The Gift of Time

The greatest asset I have, the most important privilege is having faith and knowing on some level that no matter what, good or bad comes from the same source, so I don’t worry about the things I cannot change. I have been given instincts that have carried me through my career, and throughout my life. These instincts have been about knowing who to trust and who to avoid. The most compelling conviction I have had in all my time here in this small place called the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that it deeply cares, but lacks the moral conviction to do the right thing, for the people that it most wants to help. This is mostly due to structure and lack of leadership because the people we are most accountable to are our board members, not the people who are beneficiaries. The institution talks a lot about diversity and inclusion — and like each of us, is on a journey– but has let go/pushed/encouraged/helped women of color leave the institution in my tenure based on their lack of “fit” with the culture, norms and expectations of the role. I have seen people treated differently based on a composite of factors– not just race, but also ability, style, age, ambition and many other factors. The standards look very different based on who you are and what you look like. I know this discrimination is rampant and ongoing. What I don’t know is what responsibility I have to the people.

I will list the names of people who are a witness. They may ask that I remove their names but these are who I witnessed.

  1. S.M
  2. K.J
  3. K.m
  4. V. R
  5. V.F
  6. S.D
  7. D.H
  8. A.d

And now, another set of initials to add to this list. I hope that we find peace and positions that celebrate our contributions.

I feel sad that my contributions are constantly undervalued. That my name is rarely said. That even though I am a stakeholder in this work– as a mother of two young children under 4– on the Healthy Children portfolio, I am the only one asked to leave. I write this because our industry is broken, and I am the siren, calling out to the field. Look at retention.

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