Hello, my friends and colleagues. It is time for me to hand off the leadership of USFN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Section. I admit I am sentimental about it. I love this group of people. They have servants’ hearts coupled with a desire to advocate for our community. It is hard not to love them and be inspired by them. I am so honored to have been a facilitator for all the ideas and innovation generated by this group.
In my time as DEI Section Chair, I have learned that this advocacy work can be scary. To be part of this group, you must practice public vulnerability around colleagues and clients you admire. You must entertain, accept, and sometimes, be changed by criticism. You must present new ideas and trends when you are not an expert, but rather an enthusiast, and you must be open to being challenged on those topics. All the while, there are people who have no interest in DEI, and you must realize that they are your target audience and the exact people you want to engage. This work isn’t for the faint of heart – yet USFN has so many people willing to take on this challenge because they care deeply for our community. To quote Audre Lorde, [t]hat visibility that makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength. That has certainly been true for this group; they have risen to the challenge.
Despite the public vulnerability promoting DEI initiatives requires, this group has done important work and has made a meaningful impact on USFN. It has generated numerous educational programs and provided a variety of articles on many different DEI topics. It found ways to show up in person to make USFN a more inclusive and thoughtful place. It surveyed the membership to find concrete ways to support our firms so that we can build measurable and meaningful success. It has provided significant and timely content to support USFN’s digital footprint. And this section is not done, not by a long shot. I couldn’t be prouder of the members of this section, and I am excited to see where they go from here.
To the DEI Section: You will be in the caring, thoughtful, and talented hands of Janice Nakano. I know she will lead you well. Also, I won’t be far away. I will just be serving and supporting the mission when you need me and cheering you on every step of the way. I will leave you with the words of Amy Poehler: It is very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do are the dreamers, the thinkers, and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.
Thank you sincerely for your service to USFN and your trust in me. I am forever grateful.