The United States is currently facing an important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. Many of us see the news and ask how we can help. What are the steps that each of us can take to help heal our county, in our own way?
Authority Magazine recently ran an interview series asking close to fifty influential business leaders if they can share their “5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society”.
Here are some highlights of these interviews.
Cedric Ellis of CUNA Mutual Group
The challenge with DE&I initiatives is that most organizations want the quick fix or what I call the “just add water” approach. To be effective and authentic, one must do the work to better understand the challenges that we face with race in our country. To answer the question more directly, context is key. We all have bias we bring everywhere, but these steps can be important for eliminating roadblocks for DE&I:
1. Ensure leaders aren’t perpetuating the sense of inequity, discrimination, or systemic challenges. Often, employees of color have white leaders. If we can come to terms with the fact that we all have bias and challenge these notions about who is being burdened versus helped, we can go far.
2. Examine your organizational purpose and align DE&I strategy to that. You need to build the why. Be clear about what you want to accomplish, and why. For example, at CUNA Mutual Group, we believe a brighter financial future should be accessible to everyone. Inclusion is built into our purpose.
3. Build a baseline level of training and education for front-line leaders. This dictates how DE&I is embraced and will most directly address how systemic racism is dismantled in the community. If you’re trying to build an anti-racist organization, it starts with front-line leaders to influence overall culture.
4. Be deliberate about your recruiting efforts. Move beyond the usual suspects and think about where diverse talent that without your usual pedigree might be, because those pedigrees probably don’t have enough diversity.
5. The most important step of all is to have a CEO who is on board. Having a CEO who is a champion for DE&I and believes it is linked to success and isn’t afraid to talk about it, sets the tone for DE&I to be successful.
Leslie Crutchfield of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
1. Change hearts as well as policies. Racism is a social norm, a cultural attitude, a personal GFN. It cannot be legislated or regulated. But it can be changed.
The fight for same-sex marriage equality offers a powerful example. In that movement, reformers deliberately set out to first understand where most people in America stood on LGBTQ marriage. National polls in the 2000s showed that while a handful of respondents were adamantly opposed to gay marriage, whether for ideological, religious or other reasons, the vast majority did not have a strong GFN. They weren’t for it or against it. Many said they didn’t understand why gay people wanted to marry. So, the Freedom to Marry campaign and its allies set out to convince this silent, if confused, majority of “persuadable” people to support their cause through widespread social media campaigns and targeted efforts to change the attitudes of influential individuals. Dismantling deeply-rooted social and cultural norms is more challenging than changing laws or regulations. But it is possible.
2. Have a national strategy and a federal strategy. The most successful movements of the 21st Century focused on state and local policy reform, and only later attempted more sweeping federal changes. This worked for anti-smoking crusaders, gun rights proponents, and gay marriage advocates alike over the past two decades, even though these different causes appealed to opposing political parties. Advocates and allies for Black lives should focus their firepower on state and local policy reform now, while they have the nation’s attention — and empathy — they can generate the momentum needed to achieve nationwide changes in the future. But if, instead, the movement pushes for sweeping federal changes too soon, they could squander this historic opportunity.
3. Data doesn’t matter, emotions do. People respond to events with their reptile brains, it’s primal and subconscious. But even the most well-intentioned advocates rely too often on statistics and try to use data and numbers to argue for their cause. For instance, people in America knew as early as 1964 that smoking was dangerous to your health — that’s when the US Surgeon General first warned about cigarettes, but it took more than several decades of non-smoker’s rights and tobacco control advocacy and social norm change campaigns to prevent youth smoking and cut adult smoking rates to their current historic lows. It wasn’t because the data wasn’t available or known. It was the way advocates and people with lived experience of smoking-related diseases shared their stories that change happens.
In this moment of racial reckoning, the more leaders can create places for people to share their personal stories with race and racism, the more understanding and empathy will grow. CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, churches, and more can promote the sharing of stories to build affinity for causes.
4. Break from Business as Usual. Business can be a vector for change, not just a donor to causes or a target of activist ire. And whether by choice or by default, companies today are becoming more involved with social movements, with seemingly every corporate CEO now speaking out against racism. Companies can play roles in social movements that are much more complex and far-reaching than self-promotional advertisements or corporate statements promising racial solidarity. Corporate leaders who want to demonstrate support with Black Lives Matter can start by reforming internal policies around hiring, retention, promotion, and pay equity, and also reviewing their supply chain through a lens of diversity and inclusion, among other ways to take meaningful action against racism.
5. Be “leaderful.” From the start, Black Lives Matter was committed to being a “leaderful” movement — leading from the grassroots up and allowing people with lived experience of racism and police brutality to speak out and stand at the front of protest marches. This was a smart decision. I know from my research that the most successful modern social movements embrace this leadership approach, understanding that it is both effective and protective. Without a sole charismatic leader, the movement is less vulnerable to attack, such as the tragic assassinations of civil rights leaders in the 1960s, most notably the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The challenge, now that the movement for Black lives has the attention and the empathy of a majority of Americans will be to turn widespread social support into political will.
Carolyn Collins of Gas South
1. Expand our view. I believe the first step in this journey is recognizing we see the world very narrowly and all of our experiences are not universal. We can’t even begin to have a conversation about equity until we acknowledge where there are inequities.
2. Learn to unlearn. There are assumptions, behaviors, and patterns of thinking that we all have internalized and need to unlearn. Working toward inclusion will require us to interrogate the various ways we craft policy and distribute opportunity. Until we have the framework to implement a more inclusive way of thinking, we will continue to perpetuate the same outcomes.
3. Name the oppression. You can not solve a problem that you can not identify. We must get comfortable naming systems, policies, and people that have contributed to the marginalization of some communities. We must be honest about the issues to create the right solutions.
4. Make restitution. The past is always with us in the present. We need to reckon with our history if we want to make our nation whole. This request often is interpreted as asking people to atone for the sins of their ancestors, which is not the case. We do, however, need to critically examine the lingering impacts of our early history and work to neutralize them.
5. Commit for life. None of these changes will happen overnight or with the passage of a few laws. It will take intentionality and deliberateness from all of us to ensure we continue to support equity throughout all of our communities.
Marianne Harrison of John Hancock
1. Embrace vulnerability. Seven years into my career as a public accountant, I had just had my second child and was thriving personally and professionally. One of my managers took me aside and told me that having any more children would hurt me from progressing in my career. Two months later, I was pregnant with my third child and now I am the CEO of John Hancock. These types of experiences really stuck with me and reinforce the value of making sure my employees (and really anyone) feel they are in a judgment-free environment and can bring their whole selves to work, or anywhere else.
2. Recognize accomplishments. It is important that people are recognized for their accomplishments and rewarded as such, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, age, and ability. I would never want someone to credit my gender for my success. I want people to recognize that I got to this position for being me, for working hard and for doing the best that I can.
3. Create space for diversity of thought. People think differently. That’s a good thing. Being able to recognize the value in different perspectives is key to creating an inclusive environment. Diversity of thought gives us the opportunity to see new and innovative ideas and understand different ways of doing things, and it comes from having people of different races, genders, sexuality, geography, work experiences, etc. at the table.
4. Join forces with others. At John Hancock, we benefit from having many thoughtful community partners and we participate in industry groups like the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, American Council of Life Insurers, and CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. This allows for consensus-building beyond our own walls to help drive systemic level changes that are needed.
5. Listen and learn from experts. We have benefited greatly from a guest speaker series during our remote work that has brought in third-party voices and experiences to help keep our team engaged. From a NASA astronaut to a presidential historian — listening to and learning from those outside our team is so helpful to broaden our perspective.
Dr. Halima Leak Francis of Tulane University
1. Ongoing investment of resources. In order to open doors and support the shifts that we need to see in leadership, we have to make diversity and equity a fiscal priority. To this end, education is one of the most critical areas we must invest in.
2. Commit to the long game . I mentioned earlier that the challenges and frustrations that we are seeing did not happen overnight. Many have committed their life’s work to advancing equity, inclusivity, and justice. If we are going to sustain progress here, we have to be just as committed to long-term monitoring, evaluation, and course correction when needed.
3. Change culture and practice . We live in a society where things like inequity, bias, and various injustices are systemic and deeply embedded in our very identities. While very difficult, changing this from a cultural, policy, and practice stance is necessary if we are going to create an inclusive and equitable society. I think as the conversation has turned to being “anti-racist,” we are headed in the right direction here. Ibram Kendi, author of How to be Antiracist clarifies the concept: “To be antiracist is a radical choice in the face of history, requiring a radical reorientation of our consciousness.”
4. Open the door and share the stage . This is about sharing power, opportunity, and influence. Too often diverse voices are muted, resulting in one-sided dialogues that are not representative of the most heavily impacted communities. Sometimes opening doors to advance diversity means actively seeking out expertise and skill in spaces where we might not typically look.
5. Face the difficulties with hope and optimism . Make no mistake, what we are facing today is difficult. It is heavy work and emotional labor is real. To get through the tough times, it is important to remain focused on the goal which is a thriving society where everyone is valued and equity is the rule, not the exception. We are not aiming for a utopian ideal, but instead an attainable reality. Tapping into the creative potential of building equitable systems reminds us of why the labor is well worth it.
Kathryn C. Thornton, Former Astronaut & Space Foundation Chairwoman
As a global convener of the world’s space community, we launched our Center for Innovation and Education at Space Foundation with the mission to provide greater access and opportunity for current and future generations of space contributors. Our approach is an all-inclusive strategy through collaborative partnerships that develop and deliver innovative and economic programming to build a sustainable workforce.
At the hub of the Center for Innovation and Education is our Workforce Development Roadmap, which lays the foundation for building the space workforce today and into the future. The roadmap consists of five core principles that address key issues in building a diverse and inclusive workforce. These principles can be readily extrapolated to build a representative and equitable culture in broader communities.
1. Awareness of space impact and the breadth of workforce opportunities. Raising space industry awareness and workforce opportunities has been a focus of Space Foundation since the beginning. There is a misconception that the space industry is for a select workforce of astronauts, scientists and government contractors. This could not be further from the truth. Today, there is an opportunity for everyone, in virtually every community in the world, to participate in the space economy. How? People with a STEM background can build rockets, yes, but there are also opportunities for entrepreneurs to commercialize space-based technologies, for artists to create new designs, and for skilled trade workers to perform fiber laser welding. The future of space is extending into commercial technologies that not only benefit the aerospace community but also improve life here on Earth.
2. Access to jobs, careers and business ventures for all people. I have seen that it isn’t just enough to be aware of opportunities in the space industry: We need to make those opportunities accessible. I remember a time during my 12 years at NASA, the Kennedy Space Center reached out to a local community college to train technicians to apply tiles on the space shuttle. This was not a skill that was taught at the college. It was a need, and through collaboration with the college, the skill was eventually taught and accessible to anyone interested in the space industry. Today, the space workforce is a collaboration of communities, public and private companies, government agencies, entrepreneurs and small business suppliers, educational institutions, and space enthusiasts. By partnering with like-minded organizations, Space Foundation is opening the door to expanding access to all people interested in the space economy.
3. Training for lifelong learning of sustainable skills. In today’s workforce, careers are not linear or set by unchanging parameters. Workplaces are more dynamic, and technology changes the way we work at an unprecedented pace. Traditional education is not keeping up with the needs or the workplace, and employers are not providing the continued job training workers need in light of evolving technology and automation. Department of Labor Statistics and Pearson surveys show that 64 percent of workers are in favor of job-hopping, often to pursue new challenges and higher salaries that are commensurate with their skill level. The average employee tenure is four point two years. This number drops to just two point eight years for employees ages 25–34. Employees around the globe report a need for further education every two years because their jobs have changed. Training for me has been a lifelong pursuit, and likewise, Space Foundation endeavors to enable lifelong learners, from students to professionals at any stage of their careers. Through grants, sponsorships and partnerships, we provide a wide range of multimodal training, including hands-on camps, field excursions, self-guided online webinars, and collaborative regional workshops and virtual events for training as well as plans for reskilling or upskilling to grow and retain a vibrant space economy workforce.
4. Connections to a vast space network of people, businesses, and resources. Gaining entry into most fields is bolstered by one’s network and connections. This is a major stumbling block for most underserved groups, and we at Space Foundation are working to open up our network and communities to new demographics. Here’s how: Space Foundation’s annual Space Symposium is the leading international event for the space industry, attracting 15,000-plus representatives from the military, civil and commercial space sectors to examine space issues from multiple perspectives, promote dialogue, conduct new business ventures and partnerships, and focus attention on critical space issues. Space Foundation extends scholarships to teachers, students, young professionals, and space commerce entrepreneurs in order to build their networks. The New Generation Leadership program connects promising young professionals (ages 35 and younger) to space professionals that can provide real-world career advice, guidance, and job roadmaps. The new Swigert Society Young Leaders program connects tomorrow’s leaders with philanthropists who want to make substantial innovations a reality by providing funds that will jump-start promising efforts.
5. Mentorship of young leaders to be next-generation role models. There are fewer space industry role models today than there were during the excitement of the 1960s. Yet, to build and retain a qualified workforce requires mentoring and role models for today’s youth, educators, young professionals, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. In high school, I was the only girl in my physics class. The retired Air Force officer who taught the class treated me the same way he treated his male students. He didn’t belittle me. He was the reason I majored in physics in college, and I credit my career to him. That’s the power of just having someone believe in you. I invited him to all of my launches. Anyone aspiring to be a valuable contributor to the space economy wants to learn and be inspired. Not only can a mentor aid in skill development and career advancement, but having a role model gives the curious an inside look into their profession, helping to drive and motivate the workforce to pursue passions and continue developing talents throughout their careers. Integrating contributors with experienced leaders in the workplace will allow for active engagement, collaboration, and the development of a thriving space industry. Recognizing that people are one of the most powerful assets, our programs at Space Foundation are designed to ensure a healthy, balanced progression of mentorship and role models at all levels — from aspiring workforce candidates to space professionals. Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons inspire students, communities and peer educators, while our NewGen Ambassadors mentor middle and high school students, and its Senior Leader Mentors guide young leaders, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Rahkim Sabree of An Extended Hand
1. Creating a safe space . The introduction of the topic and establishment of rules of engagement. It’s important for a structure to exist as many of these discussions can and will explore traumas and challenge beliefs considered cultural norms. A good starting point is banning the phrase “that’s how we’ve always done it” from conversation. How you’ve always done it previously by virtue of this discussion hasn’t exactly promoted an inclusive, representative, or equitable society has it?
2. A discussion on the definition of racism and how institutional racism works. Inclusion addresses more than just the race issue, however, racism as a whole and institutional racism specifically is an excellent case study in how to silence and limit the progression of oppressed peoples. Remember the boiling water and pot lid analogy? Institutional racism is that lid.
3. Acknowledging culture clash in which the dominant culture cannibalizes or forces out diverse cultures (in hiring, evaluating, promoting, showcasing, etc of employees). Many organizations, unfortunately, will embrace DE&I efforts as an exercise to check off the box; where they will potentially hire a diverse staff, maybe create some affinity groups and have a yearly event with food and music and consider themselves done. These actions however can be interpreted as a sort of “dog and pony” show leaving the underrepresented feeling slightly offended. A good example of this is when democratic lawmakers wore African kente cloths to announce police reform legislation earlier this year. It was a publicity stunt that left many offended. In corporate organizations, this is difficult to address but necessary. Standards around dress, appearance, who gets promoted or hired, who gets a leadership role, etc are often exclusive in that to be embraced or accepted you have to speak a certain way, dress a certain way, look a certain way, prepare your hair a certain way, and sometimes have a name that is easy to say lest you be forced to accept a nickname. It makes the statement that you either assimilate or get out. That you should be grateful for being given this opportunity and not that we value you because of what you bring to the table.
4. Listening . Letting the underrepresented share their experiences, anxieties, fears, etc without interruption or fear of retaliation. This is something that may take time and span many sessions simply because a considerable amount of time is going to be required to undo trauma associated with having to fit in, be “appropriate,” feeling the need to code-switch, etc. It can also be uncomfortable as sharing these experiences can be triggering on both sides of the table; as the dominant culture will feel the need to explain, defend, or justify, and the underrepresented may feel like it’s a losing battle not even worth engaging in. These sessions will likely require a moderator who is detached from the organization and who is willing to be provocative enough to pull some of the answers out while maintaining order to be effective.
5. Response and accountability . Letting members of the dominant culture react, respond, ask questions, hold each other accountable, and look for ways to dismantle organizational norms that stem from racism. Some would argue that it’s not something that can be solved overnight, and in some instances, I might agree. However, the speed at which you move to address these issues is going to correlate to the energy behind making it a priority and getting it done. When you hear the titles CEO, CFO, COO, you likely will immediately think of a middle-aged white man. Inversely when you think of the title Chief Diversity Officer, or Diversity and Inclusion Officer you’ll likely imagine a black man or woman, relatively young and full of energy. This is the type of programming that needs to be dismantled. Why are we surprised to hear that major brands with household names have c-suite executives who are black men, or women of any race?
Mary Davis, CEO of The Special Olympics
1. Listen. It is important to listen to people’s views and hear what they have to say. For example, after George Floyd’s murder, we held an all-staff forum for employees to share how they were feeling and to share their experiences. We wanted to create a safe space where people felt they could express their fears and voice their frustrations. We also set up a D&I steering group and a task force to lead this work.
2. Engage. Involve people as part of the solution. In Special Olympics, our athletes are the leaders and teachers of inclusion. They are Global Ambassadors, Health Messengers, Board Members and play an active role in all aspects of the organization.
3. Respect. Respect, value, and appreciate the talents and contributions of everyone. We have a unified school program where students with and without intellectual disabilities play sports together. Through this experience and the power of play, students without disability learn about the skills and talents of students with intellectual disabilities, and through this experience, they are more respecting and understanding of difference.
4. Act. Actions speak louder than words. We must not just talk about how we are going to be more inclusive, each of us must be part of the change that we wish to see and not stand on the sidelines and wait for someone else. We need to be active participants. Through our Global Youth Engagement Program, Special Olympics has inclusion leadership projects that create an opportunity for young people around the world to convene through local summits in their own countries and regions to learn and grow from each other.
5. Commit. The journey towards inclusion requires long-term, focused attention and everyone must be committed to staying the course in building a more equitable and diverse society for all.
Makya Renée Little of the Virginia Commission on African American History Education
1. Know your “why.” Be willing to do the self-work to establish your own North Star, and ensure you are genuinely driven by a desire to leave our society better than you found it — in whatever aspect or field that may be. Once you know your why and how to effectively leverage your natural gifts in your pursuit, be willing to sacrifice your comfort and push through barriers to drive change.
2. Respect others. See those who differ from you as equally talented and deserving of opportunities. There is so much intersectionality between our experiences that I feel there is always something I can learn from someone else — no matter their age or station in life. The basic recognition that someone knows something that you don’t is reason enough to respect them.
3. Practice empathy. Listen to one another. Don’t dismiss stories of inequity. Although you may not be able to relate to the specific challenges of someone whose life experience may have differed from yours does not invalidate that experience. Take a moment to “walk in their shoes.”
4. Never stop learning. Constantly work to educate yourself on past issues and the history of our nation. Don’t rest on your laurels and take everything that you learned in school or see online as fact. Crosscheck sources, research authors to understand their lens, and read books on various topics that challenge your thinking and perspective. Education is the antidote to racism and oppression. We are all products of our experiences and what we’ve been exposed to. Expose yourself to knowledge.
5. Help people solve problems. We as a nation are only as strong as our weakest link. We all must be willing to examine our systems to ensure opportunities are equally accessible for all. As Americans, we are ALL on the same team and need the best of the best to excel in all avenues. We have to see problems and barriers to success as our common enemy and not one another.
Larry Dunivan of Namely
1. Educate yourself. I may not be a racist, but I have most definitely done (or not done) things that perpetuate policies and frameworks that have helped racism thrive. I recently finished reading “White Fragility” and “How to be an Antiracist.” I was dumbfounded by how little I understood the issue.
2. Open your mind. As a 60-year-old white man of privilege, I can’t possibly understand or appreciate what it means to experience racism. I am a gay man, so I have some secondary appreciation of some of the issues, but I’d still have to characterize myself as naive, to be sure.
3. Listen and ask for help. I am deeply grateful to our employee resource groups for their advice and counsel on what to do and how to do it.
4. Empathy rules the day. Before you can possibly appreciate what’s happening, you have to have truly acknowledged the feelings of others, and only through those expressions of empathy can the kinds of open conversations happen that will ultimately drive change. This was especially true the day after Rayshard Brooks’ death in Atlanta. We have a large facility in the city, and many of the employees there are Black. They needed to hear that we cared, that what happened was utterly unacceptable.
5. Commit to change with accountability. We published equality.namely.com as our commitment and we intend to revise it over time in partnership with our employees to drive long-term, systemic change.
Author Chelley Roy
1. Inclusion. There is something special about inclusion, being a part of something, building something together. Everyone wants to feel a part of something and have that sense of “belonging,” sort of like a brotherhood/sisterhood. For example, every couple of months, I host a “Women, Conversation, and Cocktails,” where I include several area business owners, as well as aspiring business owners. This is a forum where we discuss challenges, as well as the perks of being a business owner as well as how to effectively navigate through the challenging start-up years.
2. Strategy. In an effort to execute or to be successful in life, you must develop a strategy or blueprint that spells out how you are going to get there and the steps involved to get there. For example: As part of being a fitness coach, in order to help my clients gain maximum results and confidence, not only do I have to guide them one on one with every step of coaching, but I develop strategies that will help them continue to be successful, such as developing and customizing meal plans, work out routines, etc.
3. Diversity. We have to be mindful and take into consideration the many different cultures that breed talent. For example, when trying to be innovative, creative, and think outside the box, many challenges arise. I believe in motivating and encouraging my clients and partners to be open-minded by thinking outside the box in an effort to find solutions to the many challenging issues we face today.
4. Representative. You have to brand yourself and live by a code of ethics, which is all we typically have as humans first, then businesswomen/men second. As a representative of ethics, it’s important to be honest and transparent no matter what you do. It’s important that my client, team, and partners trust me. For example, to build trust, you must exude high standards, morals, and ethics. The trust comes into play, when I value my partners on the same level as myself, I’m open, I listen, and I value their opinions no matter what when it comes to building, branding, strategy, etc.
5. Equitable society. In any industry, you never stop learning and educating yourself, what I mean by this is that, I oftentimes, find myself going to one of my many mentors, or my many other toolkits of resources for the answers sometimes, because I don’t always have them. You have to trust your community, your circle, your vested colleagues, and partners to discover and learn the most valuable best practices.
We must be transparent, open, and willing to not only be a voice but hear the voices of those who have a strong desire to be included or belong in such brother/sisterhoods. We have to be the voice when our society isn’t strong enough to be a voice. We have to be the blueprint for our culture and generation by demonstrating how to effectively build an innovative and creative, sustainable business from the ground up. As a coach, I mentor women who want to become entrepreneurs. But many are afraid of stepping into their greatness because they worry about being judged or not having the support of friends and family.
Ben Lamm, Hypergiant Industries
1. Have discussions with people who are different than you. This means talking to people who have different opinions than you and talking to people about what those opinions mean. These discussions are not about proving you are right: They are about educating and informing yourself and others. Do a lot of that. You will also find those conversations are way more interesting than the same old conversations with the same like-minded people.
2. Every fight is worth it. If you feel like something is an issue, have the fight and get through it. Do not hide those emotions, do not push them down, and do not walk away from the problem. I am known for being someone who will have arguments with people in my office and this isn’t because I dislike them or think they are wrong. It is because I believe we need to have a steam valve for our anger. Fights help us work through things. We need to learn how to have them and then move past them. Conflict and friction are not bad things. Complacency is though. I cannot tell you how many arguments I have had that I felt convicted about but ultimately was wrong and left the conversation changed for the better and learning. I also promote having disagreements in my team and working through them.
3. Hire lots of people unlike yourself. You are you. That’s awesome but hire other people who are not just like you. These people bring new ideas, new talents, and new perspectives to the table for you to ingest. That’s important. Without a diverse group of people, you miss things. I have a number of employees in NYC. During the global health crisis, they were going through way different emotional and social issues than we were in Texas. Having them on the team meant I was able to see how things were happening across the country and problem-solve for our business in very different ways than if I just had a Texas only view on the crisis.
4. Push the envelope. It’s not enough to do whatever people are saying you should do today. Do one better. Figure out what other people need to do. Yes, we need to hire more diverse people. But, we also need to ensure our education systems are training more diverse hires and we need to ensure kids aren’t hungry so they can go to school and get good grades. And, to do that, we need to make sure that kids are taken care of in their homes and their communities. So, yes, we can hire more diverse people but also we need to do the work of the future and make sure we are creating a safe, more just, and better educated America.
5. Step down. If you are a business leader who does not think it is your job to create a better world for your employees and your community, step down. Don’t hide. Don’t think you can ride it out. Step up or step aside because the best business leaders aren’t the richest, they are the ones who run businesses that change the world.
Chioma Onwutalobi Brown of SCO Group
1. Equality. Champion equality, even in its lowest forms, and speak up whenever you see something that is unjust.
2. Empowerment. Empower marginalized groups so they can acquire the resources to build themselves up and attain a greater standing within society. This may include supporting organizations aimed at uplifting members of these groups, as well as spending/buying from these groups as well as spending/buying from these communities.
3. Education. Educate yourself and the people around you so that your interactions, attitudes, and behavior towards people from marginalized backgrounds are intentional and enlightened.
4 Communication. Integrate with these communities so that you fully understand their stories, cultures, and experiences.
5. Promotion. If you’re in a position to uplift others, be sure to promote and recommend individuals from underrepresented groups. This will go a long way towards leveling the playing field and ensuring equality of opportunity.
Rick Bratman of the Super Girl Pro Series
1. Listen . Try to actively identify an issue by hearing what is important to others. We were producing action sports events for several years where women were primarily on the periphery. We spoke to many female athletes about their frustrations around having little to no voice or respect.
2. Think . Understand the circumstances and determine how you can help make a difference. Our platforms were events and content creation, so we wrestled with how we could use those assets to make a difference.
3. Plan . Devise a plan of action to institute change. We developed the idea behind the Super Girl Pro Series as a platform for the women in action sports and decided to commit both time and resources to the project.
4. Motivate . Inspire others to support your vision as nobody can make a significant change on their own. We spoke with hundreds of top athletes, brands, media partners, and venues about the idea and created a network of key partners to help us bring the whole Super Girl Pro Series concept to life.
5. Act . Be bold and take action. It took several years and considerable financial resources to actually execute the plan, but we committed to the venture (despite the high risks) because we knew it was incredibly important to lead by example.
Aditi Shekar of Zeta
1. Bring on investors who will give you a representative POV. As I said above, I believe diversity starts at the cap table, and recruiting investors of color/women can be a powerful way to ensure you do this. I started by ear-marking at least 30 percent of my round for this type of investor. And then I made it known, to whoever was willing to help, that that was a key metric for me.
2. Make it part of your core business thesis. From my work in social entrepreneurship, one of the key takeaways was that impact should be tied to your business at its core. For example, Tom’s Shoes gave a shoe for every shoe they sold. Impact and revenue went hand in hand. Similarly, find a way to make a strong case for how diversity impacts your bottom line (and vice versa).
3. Pick a diversity metric and constantly measure it. There’s a famous quote by Peter Drucker that says “what gets measured gets managed.” Select a metric that makes sense for your organization and then create a cadence to measure it (regularity) and share it publicly (accountability).
4. Once you have a diverse team, obsess about how to help them thrive. Some advice I got early on was to find the areas where diversity typically breaks down (for example: pay gaps) and actively create systems to fight those biases. For example, in early-stage startups, there’s often not a formal process for compensation (and sometimes not even a clear pay scale). As such, forcing yourself to create one (even if you’re just creating it for yourself) is a good way to gut check the offers you’re making. Then create a cadence for everyone around promotions and bonuses so you give equal opportunity to everyone on your team rather than just the loudest voices.
5. Find people to hold you accountable. Sharing weak metrics might feel daunting or unproductive. Find a group of people who can hold you accountable, even if it’s behind closed doors. Just make sure they’re willing to ask you hard questions if you’re not performing against the goals you set.
Christie Lawler of CJL Consulting
1. Ask questions . Don’t assume someone else in the room doesn’t have the answer you need. Ask questions that promote brainstorming and involvement from all stakeholders. Some of the best ideas are simply questions that have never been asked of the right person.
2. Honor ideas . If a person is willing to share an idea, honor them by listening. For some, speaking up is the most terrifying of obstacles that they must overcome. So, if someone offers suggestions, thank them and see if it can work. The most brilliant mind in the room may be hidden by shyness.
3. Dig deeper . If you don’t immediately understand the thoughts or ideas, ask more questions. Work with the idea generator to flesh out the value within the proposition. Not every idea is brilliant, but working with others to brainstorm new solutions never has a downside.
4. Add value . Before you speak, ask yourself if what you are about to say will add to or detract from the conversation. If you can’t answer that question, wait to speak. If you think your words could potentially hinder progress, then definitely don’t speak.
5. Respect others. Know that you don’t know everything and that others have different opinions and ideas because their experiences are different. Life molds our minds in a variety of ways. Understanding that your experience may not be the same as the person sitting next to you is half the battle to creating an inclusive environment where others feel safe to join.
Rita Kakati-Shah of Uma
1. Pledge a solution. Whilst advocating for diversity and inclusion publicly is a start, just posting a black post on Instagram one day and going back to business-as-usual the next day won’t change anything. Demonstrate your actual commitment to ethnic minorities by changing your practices. Go out and support the minority groups you pledge to support. Start by actively seeking out businesses to partner with. Simply attending unconscious bias training is not enough. We all have unconscious biases. It’s a part of life. But how are we actually acting upon this knowledge, whether it’s unconscious bias, microaggressions or systemic bias? Each individual needs to digest, think about, then speak out about changing any structural inequalities they see at work.
2. Recognize privilege. Depending on where, how, and with whom we were raised, we all have different versions of privilege. Take time to listen to colleagues, ask questions, compare how your lives outside work differ. Only with active communication can privilege be understood and addressed.
3. See something. Say something. Allow your employees to speak up. Do your employees have the freedom to speak up and out about discrimination? About letting it be known how a certain comment or action came across? Simply put, your employees should be able to say something if they see something, in order to change something.
4. Overhaul your hiring practices. Ask who is making your hiring decisions? Are you marketing to attract diverse talent? How are you removing selection bias? You can start by removing names, education dates, and personal circumstance statements from resumes. Then do a diversity audit. Benchmark your progress. Report internally on pay differences between different ethnic groups, as is starting to happen with gender. Similarly, don’t ignore intersectionality. The same efforts made to promote equality based on one “difference” or “uniqueness” should be applied to others. So don’t allow race issues to be compounded by class, gender, and age.
5. Have cultural resources openly available to employees. This can encourage a consciously supportive culture for everyone. Be an advocate for mental health. Research shows that sexism, racism, social class, and income affect mental health. So create a supportive work environment to have open and honest conversations. You’d be surprised how sharing experiences can really open up your work community. Ask yourselves and your colleagues, what are you going to do to enact real change? Be part of the solution. Say something if you see something, in order to change something!
Andrea Sommer of UvvaLabs
Representation in leadership is extremely important since these are the ultimate positions of privilege. White men are in the most privileged position and therefore struggle to consider the needs of anyone but themselves. This results in exclusionary practices and products that leave out whole groups of people. Facial recognition technology is one example. This software has a notoriously difficult time recognizing Black faces. The problem here isn’t the technology — it’s the teams. All white male teams produce products that cater to their needs alone. But societies are changing. The United States, for example, will be majority-minority by 2044. This means customer groups are shifting. Smart organizations will get ahead of these shifts to create products and experiences that attract the most diverse amount of customers as possible. Only by having a diverse leadership team will a company build products that reflect that diversity.
1. Understand privilege and use it as a tool. The first step in creating a more just society is understanding privilege. Privilege creates and perpetuates the structures and norms that govern a society. At best, it makes barriers for underrepresented groups invisible to those in the most privileged positions. One example of this is when white people say ‘I don’t see race’. Not ‘seeing race’ is a luxury only privileged people have. People of color cannot ignore race because it dictates every aspect of their lives — from their interactions with colleagues at work, sales people in shops, or the police when out in the world (and sometimes in private spaces too), to everything in between. At its worst, privilege can be used as a weapon, as in the case of Amy Cooper threatening to call the police on Christian Cooper in Central Park because he asked her to leash her dog. Amy knew perfectly well her words could have had the power of life or death when she chose to say them. Her position as a white woman allowed her to weaponize her words. That is a privilege.
The good news is that the same power that allows privilege to be a weapon can be focused on turning it into a tool to halt white supremacy in its tracks. White people can use their voices and even their bodies as shields to protect people of color. I mean this quite literally. White people can physically stand in between Black people and the police during protests. They can speak up and take action when they see unfair comments and practices at work. And if they are in positions of power in addition to having privilege, they can use this power to change the structures that allow racism to persist.
2. Take every opportunity to raise people of color’s visibility. Have you ever been in a situation where you went somewhere new, maybe you’re starting a new job, or visiting a new town or maybe you took a wrong turn and ended up in an unfamiliar neighborhood full of people that are unlike you? That feeling of complete aloneness, of not fitting in, of fearing for your safety, is the feeling every person of color has when there is no adequate representation. Except that this feeling is constant; it never fades.
Building representation ensures that every person sees people like them in positions of power, everywhere they go. More importantly, representation changes structures by ensuring decision-making takes into account more than one type of person’s perspective.
The way to achieve representation is to hire people of color. Not just one token person, but many. And not just for junior positions, for the positions that really have influence — to sit on boards, to run companies and countries.
Many companies talk a great talk about diversity and inclusion but when you look at their leaders they are all white men. Representation cannot be lip service; it must be followed by action.
3. Find opportunities to transfer your privilege. When you hire more people of color you are also transferring power and resources, not just building representation. People of color have been systematically denied access to the positions of power that allow families to build wealth and privilege intergenerationally.
This can mean making sure people from underrepresented groups are picked for stretch assignments, promotions, and other opportunities for professional growth. It also means promoting minority authors, academics, scientists, and celebrities to ensure their voices are heard. It can also mean buying from black and other minority businesses. This must be active and continuous.
4. Dismantle structures that perpetuate racism. Structures govern our world. They dictate who gets hired through recruitment practices. They shape how funds get allocated through budgetary policies. They control election results by limiting who has access to polling stations. Many structures in American society are racist, in some cases by accident but most often by design.
Take recruitment practices for example. Many organizations believe that to build the right kind of culture they need to hire for ‘fit’. Usually ‘fit’ means people who are similar to the people who are already there. The end result is a team that looks all the same — usually white men. When this team in turn makes decisions, their thinking is limited by their privileged experience while excluding everyone else.
‘Fit’ is a false premise. It’s not important for everyone to be the same in an organization if you know how to support individuality. Smart organizations and leaders understand this.
The good news is that it is possible to dismantle these oppressive structures and replace them with ones that promote fairness, justice, and equality. It can be painful work because it requires facing our own privilege and the role that privilege has had in shaping groups, companies, countries. But facing this discomfort is a price worth paying to build a more just and equitable society. People in positions of privilege and power can use both of these to achieve just that. And they should.
5. Be relentless in your pursuit of oppression. As MLK famously said ‘Go everywhere where injustice goes’. Oppression can hide anywhere. To fight it, we must be relentless. We must vigorously understand privilege, we must dismantle structures, we must build representation and we must raise the profile of underrepresented groups and we must do this tirelessly and with conviction.
We must create structures that support this work for the long term. Structures are more powerful than one-time interventions because they provide continuity and continuity is essential for any of this to work.
Most importantly, we must get comfortable with discomfort. This work will be painful. It might feel unfair or embarrassing. But this discomfort is nothing compared to the oppressively constant discomfort that people of color face in navigating a world with rules designed to exclude them at every turn. We must embrace the discomfort and jump right in.
Radius Health Business Update
TYMLOS® new patient adds in April: modest growth vs. previous 4-month trailing averages
~67% of new patients in April were initiated by a fracture focused bone health account
Meaningful FDA guidance on generic peptide requirements published on May 19, 2021
Anticipate abaloparatide depot formulation technical development work to commence 2H, 2021
RAD011 Type C meeting with the FDA on Prader Willi Syndrome (“PWS”) the week of June 14
BOSTON, June 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Radius Health, Inc. (“Radius” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: RDUS), provided a business update covering continued progress for the Company. Additional business updates will be provided as progress is achieved.
U.S. TYMLOS Commercial Performance:
TYMLOS added ~1,650 new patients in April; 1% growth vs. trailing 4-month average
New patients: defined as those who have been prescribed TYMLOS and received their first dose
~67% of new patients in April were initiated by a fracture focused bone health account
Added 45 new fracture / bone health focused prescribers during the month of April
ATOM (Male) Phase 3 pivotal study on schedule for readout: 2H, 2021
wearABLe (Transdermal System) Phase 3 pivotal study on schedule for readout: 2H, 2021
Anticipate abaloparatide depot formulation technical development work to commence 2H, 2021
Europe: re-submission expected for abaloparatide SC to EMA in 2H, 2021
Canada: abaloparatide SC submission – by our partner – expected in January, 2022
Japan: ‘planning discussions’ with PMDA, a precursor to potential abaloparatide-TD agreement with Teijin
Rest of world: multiple discussions ongoing with variety of counterparties
Intellectual Property Portfolio Advancement:
Three U.S. patents are presently listed in the Orange Book for TYMLOS: U.S. Patent No. 7,803,770 which expires on April 28, 2031 and U.S. Patent Nos. 8,148,333 and 8,748,382 which each expire on October 30, 2027
A fourth U.S. patent, U.S. Patent No. 10,996,208 directed to certain methods of analyzing abaloparatide to detect and quantify presence of beta Asp10, was issued on May 4, 2021 and will be added to the Orange book listing shortly; this patent expires on April 30, 2038
A new Japanese patent covering the abaloparatide transdermal system and its use in treating osteoporosis was granted in April, 2021 and will expire October 8, 2036
FDA Guidance on Synthetic Peptides:
On May 19, 2021 the FDA published updated guidance and requirements for synthetic peptides and what would be required in any generic filings and advancement. Radius views this new guidance as meaningful in assessing the probability of a generic synthetic peptide being filed and gaining market entry.
In sum, the Company views these newly communicated FDA requirements as making it significantly more challenging to advance and develop a generic version of abaloparatide.
The key components of the new FDA guidelines include:
Recombinantly sourced peptides cannot be approved in an ANDA and must be submitted in a 505(b)(2) NDA
Explicit references to the potential for significant consequences if anti-drug antibodies cross-react against endogenous peptides
New impurities must be within the FDA’s threshold; if greater, must be submitted as a 505(b)(2)
Explicit expectation: ANDA with new impurity must evaluate immunogenicity risks prior to filing
FDA Type C meeting for PWS will take place the week of June 14
Written minutes from the FDA meeting expected by the end of July
Post FDA discussion, expectation is to initiate a pivotal PWS trial before year end
Additional orphan indications being assessed in parallel – decisions and clarity in 2H, 2021
Multiple Advisory Board meetings completed: U.S., UK, EU for PWS plus a Psychiatry meeting
Internal team formed: clinical, pharm. science, regulatory, bio-stats, CMC, global franchise
External team established: manufacturing & supply chain, development, regulatory, advocacy
Radius is a commercialized biopharmaceutical company committed to serving patients with unmet medical needs in endocrinology and other therapeutic areas. Radius’ lead product, TYMLOS® (abaloparatide) injection, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture. The Radius clinical pipeline includes investigational abaloparatide injection for potential use in the treatment of men with osteoporosis; an investigational abaloparatide transdermal system for potential use in the treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis; the investigational drug, elacestrant (RAD1901), for potential use in the treatment of hormone-receptor positive breast cancer out-licensed to Menarini Group; and the investigational drug RAD011, a synthetic cannabidiol oral solution with potential utilization in multiple endocrine and metabolic orphan diseases, initially targeting Prader-Willi syndrome.
About TYMLOS (abaloparatide) injection
TYMLOS (abaloparatide) injection was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture defined as history of osteoporotic fracture, multiple risk factors for fracture, or patients who have failed or are intolerant to other available osteoporosis therapy.
About ATOM Phase 3 Study
The ATOM Phase 3 study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess efficacy and safety of abaloparatide injection in 228 men with osteoporosis. The primary endpoint is change in lumbar spine BMD at 12 months compared with placebo, and if successful, will form the basis of a supplemental NDA seeking to expand the use of TYMLOS to treat men with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture.
About the Abaloparatide Transdermal System and wearABLe Phase 3 Study
The abaloparatide transdermal system was developed in a collaboration between Radius and Kindeva Drug Delivery (“Kindeva”) (formerly 3M Drug Delivery Systems) with the application of Kindeva’s innovative microstructured transdermal system technology. The Phase 3 wearABLe study is the first pivotal study to evaluate treatment using a novel non-injectable delivery of an anabolic therapy. The wearABLe study is a pivotal, randomized, open label, active-controlled, bone mineral density (“BMD”) non-inferiority bridging study that will evaluate the efficacy and safety of abaloparatide transdermal system versus TYMLOS (abaloparatide) injection in approximately 500 patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis at high risk for fracture. The primary endpoint of the study is the percentage change in lumbar spine BMD at 12 months.
About Elacestrant (RAD1901) and EMERALD Phase 3 Study
Elacestrant is a selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD), out-licensed to Menarini Group, which is being evaluated for potential use as a once daily oral treatment in patients with ER+/ HER2- advanced breast cancer. Studies completed to date indicate that the compound has the potential for use as a single agent or in combination with other therapies for the treatment of breast cancer. The EMERALD Phase 3 trial is a randomized, open label, active-controlled study evaluating elacestrant as second- or third-line monotherapy in ER+/HER2- advanced/metastatic breast cancer patients. The study has enrolled 466 patients who have received prior treatment with one or two lines of endocrine therapy, including a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor. Patients in the study were randomized to receive either elacestrant or the investigator’s choice of an approved hormonal agent. The primary endpoint of the study is progression-free survival (PFS) in the overall patient population and in patients with estrogen receptor 1 gene (ESR1) mutations. Secondary endpoints include evaluation of overall survival (OS), objective response rate (ORR), and duration of response (DOR).
Investigational drug RAD011 is a pharmaceutical-grade synthetic cannabidiol oral solution, manufactured utilizing traditional pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. The product has purity specifications that meet standardized regulatory and quality control requirements and, compared to the process of developing a plant-derived product, the synthetic manufacturing process usually enables increased consistency and greater precision in the product supply. RAD011 has been assessed in over 150 patients across multiple indications and has potential utilization in multiple endocrine and metabolic orphan diseases. Radius is initially targeting Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and anticipates initiating a pivotal Phase 2/3 study for patients with PWS in the second half of 2021 pending regulatory discussion with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements, including without limitation statements regarding our expectations regarding continued commercialization of TYMLOS in the U.S.; our expectations regarding our clinical trials, studies and other regulatory initiatives, including our wearABLe and ATOM Phase 3 clinical trials; and the progress in the development of our product candidates, including RAD011.
These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following: the adverse impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having and is expected to continue to have on our business, financial condition and results of operations, including our commercial operations and sales, clinical trials, preclinical studies, and employees; quarterly fluctuation in our financial results; our dependence on the success of TYMLOS, and our inability to ensure that TYMLOS will obtain regulatory approval outside the U.S. or be successfully commercialized in any market in which it is approved, including as a result of risk related to coverage, pricing and reimbursement; risks related to competitive products; risks related to our ability to successfully enter into collaboration, partnership, license or similar agreements; risks related to clinical trials, including our reliance on third parties to conduct key portions of our clinical trials and uncertainty that the results of those trials will support our product candidate claims; the risk that adverse side effects will be identified during the development of our product candidates or during commercialization, if approved; risks related to manufacturing, supply and distribution; and the risk of litigation or other challenges regarding our intellectual property rights. These and other important risks and uncertainties discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, including under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ending December 31, 2020 and subsequent filings with the SEC, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.
Investor & Media Relations Contact:
Phone: (617) 583-2017
Central Maine business briefs: UMA vice president receives award
Jonathan Henry, University of Maine at Augusta vice president of enrollment management and marketing, received the Martin Gallant Distinguished Counseling Professional Award from the Maine Counseling Association recognizing his distinguished career in the field. Jeremy Bouford, UMA coordinator of recruitment and outgoing president of the counseling association, presented him the award at the organization’s annual meeting this May.
“It was my distinct pleasure to present this award to Jon Henry not only on behalf of the Maine Counseling Association but also as a trusted and valued colleague,” said Bouford, according to a news release from UMA.
“I am honored to receive this award from the Maine Counseling Association,” said Henry. “Over 36 years in the admissions counseling and enrollment profession, I recognize now more than ever the role that having a counseling background has played in helping me succeed in my work with students, and helping to administer a university.”
Henry has worked in college admissions counseling and enrollment management for 36 years, the last 22 in Maine.
“Marty” Gallant was a long-serving school counselor in Caribou, who was actively involved with and dedicated to the Maine Counseling Association and the profession of school counseling. Maine Counseling Association established this award to honor him upon his retirement in 2016.
Association members work in a variety of settings across the profession including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, community-based agencies, clinical facilities and private practice.
Benton company names director of programs
BENTON — Assistance Plus, a 29-year-old home health care, behavioral health and intellectual disability agency headquartered in Benton, has promoted Natalie Childs to director of programs.
Childs has been employed by Assistance Plus since June 2010, starting as a daily living support specialist, and most recently serving as the organization’s BH/DD program manager. According to Crystal Bailey, the agency’s human resources director, the promotion is a result of her hard work and dedication. Natalie will remain in her current office location at the company’s headquarters in Benton.
Childs graduated from Erskine Academy and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Thomas College. She is completing a master’s degree in health care administration from Fitchburg State University.
Assistance Plus has offices in Benton, Waterville and Wilton.
2021 Mainebiz Woman to Watch nominees sought
PORTLAND — Mainebiz seeks nominations for female business owners, CEOs, presidents and top executives with established track records of success and who have been trailblazers and mentors to be its 2021 Women to Watch.
• The nominee must be the president, CEO or executive director at her company or organization.
• The nominee should have an established track record of business success.
• The nominee and her company must have made outstanding contributions to their company, industry and community.
Nominate a 2021 Mainebiz Woman to Watch by June 28. Visit mainebiz.biz/nominations and complete the short form.
The Women to Watch awards program is sponsored by Drummond Woodsum, Northeast Delta Dental, TD Bank and Vistage. Chosen nominees will be featured in the Aug. 9 issue of Mainebiz and will be honored at the annual Women to Watch reception in person during the middle of September. The date and location will be announced soon.
Kennebec Savings Bank announces new hires
AUGUSTA – Kennebec Savings Bank President and CEO Andrew Silsby recently announced two new hires, each of whom come with strong backgrounds in banking and customer service.
Paige O’Donnell, who has joined Kennebec Savings Bank as vice president of retail banking, brings more than eight years of banking experience. Her most recent position was on TD Bank’s Small Business Banking Team as their team manager.
“Paige brings new insight and energy to our retail team,” said Silsby, according to a news release from the bank. “We are fortunate to have her join Kennebec Savings Bank at such an exciting time in our history. The bank is growing, and Paige will help us continue to offer competitive and quality products to our customers.”
Amanda Dyer joins the bank with 12 years of experience. Prior to joining the bank, Dyer served as branch manager and loan officer for Norway Savings Bank at their Topsham location. Dyer is originally from the Freeport area and graduated from Freeport High School.
“Amanda will be a great asset to our Freeport Team,” said Silsby. “She is familiar with the Freeport area, and will bring valuable knowledge and expertise to our team. We look forward to her leadership.”
Kennebec Behavioral Health leaders recognized
AUGUSTA — At the 2021 Maine Prevention Professionals Conference held on May 19, KBH’s Robert Rogers was recognized with the 2021 Neill E. Miner Memorial Prevention Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution in the field of prevention. He has been at the forefront of so many initiatives and approaches to evidence-based prevention in Maine. He has been able to forge a unique bridge between the prevention and treatment disciplines. “Rob is an extraordinary prevention professional who has made significant contributions to the field and positively impacted the lives of countless youth and adults throughout central Maine,” said Tom McAdam, KBH chief executive officer, according to a news release from KBH. A surprise guest, McKenna Rogers, Rob’s daughter who also works in behavioral health, presented him with the award.
At the Co-Occurring Collaborative Serving Maine Annual Summit held on May 6, the Visionary Leadership award was presented to Dr. Alane O’Connor. O’Connor is the first director of perinatal addiction treatment at Maine Medical Center, serving pregnant women in the Portland area. O’Connor also provides addiction medicine through Kennebec Behavioral Health’s Opioid Health Home in Skowhegan and is chairperson of Maine’s Opioid Response Clinical Advisory Committee. The collaborative’s Visionary Leadership Award recognizes an individual, organization or an initiative in the behavioral health care field that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in improving the lives of individuals with mental illnesses and substance use disorders and/or their communities. “For her dedication to advance the quality of substance use treatment and raising awareness to the needs of pregnant and parenting women living with this disease,” said Liam Shaw, CCSME Board Member, in the release.
Kennebec Behavioral Health was founded in 1960 and operates clinics in Waterville, Skowhegan, Winthrop, Augusta and Farmington.
Northern Light Health announces finance leadership changes
Chris Frauenhofer, vice president of finance of Northern Light Inland Hospital and interim administrator of Northern Light Continuing Care, Lakewood in Waterville, has been named as the new vice president of finance for Northern Light Health’s system Medical Group.
Frauenhofer joined Northern Light Health in 2013, starting at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital before moving to Inland Hospital in 2017. Before joining Northern Light Health, he served in senior finance roles for more than 20 years at hospitals in New York, including Alice Hyde Medical Center and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
Frauenhofer received a master’s in business administration degree from Niagara University (New York) and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration/registered accounting (program from State University of New York at Buffalo).
Frauenhofer lives in Mariaville. He will remain in the interim role at Lakewood until a new administrator is recruited.
Randy Clark, vice president of finance and operations at Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, will expand his duties to include Inland Hospital and Lakewood, becoming vice president of finance for both hospitals and the continuing care facility.
A resident of Vassalboro, Clark just celebrated 25 years with Northern Light Health. He started as a controller at Sebasticook Valley Hospital in 1996 and became vice president of finance in 2005. In 2016, operations was added to his leadership role. For a few years, he oversaw finance as vice president for both CA Dean Hospital in Greenville and Sebasticook Valley Hospital.
Clark earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Maine (Orono) and his Master of Business Administration degree from Thomas College (Waterville).
“Chris and Randy have been vital to our local leadership teams, and integral to system finance work. We know they will continue to help our system and member organizations succeed in their new and expanded roles — not only when it comes to finance, but with all aspects of our mission to improve the health of the people and communities we serve. Both Chris and Randy have a passion for excellent service and finding new ways to deliver on our brand promise,” said Terri Vieira, president of Inland Hospital, Continuing Care, Lakewood, and Sebasticook Valley Hospital, according to a news release from Northern Light Health.
Maine Dental Association partners with Maine Needs
The Maine Dental Association recently partnered with nonprofit organization Maine Needs to assemble and distribute 200 cleaning and hygiene kits to four sites.
The association, though its donation campaign called Maine Needs a Smile, collected personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant and shampoo, and basic cleaning supplies, such as laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner and trash bags, to help Maine families in need.
The initiative was started by three MDA member dentists, Dr. Meg Dombroski, Dr. Kathryn Horutz and Dr. Nicole Kimmes, along with MDA Executive Director Angela Westhoff. The group was familiar with the Maine Needs nonprofit organization, which strives to help individuals and families in Maine meet basic, material needs by providing donated clothing and essential products and household items, and which partners with schools, caseworkers, nurses and nonprofits throughout the state to provide those material resources.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of dentistry is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives every day. The Maine Needs A Smile community effort made it possible for dental professionals across Maine to join together to have a positive impact beyond our chairs,” said Kimmes, according to a news release from the association
One of the ways Maine Needs provides for individuals and families is through different “kits” that the public can put together and donate.
The Maine Needs a Smile initiative originally had a goal of assembling 100 cleaning and hygiene kits. Because of the support of MDA member dentists, dental staff, and the general public, 200 kits were put together and were distributed between four sites. Kits were distributed at the Community Concepts Early Learning Center in Farmington, River Valley Free Store in Mexico, Kaydenz Kitchen Food Pantry in Lewiston, and Penney Memorial United Baptist Church in Augusta.
Gardiner FCU gives to local food pantries, organizations
Gardiner Federal Credit Union recently hosted a small reception to distribute the funds raised in 2020. The guests were representatives of area food pantries and organizations that help local people with food insecurities. There are eight organizations, each receiving a check in the amount of $2,482.38.
When the pandemic hit the number of people in need of these services grew. There were many new faces. Initially, some pantries were overwhelmed. Thankfully, those able to give dug deep and helped them make certain no one was turned away empty-handed. Individuals, grocers and businesses helped keep them afloat.
The Tanzanian proverb, “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” In most cases, GFCU raises its Ending Hunger funds, one dollar at a time. So, to the staff and the members, they may think that dollar won’t make a difference, but it does. In this case it added up to almost 20,000 of those dollars. Their efforts and the generosity of many, do make a difference and the funds add up to a lot.
Throughout the months of June and July, GFCU will sell Cash Calendars for Ending Hunger. The calendars are $10 each. A total of $2,400 in prizes, will be drawn each weekday in August. Winners will receive either $100 or $200, depending on which day(s) they win. Anyone with $10 can purchase a calendar. It is not necessary to be a member to support any of its fundraisers.
For more business news, visit CentralMaine.com.
Here are 100+ AAPI-owned businesses to shop in 2021
As it did for companies across the globe, pandemic-related freight issues increasingly complicated the supply chain for Sahra Nguyen, founder and CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply — and made it much more expensive to manage. And the spike in anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander violence increasingly strained an already difficult year:
“The biggest challenge is staying mentally, emotionally and physically safe so that I can continue to show up for my business, family and community,” said Nguyen.
AAPI-owned businesses have suffered tremendously since the onset Covid, according to a survey from the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE). Of the approximately 900 AAPI small business owners surveyed…
- More than 80 percent reported negative effects
- 10 percent have closed their business
- And 45 percent have lost or let go of employees
In general, there’s been a 169-percent increase in hate crimes in major cities — nonprofit advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate received more than 6,600 reports of anti-AAPI violence since it launched in March 2020 — unemployment rates rose disproportionately and solutions have made headway, such as the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. All of it has added to an increased national focus on the challenges and realities that AAPI communities face.
Within the past year, the visibility of anti-AAPI violence in the U.S. — which goes back centuries — caused a large mobilization of people, organizations and retailers to up their support of the AAPI community through advocacy, donations and awareness in light of AAPI Heritage Month. Multiple online retailers and brands have been increasing efforts to highlight AAPI-owned businesses.
- Amazon and Etsy launched storefronts highlighting AAPI small businesses.
- Reviews site Yelp announced a new feature last month by which businesses can self-identify as “Asian-owned,” making it easier for shoppers to find them.
- Shop by Shopify, a free app to navigate small businesses, unveiled a directory of Asian-owned businesses in March.
- Food delivery giant Grubhub began its Donate the Change program this month, giving all proceeds to National ACE and AAPI-owned restaurants across the nation.
Jan Lo, CEO of travel brand Lo & Sons, said reports of attacks on members of the AAPI community this year — specifically involving anyone around his mom’s age — brought his family’s heritage a lot more personal. “We’re extremely proud of our AAPI heritage, but we have also tried to build an ethos around inclusivity,” he said. The challenges “can also be viewed as opportunities, as I think many people can connect to our story of our mom inspiring her sons to help her achieve her professional dreams — not just because we’re Asian.”
AAPI Heritage Month “gives us an opportunity to lift each other up, to celebrate and express pride in different parts of our community,” explained Ian Shin, assistant professor of history and American culture at the University of Michigan, adding that it also offers an “opportunity to revisit history and remind people that, in fact, anti-AAPI violence is not un-American — it’s woven into the fabric of American society from the mid 19th century onward.”
AAPI-owned businesses in 2021
AAPI-owned businesses nationwide were the most negatively impacted throughout the pandemic, demographically speaking, according to CNBC: The number of working AAPI business owners fell by 20 percent last year. Among the most affected areas was San Francisco’s Chinatown, which saw 75 percent of its storefronts become nonoperational at some point last year.
But what is an AAPI-owned business in the first place? The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) told us that it doesn’t specifically define what constitutes an AAPI-owned business. The U.S. Census Bureau does, however: having persons of Asian or Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander origin owning 51 percent or more of the business — akin to its definitions of Black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses. This definition covers East Asia (like China, Japan and more), Southeast Asia (including the Philippines, Vietnam and more) and the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, Bangladesh and more) — the three comprise more than 19 countries and 20 million citizens in the U.S. can trace their origins to here — as well as the Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia subregions, which include Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Fijian and Tahitian people, among others.
Despite these definitions, or lack thereof, the two agencies do provide some noteworthy insights. Based on the most recent data released by the Census Bureau, here’s what we know:
- In 2012, there were roughly 2 million AAPI-owned businesses in the U.S. (2016 data)
- In 2018, there were more than 577,000 Asian-owned and over 6,600 Pacific Islander-owned employer businesses in the U.S. (2021 data)
Sarah Paiji Yoo, co-founder and CEO of eco-friendly cleaning brand Blueland, said she’s “incredibly proud” to be an Asian American running a business but is often subject to racism, especially on social media — people comment assumptions regarding where Blueland manufactures its products, for example. Then there’s the “model minority myth,” a harmful argument that typically praises Asian Americans for economic, academic and cultural success based entirely on stereotypes. It’s yet another challenge for Lin Chen, founder and CEO of wellness brand Pink Moon. “People continue to generalize, stereotype and be selective in who they want to listen to, invest in [and] purchase from,” she told us.
In our guide to women-owned brands, owner and founder of Hero Cosmetics Ju Rhyu told us that running a business is accompanied by “a lot of responsibility” to support her community, “especially as a business owner, since there is privilege and influence in being in this position.” That privilege comes at a time when 44 percent of unemployed Asian American women have been out of work for at least six months. This year, over 1,000 AAPI executives like DoorDash founder Tony Xu and Zoom CEO Eric Yuan donated $10 million to groups supporting the AAPI community, including nonprofit Asian Pacific Fund and the Asian-Americans Advancing Justice, a legal advocacy group for hate crime victims. Other business leaders pledged $125 million to launch the Asian American Foundation, which will support AAPI organizations and causes over the next five years — the largest philanthropic commitment in history fully focused on the AAPI community. The foundation raised another $125 million from organizations like Walmart, Bank of America and the Ford Foundation.
While noteworthy efforts, the AAPI community receives less than 1 percent of philanthropic funds despite making up 7 percent of the population and the country’s fastest growing racial group, according to the Pew Research Center.
Being a South Asian founder, Silk + Sonder’s Meha Agrawal said “it often feels like all the odds are stacked up against us: We have to work harder [and] prove ourselves every step of the way.” But throughout her career, she’s learned that “the most important thing a female founder or woman of color can do is make sure that people in seats of privilege are brought along on our journey” to have transparent conversations while building a business.
Each Fall and Spring, AAPI nonprofit Gold House hosts the Gold Rush cohort of Founders — Sahra Nguyen participated last year — wherein founders attend weekly master classes and panels led by advisors, expose their brands to potential investors and influencers, and join a network of founders that meet regularly to share insights and build partnerships. ACE National also provides guidance for starting and maintaining a business, including how to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, loans, government programs and health and wellness matters.
Business owners said messaging and connecting with other founders on social media, from Twitter to LinkedIn, helped them network. Founders “will be extremely helpful and crucial as you build [your business] and oftentimes they’ll be the only ones who can empathize and understand what you are going through in successes and failures,” noted Rhyu.
Pink Moon’s Lin Chen said she’s part of multiple networking groups on Facebook for Asian creatives and entrepreneurs, including Asian Hustle Network and Asian Creative Network.
Notable AAPI-owned products in 2021
Here are 14 items from AAPI-owned brands that stood out to us, from travel essentials and skincare products to eco-friendly tools and home goods. Since there is no central directory of AAPI-owned businesses, as defined by the Census Bureau’s 51-percent edict, we asked each business below to confirm that it meets the criteria: having persons of Asian or Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander origin owning 51 percent or more of the business.
Pink Moon allows users to filter wellness and skincare products they see by skin type, age and goals.
One of their bestsellers includes this rose quartz gua sha that stimulates lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness and increase elasticity in the skin, according to the brand. In including this product in their line, Chen initially wanted to celebrate Traditional Chinese Medicine and her heritage, “I want to contribute to the diverse voices in this industry and push for more inclusivity and positive change,” she said. For maximum results, the brand suggests users of the gua sha pair it with the Over the Moon Gua Sha Facial Oil, which is made from a sunflower-moringa oil blend that soothes skin inflammation.
Amy Liu originally started the company to deal with her own eczema and now Tower 28 is the “first and only makeup brand to 100-percent follow the National Eczema Association’s ingredient guidelines and avoid every known skin irritant and allergen for all skin sensitivities,” she shared. This AAPI month, Liu wants consumers to realize AAPI heritage “is about recognizing the incredible people in our community who are pushing the boundaries and speaking up about racism and the need for more Asian representation.”
Made with apricot and raspberry seed oil, this lip gloss is one of the most popular products. Designed to hydrate your lips without drying them out, according to the brand, the gloss comes in four shades: Coconut, Cashew, Oat and Almond.
Frustrated with the fit of his dress shirts, Taiwanese-American Wesley Kang founded Nimble Made “to bring more representation and inclusion in sizing standards, starting with a slim fit that actually fits,” he elaborated.
Made from 100-percent cotton, the brand’s machine-washable dress shirts feature 2-button adjustable rounded cuffs and a Franklin semi-spread collar.
Terrence Santos founded his company in 2015 when he was expecting his first child. Originally, he started looking for toys that would teach the Filipino language to his child, but found nothing — so he created a toy company that provided options. Now his company sells toys that teach Tagalog, Ilocano, Bisaya and Hawaiian. On each of the ten blocks, the company has engraved the Roman number, Tagalog translation, Mahjong character and an English translation.
Eunice Byun and Dave Nguyen are challenging the notion that we need dozens of gadgets to cook delicious meals. A few years ago, the ex Chanel and Revlon executives founded Material Kitchen, a direct-to-consumer company that offers a simplified kitchen starter set at an affordable price. This seven-piece set, which has a 5.0-star average rating from almost 100 consumers, features an 8” knife, 4” knife, tongs, wooden spoon, metal spoon, slotted spatula and wooden holder. What’s more is you can customize the set’s wood type and handle color.
Private Policy is a “genderless” clothing company founded by Haoran Li and Siying Qu, two former Parsons graduates. Inspired by the youth culture in New York City, the pair design clothes without the traditional menswear and womenswear labels. Made from 100-percent Rayon, this jacket can be worn with the sleeves on or off, serving multiple purposes. You can also shop their collection at Selfridges.
Nearly two decades ago, Taiwanese American Melinda Hwang’s father worked with a scientist (and family friend) to come up with a nanofiber membrane mask during the 2003 SARs epidemic. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Hwang’s family sent her those masks from Taiwan and, thus, Happy Masks was born.
The brand’s Pro Series offers a range of sizes — with the small size fitting ages three to 10 — and can withstand at least 50 washes by hand. It has adjustable ear straps and a nose wire to fit different face shapes, while its “parrot beak” design leaves enough room between the mask and the mouth and nose in order to breathe comfortably for long-term wear.
Nguyen Coffee Supply imports Vietnamese coffee beans from its partner farms in Vietnam and roasts them fresh weekly in Brooklyn. The Original Vietnamese Coffee Trio features three different coffee blends: Moxy, Truegrit and Loyalty Arabica-Robusta. The coffee comes finely ground, and you can brew it using the brand’s Phin Filter.
CEO and founder Sahra Nguyen said AAPI month is an important time for the community to share their stories. “Many people don’t understand our community because we’ve been erased and ignored for so long,” Nguyen said. “Taking the time to learn about our community’s unique experiences will deepen our connection and sense of shared humanity. From here, we can effectively work together to build a better world.”
CEO Jan Lo said the brand was inspired by his mom’s need for a lightweight, stylish and functional carry-on bag to take with her while traveling. While designing the brand’s first bag — The O.G. — Lo said he “quickly found that it wasn’t just my mother in need of a travel bag that didn’t sacrifice style for functionality.” Lo & Sons, which was co-founded by Lo, his mother and his brother, sells a variety of bags for men and women, including The Catalina Deluxe, which is featured in our roundup of the best weekender bags. The company sells apparel and face masks, too.
Edward and Judy Kwon founded the family-owned CALPAK in 1989 with the mission of making quality bags at an accessible price. Their daughter Jennifer Kwon has run the company since 2013. CALPAK’s bags range in size, style and color from the Kaya Laptop Backpack to the Hue Duffel Bag, which was also featured in our roundup of the best weekender bags. Beyond bags, luggage and organizers, CALPACK also sells men’s and women’s apparel, as well as wellness items like face masks, hand sanitizer and linen and room spray.
After five years of running gr8nola as a side hustle, founder Erica Liu Williams left her 10 year tech career to pursue the brand full time. gr8nola sells granola that’s free from refined sugar, dairy, soy and GMOs in a variety of flavors, from Peanut Butter and Matcha to Cacao and Cinnamon Chai. Williams said she feels it’s her responsibility to use her platform to share her perspective and the voices of others in the AAPI community. “I feel socially responsible to myself, family and broader community to be a role model for others by leading by example and showing other young girls and people who look like me that you can achieve success on your own terms, without succumbing to becoming a “model minority” stereotype,” Williams said.
Silk + Sonder is a subscription service that sends members guided monthly journals with prompts inspired by positive psychology, as well as gives them access to virtual programming for peer-to-peer support. “Silk + Sonder’s mission is to solve the emotional health epidemic for customers versus being a band-aid fix,” said Meha Agrawal, the company’s founder. “At its core, Silk + Sonder is a space for mindfulness, journaling, planning, tracking and creative expression all in one.”
When Sarah Paiji Yoo, Blueland’s CEO, decided to reduce her personal plastic consumption, she quickly realized how difficult it was to do. “Many household items use single-use plastic in their packaging,” said Yoo. “This ultimately is what led me to found Blueland, as no one should have to sacrifice a clean home and clean clothes for a clean planet.” Blueland sells refillable cleaning products like Glass + Mirror, Multi-Surface and Bathroom sprays — included in The Clean Up Kit — all of which are certified by the EPA’s Safer Choice program, as we previously reported in our guide to eco-friendly cleaning supplies.
Stephanie Hon launched Cadence with the mission to eliminate single-use travel-sized plastic in February of last year — a month before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. “We definitely put a pause on talking about air-travel, going to the gym before work, date nights, etcetera,” said Hon. But despite launching in the midst of the pandemic, the brand’s sustainable capsules repeatedly sold out. Cadence specializes in magnetic and refillable containers made from recycled ocean bound plastic that snap together and can keep your small travel essentials and daily items organized. You can buy the capsules individually or get them a bundle of six, and they come in a variety of colors including Lavender and Terracotta. Hon said one of her biggest challenges as an AAPI business owner was being “bullish” and retraining her inclinations. “To say I think we’re going to be a $XM company, to say it’s a great opportunity for people to be involved. There’s a perfect balance of humility and confidence that comes to light,” she said.
109 AAPI-owned brands to support in 2021
In addition to our favorite products from AAPI-owned brands, we’ve rounded up some businesses across various Shopping reader interests, including home, food, beauty and wellness. We asked each business below to confirm it meets the Census Bureau’s criteria of at least 51 percent AAPI ownership. While this list of AAPI-owned companies and products isn’t exhaustive, we aim to actively update this feature to help keep you informed about AAPI-owned companies worth considering.
AAPI-owned home and kitchen brands
Revamp your kitchen decor with a new apron or oven mitts from The Homebodies or treat yourself or your favorite friend to a new indoor plant from Bark & Vine.
- Anak Toy Kompany
- Bark & Vine
- The Homebodies
- ILHA Candles
- Material Kitchen
- O-M Ceramics
- Pawena Studio
- Woo Ceramics
AAPI-owned beauty and skincare brands
Update your skincare regime by shopping for a Gua Sha facial tool from Mount Lai or combat maskne with Soko Glam’s Pimple Patch. You can also shop from dozens of AAPI-owned makeup brands, fragrance shops like Ellis Brooklyn or nail care brands like Sundays.
- AVYA Skincare
- Cle Cosmetics
- Caire Beauty
- Ellis Brooklyn
- EM Cosmetics
- Essance Skincare
- Glow Recipe
- Happy 2nd Birthday
- Hero Cosmetics
- Krave Beauty
- Mount Lai
- Peach & Lily
- Pink Moon
- Soko Glam
- Tower 28 Beauty
AAPI-owned food and beverages brands
These 17 standout food and beverage options are worth a try, especially if you’re looking to try out some spiced ice cream or a side of kimchi.
- Fly By Jing
- Malai Ice Cream
- Nguyen Coffee Supply
- One Stripe Chai
- The Qi
- Red Boat Fish Sauce
- Wing on Wo & Co.
Looking to expand your at-home library but don’t know where to start? These AAPI-owned bookstores from across the country have a wide variety of options, from used to brand new.
- A Good Used Book
- Arkipelago Books
- Bel Canto Books
- Eastwind Books
- Femme Fire Books
- Maomi Bookstore
- Orphan Books
- Philippine Expressions Bookshop
- Townie Books
AAPI-owned fashion and accessories brands
These 26 fashion and accessory brands can help you update your wardrobe going into the summer. They include everything from on-trend chunky rings at BONBONWHIMS to Gentle Monster’s chic sunglasses.
- Bellemere NY
- Gentle Monster
- Hey Maeve
- Jason Wu
- JW Pei
- Kahili Creations
- Nimble Made
- NOTTE Jewelry
- Paper Project
- Private Policy
- Rue Saint Paul
- Sonia Hou Jewelry
AAPI-owned wellness and fitness brands
You can shop for face masks at Airpop and Happy Masks, get a good night’s sleep with Pluto Pillow or enhance your workout routine with Blogilates.
- Happy Masks
- L’Oeuf Poche
- Mono B
- Pluto Pillow
- Silk + Sonder
AAPI-owned travel brands
If you’re planning a few summer trips, you can get your hands on multiple AAPI-owned travel essentials, including a travel backpack from Brevitē or a versatile carry-on bag from Planeket.
- Lo and Sons
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