As we wind down this Women’s History Month, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the phenomenal women, Juliette, Giovanni, Belinda, and Irma, on ReServe’s leadership team who have helped me manage one of the organization’s remits with a workforce of two hundred people. There are other women, not peripheral, but essential, that led this team to success, Bryanna, Tiffany, Yvette, Patricia, Akiko, Diane, Jodi, Cecilia, and Evelyn (Mafan). And others, Dhanairy and Siana.
I’ve often stated that, growing up with three sisters, I have a sensibility many men don’t have. I’ve never really given it much thought. When you grow up a certain way, it’s just part of you; you don’t think about it. I treat women in the workforce as I would want my sisters treated, with professionalism and respect. To my credit, or theirs (my sisters), far too many women I have worked with have come to me, before they went to HR, to see if I could address a particular “male” behavior. To a woman, they’ve said, we don’t get that vibe (toxic masculinity) from you in the workplace. I’ve taken my understanding of this “vibe” to my coaching sessions with formerly incarcerated men who could very well be like the cavemen in the Geico commercials, but this balance in the workplace is not so easy.
One thing that I’m truly appreciative of the last two years, is working with a truly diverse workforce. The ReServe workforce doing test and trace work around COVID-19, in the neighborhoods most impacted during this pandemic, spoke more than twenty languages and was as close as I’ve seen a “rainbow coalition.” In more than 20 years in the nonprofit world, I have not worked with a more diverse workforce, linguistically and racially. As a native New Yorker, I often marvel at how segregated our diverse City is, even in the workforce. I’ve worked at nonprofits, and I could surmise, by race, which departments people served.
Our remit revolved around serving people, initially, in thirty-three zip codes most impacted by COVID-19, identified by the Mayor’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE). I’ve seen some important things happen with this group, so I remain hopeful about a host of things.