The Monotony of Indecision
April 22nd, 2008The "Monotony of Indecision" was the title of a paper I wrote when I was in the 7th grade and won a writing contest sponsored by The Detroit News. I have to say it really was good and I worked very hard on it! This memory from decades ago popped into my head earlier today. I remember having a difficult time trying to think of a topic for the theme paper so I wrote about the process of writing and throwing away scads of paper as I became increasingly frustrated. * Just a note, I am a rabid recycler and this was back in the 1960's when the Greatest Generation recycled but us Boomers were a bit more wasteful! It was pre-Earth Day times!
Where is this going you are asking yourself? For some time I have wanted to address the obvious about the inner workings of this Foundation but somehow I held back. Should I or shouldn't I? The monotony of my indecision is over and here it is: We are an all female staff. Yep all 21 of us are female. We have had males on our staff and we also have had male interns who have joined us from time to time.
This has not been by design I will tell you that. We pay competitive salaries that are not extravagant by a long-shot but we do attract the best of the best. We have worked hard on this and it is paying off quite nicely. Years ago a board member noted that we needed some men to even things out. I sighed and just kept moving forward. We are a very collaborative group of professionals and our respect for one another is apparent. We value innovation and while this could be questioned, we do value inclusion.
In a previous post I wrote about our work with another organization regarding cultural competency. A couple of comments were posted on another site that noted our femaleness and that I had no room to make comments on this topic. Not wanting to defend our record, I know we need to address these issues and yet I am not going to back down on my view. We are working to continue to diversify our staff in a variety of ways along with moving the needle on the gender issue.
The interesting thing I have experienced is the possible perception of this organization looking through the lens of knowing that we currently are led by me - a female - joined by 20 other females. Are we viewed as an organization to be taken seriously? I'd like to think so given our remarkable track record as a funder, community leader and builder and successful resource developer! Would a male leading this organization help with the perspective? I have no idea but there is an increasing amount being written about how female leaders are marginalized, many times in subtle ways and sometimes not so subtly!
Of course these issues are getting national attention now with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fighting for the Democratic Presidential candidacy. And the feelings that people have in that regard can bleed over into other areas. But I have not experienced that yet or that I know about.
I am aware and I am working to demonstrate our commitment to inclusion, cultural competency and diversity. And no I am not going to launch into "I am woman hear me roar." However, I am not going to play second fiddle either. The Grand Rapids Community Foundation is a dynamic organization working to help grow our area, our region and indeed the state in meaningful and sustainable ways.