Unique Summit Provides Direction for Government Relations Professionals in DEI
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Emily Bardach, WGR Executive Director
Monica Almond, WGR Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit Chair
Resource: Summit Workbook
UNIQUE SUMMIT PROVIDES DIRECTION FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS IN DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
WGR hosts first annual DEI Summit Virtually
Washington, D.C. - To promote awareness, understanding and action on diversity issues in policy work, Women in Government Relations (WGR), a 1100 member organization, concluded three days of a first-of-its kind virtual conference sponsored by WGR’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee Tuesday. More than 200 lobbying, association, and other professionals heard speakers on topics ranging from the historical roots of racism to ways to analyze legislation and programs for inclusiveness.
“The issues covered are part of our lived, daily reality now,” Monica Almond, of The Almond Group and co-chair of the Summit. “We must be aware of and examine the roots of the policies and outcomes of our government affairs work.”
Co-chair of the Summit Alpha Lillstrom Cheng of Lillstrom Cheng Strategies noted that the three days were organized around education on equity issues, self-discovery and ownership of issues, and practical application to policy advocacy and the workplace. “We built-in tools for how to be active in our daily work as well as personal activities,” she said, “and urged participants to create a personal DEI pledge as well as to identify the ‘first thing to do differently’.”
Practical analytical tools presented included a framework of multiple roles in successful social change presented by Deepa Iyer of Building Movement Project and Solidarity Is, and a model to analyze policy solutions for inclusive development and appropriate construction from Marlysa Gamblin of Bread for the World. A foundation of information included an historical review of race in America from Ruby Mendenhall of the University of Illinoi at Urbana-Champaign and an in-depth analysis of wealth inequality provided by Lillian Singh of Prosperity Now. “The agenda brought together international and national experts--as well as those whose daily environment is Capitol Hill--to encourage concerted action,” according to Larkin Willis, Mistress of Ceremonies for the event. “It was challenging as well as invigorating to hear the discussions of personal challenges as well as larger social concerns that government relations professionals must consider.”
A second summit will be planned for next year.
Women in Government Relations (WGR) has been dedicated to advancing and empowering women for over 40 years, by fostering professional development and growth opportunities through a community that supports women’s leadership in government relations. Learn more and join us at www.wgr.org. You can also follow us on Facebook.