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Recording available: Third UCOP Leading Toward Equity session

Charlie Robinson. Marie-Ann Hairston and Günther Waibel

Charlie Robinson. Marie-Ann Hairston and Günter Waibel

Thank you to those who joined us for our third Leading Toward Equity session. Hosted by the Office of Workplace Inclusion & Belonging and Internal Communications, this is a series of unscripted conversations with leaders across UCOP on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and our efforts toward becoming an anti-racist organization.

The Leading Toward Equity series has a central premise: Becoming an anti-racist organization is a journey that will take time and continual effort; there is not a single group or office within UCOP that is solely responsible for that journey or for advancing a culture of EDI at UCOP.

The Sept. 15 session featured Charlie Robinson, general counsel and senior vice president, Legal Affairs, and Marie Hairston, associate vice president of Systemwide HR Strategy and Staff EDIB. The session was moderated by Günter Waibel, associate vice provost and executive director at the California Digital Library (CDL).

Marie, Charlie and Günter began by sharing how they identify in life and how these identities influence the way they show up at work — including a virtual fist bump as fellow introverts. Throughout the conversation, Charlie and Marie shared intimate stories and candid insights on how systemic bias and racism have personally affected them and the importance of self-care. They proposed ideas for how we can commit UCOP to make long-term progress towards EDI and anti-racism best practices, which defy simple solutions. The session concluded with a staff Q&A session in which the speakers provided additional insights and guidance in response to staff questions.

Watch the recording here (Box login required)

Session highlights

Marie Hairston on who she is and how it influences how she shows up at work

“My personal life drives how I show up at work. You may have noticed that I don’t identify as an associate vice president or a human resource professional though I hold those roles. [All the identities and values that I hold] personally is how I come into work. I hope that what I bring into the office as an HR professional, as an associate vice president, [are] compassion, honesty, equity and fairness — all of which are huge for me.”

Charlie Robinson on systemic bias

“I tell people who are early in their careers that it really requires a balanced perspective. We all get criticism. I think for people who are African American or another nontraditional professional, it’s difficult to discern what might be legitimate criticism or opportunities for growth and what might simply be racism. And it’s important to know the difference between the two and how you respond.”

Marie Hairston on how we commit ourselves for the long term in our efforts to become an anti-racist organization:

“It’s critical for me to keep in mind that it’s important to continue to listen to people; to continue to hear why people struggle… Particularly in our current environment, where we can feel that things are going backward.

[For every time that I] say that there are racist environments at OP — for Charlie and I to say that — there will be two other people, right here at OP, who will tell you that it is not true. Either they don’t experience it, don’t know what it looks like, haven’t heard it, or it’s too hard to acknowledge.”

Charlie Robinson on the importance of having UCOP community conversations that address discrimination:

“Apropos of feeling some responsibility, I’m at a point in my career and a level in this organization where I can speak about things candidly. And I feel an obligation to do so because then it gives others a license to do so. We need to have this conversation and Marie and I are, frankly, well-positioned to have it.”

Günter Waibel on allyship:

“[Listening to you] calls forth the recognition and acknowledgment of what your world looks like and what you navigate, and a deep, deep desire and wish for me to learn how to be a better ally to you. That’s what comes up in my heart here as I listen to you. To ensure that I’m the person who doesn’t find it too hard to go there and sit with these questions that you have no choice sitting with. I need to make that choice.”

Check out the first Leading Toward Equity sessions

Session 2: Rachael Nava, Paul Williams and Shirley Bittlingmeier

The May 10 session featured Rachael Nava, executive vice president and chief operating officer and Paul Williams, associate vice president and chief procurement officer. The session was moderated by Shirley Bittlingmeier, executive director, IT Client Services, Information Technology Services.

Watch the May session recording or read the May session summary in Link

Session 1: Pamela Brown, Van Williams and Andenet Emiru

The Feb. 15 session featured Pamela Brown, vice president of Institutional Research and Academic Planning, and Van Williams, vice president of Information Technology Services and chief information officer for UC. The session was moderated by Andenet Emiru, director of external partnerships and projects at the Center for Data-driven Insights and Innovation.

Watch the February session recording or read the February session summary in Link

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