By: Nancy Plaskett

September 30, 2019

At Slover Linett, we’ve had social justice work on the brain for quite some time now. For anyone who is on the same journey, you know it isn’t easy. Our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) process is being led by a committee of the staff, including me, and dedicated sub-groups have been grappling with key issue- areas, such as equitable research (which is core to what we do as social researchers), internal culture, external communications, and hiring and retention.

And to be honest, we’ve been struggling…because, let’s face it, this is complicated!

So we turned to Nina Sanchez and Ian Damont Martin at Enrich Chicago to help us to retrace our steps, start from the basics, and reflect together on our own personal identities — biases included. Nina and Ian led us through a two-day workshop, during which we participated in so many activities that were thought-provoking, honest, and vulnerable — in the best way.  It was a tremendous start to creating a “courageous space” to welcome each individual’s perspective and lived experience to the table. I got to know my colleagues on a whole different level personally and professionally. Had we not carved out the time and space to make this happen, that simply wouldn’t have happened to the same degree.

Continuing to dig into the firm’s collective commitment to EDI as a team will make our work as researchers and evaluators stronger for the communities we serve — the best reason for doing this and why it’s so critical. As Nina put it so powerfully, “Never lose sight that at the end of the day, the research is not just about benefiting the community – but also building accountability with the community.”

It’s not easy, folks. But it’s worth it. To all of you who have embarked on this difficult and courageous path, keep fighting the good fight. I’d love to continue the conversation with anyone who is willing to self-reflect, challenge my (and your own) assumptions, and “do the work.” Email me!


Photo: The Slover Linett Audience Research team participates in a social identity mapping exercise. Photo courtesy of Enrich Chicago. 

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