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Member Spotlight - September 2022: Three Members of the DEI Committee

September 06, 2022 2:00 AM | Administrative Manager (Administrator)

By Amanda Brandon, NCOPE, NRWA Newsletter Editor

The NRWA DEI Committee has been meeting to bring a real focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion to the organization. We are planning many communication strategies for the coming year. I thought we’d start with who contributes to this amazing team. Also, if you want to join the DEI Committee, please contact Kathi Fuller.

KRISTEN SCHMIDT, NCOPE, NRWA MARKETING CHAIR

Why did you join the NRWA DEI committee?

As NRWA marketing chair, I’m deeply invested in ensuring the organization speaks clearly and candidly about diversity, equity, and inclusion. I also care deeply about advocating for and empowering our members and, by proxy, their clients to be proudly and confidently themselves without fear or worry.

What is your personal commitment to DEI in your role, business, and membership?

I am transparent with clients about my commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to eliminating words that have racist, sexist, ableist, or otherwise oppressive or exploitative history. I recently completed a 12-credit-hour Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certificate at The Ohio State University. I’m also pursuing advanced coursework in sociology (social stratification) and comparative studies (intersectionality) to enrich my consulting practice.

Where do you want to see the organization expand on DEI?

Let’s talk about it more! The hard stuff, not just the holidays or the months of recognition. Representation is important. I believe that fervently. We are having conversations about DEI (and the lack of it!) in the workplace with our clients. We owe it to our members to prepare them for these conversations and empower them to respond with empathy and action. Our clients face discrimination for so many reasons and so many types of status. We should be prepared to engage meaningfully in those conversations, even if to point them to more informed resources.

What is your biggest challenge in DEI – i.e., communication, buy-in, etc.?

I think it’s easy for DEI to become just another tagline or phrase, to become defanged. But it’s a radical idea, and it should remain radical! Diversity, equity, and inclusion means being actively anti-racist, anti-ableist, anti-exclusionary, and anti-oppression all the time. It means calling bull when you see it—which is constantly—and trying to move entire systems to change.

How do you think our members can benefit from the work of this committee?

Conversations about diversity benefit from diversity of all dimensions. The theory of intersectionality tells us we have much more in common than we do in opposition, even while we remain so very different from one another. We can come together in common experiences, even if they are perpendicular, not parallel. This breeds empathy, and I believe empathy breeds community. Call me hopeful!

Kristen Schmidt, NCOPE, has been a member of the NRWA since February 2021. She is the marketing chair and contributes to multiple committees as needed. In 2021, Kristen, a former magazine and newspaper editor, founded Wordschmidt Consulting, an editing, writing, and personal branding studio in Columbus, Ohio. Find her online at LinkedIn.com/in/kristen-schmidt.

KATHI FULLER, NCRW & NRWA PAST-PRESIDENT

1. Why did you join the NRWA DEI committee?

As a member of the NRWA Board of Directors that voted to establish the DEI Committee, I want to ensure that our organization’s leadership is doing all we can to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all.

2. What is your personal commitment to DEI in your role, business, and membership?

In my NRWA board role, I strive to keep DEI issues on the radar screen across all functional areas of the organization – membership, marketing/communications, education, conference, and more. I have served as the leader of the DEI Committee this year, identifying key issues, setting the agenda for our meetings, facilitating committee discussions, and playing a key role in developing our DEI mission statement, web pages, and other initiatives.

In my business, I seek to understand the challenges that job-seeking clients from marginalized communities face, helping them navigate the complexities of the job search and hiring process to foster their success. I help other clients stay attuned to an increasingly DEI-aware workplace culture, helping them develop the knowledge and skills that prospective employers are seeking in new hires, assisting them with crafting DEI statements, and preparing for interview questions about their track record of contributions to DEI.

3. Where do you want to see the organization expand on DEI?

I’d like to see a more formal board role focused on DEI issues, ideally filled by a DEI-trained and certified member. I took on my position on the DEI Committee while serving as President-Elect and Ethics Chair of the NRWA Board and have continued to be engaged as President and now Past-President.

A dedicated DEI board role would go a long way to demonstrate the NRWA board’s deep commitment to this work while enabling more consistent and impactful DEI efforts. Education/training for our leaders and members on DEI issues should also be a priority for the NRWA.

4. What is your biggest challenge in DEI - i.e. communication, buy-in, etc.?

I think our greatest challenge is member engagement and bandwidth. We have a very dedicated – but small – core group of members who contribute their time, energy, and expertise to the organization. However, we need more people to get involved for the organization to grow and thrive. This is the case across many facets of the NRWA, but particularly the DEI Committee – a new initiative that has not yet gained the traction that other committees/volunteer opportunities have developed over the years. We welcome ideas, insights, and active involvement from all NRWA members who care about this work. Formal training isn’t required (although it would be appreciated). We just need individuals who are passionate about these issues and want to make a difference. We are all learning together.

5. How do you think our members can benefit from the work of this committee?

As members of the organization, we need education – the opportunity to learn more about DEI issues and topics for our clients’ benefit. They look to us to understand the importance of DEI in the hiring process and workplace. As volunteers, we need the ability to demonstrate our passion and leadership in this increasingly important area.

Kathi Fuller, NCRW, has been a member of the NRWA since 2015 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2017. A Nationally Certified Resume Writer, Kathi provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile (and company page) development, personal branding, career marketing, and other consulting services to clients in the US and abroad. Living in northwestern Vermont, just a few minutes from the Canadian border, Kathi enjoys alpine and Nordic skiing, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching, gardening, and other outdoor pursuits, as well as volunteering and supporting civic and charitable causes in her community. Connect with Kathi online at LinkedIn.com/in/kathifuller.

ROB ROSALES, NCRW, NCOPE, NRWA PRESIDENT-ELECT

1. Why did you join the NRWA DEI committee?

I joined the DEI committee to actively support DEI initiatives across the NRWA to raise awareness and understanding of the uniqueness of us all.

2. What is your personal commitment to DEI in your role, business, and membership?

I am committed to working to build and sustain an equitable and inclusive environment where cultural diversity is welcomed and valued.

3. Where do you want to see the organization expand on DEI?

The NRWA needs training on DEI topics as a first step. However, we must expand beyond traditional tactics to create a culture of equality and participation. 

4. What is your biggest challenge in DEI - i.e., communication, buy-in, etc.?

While we face many challenges, I feel like our biggest challenge is enlisting the active support to drive our forward progress. As a volunteer-run organization, we rely on member volunteers with technical expertise who are willing to step up and contribute their time and expertise. 

5. How do you think our members can benefit from the work of this committee?

For me, it starts with the saying, “Together, Everyone Achieves More.” Everyone can benefit from an engaged membership filled with active collaboration, members sharing unique perspectives, and respect and support for one another's individual needs. This will go a long way to helping each member reach their full potential, creating a better future for themselves, their families, and their customers.

Rob Rosales, NCRW, NCOPE, CDCC, has been a member of the NRWA since 2015 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2018. He provides resume writing, job search strategies, career marketing, and career transition coaching to clients nationwide, from college graduates to senior-level professionals, through his career services firm, EZ Resume Services, based in Kingsburg, CA. Find him online at LinkedIn.com/in/1robertrosales.

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