Message from LeadingAge CA President and CEO Jeannee Parker Martin
Engage Magazine Fall 2021

From the CEO: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access

By Jeannee Parker Martin, President and CEO, LeadingAge California

Earlier this year, LeadingAge California launched its bold Equity Initiative, under the direction of Donna Murphy (HumanGood) and Jerry Brown (Covia/Front Porch), staffed by Meghan Rose, General Counsel and Director of Social Impact Initiatives and Housing Policy, and supported by grants from the Archstone Foundation, California Health Care Foundation and TELACU. 

At our virtual Annual Conference in May, we began the hard conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our keynote panel represented the diversity of our membership – age, position, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, provider segment, and geography. Each person highlighted the myriad ways they had been impacted by these issues. There are many ways to discuss DEI, and as you will see in this issue’s articles, this also includes consideration of ‘access’ (DEIA).

There were many takeaways from this dialogue from leaders like Larry Minnix (former CEO of LeadingAge), Christina Cerrato (Episcopal Communities & Services), Joseph Pritchard (California Masonic Homes), Kendra Roberts (HumanGood), Lynda Tanner (VNA Health), and others. One point in particular was to ‘have the hard conversation’ and to recognize how people ‘show up’ based on who is in the room. The hard conversation isn’t just how many people you have on your staff, but how you integrate DEI across all segments of your organization, including your resident/patient population. 

LeadingAge California is encouraging our members to have these awakening conversations, to watch for and use materials and information on our new Equity Initiative site, and to join with us to encourage diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of your organization.  

It’s not just about the numbers, but how you encourage the conversation, support hiring with intention, and develop policies and practices that support DEI at levels of your organization. We are here to lead and support your efforts.