As I’ve continued to reflect on recent events, and what they mean to us as individuals and as an organization, I wanted to share some thoughts about changes that we will be making at Gladstone.
Over the last week, I’ve met with many of our Black colleagues to hear their concerns and gather feedback about their experiences at Gladstone. I am so grateful to each of them for their time, thoughtful consideration, and willingness to share, which I believe has already been invaluable in shaping our way forward.
One of the aims of our strategic plan is to “ensure Gladstone provides a diverse and inclusive workplace environment that empowers every member of the organization to fully contribute to the mission.” It has become increasingly clear that we have work to do here and that it will require long-term and sustained commitment to make a meaningful difference. It is also clear that we must go beyond being “intolerant” of racism or any kind of discrimination, to being more actively anti-racist and anti-discrimination in all our policies and actions.
While we must be thoughtful and very intentional on the long-term efforts, these are the first steps we are taking at Gladstone to increase diversity, improve our institute culture, and move forward:
- Develop a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
Going forward, it is critical that we not only cultivate an environment in which all people are valued and accepted, but that we also actively seek diversity when recruiting at all levels, for both scientific and non-scientific positions. We will be reviewing our recruitment strategy, investing in educational programs, and continue to be an advocate for people of color (POC) in STEM.
- Launch Employee Engagement Program
Next week, we will be launching a new employee engagement program for employees to openly share their experiences of working at Gladstone. This program will measure job satisfaction, organizational alignment, team dynamics, and more. Employees will be able to share anonymous feedback and we encourage them to be as open as possible. We will be using this anonymous data to come up with programs and initiatives to improve employee experience.
- Launch a New Community Group
Gladstone is home to many community groups—LGBTQ+, Women’s Initiative, Graduate Student Organization, Postdoc Advisory Committee, and more. Over the years, these groups have become crucial as advocates and advisers to Gladstone’s leadership to share employee concerns, and to help shape new policies and programming. All of our Black community members have let us know that they’d like to launch a community group to bring a voice to this area and we are eager to do so.
- Encourage Activism and Open Conversation
Utilizing Gladstone’s Intranet, Hello, we’ve launched a new resource board for anyone in our community to share petitions, articles, opportunities to help, and upcoming events related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Educate Our Team
We will be investing in training and resources for the entire Gladstone organization, bringing in outside speakers to provide historical perspective, address our own unconscious bias, and learn how to be better advocates. Part of our mission is to train the next generation of leaders, and it is critical that we include explicitly anti-racist values into our training plans.
- Spotlight and Amplify Black Voices
We are developing a content strategy to increase the visibility of our Black colleagues (both inside and outside our organization) across our digital platforms—website, social media—and our online (and future in-person) events.
- Develop Open Dialogue with Colleagues Nationally
A Gladstone-led call was initiated yesterday with the presidents and COOs of other major independent research organizations to discuss various topics, but led ultimately to making a commitment to one another. We have plans to proactively share resources and knowledge with one another and we plan to develop a meaningful document by the end of the summer on how we, as a collective group of independent research institutes with fewer barriers to experimentation, can promote diversity, but more importantly, combat racism.
We know we have a long way to go, but Gladstone is committed to taking the next steps. We will certainly not do everything perfectly, but we are willing to learn and grow as individuals and as an organization. We will continue to listen to open and honest feedback from our employees and peers.
President, Gladstone Institutes