Castillo

Chair, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC

Each year, the American Public Transportation Association board reviews the status of the association’s diversity goals, which are incorporated into the diversity plan and shared with APTA’s membership. With the emphasis on promoting diversity as a strength of our industry, the goals include specific targets for enhancing opportunities for participation in all activities and programs. The board chair’s role is to monitor and evaluate programs and activities to ensure that diversity policies are supported and implemented throughout the association and provide recommendations on ways to increase diversity and
inclusion within APTA and the public transit industry.

Raphael K. Works, Ph.D., DBA, MBA

Chairman, CEO, and Founder, Veterans Association of America, Inc., New York City

Diversity and inclusion are paramount to an organization’s success. They ensure that the organization supports all people regardless of age, color, creed, sexual orientation, cultural background, and so on. It starts with the board of directors in how we create and implement a strategy of a collective workforce. In accomplishing future goals, the success of the organization will depend on accommodating those who are often mirror images of the people we’re seeking to serve.

Sylinda Banks, Ed.D.

Chair, American School Counselor Association, Alexandria, Virginia

One of the primary responsibilities of school counselors is to help every student achieve success, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or special needs. As an organization, we promote this idea to our members, and we also strive to model it. The board maintains and enforces the customary policies addressing discrimination and other issues, but we go beyond that by working to integrate the principles of inclusion and diversity into everything the association does. Board members regularly contact our members through email, town hall meetings at our state conferences, and other methods to give members a voice and ensure no individual or group is marginalized or disenfranchised.

Robert Faiella

President, American Dental Association, Chicago

The board plays a role in the American Dental Association’s diversity and inclusion strategy in three distinct ways. First, the board’s Diversity Committee monitors diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the association and advances recommendations to the full board. Second, through the ADA Diversity and Inclusion Plan, the board stimulates implementation of strategic diversity and inclusion priorities. Finally, the board supports leadership education for emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds through programs such as the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership and participates in other initiatives that embrace diversity and inclusion.

(illustrations by Monica Hellstrom)

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