December 02, 2019

pov: REDI Reflection

Team UNA has been hard at work continuing our race, equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) journey.

As you may recall, we needed to have a clear understanding about our values, the language we used to describe the work that we do, and the ‘why’ around why it matters to be focused on REDI as an organization.

We took our previously identified values (which were random and not connected to anything) and refined their meaning and grouped them into 5 values. From there, we discussed some of the key components of each value. Then each of us took the lead on writing a values statement for one the values. Then we came together to share each of our statements. As a team we provided feedback, word-smythed each statement and came to an agreement on each. Then end result is that UNA now has a set of values that we will work from to inform how we engage with our members and how we represent the sector!

It was such a fascinating process and has reminded me (once again) how grateful I am to my team. In reflection of the process I have also come to realize that this started off as a values discussion on how we would engage in REDI work and has evolved into a framework on how we will integrate these values in our work. It reinforced what I knew, which is REDI can’t exist and thrive in a silo, but it must be part of operationalizing the work in everything that we do. 

Through reflection, I keep thinking back on something I have heard multiple times about this work: The mechanics of REDI is not the hardest part of the work. The people are the hardest part of the work. Why? Because we often get hung-up in our own stuff and inadvertently stall the process.

This may be way too simplified; however knowing that the mechanics are the easiest part and the people are the hardest part here’s what I’d recommend as you embark in this work:

  • Do some self-reflection
  • Identify your own skills
  • Identify what your end goal is or at least have an idea for what your expectations are

As leaders it is so important that we all have the ability to understand our own strengths and gaps and that we know how to be confident in that space. Our hang-ups are often our own, so we need to deal with them so as not to project them on to our staff or coworkers. If we do the proper internal work then we can come together as a team to have these difficult conversations and grow together.

Too simple? Maybe. But my truth is that in removing emotion I have a greater ability to remain focused and to provide quality solutions that meet the needs of many.

I want to recognize that this work has many layers for UNA. I have only been sharing the internal work with the staff. At the board level we have been working on our Strategic Plan and REDI is a key component of that plan. Additionally, we have just been awarded a grant (thanks Goldman Sachs!!) to infuse and update our Nonprofit Organizational Credential (NOC) with REDI woven into each of the 9 courses. Over the next year we will train each of our NOC Subject Matter Experts, update the curriculum, and identify measurable REDI outcomes in each of the courses.

Next up for the staff journey in this process is that we will begin to view a REDI webinar series that our friends at the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits created. We have mapped out the 6 webinars and should be able to get through them by March.

The next twelve months is going to be jam packed with REDI for UNA. So please stay tuned to our developments. It is a huge endeavor and one that I am proud to lead on.

UNA Shared Values and Statements:


We welcome all nonprofits by being nondiscriminatory, nonpartisan, and physically and digitally accessible.


We keep an active, open mind and demonstrate a willingness to explore new experiences and concepts; we seek first to understand and then to be understood.


We build community that values people over things and supports nonprofits, the people of Utah, and its resources.


We are accountable and strive to be truthful and transparent as we respectfully serve our community.


We recognize and celebrate the wealth of knowledge in our communities and seek solutions that work for everyone, while understanding our limited capacity and the important of reflection.