As the CEO of DIAL, it is my responsibility, and an ideal I personally hold very dear, to advance the goal of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization I lead. I have great pride in our global team and the job we have to do to ensure digital access for all. That said, as is the case for many leaders in the development sector, I’m acutely aware of where we are falling short. This is only part of the reason why I have put advancement on our DEI goals at the top of my—and my leadership team’s—agenda for the months and years ahead. A true bright spot is that I do so with the full backing of DIAL’s board as well as the team itself.
Issues of fairness and equity run deep for me. When I was 10 years old, my father imparted the wisdom that “until you had walked in another person’s shoes you could not truly understand them.” He further told me to consider what I judged—outward appearances instead of character—and look for in each person what binds us together instead of what differentiates us. He emphasized that underneath all the things we see on the surface, we are each just human beings looking for love, family, connections and meaningful work.
I have carried these beliefs forward my whole life and tried my best to bring this fairmindedness to situations from the corporate world to global health. But over the past few years, I have faced the extent to which this belief and my actions have not lived up to my ideals. In the face of painful but necessary racial reckoning in my country, my organization and in digital development, I have had to take a step back to ask myself questions about the organization I lead: Does DIAL have sufficient practices in place to protect everyone? Have I been a true champion and advocate, using my voice and privilege to help others consistently? Have I failed to live up to the value I hold closest—making sure that others feel respected—no matter what they look like or where they live? My commitment is to redouble my efforts on these questions, and to lead DIAL to the next phase of the organization that addresses the clear concerns raised by our staff in this report.
My journey and my mistakes are not unique. In fact, they may be depressingly commonplace. I hope that the difference lies in how I personally and we as an organization embrace these mistakes, examine them carefully and move forward together to heal. I welcome this journey for DIAL and commit personally to continue to lean into and lead this change.