In these days of increasing tensions, fear and discouragement around race and gender issues, I am looking forward to this Friday, December 7, 2018.  On December 7th, our staff at Brown County United Way will take part in the “Day of Understanding”, the largest national conversation about bias and understanding in the workplace and beyond.

“The Day of Understanding” is the latest effort of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This national coalition of more than 500 CEOs from across organizations, sectors and geographies is the largest CEO-driven business commitment designed to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, employees feel comfortable and encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion, and where successful and well-known as well as unsuccessful actions can be shared across organizations. The work of the coalition is consistent with our organization’s vision of an inclusive community where all individuals are able to meet their basic needs and have equal opportunity for stability in their health, education and financial well-being.

A critical step in achieving that vision is our own dialogue to encourage greater understanding and appreciation of our differences.  As we continue conversations in the area of diversity and inclusiveness within our organization, we will be better equipped to unite people, ideas and resources to create community solutions that strengthen every person and every community in Brown County.  Our legacy of collaboration and deep community partnerships has uniquely positioned us to encourage open and honest dialogue within our community.

As a member of the CEO Action coalition, Brown County United Way received free customizable resources for hosting our workplace conversations on the Day of Understanding.  Our staff has chosen the workshop entitled “Facilitating a Conversation of Understanding.”  In this workshop, we will explore how we can use dialogue to help build relationships, deepen understanding and foster a culture of inclusion.   I am proud of the willingness of our staff to engage in these courageous conversations as well as the leadership of our Board of Directors in supporting our involvement in the coalition.  We join with nearly 150 organizations from around the country this Friday in recognition that addressing diversity and inclusion is both a business and moral imperative.  I am hopeful that the Day of Understanding will be an open door to many more conversations and opportunities to grow and learn from each other.

 In the words of entrepreneur Max de Pree, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.  We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”

– Robyn Davis, President & CEO Brown County United Way