Full Circle: One Practitioner’s Journey to Ensuring Dignity and Equity in Healthcare

Jennifer Brown | |

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Dorcas Lind, Assistant Vice President and Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Montefiore Medical Center, joins the program to discuss her diversity story, and why she decided to join the DEI Practitioners Program offered through Jennifer Brown Consulting. She reveals the biggest takeaways that she has received from participating in the program, and shares advice for other DEI practitioners.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • An early experience that fueled Dorcas’ desire to work in the healthcare field (8:00)
  • What Dorcas found helpful from the very beginning of the DEI Practitioners Program (18:00)
  • How Dorcas was able to write her own job description (20:30)
  • The need to move beyond best practices to being strategic (24:00)
  • Dorcas’ advice for other DEI practitioners (31:00)
  • The benefits of having a cohort of like-minded professionals (32:30)
  • An “aha” moment that Dorcas experienced in her career (33:45)
  • The connection between storytelling and listening (37:00)
  • How to break down silos and find other DEI champions within an organization (41:00)

Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:

JENNIFER BROWN: I’m delighted to be joined today by Dorcas Lind. Dorcas, I’m going to ask you a couple things in a moment. I’m going to ask you to share your personal story. We often refer to this as our diversity stories at JBC. It’s so important. As we lead this work, they’re particularly important because I think they inform our passion and the fact that we were drawn to this kind of work in the first place, and I know that that’s true for you. Then, we’ll move on into a discussion about your life now as a diversity practitioner, somebody who’s leading this work at Montefiore. And how in particular, as a student in our DEI Practitioner program, how have you perceived the program? What has it shifted for you? What do you think is different about the experience that was something you needed to be equipped with, in terms of your work and the change involved with diversity and inclusion?

All that being said, we’re going to get to that in a moment, but let me allow you to tell us a little bit about who you are, your family of origin, and what fuels you from those days to do the work you do today?

DORCAS LIND: Sure. I always like to share the story of growing up as a native Bronx girl in the tall, high-rise buildings of Co-op City and fantasizing about how quickly I would try and get out of the Bronx. When I grew up and got my education, and it turns out that I am now fulfilling my dream job back in the Bronx.

JENNIFER BROWN: Amazing.

DORCAS LIND: At Montefiore, after traveling the country and the world, and I’m back at my childhood hospital and the hospital where my grandparents got their end-of-life care, both of them. That really shows how full circle it is for me to actually be doing this work. What’s important about that as well is that I have always been focused in healthcare, in particular, how healthcare can be used as a tool for social justice. That’s been prevalent in my career through all the choices I’ve made, either to be in the non-profit or for-profit world.

All of that work comes from an experience I had as an adolescent where I learned, when I was about 15 years old, that my maternal grandmother had been part of the US Public Health Trials that took place in Puerto Rico. She woke up after having my mother and my uncle, my mother’s twin brother, to learn that she had been sterilized without her consent. As a teenager, hearing this, it was quite shocking and confusing. I was filled with some very, very powerful emotions. I was very fortunate to have a family and a community circle, as well as educators, who helped take that rage and channel it into what became my academic, and then ultimately, my professional focus.

I spent most of the first 20 years of my career actually looking at how to best invite vulnerable populations into the world of medical research in a way that is dignified, equitable, and fulfilling. That really has been my fire that keeps me going throughout all of the different opportunities within the healthcare industry to do this equity work.

JENNIFER BROWN: That is so powerful, Dorcas. Thank you for sharing. I’m curious, I’m sure that story maybe wasn’t always easy to tell, and you tell it beautifully now. I wonder, how have you harnessed the power of that story? Also, related to that, how has the experience in our program either validated the way you tell that story, the reasons you tell it, the places you tell it? We do spend some time on our stories, because they’re so important as our change tools, in addition to everything else we do from a strategy perspective. We have to make it personal and often it can feel very vulnerable because a lot of us have pretty challenging circumstances to share.

Some of us can choose to share those, and many people in the workplace don’t choose to share. Maybe they don’t understand why they would, but DEI Practitioners know that creating a safe space through vulnerability and authenticity enables others to do the same. So, I wondered, did your story shift in any way as you worked through the program, and what shifts did you see in others that you thought were really important shifts for them to be undertaking?

DORCAS LIND: I think that is a critical way of describing it and it really is that shift. I think we start off by very much believing that we do this work because we care about the equity piece; we care about inclusion. But it’s sometimes uncomfortable and painful to talk about the trauma that we may have experienced throughout our careers, in our families, or in our community that actually really go at the deeper level of why we do the work that we do.

I think that being able to tell the narrative in a way that is separated from the trauma, but really looking at the motivational factors in terms of helping others to understand that that personal experience is not necessarily unique. So many others in the workplace, in whatever industry we’re in, have those kinds of narratives to share in terms of overcoming those vulnerable moments, those painful moments that actually have contributed to the decisions we’ve made in both our professional and personal life.

I think being asked to really focus on our personal story that’s allowed us to get to the place where we are in our current roles and responsibilities, really allows us to crystallize that in a way that we can then share with others so that they’re comfortable in sharing their own stories.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s right. We’ve got to go first, and we have to be the brave ones. I think that once we step in, it permissions others to do the same. I, like you, believe that everyone has some kind of diversity story. It’s something that’s very universal and what’s not important is that it’s the same story, because it’s never going to be the same story. It’s the metaphor of the story, and that’s true for me, too.

When I told my story about having to get vocal surgery and losing my voice, literally, and trying to get it back, I thought, “Who’s going to ever be able to relate to this?” I mean, there are no opera singers who have had vocal surgery in my audiences. And yet, there was a universal truth in telling the story in a certain way that I think reminded people of how they’ve lost their voice, metaphorically, and how perhaps they were taking their voice for granted. Perhaps there was more that they could be doing with it.

Once I realized that, then I felt much better about telling the story. It gave me some confidence that I was tapping into something that needed to be named, and also creating a safe space for others to do that. That’s, essentially, the work of a practitioner. You know part of it is certainly ROI and metrics and strategy, but it’s also touching people’s hearts and also getting people to feel seen and heard more through their storytelling in the organization.

DORCAS LIND: Absolutely. I think one of the things that I have found to be so encouraging and inspiring is I meet individuals who self-identify as not being diverse, and I actually say to them in a very candid way, “Actually, I disagree with you wholeheartedly. Everyone brings a diversity story to the table.” Now, that is different from when we talk about the real challenging work, particularly in healthcare, about increasing our representation of underrepresented people of color, women, etc. That is a very real dynamic that we need to address.

But when we talk about diversity in terms of thought, experience, and heuristics as an approach to problem solving, that is something that I encourage everyone that I come into contact with to understand that if we’re going to leverage the power of diversity as opposed to tolerating diversity, we’re not going to be able to reach that cultural change. I really encourage everyone to embrace whatever it is that brings that unique difference to the table, when they walk in the door and own that and be proud of that.

That’s something that people are surprised about at first, because they tend to identify themselves as “other.” You know there are diverse folks, and then there’s everybody else, and I’m trying to let everyone know, no, no, we’re all part of that diversity in so many different capacities and levels. At the same time, as I mentioned, it cannot dilute the very important work we have to do in healthcare with increasing underrepresented professionals in healthcare that will allow us to be more patient centric in our quality and excellence of care.

JENNIFER BROWN: So well said. I don’t know if you’ve influenced me or I’ve influenced you, because that’s the exact same answer I give to people. It’s like, “No, no, no, there are not diverse people and non-diverse people. We all are a mix.” I’d add we’re a mix of relatively more privileged identities and perhaps lesser privileged identities. If you’re struggling to find your diversity story, and I do hear sometimes in audiences, someone will stand up and say, “I don’t know what I can contribute because I feel that my life has been very blessed. It’s been easy.” My answer might be in that case, “Step forward into the opportunity of allyship.”

You can get energized around who can I support? Who can I assist or who can I be alongside to offer strength or encouragement or what can I do for others? I think that that’s also really a galvanizing piece. But I do believe that digging deep, we all know what exclusion feels like in certain ways, and I think there’s a lot that we can be drawing on as leaders. So, we’ve got to help, people in your role and my role, have to help others see that. It takes a little bit of time, but ultimately, it can shift everything in terms of how you look at yourself and also color your leadership.

It gives it texture, makes you authentic to others. Opens doors for others to say, “Oh, I want to work for that person because I feel like I know who they are. They aren’t just a name in a box in an org chart or they aren’t just that, ‘I’m the perfect leader that’s never felt vulnerable or overcome a challenge.’” I think this is a competency that every leader needs to have and so we’ve all got to do the work.

DORCAS LIND: Absolutely. You mention leadership, and I would say that one of the things that I find so valuable about the initial opening of the onion and taking away those layers in the course is that we really are forced to understand that we don’t do this work. Although all of us come into it from a particular angle in terms of a problem we want to solve and the solution that we want to deliver to a particular community or a group that we are in allyship with. But I think what we realize, and as we are growing departments and teams of people who are charged with doing this work, we realize that we actually are doing the work for all of the differences, all of the groups, all of the identities. We’re not just here to work on our one cause of being.

I know that in leadership, particularly, there is a little bit of bias when you have leaders who are placed in a role of D&I work and they immediately turn to, “Oh, well this is an African-American woman, or this is a Latinex male.” And obviously because of that, those are the issues that they’re going to work hardest to solve. In fact, we need to overcome those stereotypes as well as make sure that in our own world view, we are not just focused on those issues. But as a leader, looking at all of the diversity and what those challenges require us to do to come to a truly inclusive culture.

JENNIFER BROWN: You’re so right. I think what you’re saying is we get into the work often because we’re trying to probably solve an inclusion issue for our own identities, right? We’re passionate about that. Then when you get into a strategy role, like our students in the Practitioner Program, and now you own the whole thing. Now you have to be inclusive in terms of the attention that you pay to having a holistic, comprehensive strategy that addresses not just the literally underrepresented talent in the organization, but even emerging groups. Even different levels of organizational diversity, functional diversity. It’s sort of broadening out generational diversities and other hot topics. As somebody in a role like yours, Dorcas, you went from being a consultant to a full-time employee, where you got to write your own job description? Is that true?

DORCAS LIND: I did. Even when I tell the story today, I get goosebumps, because for the first quarter century of my career, I took so much pride in being an excellent worker bee and being part of a team and leading teams, but being part of a larger organization. I literally was pushed off the ledge by family and colleagues and friends who said, “If you don’t do it now, it’s never going to happen.” I was completely opposed to the idea of being an entrepreneur.

It took me having that experience to actually find a client who then invited me to come back in and perform my dream job. It was an amazing feeling to actually deliver the strategic plan and realize that I felt really positive about what the organization could do if they were to take even a portion of some of my recommendations. Getting that phone call to actually consider coming internally again, to deliver that, was really astounding to me, because as you said, it’s not a piece of the pie. Now, I’m actually baking the pie.

JENNIFER BROWN: Right. No pressure. No pressure.

DORCAS LIND: So, it’s figuring out, okay, it’s not just one little ingredient that I’m managing over here in my comfortable corner. It’s truly looking at from a medical center perspective, from a systems perspective, what are going to be the critical issues? It’s so important in terms of going back to the curriculum and the program because the mapping of the internal landscape is so important. So many of us come to this work with our own bias about what needs to happen for the organization to elevate its D&I work. When, in fact, the most important piece is being able to assess on the ground what the individuals in the organization are experiencing, because there may be a disconnect between what we believe is the issue, and what truly is the issue. And how we can program, strategize, and create impactful programs that actually solve those real problems.

JENNIFER BROWN: I love that. You called what the program provides the “infrastructure” that you needed. It’s mapping the organization and then objectively challenging your assumptions about, “Where are the hot spots?”

DORCAS LIND: Right.

JENNIFER BROWN: What do I know? How do I know that to be true and whom do I need to speak to to validate this direction, that direction, or this apportioning of resources? You literally proposed a strategy and just the act of preparing that. Then we have selling it to key stakeholders, making sure it’s aligned with people who have power and influence, and also with people who are impacted by it. What are some other pieces of that infrastructure, or your toolkit, that are really important to you?

DORCAS LIND: Yes. A critical piece of that as well is I think within this space, because of so much that’s happening at the macro-societal level societal level in terms of DE&I, that many of us are in the field because we care about the issues. We care about social justice. We care about both representation and inclusion. But many of the individuals that I see who I am considering coming into the fold in terms of team building, really have not been able to have any more exposure outside of best practices.

They’re very good at designing a program and a timeline for LGBTQ education around Pride Month. They can put together a fabulous mentorship program for up-and-coming women of color. But outside of the context of why and how we’re doing that in terms of gaining institutional buy-in and really understanding what it means to not just put band-aids of programs, but actually work on the deeper cultural change of an organization. So, we’re not tolerating difference, but actually celebrating difference towards innovation. That is the kind of experience that I think is critical for training and I believe that this program helps young professionals be able to start doing that deeper work.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, thank you. That was what was so important to me. That was actually my story, my evolution from being a trainer who built programs to being asked, “Well, hey, can you weigh in on our strategy?” Realizing that that required a sort of zooming-up of the lens to the 30,000-foot view, and to think holistically about the organization and all the levers of change that we need to be able to pull at the right time and in the right order or change. It’s like a giant ship, you turn the wheel, and nothing happens for a while.

DORCAS LIND: That’s right

JENNIFER BROWN: Then it gradually starts to turn to the right. Organizations are the same, they’re complex. Often, change is driven from the top. I think one of the things that that new practitioners are so energized and passionate coming up from the lower parts of the organization, from an individual contributor to a manager to somebody who’s really rah-rah, gung-ho powerful volunteer. All of a sudden, you find yourself in the role of a lifetime, and you say, “This is what I always wanted to do.” Then you probably have that moment to say, “Whoa, I was not prepared for this,” or, “Things aren’t working the way that they usually have in the past. I’ve got to broaden my relationships with executives,” just to choose one thing.

That’s critical because change needs to be driven from the top, you’ve got to build that buy-in. You’ve got to help them with their diversity stories, as we were talking about earlier, and hold that space for them to step in and be authentic in the work, and not just checking a box, because everybody can read that, when executive leaders do that. So, really, it is a very multifaceted task to own that strategy. I wonder, in the future for you, what are your next steps as a learner at your level? Now you’re building your team, you’re leading the strategy, where are the next frontiers for you in terms our own skillset, as you continue to develop?

DORCAS LIND: That’s a really interesting question in that I, personally, am very proud to consider myself a nerd.

JENNIFER BROWN: Me too.

DORCAS LIND: In terms of my lifelong absolute passion and desire to learn on a regular basis. I actually get bored when I don’t feel that I’m learning. I think what’s really critical, at least from where I sit in my purview, we do a lot of cross-assessment and analysis around what other health and hospital systems are doing here in the United States. But I also think that there’s so much for us to learn in terms of what equity and inclusion look like at a global level within healthcare.

Those are opportunities for more learning around having a different lens around what diversity means in different cultures when it comes to the healthcare piece. That is critical because of the work that we do around cultural competency in delivering care. We have such a growing body of international patients, as well as all of the patients right here in the Bronx that we service, over 1.4 million residents who come from more than 23 countries. Being able to apply the appropriate lens of equity and what that means when we’re talking about individuals who come from all parts of the globe, I think is where I see the frontier, particularly in healthcare, to be culturally competent.

JENNIFER BROWN: That is just massive and exciting. It really takes it to a whole different level to think about it through that lens. As learners, you spoke about younger learners, perhaps maybe not young in a literal sense, but young in this work. What advice do you give as they start the journey with our program in particular? Is there something that you would recommend people prepare for, focus on, or really dig into? As you’re continuing to build your team, I’m sure you mentor a lot of people in this work as well. What do people need to have on their radar screens and how can they get the most out of a program like this in your opinion?

DORCAS LIND: I think that the very act of introducing yourself to others as one of the first activities in the initial week of the program really helps individuals put into perspective what’s to come. Then I’ll go back to what they might do to prepare. But I know that for me, as much and as long as I’ve been doing multicultural work and equity work in healthcare, it was profound to go into it feeling overwhelmed with all of the challenges and all of the opportunities for really elevating what we do. No one really is going to have that same challenge because they are in different organizations, they are in different industries, they have different fiscal priorities and budgets to work within. It turns out, we all are facing the exact same challenges.

It is so powerful to see that you truly are not alone in the effort that needs to be made and the types of day-to-day challenges that can wear us down in terms of making us feel that progress is slow. Being able to hear that from others who are at completely different stages in their career and in their work in D&I, it really helps to do that stabilization in terms of level setting. It’s a marathon, not a speed race. Just to be able to start off by realizing you are not alone in this work. We know that there’s so much self-care around doing this kind of work, because we’re exposed to so many different challenges within the organization. Being able to develop that cohort with whom you can grow into the future, whether you ever need each other or not outside of the virtual learning environment, I think is a very wonderful resource that people can rely on.

As far as preparing, I think all of us are charged with doing that very personal deep work about our own biases that we bring to the work. That’s really hard to do alone, but we have to be clear on where we might have blind spots, so that when we come into the roles, we’re not perpetuating our own biases that will really inhibit the best work. Some of that self-introspection I think is critical.

JENNIFER BROWN: Can you give an example of something you realized you weren’t as aware of in yourself that you needed to invest a bit more energy in shifting, or something you just simply didn’t know? Can you recall any kind of “ah-hah” and give us an example?

DORCAS LIND: It’s very interesting. For many years of my career, I primarily worked with big pharma. That’s a very different environment in terms of how individuals relate to one another in the workplace. It took me coming back into a health and hospital system to realize how profound the hierarchy is between physicians, nurses, administrators, and tech folks. I realized personally that because of my training, from a public health perspective, I had kind of bought into that pedigreed hierarchy of how medicine works and how we deliver care.

I think it really helped me to understand how important it is to be able to take that cap of training off of my head so that I could really hear some of the issues from the different groups represented within the hospital. That’s hard to do when you have been raised up in that framework of thinking in academic medicine where hierarchy is so critical, but yet can influence the way that we look at equity and diversity in the workplace.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s an excellent example. When I hear you talking about the hierarchy of different functional groups, when we say functional diversity, that’s another kind of diversity, right? We have to make sure we represent that in an accurate way, that all are given an opportunity to feel seen, heard, incorporated, and addressed in our strategies, right?

DORCAS LIND: That’s right. That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: Our strategies aren’t biased towards one group who’s maybe overly resourced or just the senior-level people, whoever that might be in an organization, but that everyone is important. The trick is, in a really small team managing this kind of strategy for lots of people, and then taking it global, as you were talking about earlier, it’s a lot. Sometimes I meet teams of one or two that are trying to manage this work for multiple audiences, a growing employee base, a global footprint, etc. I would imagine this program has been important to just help you pause and think about, who do I need to think about? How am I going to position this? What’s most important? What kind of resistance am I going to encounter? How am I going to anticipate that and plan for it? Who are my allies and supporters? Who are my resisters?

DORCAS LIND: That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: I’m sure that kind of work is what the program prompted you to do. Are there any other “ah-hahs” you would share or anything that you’ve intentionally shifted in terms of how you show up as a practitioner that you want to share with our audience as we start to wrap up?

DORCAS LIND: Sure. I think that the program has actually helped to really synthesize for me the two parts – the storytelling but also the listening. We talk a lot about telling, and cultivating, and sharing our story, but the opposite of that that needs to take place for us to really start getting out where the hardest work and the most transformative work takes place is in being able to listen, even to concepts and solutions that may be counterintuitive to what we believe would be the best approach. I think that’s another bias that’s very difficult to undo when we feel so passionately about the work and about the solutions we want to put forth. That piece is very challenging and being able to practice that listening piece and understanding how there may be some way to actually incorporate different concepts into what you initially believe is the best approach.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. It strikes me that what you’re talking about is, well, now you have a leadership role, I think that shift into, “Now I’m responsible for an entire enterprise.” My likes, my dislikes, my passions, things that I have never thought about or maybe aren’t inherently passionate about. When you become responsible for the strategy, it takes you out of your own paradigms. You are now serving this incredibly important function to so many people. That’s why it’s one of the most complex roles, because it seems to incorporate so many different skillsets and competencies.

Like you said, it’s sort of an impossible amount of information that you’re gathering as you’re listening, as you described it. You’re hearing from everyone in the organization all the time. You’re thinking about who’s heard and who’s not heard. Who are the ins and the outs or the others? Who’s feeling othered? Yet, you have this tremendous privilege and opportunity to sort through it all and to determine what’s important and then to put the coordinates into the system and push the organization in a certain direction. It’s this amazing role that I think can be super intellectually interesting and you can nerd out on it, like you said, all day long, but you can also really burn out on it. You have to practice what I call “radical self-care.”

DORCAS LIND: That’s right. That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: Let’s make that our last thing, because that’s such a great note to add. You absorb all this stuff, you have your own passions, frustrations, because you’re a person, you have feelings too, and you’re leading this whole complex organization with lots of wants and needs and people who feel heard, and people who don’t feel heard. How do you stay that calm port in the storm for the organization and for yourself?

DORCAS LIND: I am learning to figure that out and answer that question for myself every day. There have been moments when I get in the car and drive back across to my state of New Jersey and feel that I am just going to leave everything behind.

JENNIFER BROWN: Keep driving.

DORCAS LIND: Yes. It’ll be there tomorrow. It’ll be there tomorrow. But I do feel that just like we develop the relationship with the cohort in the course, it really teaches us how to find and connect with others in the organization who are doing exactly the same work. It helps to break down those silos and find those champions who actually can sit around and support one another and talk about what the challenges are and obviously help toward the work of doing the strategy and doing the implementation.

But also, how do you manage when you are encountered with a situation that really doesn’t turn out the way you feel is the most equitable, for example. How do you process that at an emotional level? Being able to talk it out with individuals who are doing the same work, who feel like they’re also climbing Kilimanjaro on the same days that you are. You feel like you can trek together and find each other at each of the precipices. I think that’s super important to get out of this notion that it’s our unique little institution or department or program that no one else would understand my challenges. In fact, not only will they understand them, but they might even give you solutions on how to approach it differently so that you’re not feeling exhausted and depleted, but actually inspired and full of hope for getting to the next step.

JENNIFER BROWN: Beautifully said. That’s so important that we’re not alone. We might be the only in our organization leading this, but there are so many others like us. Any opportunity to connect and feel that solidarity and realize that you’re not the only one with those disappointments, difficult days, or difficult conversations. But that there’s a really unique energy in our field in particular, which is so supportive of each other, even at competitor organizations. It is because we all share a deeper purpose, which is that we’re dedicating our careers to creating more inclusive workplaces, and that seems to transcend competitors.

There’s an openness amongst us that is critical, like you said, because that emotional support is so important. We’re doing really difficult work and really rewarding work. It’s kind of both extremes. The program, I know, makes you feel like, am I crazy? No, and here are some concrete tools that will ground you from that emotional place perhaps to a more concrete place, which I think can probably feel comforting. And also, we’re only as good in this field as our ability to solve these problems in a variety of environments. A lot of us won’t be at the same organization and we’ll be in multiple organizations. For a certain period, we’ll be in a smaller organization that’s not global, and then we may have a bigger organization that is global, or a different industry. So, as we move around, the more exposure we have through cohorts like you have in the program, but also to the building blocks and the infrastructure, as you called it, that can be applied, regardless of all those other particulars.

I do think that there is a way to do this work. There is I think a right way, if you will, that should transcend industry, size, or location. Once you’ve seen it repeat in a variety of contexts, that’s when you become a really valuable practitioner to organizations. You can write your ticket, like you wrote your own job description, that knowledge base that you build up over time is part of what makes us really valuable as practitioners. We can sit in this seat and say, “Oh, I’ve seen this before,” or, “We tried something like this before, and here’s what happens. Here are some things to think about.” That knowledge is so critical. I’m really glad the program has helped support you, Dorcas. I’m so impressed with you, how you think about things, how you integrate your story with your technical skill set in terms of your leadership. Any last words you may have for folks who are considering doing the program that come to mind?

DORCAS LIND: I do encourage individuals at any level, but in particular because of how I came into the program, for those who have already been doing fairly senior-level work, it’s a wonderful opportunity to refresh, to revitalize, to hear the stories of others. But also, to identify opportunities for teams that they may be trying to build. It’s a terrific opportunity to take a step back and really have the opportunity to identify where the narrative comes into play, where the planning and the dissecting of the actual work and what causes us and informs us to do the work. That’s so important. We don’t have an opportunity to do that when we’re actually doing our jobs. This allows you to step back and really take the time to rethink and recalibrate.

JENNIFER BROWN: So important. We don’t make enough time for that. That is part of the self-care plan – stepping away from the work and working on the business, not in the business. It’s getting some distance and being a student again. I don’t think this work is the kind of thing where you have a destination. There’s no destination. You know what you don’t know more often than you know what you know. Diversity is so dynamic; it’s changing all the time. That ability to listen, revisit, recalibrate, think through something differently, try something new. All of that requires time spent in any kind of program where you can get some quiet, some reflection, and some guidance from incredible consultants like the folks on the JBC team who are standing by to help with all of that, too.

Dorcas, I thank you for being one of our inaugural students. I look forward to seeing what you’re going to create in your career and all the difference you’re going to make to so many, and how you’re going to address the legacy in your own family, which I think you’ve already probably done, and then some.

Thank you for sharing your story. It’s a very important reminder that inequality and the kinds of things that happened to your grandma aren’t that far away.

DORCAS LIND: That’s right.

JENNIFER BROWN: Our work is really, really more important than ever.

DORCAS LIND: Absolutely. Thank you so much for being able to share some of that story with you.

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