By Sonia Garcia, GLADC Intern
Andrea Hansen is a founding member of the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council and has served in various capacities since 2007. Andrea is the program director of the Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP), a community engagement program of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at UW-L. SSP is a pre-college program which helps low-income single parents learn about the higher education options in La Crosse, and prepare for academic success.
Andrea began her time at UW-L in Continuing Education and Extension (CEE) where she was awarded a grant from UW-Extensin to address workforce diversity and inclusion. Through this grant, Andrea formed an advisory group which designed a series of community workshops, highlighting the need to to support workplace diversity initiatives and lift up the strengths and assets of the area’s changing demographics. The advisory group did not want to disband after the grants ended and, with lead sponsors and memberships, the Diversity Council was born.
Andrea feels fortunate to find a niche at UW-La Crosse that allows her to engage in community education and change work within an academic setting. SSP, CEE, and the the work of creating the Diversity Council reflect UW-L’s commitment to the “Wisconsin Idea,” the idea that the university should be active in solving problems that affect the quality of life of citizens of the state.
Like many of the other board members of GLADC, Andrea is active in numerous community initiatives, including the AAUW-La Crosse Branch and WINGS program for community women interested in going to college; helping to establish and provide leadership for Lugar de Reuion, an area resource for Spanish-speaking residents; working to raise awareness of issues related to aging, family caregiving, and the long term care workforce; and designing a ACT Prep Program for Hmong students that included family sessions and support. In 2011, Andrea received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Leadership Award in for promotion diversity and justice through education and advocacy. In 2014, she was recognized by the YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women program in the activist category.
After 10 years of helping launch and develop GLADC, Andrea continues to devote significant time to the Council, currently serving as our Treasurer. Andrea says she values how the Council has grown and transformed over the years. She reflected on the contributions each leader on the Board, and the past and current Executive Directors have made to increase the awareness and capacity of the Council. Positive energy for change comes from each member organization and individuals embracing the mission and vision of diversity, inclusion and equity.
Andrea hopes the Council will continue to build and grow. The increased level of total organizational buy-in is one aspect needed to increase our region’s ability to attract and retain a more diverse workforce. Andrea believes that workplaces can be great agents of change that have a positive impact on the wider communit. It is her hope that organizations and employers will embrace the values and practices that build open, inclusive, and equitable workplaces and lead to more just, creative, and healthy communities.
Are you interested in more in-depth training on diversity, inclusion, and equity for your organization? We are excited to announce a new resource available through the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council: our GLADC Affiliated Speakers Bureau. If you have attended our events, you’ll likely recognize these high-quality speakers: Ricardo Acevedo, Nizam Arain, Dr. Quincey L. Daniels, Amanda Goodenough, and Willem Van Roosenbeek.
We are so fortunate to have these excellent speakers who are willing to share their expertise on topics such as:
- Recruiting a diverse workforce
- The value of diversity to service organizations
- Combating hate and bias
- Effective sexual harassment prevention and response
- Creating an inclusive workplace or school for transgender, non-binary, and queer employees/students
- The macro effect of microagressions
- Multiracial identities in the workplace
- The language of inclusion
- Cultural competency
- Developing a positive school climate
Speakers serve area businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and community organizations.They provide in-depth information and strategies related to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce/team, educating members of your organization about cultural diversity and other forms of difference, addressing discrimination and unwelcoming behavior in the workplace, and creating a genuinely welcoming, inclusive, and productive environment in which people can work together to advance the mission of your organization.
The theme of this year’s GLADC Annual Conference is “Pro-Active Strategies for Inclusion in Today’s Workplace and Community.” Join us to learn from a broad array of expert speakers who will share best practices for: addressing hate and bias incidents, learning to be positive and proactive mentors and allies, developing and supporting inclusive leadership, and creating an LGBTQA-Friendly workplace.
Registration opens soon!
The conference runs from 8am-2pm on Nov. 2 at Lunda Center, Western Technical College.
Supported by the member organizations of the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council, with major support from Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, La Crosse County, Wal-Mart Distribution Center of Tomah, UW-La Crosse, and Workforce Connections.
What can you do, and what does federal law require you to do, to facilitate language access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) employees, patients, clients, and customers?
Michelle Pinzl’s illuminating GLADC Lunch and Learn presentation was packed with information and strategies on this topic. We learned about the potentially dire consequences of failing to provide trained interpreters in many situations, such as medical and legal circumstances, the reasons that family members should not be called upon to interpret, and the problems with undervaluing trained interpreters, or not knowing where to find them.
We also talked about starting points for organizations to prepare themselves to provide language access services.
For example, you might strategically consider the following questions for your organization:
· Who in our organization is limited English proficient (LEP)?
· In what situations do we or might we interact with LEP people? E.g. in what medical, legal, employee orientation, or customer service situations?
· To whom can we turn if we need an interpreter to manage any of these situations?
· What kinds of protocols can we create in our organization and how can we educate our employees about the legal and ethical necessity of qualified interpreters?
· In the course of serving and adequately communicating with all our employees, clients, patients and customers, what documents are most in need of translation and into what languages?
· Are we hiring people with language skills in order to serve patients, clients and customers in their first languages, and are we rewarding those skills in how we compensate those employees?
Beyond your organization, we can think about the following questions as a community:
· Can we create a central information-sharing resource to help organizations find interpreters, especially for languages of lesser diffusion?
· How can we celebrate language diversity?
· How can we educate others about language access and why it is important?
Photo courtesy of Community Interpreting Certificate at Viterbo University.
Michelle is working on a database with the hope that it will be eventually housed on Viterbo University’s Community Interpreting Certificate webpage. This database is meant to help people find professionally trained interpreters who effectively carry out interpreters’ codes of ethics and standards of practice. It also includes a short list of language service providers who can help in providing resources for over the phone or video remote interpreting. In the meantime, if you’d like to have a list of trained interpreters in the La Crosse area, you can contact Michelle directly at email@example.com
Join us to learn from a broad array of expert speakers who will share best practices for: addressing hate and bias incidents, learning to be positive and proactive mentors and allies, developing and supporting inclusive leadership, and creating an LGBTQA-Friendly workplace.
GLADC members receive a discounted registration fee.
Discounted registration fees are also available for students.
8:00-8:15 Welcome & Refreshments
Combatting Hate/Bias in the Workplace
Amanda Florence Goodenough, UW-La Crosse
No place is immune from hate, bias and everyday bigotry. Is your workplace ready to respond? What proactive measures can organizations take? How do we foster a workplace culture that resists bias and embraces inclusion? With these questions as the backdrop, this presentation will cover the basics of hate/bias response in the workplace, including:
• Defining and identifying hate/bias;
• Understanding the impact of hate/bias and the importance of addressing it;
• Grappling with the complexities and current issues surrounding hate/bias, and ultimately, exploring ideas for addressing bigotry and supporting those affected by it.
Life’s Lessons on Mentorship, Inclusion & Diversity
Jennifer Ingram, Mayo Clinic, Rochester
An interactive session designed to redefine diversity and expand understanding of inclusion, highlighting strategies and significance of mentorship within both the workplace and community. This session is intended to offer reflective awareness and actionable steps to aid in inclusive leadership capacity building.
11:15-11:30 GLADC Updates
Inclusive Leadership Panel
Moderated by Thomas Harris
Vince Hamilton, Ho-Chunk Nation
Sandy Littlejohn, Gundersen Health System
Tony Yang, School District of La Crosse
Panelists with strong inclusive leadership skills and experience will address questions about what inclusive leadership means to them and what kinds of leadership strategies it takes to move diversity and inclusion efforts forward in an organization while creating an inclusive environment.
Creating an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Workplace
Will Van Roosenbeek, UW-La Crosse
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and other people who fall under identities of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression deserve to be free from discrimination, bullying, and/or microaggressions. How do we make the workplace more inclusive for everyone? What things can you do to create change? This presentation will share tools to change your workplace.
1:30-2:00 Next Steps and Evaluations