Sarah Alter, President & CEO, Network of Executive Women
If there is a bit of sunlight shining on this unprecedented year, it is a renewed focus on dismantling the racism that permeates American culture. 2020 has become a reckoning point for so many, a moment where the country has at last acknowledged that being anti-racist, rather than simply ‘not racist,’ is the key to an equal future for all of us.
I am reminded how vulnerable we feel this year. As we live through a global pandemic that has hit BIPOCs hardest of all, the real suffering it has brought has permeated the bubble of privilege those of us who are white Americans have been living in. When pain comes to our doorstep, we are more understanding of the pain of others – awakened to the suffering they feel. And many are now waking up to the need for concrete action.
NEW’s Initiative for Women of Color
NEW’s mission is to Advance All Women. Whatever has happened in 2020, we have not changed – it has always been our goal to transform workplaces for equality. But now the culture around us has changed, and there is a tailwind behind us and the work we do.
When NEW published our study, Advancing All Women, we found that, without intervention, the number of women of color in senior positions would drop over the next 10 years. Dismantling the systemic racism that has held women of color out of our board rooms will take work, and that is exactly the sort of work NEW is here to support.
This year, we released our Latinas in Corporate America study. Featured in the July/August issue of Hospitality Technology, it is the first in a series of studies NEW will conduct into the experiences of women of color in our workplaces. We can’t resolve these issues without real research into the roots of the problem, conducted by listening, first and foremost, to the women they directly affect.
We Keep Working
NEW’s resources for women of color are strong and continue to grow. Our powerful NEW Action for Women of Color workshop offers organizations a comprehensive solution for addressing bias in their workforce. While it is typically offered on-site, it will now also be offered virtually – because the issues facing women of color in the corporate world haven’t ended since your organization made the shift from offices to Zoom calls.
We offer dozens of learning and development webinars, both from our headquarters and from NEW’s 22 regions around the country. Our vast library of past webinar content is a treasure trove of insight and is available via our website (newonline.org/learning/digital-learning). For more information on NEW’s resources for workplaces tackling bias, you can visit newonline.org/wocresources.
NEW has always been here for women of color. Our mission is to Advance All Women. This year, we can all feel the hope in the air that the tide is turning for people of color in America. NEW will continue to be a part of that fight until our work is no longer needed − a day we can all look forward to.
Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing nearly 13,000 in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at newonline.org.