Pathways to Inclusivity: LOHF’s Journey

Our board and staff recently spent a day together to ask ourselves tough questions about implicit bias, micro-aggression, and racial equity. What we learned will help us each personally, and propel us to take LOHF’s mission of enhancing children’s behavioral health to the next level.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Our diversity positively influences perspective, and adds value. This includes diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, mental health, religious beliefs, political positions, and more.

Equity is when everyone receives the support they need. Understanding equity helps us direct resources for the greatest impact. It is motivated by the understanding that some people need more support than others. And equity matters in children’s behavioral health.

Inclusion is about accessibility. It’s making sure that all who want to participate can do so. It is thoughtfully considering how we can eliminate barriers to services for those who need them.

Creating a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion is an asset to our organization’s governance and management. Diversity, equity, and inclusion also impact mental wellness and access to behavioral healthcare, particularly for children. Therefore, our commitment to this movement furthers LOHF’s mission to enhance the well-being of Lancaster County kids.

Our vision

Our Board and staff are invested in growing personally and organizationally in our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’re dedicated to recruiting more diverse leadership. Our board and staff members have committed to broaden their networks to recruit talent unlike ourselves. We’re not checking off a box to say we’re inclusive. We want talented people, passionate about our mission, with diverse vantage points that are missing from our current team. And we’re committed to making their experience at LOHF positive.

Next steps

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are informing our current strategic planning process. We continue to look for our blind spots. We will engage with more diverse networks to recruit talent. We will evaluate how diversity, equity, and inclusion effect: access to behavioral healthcare, particularly for children; childhood trauma; and mental health stigma.

In addition, we hope to inspire other organizations to embrace this work. To that end, LOHF Executive Director Anna Kennedy will share LOHF’s continuing journey by co-presenting (with Tony Hernandez) Pathways to Inclusivity, at the Inclusion by Design 2.0 conference. We hope this will inspire others to embark on the journey as well.

We don’t journey alone

We’re deeply grateful to those who have inspired and guided our path so far. LOHF volunteer Fran Rodriguez asked us some tough questions in 2017. The same year our Board Chair, Shawn Barron championed the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work. Our executive director, Anna Kennedy, embraced the call to action and sought out Dr. Amanda Kemp for coaching. Our current board and its chair, John Walker, move us forward with our commitment with practical application. Tony Hernandez of Reflective Wisdom led us in a training series that profoundly influenced us personally, and organizationally. These things prepared us to reflect on hard questions with Tony’s help at our recent retreat. The retreat culminated with Dr. Deborah Davis taking us through Leadership Lancaster’s Racial Inclusion and Equity training.

You are welcome here

This journey has been timely, as four board members complete their terms this year. As we recruit their replacements, we welcome qualified persons of color and other diverse communities to apply. Please understand that we don’t seek token diversity. We need you. We need and value the skills, professional expertise, and experience that you will bring to the table. Your diversity only enhances these, adding a perspective that we currently lack.

If you are passionate about improving the mental well-being of Lancaster County kids, we invite you to learn more about our open board positions and committee needs. If you feel the tug to join us, we sincerely hope you will apply by reaching out to our executive director, Anna Kennedy.