Leadership

Weekly Now: Black CEOs Take Steps to Boost Vaccine Access

By / Mar 1, 2021 (FG/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Black association leaders pledge to increase access to and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines within the Black community. Also: Who defines an association’s culture, the members or the staff?

Getting the COVID-19 vaccines to everyone has been a major challenge, and a new coalition wants to ensure that the vaccines reach underserved communities, too.

A group of Black CEOs in the association space—including the leaders of AARP, the American Diabetes Association, the American Psychological Association, the International City/County Management Association, the National League of Cities (NLC), and the YMCA—have announced a pledge to boost awareness of the vaccines in Black communities and to take steps to increase access.

The situation is dire. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 7 percent of people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine are Black, and nearly half of vaccination records are missing race and ethnicity data, limiting the ability to properly track the need in underserved communities.

The leaders announced the initiative via a webcast last week.

“As leaders of some of the largest member organizations in the United States, and also as Black Americans, we understand the critical importance of providing Black communities with the facts and data to help build confidence in the science behind COVID-19 vaccines,” NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony said in a news release. “I am proud to work alongside my outstanding colleagues to help uplift the Black community during this critical time for the future of our nation.”

Other recent headlines:

Legal aid for Texas storm victims. In response to the recent winter weather catastrophe in Texas, legal groups are offering free legal aid services to affected residents. The State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association are collaborating with local legal aid providers across the state to offer help in acquiring government benefits, assisting with insurance claims, working with contractors, and replacing legal documents lost or damaged during the snow and ice storm that left dozens of people dead and millions without power and water for days, CBS DFW reports.

A global approach to climate change. The Geneva Association, a global insurance think tank, is heading up a new task force to build risk assessment methodologies on which to base future climate change approaches. The task force, made up of 17 experts focused on property and casualty and life insurance, will consider the issue through the lens of different scenarios, including the type of risk and the time it takes for a given issue to emerge. “This initiative is taking the insurance industry’s climate action and collaboration to the next level,” said Maryam Golnaraghi, the leader of the new project.

Who Owns the Culture?

Association leadership teams can determine their staff culture, but who establishes the culture of the membership itself? Meeting designer and facilitator Adrian Segar says many associations look to staff to define what he refers to as “external culture” but that members themselves should take the lead.

“How an association responds to wants, needs, and external events must always involve the entire association community—staff and members—so the organization responds and changes in a healthy way,” he writes.

Be sure to check out the full piece for more insights from Segar.

ICYMI …

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A couple of major figures have announced plans to depart their CEO roles recently, including Jeff Bezos and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Learn what lessons their departures can offer about succession.

Business continuity has been a hot topic since the pandemic hugely disrupted organizational operations a year ago. What happens when a second disruptor, like the Texas winter storm, piles on?  Check out a few lessons for keeping the machine moving.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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