This time of year, I often see friends participate in a series of gratitude posts on Facebook, or is it Meta now? Regardless, I do not usually join in such posts. However, they often push me to reflect on the joy in my life. Of course, there is my family and friends, their health, their happiness, and safety, which are all of utmost importance to me. My dog, who doesn’t want to walk far, go outside or engage in much physical activity, but she still provides me with unconditional love.
My career has been both rewarding and fulfilling. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I began to understand my privilege, more specifically, my white privilege. My village worked on building a baseball field for the children. Yet, it was proving difficult as they did not have funding to rent a large piece of machinery to smooth out the field. I suggested I travel to the city to ask the Highway Supervisor for help. They had tried many times to do this and were regularly turned down. Reluctantly, I met with the county Highway Supervisor. Upon my in-person request, he very quickly brought the machinery to my village. As frustrated as I was with the assumption of my village members, I quickly learned that my white skin was an advantage.
Throughout my career working in Capital Region nonprofits, I benefitted immensely from the privilege of education and family support. Leadership roles were open to me based on the education and experience afforded by my family and their social standing. I could afford to take those positions, even when those salaries were insufficient to afford child care – again, with the help of family. Through this awareness, I worked to ensure my role with the Early Care & Learning Council prioritized the systemic racism that exists in early education. We work to eliminate the suspension of black and brown boys from childcare so they have the same opportunities, from a young age, to succeed. We also tirelessly advocate for women-of-color-educators so that they are compensated at the same rate as their white counterparts.
As the Chair-Elect of the Women’s Business Council, I find that my commitment to racial equity aligns with the WBC’s mission to cultivate an inclusive community that empowers, educates, and advances all women as leaders. This year’s Creating a Culture of Inclusion and the Evolution of Women in Leadership events, panelists and participants engaged in a real conversation about advocacy; and lifting women, and more importantly, women of color, up within the workforce. I am grateful that I have an opportunity to lead the WBC. The network of women leaders, emerging leaders, and visionary leaders has allowed me to understand the critical importance of sisterhood and kindness. I encourage each of you to join us as active Women’s Business Council members. Join one of the WBC’s committees, which advance our programming, engagement, and adopt-a-non-profit from the region. You can recommend diverse chamber members to speak at one of our events or be spotlighted in the WBC Blog.
Why do I tell these stories in this forum? Because it is Thanksgiving, and beyond giving thanks for what we have, I hope you might join us in creating a future where there is more for everyone to be thankful for.