Live From Summit 2016: “I Care about Diversity, But…”

May 11, 2016

Exploring how leaders of all ethnicities can work to advance more diverse leadership across the field of education was a panel of Black, Latino and White leaders who discussed their stories and the strategies they are using to make concrete progress. Frances Messano, NewSchools Venture Fund Chief of Staff and Managing Partner co-leading investments in pipelines of diverse leaders (Diversify Ed) led this session. He was joined by:

  • Stacey Childress, CEO of  NewSchools Venture Fund
  • Amanda Fernandez, Founder & CEO of Latinos for Education
  • Mike Magee, CEO of Chiefs for Change
  • Aaron Walker, Founder & CEO of Camelback Ventures

These four leaders candidly took on some of the myths and barriers that get in the way of taking action to address diversity and racial equity in education, sharing each of their personal solutions with a packed house of listeners.

Speakers discussed the importance of supporting diverse and strong leaders at all levels (included executives, board members, successors, etc.) of social justice and education organization. For example, funders should ask grantees for clear and concrete diversity plans that are infused throughout their efforts. In addition, Magee highlighted benefits of identifying and mentoring a diverse successor when thinking about an organization’s long term commitment to diversity.

Panelists offered their perspective on the power of intentional efforts to increase diversity. It is not enough to hire people of color. Leaders must think about building a culture that values all of the unique experiences that people of color bring to their work. Executives and leaders send powerful messages when they demonstrate a commitment to inclusion and advance diversity as a strategic priority.