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What Now?

CSU alumni examine diversity, equity and inclusion

Just over a year ago, the nation was embroiled in what many called a long overdue reckoning over racism, equity, diversity and more. Protestors flooded the streets. Pundits weighed in on the airwaves. Corporations threw their support – and purported dollars – behind the cause. And a new hashtag was trending almost weekly. But now, that fervor appears to have subsided. We asked a few alumni, who are working in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space, whether anything has changed and the current focus of their work.

Kathryn Hall (MA ’04) is vice president of diversity and inclusion for JACK Entertainment in Cleveland.

“Corporations are actually examining their workforces, recruitment sources and hiring practices to ensure that they are casting a wide enough net to recruit a talented and more diverse workforce. Additionally, they are examining employment policies, practices and procedures to ensure that every employee is treated equitably. 

Consumers are now paying closer attention to the companies with whom they do business, asking questions and researching corporate diversity and inclusion practices before deciding where to spend their money. Additionally, consumers are patronizing more diverse local small businesses and companies are evaluating the makeup of their volunteer boards to ensure that a variety of voices and backgrounds are represented.”

Alan Nevel (BA ’96) is the senior vice president and chief diversity and human resources officer for The MetroHealth System in Cleveland.

“…Over the past year [The MetroHealth System has] taken all of our leadership, from our board of trustees and c-suite all the way to the manager/supervisor level through deep, immersive anti-racist education. We’re ripping the band-aid off of the subject of race and engaging in psychologically safe dialogue across our entire system. 

We’ve continued our journey by exercising the power of the pause in order to disrupt the biases that all of us have to build common understanding, shared trust, respectful empathy and ultimately begin to build significant emotional relationships with each other. 

While the hashtags, tweets and retweets have decreased, we truly believe that every one of us has the opportunity, if we choose to take it, to change the narrative on race in America and make this world a better place for ALL.”

Rick Wilson (MLRHR ’04) is vice president of human resources for Destination Cleveland, after having been global director of diversity, equity and inclusion for AT&T.

“Though equity and social justice issues no longer dominate news cycles, the work to advance equity within communities and organizations continues. It’s important to first acknowledge that dismantling structural and systemic racism isn’t easily remedied – either at the organizational or societal level.

As an HR and DEI practitioner, my work has positively changed since the country’s awakening to racism and social justice last summer. The level of organizational support, transparency and intention to meaningfully advance equity is more clearly focused than it ever has been. With this change comes accountability. These issues are no longer just HR’s to solve. We (HR) are the experts to design learning experiences and inclusive processes.

 It’s ultimately an organizational ecosystem in which every employee, starting with leadership, is responsible. I am proud to work for an organization that is committed and asking to be held accountable in its racial equity efforts.”

Also in this Issue...

A family affair

The Shaheen/Khawam family boasts 16 CSU alumni and counting.

Making secondhand the first choice

Nicole McGee (MA '10) revels in giving used objects a second, third or fourth life.

University unveils blueprint for the future: CSU 2.0

CSU charts an ambitious plan for growth and expansion, emerging from the pandemic better than ever.

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Cleveland State University Alumni Association
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