Agency for Change- Maggie Wood, Executive Director and Cammy Watkins, Deputy Director at Inclusive Communities » KidGlov

Announcer:

Welcome to Agency for Change, a podcast from KidGlov that brings you the stories of change-makers who are actively working to improve our communities. In every episode, we’ll meet with people who are making a lasting impact in the places we call home.

Lyn Wineman:

Hey everyone. This is Lyn Wineman, president of KidGlov, and welcome to another episode of the Agency for Change podcast. Now, I would love to start off with a quote. You all know how much I love quotes, and that is, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference,” and I think this is the perfect introduction for two phenomenal leaders at Inclusive Communities. Welcome Maggie Wood, executive director and Cammy Watkins, deputy director. These two ladies are at the pinnacle of being inspiring and an active change in our community. Maggie and Cammy, I’m so excited to talk with you today and learn more about the great impact you are making on the world.

Maggie Wood:

Hi Lyn. Thanks for having us.

Lyn Wineman:

Hi, Maggie.

Maggie Wood:

Hi. So excited to talk with you.

Lyn Wineman:

Cammy, great to talk with you again. I should mention Cammy and I think this is our 55th episode of the podcast and you are our first repeat performance, so it’s great to have you back.

Cammy Watkins:

That’s exciting. Thank you.

Lyn Wineman:

It is. Now I want to go back to the very beginning. Maggie, can you tell me a little bit more about the history of Inclusive Communities and also just a bit about the mission and the vision of the organization.

Maggie Wood:

Absolutely. Inclusive Communities, wow, there’s quite a history here. We were founded in 1938 and I think that always shocks people when they’re like, “Wow, you all have been around for so long.” In 1938 here in Omaha there was a group of individuals that were talking about boycotting a Jewish owned business here in Omaha and there were a group of local leaders who refused to be bystanders.

Maggie Wood:

So one of our founders, Otto Swanson, who was the owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company was visited in his office by local fellow businessmen and he listened with growing disbelief while the man told him of the formation of an organization in Omaha, which would promote a secret boycott of Jewish owned businesses. Then the group would encourage patronage to the benefit of Swanson’s store because it was Christian owned.

Maggie Wood:

So after Otto Swanson was like, “Bye, thanks for playing,” he sat back and he considered what had just occurred and he was quoted, I know you love quotes, Lyn. He was quoted as saying, “I couldn’t believe anything like that could happen. Not in the United States and certainly not in Omaha.” So he was really committed to the cause of working toward human understanding and the element that he knew would contribute to the end of religious and racial bigotry.

Maggie Wood:

So along with W. Dale Clark, Milton Livingston and other local businessmen, they got together and they established a local chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. So we were started in 1938 as the NCCJ and now here we are, 84 years later, 83 years later. I’m not good with math, off the top of my head.

Lyn Wineman:

I’m sure somebody is doing that math in the background, but that’s good for me.

Maggie Wood:

So we have grown and changed and now as an agency, our mission is to confront prejudice, bigotry and discrimination, which is a very lofty mission. I will say though, that as lofty as it is, it certainly grounds us every day and every interaction that we have with individuals and in the community. Our vision as an agency is that we envision a society that is strengthened by diversity, inclusion, respect, and justice for all people. So, that’s one of the things that we do with our work is really try and meet people where they are. So we’re working on it.

Lyn Wineman:

Maggie, I think that, that is just, it’s a beautiful example of the power of one person standing up and saying, “This is wrong,” and taking action. I think that’s such a great example. I do want to clarify, you were not there on the ground floor of the formation of this organization, correct?

Maggie Wood:

That is correct. I do have a really good facial regimen going on right now, but no. Cammy and I have been there. I’ve been there for five years at Inclusive Communities and Cammy is…

Cammy Watkins:

It’s been four years. So yeah, it’s four years. It’s four and a half for me.

Lyn Wineman:

I know you’ve seen a lot in that time span and I want to take a second to say, I love the name of the organization, Inclusive Communities, and I understand that it’s communities and it’s plural for a reason. Cammy, can you just give me a high overview of why it’s plural and then some of the programs that you offer to these communities?

Cammy Watkins:

So I think a lot of times people assume community and you think, oh, well that’s all-encompassing of everyone, but we recognize that we have a vision of a society that strengthens diversity. We have to acknowledge that within our city, within even our neighborhood, there’s various communities and cultures that are part of that. So it’s just acknowledging that we are talking about multiple communities and that it’s inclusive of all of those, including, and, and yes.

Cammy Watkins:

So we often in our organization talk about yes and as opposed to yes, but. So that’s where that plural in communities comes from.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s fantastic.

Cammy Watkins:

Of the programs that we have, there are … So we serve not only … We really started our foundational program was around high school students and youth programming. So that’s what we really became known for and that is ultimately our high school camp, which is a four day residential camp for high school students.

Cammy Watkins:

Now also we’ve expanded it to freshmen in college because that kind of learning and growth happens both in that freshman year, as well as while you’re in high school and there’s kind of similar levels of learning to learn from and learn with each other. So that became the catalyst for everything that we do. So our youth programming expanded into adult and business programming, which is a good bulk of the work that we do.

Cammy Watkins:

So we do everything ranging from consulting of organizations of executive directors, as well as board leadership for those organizations that are really seeking to push more into how do we be more equitable and inclusive and diverse. Then we also do foundational workshops around identity and bias and language, inclusive languages in so many spaces. Then we also do leadership programs and professional development. So it’s customizable to what a business or organization and even governmental agency might be interested in doing.

Cammy Watkins:

So that’s kind of our adult programming. It’s all encompassing of educators as well as business nonprofit and governmental agencies. Then our community programming, which is our table talk series. So we do have a service mark on table talk for the state of Nebraska and we’ve been working with partners across the states, but in particular we have … One of our favorite partnerships around the table talk series is our Queer Table Talk series, which we do with organization based out of Lincoln called OutNebraska and they do a lot of education for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

Cammy Watkins:

So we do a quarterly series with them called Queer Table Talks, where the conversations are specifically directed around individuals in the queer community and issues, intersectional issues. We had one on faith and sexuality, which was really beautiful and then one about trans women. As we know, there’s several trans women that are being murdered every year since. So it’s just talking about what are the issues and the joy as well of each of these different communities. So lots of different entry points for individuals, but that’s kind of the big overview. It’s youth, adults, and then community,

Lyn Wineman:

You know, what you do is so very comprehensive and you said so many good things there. I wrote down the word mind stretch, and I love the whole idea of mind stretch around diversity, equity and inclusion, because I think that so many of us maybe prior to last year felt like as long as I’m not doing harm, I’m doing okay, but I think our minds have been stretched into realizing that, okay is not okay. We need to work harder. I have to give a shout out too to our friends at OutNebraska and Abby Swatsworth who’s also been a guest on the podcast.

Lyn Wineman:

A great organization that’s doing some really, really good work in our community. So speaking of good work, Maggie, I hear that you have a big event coming up. The Humanitarian Brunch Situation in July. First of all, I love that name. That is so intriguing. Can you tell us a bit more about that event?

Maggie Wood:

Yeah, absolutely. The name itself, it’s not really the brunch, it’s sort of like last year when we were doing some stuff and revamping it for COVID, it became the situation. It’s a virtual event, but it’s one of those virtual events that you don’t have to be on time for. You don’t have to even show up in front of your computer a certain time and not have your screen on, but be in community with other people. This is an event that will go live on July 18th of this year, 2021 and it will remain viewable on our website.

Maggie Wood:

We also have some additional media pieces that we’re rolling out at the same time. So this will be our second year of celebrating our Humanitarian Brunch online. So we’ve just been referring to it as the situation, knowing that eventually we’re going to go back to being in person.

Maggie Wood:

Someday we’re going to have to account for all of this change and really try and make sense of what worked and what didn’t. So last year when we were in the throes of the pandemic, gathering in person and fundraising and awards event just wasn’t possible. So this year we recognize that not everyone is comfortable with in-person events just yet. So we’ve kept the online format. We did see the stats that over 63% of Nebraskans have received at least one shot of the vaccine.

Maggie Wood:

So that makes us hopeful that we’re truly coming to the end of this pandemic, but we thought one more year, we’ll do this online and we’ll try and figure out how we can do it better. July 18th, coincidentally is also National Ice Cream Day. So when you donate to the brunch or to the event of Inclusive Communities, you’ll receive a couple of pints of specialty, brunch-themed ice cream from local business eCreamery. So that’s part of the packages that go along with that as well.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh my goodness. That is a great offer. A great idea. Already my mind is spinning on brunch-themed ice cream. So real quickly, how does one sign up for, or find out more information about this event, Maggie?

Maggie Wood:

So if you go to our website, www.inclusive-communities.org, there is information there on our donation page, and it’s also in our Instagram bio, if you’re an Instagram follower as well. So that’s one of the ways that you can find out more information on that. The other thing, and I know you’re going to ask, because everybody wants to know about those awards that we give. Yes, and I’ll let Cammy talk a little bit about this, but we are looking for some recommendations for some stories for one of our awards. There’s an opportunity to fill out a brief form there too.

Lyn Wineman:

Ah, great. Yes, Cammy, tell us more about this because my understanding is you’re not only spotlighting, but you’re going to be honoring people in the community for their humanitarian work and volunteer service. So yeah, give us a sneak peek into that.

Cammy Watkins:

So each year we have three annual awards. It’s our Humanitarian of the Year, our Partner of the Year and our Volunteer of the Year, but this year in particular, because it’s 2021 and with all of the things that occurred with the pandemic, but also the racial awakening in our community, we felt, we needed one more award this year. So this is the inaugural year of our Necessary Trouble.

Lyn Wineman:

Whoa, I like that. Necessary Trouble. Who is in marketing over at your organization that is coming up with these great names?

Maggie Wood:

Hey, that’s the benefit of inclusivity. You have so much more creativity. Everyone is really involved on our team in decision-making. So that was one of those pieces, one of those gems that bubbled up that way.

Lyn Wineman:

That is fantastic. I want a Necessary Trouble award. That’s really ingenious.

Cammy Watkins:

So we’re super excited to announce that one and I don’t know, I feel like I’m going to lead the winner of our Necessary Trouble. You have to tune in on our website on July 18th, but our Volunteer of the Year, this year is Alexis Sherman. She’s actually the director of diversity and multicultural education, College of St. Mary. So phenomenal human being, wonderful individual in the work that she’s been doing there and our Partner of the Year, as we mentioned, our favorite table talk with OutNebraska, our partner’s OutNebraska.

Lyn Wineman:

Oh, that’s fantastic.

Cammy Watkins:

So super exciting for that. Then what we’re … As Maggie was teasing, the Humanitarian of the Year this year, we decided to recognize essential workers. It just became so important in the work that they’ve been doing and those individuals are unsung heroes and those folks that have been behind the scenes keeping our every day moving and they didn’t have the privilege to work from home as many of us have that opportunity.

Cammy Watkins:

So we are acknowledging all essential workers, but what we’ve asked for is for folks that they have friends, family colleagues in their life, or just individuals that are their main essential workers in their life that they want to nominate and tell the story of why that person should be recognized and we’ll be highlighting a few individuals through video, kind of video honoree opportunities.

Cammy Watkins:

So we’re asking people to just go onto our website and also we’re really fortunate that KETV has been a partner with us. So they’re also taking submissions of individuals for our Humanitarian of the Year highlight essential workers.

Lyn Wineman:

That is all fantastic. So once again, people can share their stories by coming to your website, inclusive-communities.org, right?

Cammy Watkins:

Correct.

Lyn Wineman:

All right. Fantastic. Share those stories because yes, healthcare workers deserve all the recognition and all the thanks that we can give them because they’ve really been through it. So on the topic of COVID, I’ve chatted with quite a few leaders of organizations and have heard so many stories of COVID forcing organizations to evolve in how they reach people and host events. Maggie, can you talk with us a bit about how you have shifted. I know the Humanitarian Brunch is going to be done virtually, but what are some of the other shifts that maybe you have seen in this event and just overall?

Maggie Wood:

I would say COVID did force a lot of folks to really take a look at where we were doing things effectively and where there were challenges. I really feel like Inclusive Communities remains ahead of the curve sometimes on some of this stuff too, because we used to have a big fundraising gala. Then we realized that we were really looking for a fundraising space that we could bring together our volunteers, our awardees, our friends, our donors, all in one space. So a formal gala didn’t feel like the right setting for that, for us and who we were as an agency and who we were becoming.

Maggie Wood:

So we had already reoriented that piece to a brunch and it was really more about a community celebration and who doesn’t love brunch too? So that was one of those things. Our mission, when we’re celebrating diversity and bringing people together in community, we’re always looking for an inclusive space to that, a more inclusive way to do all of the things that we’re doing.

Maggie Wood:

So when I think about how we readjusted the pieces to get online and really working virtually from the agency perspective, at the beginning of the pandemic, we really knew that this was going to highlight the inequities that we were seeing and as Cammy was mentioning earlier about honoring those essential workers. So it’s not just healthcare workers, it’s the grocery store workers.

Maggie Wood:

It’s the folks that are working at gas stations and restaurant workers, civil servants, you name it. There is so many folks out there that were really keeping the community moving, who, like we said, didn’t have that opportunity. So how we are constantly looking for ways to make our space more inclusive, the online aspect of it. We were all Zoomed out too.

Maggie Wood:

I was like, “Oh my gosh, I have to get on my computer again at six o’clock tonight?” I love the organizations and I loved a lot of that work, but we really started to look at like, how do we do this so people can just get up at two, see the same thing that people at 10:00 AM saw and really work to highlight the stories of the folks that we’re honoring. That’s more important to us than any of the other pieces.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s amazing. Another great example of how you have adapted and how you are creative as an organization, and I really do appreciate that. So most people in the Omaha area either know, or have at least heard of Inclusive Communities, but I’d love to hear in your own words, what is the impact that the organization has had on the landscape of Omaha and Cammy, let’s start with you first.

Cammy Watkins:

Yes. So Inclusive Communities, I really see us as that kind of silent convener. In organization that elevates the perspectives and experiences of community members who may not often be given a platform. So I hope one of the things that people most know about us or see in what we’ve had an impact on the Omaha landscape is truly changing who is a value, who should be a leader, who should be seen as a story or an experience that should be brought to your business.

Cammy Watkins:

So we have our Speaker Series and we’ve been bringing in educators and community activists to go and speak at large companies about their personal experiences, but also the research and the work that they’ve done. Most notably our Inclusivity Program, which has been around for over 20 years now and some of the alumni of that program are doing amazing things including right now, Precious Brady-Davis, who is launching her book tour on August 1st. Omaha is going to be her first city. She currently lives in Chicago, but she attended Inclusivity Camp back in the 2000s and in her book, there is actually a chapter about the impact that inclusivity had in her life as she started to take her journey as a trans woman and experiences here going to school in Omaha and then becoming a national speaker for the trans community and being part of a trans power couple in Chicago right now, and also being a new mother.

Cammy Watkins:

So all of those things. It’s so wonderful to hear individuals like that and it just takes one person, but to see something and experience, that’s the shortest four days, but the impact that it can have on the lives of people. So I think that’s the way in which we’re changing the landscape is that we’ve helped people see their value in, not empower because I feel like empower is like me giving it to them, but step into the power that they’ve always had and know that they can use that to move mountains in whatever sphere that they can have influence upon.

Lyn Wineman:

That is amazing. It’s got to be really rewarding to see that come full circle. Maggie, I’m really interested now too. I’d love to hear a few words from you on the impact of the organization.

Maggie Wood:

I’ll just really reiterate something that Cammy said earlier in that, this sort of leads into when I think about where we have shifted Inclusive Communities in the last number of years, if we started to address what the community needs are. Because we had been doing inclusivity in any town was another iteration of that camp. For high school students, we have such wealth of individuals that were willing to share their stories from when they had gone through camp and how transformational it was. Then now coming back as an adult and actually sharing with us where things were sticking in their workplaces.

Maggie Wood:

Something that we say all the time is that Inclusive Communities has been getting these students ready for the world and now it is our job to get the world ready for these students as they come into power, as they come into their career cycles where they’re really vocalizing the values that they shared with us and that they’ve shared with their folks that they went to camp and they have built these lifelong relationships with.

Maggie Wood:

So that’s where we really saw the need for us as an agency to step up our game, because it wasn’t just enough to create that space for those students. We had to continue to create that space, which is why we’ve really expanded our business programming opportunities. Then in the last five years, that’s increased by over 500%.

Maggie Wood:

So the need has been there. We’ve known that it’s always been there. So that’s one of the ways that I feel like we’re chipping away at the landscape in order to create a space for it, but again, like Cammy said, it’s in partnership, not only with the folks that we’re working with, but with the students as well.

Lyn Wineman:

That’s amazing. I do have to say on your business programming, I have talked with a lot of business leaders across Nebraska who have said, “We had Inclusive Communities come in and they did a workshop, or they did some training for us,” and people just really finding that to be very helpful. So kudos to both of you and your whole organization on that. I also want to say, you two are so inspiring, such a joy to talk to and honestly, it’s not every day that you get to have two people like you in the same conversation. I’d love to just hear more about each of your roles at Inclusive Communities and Cammy, let’s start with you.

Cammy Watkins:

So my role has really evolved and that’s one of the beautiful things about working for this organization is that we recognize that as the world evolves and grows and changes, so does the work that we have to do. So originally jumping in as the deputy director, it was looking a lot at how do we build our brand as an organization that doesn’t just serve youth, but also serves everyone that can touch diversity, equity and inclusion, and recognizing that DEI work should be the fabric of everything that we’re doing.

Cammy Watkins:

It’s already integrated. We always talk about equity and integrity and honesty and belonging in our businesses. We’ve always been talking about DEI, but we’ve not been intentional about doing it. So my role has always been around building the brand around what is DEI through the lens of Inclusive Communities, as well as pushing for that advocacy for policy and procedures and practices.

Cammy Watkins:

So when we talk about advocacy, it’s not just in politics, but also just in our internal functioning and culture development. So I get to spend a lot of time communicating and meeting with lots of people, being parts of different coalitions in organizations, and then also partnering with my work wife here and co leader, Maggie Wood, just thinking big and putting the big picture of what’s the impact that we want to have on this community and what can we bring with our expertise and knowledge and just this culture of collaboration that we bring as an organization to broaden that to all areas of the work that we do.

Lyn Wineman:

That sounds like a lot of fun. How about you Maggie? Tell us a little bit more about what your role looks like as executive director.

Maggie Wood:

I would say that there’s a lot of emails. I get a of emails. What an incredible time to be in a role such as this at this time in this place. I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to work for a place like Inclusive Communities and to work alongside folks like Cammy and the rest of the folks on our team. I appreciate you telling us that we’re great leaders. I will also say it’s the team that we work with that really helps us be able to even take time out to have conversations about it because it’s a lot of work.

Maggie Wood:

So I will say my role again, like Cammy’s has shifted since she has started. Mine has as well, and we’re looking forward to really formalizing the co-leadership model that Cammy and I have naturally fell into the groove of in a way that, and you’re hearing it here first, everyone. So what does that look like in the near future where we’re really elevating the partnership that she and I have created together, because this work takes a complex view and it’s required to be thoughtful about everything from operations and programming to fundraising and the culture within the agency. So we’re really looking at how many folks does it take to really lead this and we’re really happy to be moving in that direction.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that idea of co-leadership. I mean, talk about being inclusive, but letting each of your strengths and talents round out the leadership of the organization seems like a really smart idea. So I’m curious, so Maggie, did you always want to work at a nonprofit dedicated to social justice?

Maggie Wood:

I didn’t know places like this existed. I am from rural Illinois. I was living in Chicago and was transferred here by the company I worked for as a general contractor that built the federal courthouse that went up downtown. So I have actually been involved in the landscape of the community in a building. So I was only supposed to be here for three years. It was a quick in and out. So I really fell in love with Omaha at that time, and at one point in my life, I was not happy about my life and a friend of mine astutely told me, “I don’t like you when you don’t like your job.”

Maggie Wood:

So I finished my drink and then I went to look for another job. So Cammy and I have had the opportunity to know each other for a long time too. So my first nonprofit job was actually working at Head Start and Cammy was also there at that time. So we met 15 years ago in that iteration of our lives and then have sort of been around each other throughout the next 10 before we started working together again.

Lyn Wineman:

So, Cammy, you’ve been in nonprofits for a long time, but did you always picture yourself doing the kind of work you’re doing today?

Cammy Watkins:

100%, honest, no. I actually … When I set off, so I knew I wanted to do community service type work, service industry, non-profit work, but I thought I was going into arts administration. I loved the opera and I loved what it had done for me as a high school student. I think it’s interesting when you think about Tena Hahn-Rodriguez, one of our staff members, managers in the organization says, “That as a youth, there’s always an adult that you identify and then that’s the person that you try to emulate as you get older.”

Cammy Watkins:

For me, it was the executive director of Opera Omaha, Jane Hill. So I just loved the impact and the value that she gave to me. So while probably that would fall into social justice, because it was a community outreach program that the opera had with Omaha South High School where I graduated, go Pack, and I thought, okay, this is the work. I can have an impact on people’s lives.

Cammy Watkins:

So when I stumbled my way through from Head Start, which was my first job out of college, and that’s when I first crossed paths with Maggie and then kind of moved. I did eventually get to go into arts administration and realized that’s actually not where my passion lies. It was in supporting families and community members in whatever way and it’s kind of obvious in my almost 20 years, there wasn’t one lane that I had determined was supposed to be in mind. It was just whatever lane where I felt I was having the greatest purpose and the greatest impact on the lives of the community that I lived in, have grown up in and that I love.

Lyn Wineman:

Well good for you for recognizing that and making that shift. So another question for the two of you, it would seem like it would be a miss to have leaders of your organization here talking with me and not ask you what advice you have for Omaha leaders on how they can create a diverse and inclusive place to work. I’m wondering, Maggie, could we start with you? What can we be doing better as business leaders in the community?

Maggie Wood:

Well, this is a tough one, because again, we try to meet folks where they are. So I generally have a lot of questions about where are you, what do you think? So I can really formalize an answer. I would say, the biggest thing for me as a leader in doing this work is, how do I not make it about me? How do I not make it about Maggie Wood? How do I not make it about what I need, but it’s really about what this community needs and what this team needs.

Maggie Wood:

I noticed for some people, they’re like, “You can’t put aside your own needs,” but my needs are their needs as well. So having folks around that are really able to feel psychological safety and sharing how they feel about things is really, really important and that can only come when you’re vulnerable in your own life as well. So I would just ask folks to really just show up as yourself and listen to the people around you.

Lyn Wineman:

I love that because it’s also probably the most inclusive answer you possibly could get. I’m seeing some consistent themes here. Cammy, how about you? What advice do you have for people?

Maggie Wood:

Just kind of building off of what Maggie said. It’s really actively listen to the people you are leading and engaging with in your organization and not just listen, but include the things that you’re hearing and recognize that your employees and the staff and the team that you have, they’ve chosen you just as much as you’ve chosen them and you really have a duty to honor that and recognize that they’re a part of, as a collaborator in this work, whether it’s the person that’s doing your facilities management, cleaning your bathrooms, or if it’s the vice-president of your finance department.

Maggie Wood:

When we affirm people and create those affirming environments for them to operate in, we are removing those barriers to brilliance. I heard a speaker once who said, “Let peoples weird show up.” When you let my weird come out, your freak flag fly. If you will, we’re allowing them to bring their whole selves, which brings the greatest creativity and the greatest innovation, which can create financial success for you as well as cultural success.

Lyn Wineman:

Absolutely. Since you brought up the word weird, one of the things we’re learning at KidGlov in our own DEI initiative is that people sometimes feel weird having conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. One of the things we’ve identified is we just need to start talking so that we stop feeling weird and uncomfortable about having these conversations. That seems like such a very basic level, but yet I can see where it can be very, very important as well. So we’ve talked about how I love quotes, and I’m inspired by quotes. So everybody who comes on the podcast, I ask them this question and Maggie, I’m going to start with you. So get ready. Could you give us a few of your own words of wisdom for our listeners, a Maggie original quote.

Maggie Wood:

I was reflecting on what’s something I say all the time to sort of assure folks, because we’re dealing with things that are bigger and that maybe haven’t been thought through before. We’re always on the cutting edge it seems like, or dealing with things ahead of time. Mistakes are going to happen. That’s the reality of the world. So how do we give up the idea around perfection and work towards progress are some of the biggest things that we can do to get through it.

Maggie Wood:

I would also say, and this is something that I have adopted from a former leader of mine that I greatly admired was, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. So really again, with leadership, with great acknowledgement comes great responsibility. So I really look at the work of inclusive communities and how, what a great responsibility it is for this community to have this opportunity.

Lyn Wineman:

Thank you for that. That’s fantastic. Cammy, how about you, and this is your second time around even. So give us a few original Cammy Watkins words of wisdom.

Cammy Watkins:

I know. Now I have to be super creative. Something that over the last few months and just the work that I’ve been doing with Inclusive Communities and then also just on the side while I was running a little side campaign there, I started to think … What really came up a lot for me was that it’s only impossible until it’s not. That there’s a lot of times when you talk about visions for the future or what we could experience or where we could go and what we should be doing.

Cammy Watkins:

A lot of folks jump into, “Well, that’s impossible, or we can’t do that.” We won’t know that it’s impossible until we try it, and realistically every hard thing that we’ve had in our life, whether it’s that hard conversation or that risk that we take, it’s only impossible until it’s not. So if we don’t try, we won’t know that we can’t do it.

Lyn Wineman:

Amazing. Thank you both of you. Those were both fantastic. So as we wrap up our time, for our listeners today who’d really like to learn more about your work, how to support you, more information about the event, how to share their stories, how can they find out more? Remind us one more time.

Maggie Wood:

Yes. So our website, inclusive-communities.org, there is an opportunity for you to tell us the story of an essential worker. That deadline for that is July 19th, or wait. No, it’s before that. It’s coming up here soon, but our website has also our brunch donation page. We’re also in the final week of our, the diversity applications. So that’s a really great opportunity to be part of a year long inclusive leadership program.

Maggie Wood:

Cammy mentioned, August 1st is the Precious Brady-Davis book tour and we’re going to be celebrating our past camper, Precious Brady-Davis and her memoir. It’ll be our first in-person community events since this pandemic. So we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back. There’ll be lawn games and the presentation by Precious and a book signing and that sort of thing, but our website, I would also say our social media as well.

Maggie Wood:

Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn are really great spaces. Facebook, we really share a lot of our views on what’s happening and what’s going on in the community. So that’s our most living and breathing opportunity to interact with us as well.

Cammy Watkins:

As well as we have our INCLUthink blog, which is each of our staff and sometimes some of our board members or volunteers will just … What’s on their mind around the social justice issues, current issues in the world. So you get to learn a little bit about each of us individually as well.

Lyn Wineman:

Of course, I love that. INCLUthink, very clever. I’m going to need to talk to somebody at your group about being a copywriter, I think for sure. Cammy and Maggie, this has been so much fun. As we wrap up our time together, what is the most important thing you each would like our listeners to remember about the work that you’re doing? Cammy, let’s start with you.

Cammy Watkins:

I think it’s important to recognize, no matter where you’re starting, it’s important that you start. This work around equity, diversity and inclusion, because it is a journey, it’s not a destination. Equity work is constantly evolving and if we take on the space of being a curious person who lives in a world of abundance and understands that we can grow from this stretch, these mind stretches and these discomfort that we can have and really truly the only time that we do grow and change is when we’re uncomfortable. So really pushing in that. So it doesn’t matter where you start, just get started.

Lyn Wineman:

Fantastic. Maggie, final words. Go to you.

Maggie Wood:

I would just echo and uplift whatever it was … I’m always like, what did Cammy think we should do? Let’s do that.

Lyn Wineman:

Always good advice, I think. Always good advice. Maggie and Cammy, thank you so much for your time today. I know you’re very busy, but I fully believe that the world needs more people like the two of you. Thank you for taking time to share with us and thank you for all the great work that you do

Maggie Wood:

Really appreciate it, Lynn. Thanks so much. It was great to talk to you.

Cammy Watkins:

Thank you.

Announcer:

We hope you enjoy today’s Agency for Change podcast. To hear all our interviews with those who are making a positive change in our communities or to nominate a change maker you’d love to hear from, visit kidglov.com, at K-I-D-G-L-O-V.com to get in touch. As always, if you like what you’ve heard today, be sure to rate, review, subscribe, and share. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

Download the transcription