Diversity Equity and Inclusion in the GVP Workplace

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by Guest Contributor | September 27, 2021

By: Denise Reidy-Puckett, Operations Manager

Forbes Magazine (May 2021) stated, “In light of the recent societal spotlight on racial justice and equality, many businesses have taken a renewed interest in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). For these efforts to be truly successful, however, there must be buy-in from the entire organization.” DEI is vital to creating and maintaining a successful workplace; founded on the principle that all people can thrive personally and professionally. Global Village Project (GVP) created a more formalized DEI Leadership Circle in Fall 2019 to evaluate and implement DEI initiatives and best practices. Working groups were formed including: Workplace, Family Voices, Education and Awareness and Book Club. The DEI Workplace Team collaboratively utilizes research, lived experience, prior practices and vision to implement an infrastructure to support a more inclusive workplace. 

GVP’s DEI Workplace team believes that advocates for DEI benefit from a community talking about issues and learning together; the team is composed of representatives from development, operations and human resources, community engagement and volunteer coordination. Goals and strategies for the team were identified for work in smaller “pods” to closely evaluate, expand and integrate DEI initiatives into six focus areas – Human Resources, Recruitment and Hiring, Community Practices, Professional Development and Training, Strategic Goals and Evaluation, and Employee Engagement.

When asked, “What has been one of the most impactful DEI workplace initiatives you have seen at GVP?”, Anne Garbarino, ESOL and literacy teacher shared, “I think our school’s focus on DEI motivates and empowers us to continue to develop streamlined and inclusive hiring practices. Of course this is a work in progress, but I am optimistic that we will continue to strive for excellence in this area. As a teacher, I participate in teams for hiring interns as well as new teachers. I like that we are reaching out to students and new hires from diverse communities and that our partnerships with schools like Agnes Scott and Georgia State have fostered some of these relationships.” 

Creativity and innovation grow from diversity of thought and experience. Forbes’ article continues, “It’s so important for businesses to encourage their employees to bring their whole selves to work and celebrate them for all that they are. Promoting and highlighting DEI efforts helps employees feel safe, respected and more connected, which can lead to a stronger sense of community and increased productivity.” The DEI Community Practices pod developed GVP Staff Cultural Agreements. One more step towards more clarity and community agreement about our employees’ collective purpose and commitment.

GVP continues to be committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.The collection of differences, life experiences, knowledge, creativity, innovation, self-expression, unique abilities and talent that GVP’s employees invest in their work represents a significant part of the school’s culture, but also reputation and achievement.

GVP Staff Cultural Agreements

We, the staff of GVP, in order to create the conditions ideal for our personal, professional and organizational growth while conducting our duties in service of our mission; and recognizing that our actions model behaviors that our students and community will emulate, agree to the following cultural commitments built upon GVP’s Core Values and DEI Guiding Principles:

  1. We will honor the spirit and vision upon which the organization was founded, even as we explore and pursue new pathways to our future. 
  1. We believe in the power of seeking out and including diverse voices in our decision-making, and we will be transparent in all of our dealings. We will trust one another to make decisions with the best interests of the team, its collective stakeholders, and the mission of the organization in mind.
  1. We will foster an environment of belonging and trust where everyone feels safe, welcome, and unafraid to express themselves fully.
  1. We will work collaboratively, knowing that each person’s work affects the other and that our efforts integrate to fulfill the mission.
  1. We will work at a scale and speed that we can sustain.
  1. We will take responsibility for creating spaces that acknowledge and honor each other’s personal boundaries and our collective organizational boundaries.
  1. We will actively seek to communicate intentionally, effectively, and honestly.
  1. We will approach conflict boldly but empathetically and will ask for help in resolving it when necessary, utilizing the support systems we have collectively put in place.
  1. We will allow for the inevitability of mistakes, knowing that they are a necessary component of growth and improvement, and extend grace to each other when mistakes are made.
  1. We will assume the best of each other’s intentions in all of our actions, but will also hold each other accountable for the impact of our actions. 
  1. We will be intentional about self-reflection and ensure that we continuously explore ways to individually and collectively improve ourselves, our work, and our commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.