The Junior League of Cincinnati is committed to embedding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) into our organization. As stated by the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), “We must be intentional and proactive in our actions to build Junior Leagues that prioritize the creation and maintenance of a culture with a strong sense of belonging for the good of the community, the wellbeing of our society, the strength of our relationships, the magnitude of our impact, the scope of our visibility, the quality of our leadership, the reality of our relevance and our essence as human beings.”
During annual planning, we included a strategic priority around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) notes: “We believe that purposefully including DEIB perspectives in our work and in our decision-making will lead to better outcomes in our communities. JLC strives to embrace all women who value our mission, as we continue to expand and build an inclusive and equitable membership that reflects our community.” Our initiatives in DEIB are woven into our Executive Management Team and Councils annual plans, with a key result area focused on Belonging. As a membership organization, we must be a place where women feel welcome, engaged and respected across all intersections of age, race, religion, orientation and otherwise.
The key responsibility of the DEIB Committee is to help build a long-term plan to drive inclusivity throughout our League so we can best support our members and the communities in which we serve. This is achieved through training, experiences, and education.
We checked in with a few of our DEIB committee members on what motivated them to join the committee and why they are interested in seeing DEIB centered in the League.
“Moving to Ohio has made me more aware of my own identities, and I think involving myself in more DEIB based work will help me as a person, no matter what space I am in. I am interested in seeing DEIB take form in subtle ways that do not require extra initiatives or projects. I am really curious and hopeful that we will be able to take existing practices or events and approach them with a DEIB lens, resulting in being more inclusive and inviting.” – Jennifer Abdullah
“Our mission is to develop the potential of women and our communities; to do this fully, we must understand and authentically honor the diversity of our city and all its neighborhoods. The DEIB Committee provides a critical role in promoting an awareness of DEIB principles and practices, and supporting the application of that awareness, in the work that we do – and nothing is more exciting to me than this type of impact! I also believe that if we create a culture that fosters a sense of belonging and dignity for all individuals, our membership will thrive both in terms of impact and connection.” – Jenny Mauch
Having committee members who are deeply committed to this work will help us on our journey to continue to build more equitable experiences for our members and help us to better serve the communities we interact with. DEIB Chair and JLC Board Member, Amber David, says, “This year we are focused on maintaining the momentum of past DEIB work by promoting education and application. We’ll accomplish this by meeting with each JLC committee and helping them to establish 1-2 ways that they can infuse DEIB into their work this year.” In talking with committees, DEIB considers “Place, People & Partners” as the framework of these discussions. A great example of this came from meeting with the Finance committee when planning for the “Budget Your Way To Financial Freedom” workshop being planned for December 7; They brainstormed ideas on how to include DEIB-related topics including: social justice investing, charitable giving on a limited budget, and spending intentionally (women-owned/minority-owned businesses). During the latter half of the year, DEIB will continue the committee strategy sessions. They’ll also partner to interweave DEIB into training and education. For example, the January GMM and February small group sessions will be an immersive experience that invites members to explore the history of Cincinnati related to cultural clashes and the resulting learnings that we can all incorporate.