Letter from CEO regarding Wayside’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Efforts in 2017
Reflecting back on 2017, it was clearly a difficult year for our country to say the least. Issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion continue to pose major challenges to the country. We seemed to take as many steps backward as forward. None were as distressing as the president’s comments on Charlottesville, followed by the torrent of sexual abuse and harassment charges against previously respected leaders in our country.
While turning one page on a calendar to a new year still only represents one day, I would like to think there are some new reasons for hope for 2018. Political activism has increased significantly, with many new candidates for office, and new monies being raised for progressive causes to offset the typical strong fundraising by ultraconservatives. I encourage all of us to become more active – supporting candidates and initiatives, and even running for office yourself!
One very real – not just symbolic – change happened yesterday in Framingham. Framingham not only changed its form of government from a town to a city, but elected as its first mayor an African-American woman, Dr. Yvonne Spicer. In addition to that historic event, Hispanic and Brazilian Americans were elected to the new City Council. I have worked in Framingham for nearly 40 years, and have never been so proud.
Here at Wayside, the past year has also been one of progress with respect to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts. There is still a lot of work to be done however, and please be assured Wayside plans to continue our efforts in significant ways. Below is a listing of Wayside’s DEI related efforts and accomplishments of 2017.
o Named Guimel DeCarvalho, Director of People and Culture, as our Chief Diversity Officer
o Named Amy Hogarth, previously Director of Talent Acquisition, as Director of Recruitment and Inclusion
o Guimel and Marisa Rowe are facilitating the MetroWest Human Service Equity day on January 10th from 1-4PM at Natick Elks Lodge. Guimel will be emcee the event, where Dr. Spicer is expected to be the Keynote Speaker!
o In FY2017, turnover of staff of color in FY17 was 26.5% which is slightly lower than the total agency turnover rate of 27%. This is a dramatic decrease from FY2016 turnover of staff of color which was 36% and an important statement that people of color did not leave Wayside at a higher rate than white staff.
o Overall, the number of internal promotions at Wayside increased from 42 in FY16 to 62 in FY17. Comparing FY15 to FY17, supervisors of color increased from 34% to 46% and Program Directors of color increased from 16% to 19%.
o Completed three Leadership Academy sessions with 46% of participants being staff of color.
o All Wayside training in February on the fundamentals of White Privilege – 4 hours; nearly 200 participants
o Held 20 on-site sessions of Learning How to Have Courageous Conversations led by EDCO consultants at 20 programs – 1.5 hours
o Two All Wayside trainings in November by Dr. Ken Hardy on the Validate, Challenge, Request model of confronting challenging conversations around race/bigotry – 3 hours; 240 participants
o Created the Wayside Virtual Open Door – an online suggestions/complaints box for staff to submit concerns, incidents, etc. which can be done anonymously.
o Created Wayside Affinity Groups (WAGs) to allow space for staff to meet to connect over common interests.
o Completed the 3rd annual Diversity Survey and have a draft 2018 Diversity Action Plan as a result.
o Program trainings on Best Practices in documentation of transgender clients.
o Listing preferred pronouns in applications, on-boarding emails, and on name tents during Pre-Service.
o Created Gender Inclusivity Statement and mechanism for staff to self-identify their preferred pronouns in email with a link to this statement.
o Changed time of Diversity & Inclusion Committee when held on Campus to allow more residential staff to attend.
o Cultural Competency Online Training is now conducted prior to start date – 1.25 hours
o Diversity and Inclusion section of Pre-Service Orientation where new hires complete a self-identity exercise.
o Training for bilingual clinicians to help them pass the licensing exam
o Lastly, we have provided important support and resources for staff during times of national crisis around DEI issues (Orlando, Charleston, the election, the 1st Muslim ban, Charlottesville).
As difficult as this past year has been, and as cautious and diligent as we need to be going forward – holding ourselves and others accountable – I’m very happy Wayside has taken strides to contribute to the many efforts around the country to raise the standards and expectations of our institutions, organizations, leaders and ourselves.