In recent days and weeks, we have seen many tragic examples of societal inequities. COVID-19 has been especially devastating to communities of color, especially Black and Indigenous communities. TREC has compiled a set of articles to help us all become more educated about the disparities and inequities. As part of our work for conservation, we must also fight for the right for all people to enjoy the outdoors without fear of violence. It is encouraging to see many conservation organizations taking an anti-racist stance and deepening their equity work. At TREC, we are expanding our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) program to meet the increasing demand for these services. We are proud of this expansion; it has been in the works for quite some time.
Over the last five years, TREC has been working internally on DEI, and that work is still ongoing. We have updated our internal systems and processes and our training curriculum and program offerings using an equity lens. As a staff team, we continue to build an inclusive culture and to work more effectively across difference. We continue to participate in training and personal exploration inside and outside of TREC. We don’t go it alone; we’ve brought in a variety of partners along the way that help guide us in our journey. We are currently working with an external DEI consultant on team dynamics and feedback.
In January of 2019, we added a staff position to increase our DEI offerings with clients, and Kellie Richardson joined the TREC team. Kellie, a certified DEI trainer, came to us with over 20 years of training and leadership experience. Over the last year, Kellie developed the core components and frameworks of our DEI services and delivered DEI trainings and webinars across the network, and began advising TREC clients in their DEI work. Some of you even heard one of her poems at a TREC leadership program.
Whether it was during a leadership program, on a webinar, or at your own organizational DEI trainings, Kellie has been listening to your needs and requests and leveraging our collective learning to benefit not only our network but our movement at large. We are entering year two of our DEI programming with tools and resources for your individual and organizational development, from reflective exercises to assessments to templates. Most importantly, year two offers additional opportunities to engage in the difficult but critical conversations that long-term change requires. We have utilized this road map to identify benchmarks for DEI-specific learning:
A Roadmap for DEI Leadership
In sharing and unpacking the roadmap, it was clear that the urgency of need for DEI services was not only real but increasing. Many of you expressed the need and desire to fully invest the time and resources into DEI in your organizational development. In response, TREC invested our time and resources to meet that need.
Now, under Kellie’s leadership, we have hired an additional staffer to work for Kellie and expand our capacity to offer DEI training and consulting. Vanessa López joined the TREC team on May 1. Vanessa comes to us from the conservation sector with additional background in management consulting, food justice, community organizing, and technology management. She is deeply grateful to serve the environmental community by sharing her skills and tools for developing a DEI lens, building capacity, and managing change. Environmental justice and community healing inspire her passion to lead. You can read Vanessa’s full bio here.
We are ecstatic to have Vanessa join the TREC team. We think you’ll gain much from her wisdom and experience as you continue on your equity journey.