LINC is working to collectively promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Lehigh Valley. Our DEI Council is made up of regional leaders, working together to support Lehigh Valley employers in advancing and sustaining their DEI Initiatives. We connected with two members of out DEI Council, Brenda Rosado and Kristine Maciolek Small, about their motivations to serve on LINC’s DEI Council and the importance of this work.
Here is what they had to say:
“Why did you want to serve on the DEI Council?”
B: LINC’s core beliefs and mission aligns with my personal and professional beliefs of inclusivity, of creating environments of belonging, and equitability. I have lived in a culture of belonging, understanding the needs of reaching out to those that may not have the same as we have and/or believe that they can achieve the same. I strongly agree with creating resources, opportunity, awareness to communities, educators and organizations of the importance of empathy, companion, understanding, listening to understanding what we can do to make it equal for all, better for all.
I have had the privilege to participate in some of the DEI Roundtables and learned that we as a community need to listen, act, and transform. It is one thing to say we have diversity in organizations, schools, place of worship etc.… it is another to create the sense of belonging to share the message we all feel included, and equitable.
K: I have served on the DEI Council since its inception at LINC. This Council is formed by committed DEI professionals doing amazing work at their organizations but know that together we can go farther and make an impact across the Lehigh Valley. This work requires much self-reflection and personal growth, and the DEI Council has supported me in both areas.
I consider the other LINC DEI Council members to be my confidants, sponsors, accountability partners, and friends. When I reflect on the challenges brought about by COVID and then the desire to drive change after the killing of George Floyd, I relied extensively on this group of people for help, and I am grateful for their support and guidance.
Now that I live and work outside of the Lehigh Valley, I continue to remain on the LINC DEI Council because I truly believe in their work. It is a unique organization that puts DEI as its driving mission and invites HR and DEI professionals from across the Valley to do so too. In doing so, the LINC DEI Council inspires and drives change. LINC provides such an amazing resource to the organizations in the Lehigh Valley, which will serve as a competitive differentiator as the Lehigh Valley continues to grow.
“Why is DEI important to you?”
B: I grew up in Puerto Rico, where we all spoke the same language, all considered the same just different shades. I moved to Pennsylvania as an adult with my husband and was very excited to start a new journey, to then learn rather quickly, how people, society, cultures are different, and how they treat each differently.
To me, differences should complement each other to make a team stronger, but reality is that not everyone views it that way. It has always been important to me to make a difference in all the roles of my life, as a mother, a wife, a family member, in my community, and in the organization I work for; and that difference is to make sure that everything that I do creates opportunities for all equally.
Being a member of this organization that supports, values the same core beliefs to strive to change, grow, develop and create opportunities is amazing, and truly speaks to what I stand for and believe in. Creating environments of inclusivity, sense of belonging, opportunities of growth and developing great leaders for the future, with all the right tools and resources to make a difference for others.
K: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mean fundamental fairness to me. I began my career as a lawyer and then moved into the DEI space over 5 years ago, and both roles revolve around the concept of fairness. As DEI leaders, we can influence the culture and workplaces so that everyone with the capability to succeed can do so. That is exciting and important work.
Thank you, Brenda and Kristine, for sharing your stories!