New Lower Shore alliance adding more diversity and inclusion into organizations
MARYLAND- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
That’s what a new group called the Lower Shore Black Professionals Alliance is trying to bring to the community.
“Folks are really engaged here on the shore, unfortunately it’s engaged in very separate activities,” Karl Binns Jr., Deputy Director for Lower Shore Land Trust, said.
It all started with the Greater Salisbury Committee reaching out to organizers and asking how they could increase diversity and bring fresh faces to local non- profits.
“What happens on a lot of our boards, is you see the same people and it might be seven years later and it’s literally they’re back on there being recommended because that’s the circle that people know,” Sonya Whited, Senior Director of Retail Product Development at Perdue Farms, said.
As conversations around how to tackle this issue continued the group ultimately formed an alliance.
Now, professionals across the Shore, in education, healthcare, and industry fields are coming together to make a change.
“I think it’s very unique and we want to make sure that it’s important that when decisions are made or initiatives are being put forth, there’s representation from all different parts of the communities at the table,” Binns Jr., said.
Other already existing boards and commissions can reach out to the Alliance to find professionals they can add to their team.
“Now, we have a collective where you can go an find talent and also partner with us to maybe move your organization in a direction where you would like to from a diversity, equity and inclusion standpoint,” Binns Jr., said.
I’m told having more diversity throughout the community means more possibilities for non-profit organizations.
“To make the best decision you need diverse perspective,” Whited said.
“You can’t just look at things from one lens,” Whited added.
Ultimately, I’m told key aspects of all of this are communication and action.
“Genuinely want diversity, not just to check a box and not just because it’s the right thing to do,” Whited said.
I’m told another important factor of this alliance is that they encourage people to set their sights higher and go after bigger positions like board roles.
They said that’s because they want to make sure that that hidden talent doesn’t go unnoticed.
The group added that through their networking people can build a sense of respect for others they may disagree with, which can helpful while having difficult conversations.