American Cleft Palate - Craniofacial Association

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Wendy’s Water Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo ToyamaThis year, I was named to the American Society for Association Executives’ (ASAE) Diversity + Inclusion Committee. Diversity and Inclusion has been a focus throughout my career. During my ACPA interview, I shared that I was most proud of my work in this area. As the corporate designer for Tribune Company, I was part of fledgling efforts to build diversity into its corporate culture in the early 90s. While at the American Dental Association, we offered the Institute for Diversity in Leadership – a powerful program that identifies emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds and provides a year-long leadership program that culminates in presentations of community projects conducted during the past year. Each year, these presentations were a highlight of the year.

ASAE has developed a Case Statement for Diversity + Inclusion that includes a list of 10 Advantages to Diversity Practices along with resource citations. Among the advantages included: creating a competitive advantage for organizations, lowering risk and supporting innovation. Perhaps these are advantages you see with your teams – in your institutions, universities, research centers, communities or other team settings.

Here is a brief statement that ASAE Board of Directors included in its policies in 2014:

In principle and in practice, ASAE values and seeks diversity and inclusive practices within the association management industry.

ASAE promotes involvement, innovation, and expanded access to leadership opportunities that maximize engagement across identity groups and professional levels. Identity groups include and are not limited to age, appearance, disability, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, nationality, professional level, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

ASAE will provide leadership and commit time and resources to accomplish this objective while serving as a model to other associations engaged in D+I endeavors.

ASAE developed a three-year plan for Diversity + Inclusion and developed a tool to evaluate your own Association’s environment: Diversity + Inclusion Index.

Furthermore, Workforce Diversity is one of the five key goal areas identified for NIDCR 2030, which is a strategic visioning initiative designed by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to advance dental, oral, and craniofacial research over the next 15 years. Check out the post about this initiative in this issue to learn more information. Also, don’t forget to submit your ideas by May 19th and vote by June 2nd. 

At ACPA’s 74th Annual Meeting, the chair for the Membership Committee, Kristina Aldridge, shared that this is an area where ACPA has some work to do. While we are purposeful about ensuring discipline diversity, there are other aspects of Diversity + Inclusion where we fall short. I agree that it is time for ACPA to step up its efforts. I look forward to connecting the work on ASAE’s D+I Committee with emerging efforts in this area for ACPA.