The AARC leaders—staff and volunteers—came together during the Spring Board of Directors meeting for a special deep dive into Diversity Equity and Inclusion. Together, we looked at our personal biases and understanding of DEI-related principles during a facilitated discussion. Then, as a group, we reflected and discussed how to better ensure we support these principles.
Organizational Consultant Sharon Newport, CAE, led the day’s training. She has also been a staple voice in our DEI efforts for the past six months as she and McKinley Advisors are working with the AARC to discover how we can improve and best serve our members. This inclusiveness was recognized as an important strategic objective for the association when we put together the 2022-2025 strategic plan.
When working with organizations, Newport uses expertise in organizational development, diversity, equity, and inclusion, to meet clients where they are and support their evolving goals. She has been an association and nonprofit executive for over 12 years, successfully leading wide-scale strategic, operational, and cultural change.
We are excited about the insight she can bring to the AARC.
We All Bring Perspective
With each activity and reflection, we discovered diverse and unique perspectives and some commonalities of experience. Just as each participant in the session brought their personal story to the group, we must remember that each member is shaped and molded by their environment and lived experience.
Culture must be respected.
“Where we’re from shapes us. Also, it informs how we show up individually and collectively,” Newport said.
More Than Race
Newport led us through a discussion of several examples of diversity. We also explored definitions for equality, equity, access, inclusion, belonging, systematic, and systemic. Beyond definitions, she explained how these topics should be top of mind across the entire organization—from planning events to new policies. Keeping a DEI-focused mindset will help ensure we meet the needs of all AARC members.
Act on Your Knowledge
We closed our session by learning how to act—how to interrupt bias and offer allyship.
“Allyship can leverage one’s advantage to intentionally create equity,” Newport said.
As we continue to learn, we can continue to weave DEI into everything, committing to providing a diverse, professional network where all RTs feel welcome and motivated to belong.
The AARC Board of Directors, House of Delegates, and staff members remain dedicated to making the Association a welcoming support system for RTs everywhere. We understand that we must ‘do what we say and say what we mean.’ For sure, this commitment is in action.
McKinley Advisors and Newport have been meeting with the IDEAA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access & Accountability) Committee, chaired by Gabrielle Davis, MPH, RRT, CHES, to move forward on this plan. Soon a survey will go out to the AARC membership on this topic. I encourage each member to take part, answering openly and honestly. Your feedback will help shape the future of the AARC and help us best meet your needs.
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