Second Quarter 2020

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We are greatly disturbed and angry by the continued injustice taking place throughout our country and in our own community here in Central Ohio. We have struggled with what to say because there are no words that will make racism go away. However, what we can do, and what we are expected to do as Human Resources professionals, is to stand up and speak out about racism. Those who are fighting for justice and demanding change have our full support. 

As Human Resources professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure discrimination does not take place in the workplace. It is also our responsibility to call it out when we do see it. It is our responsibility to do what is right, even when no one is looking. 

We have a voice in our organizations and our community. Stand with us as we use our collective voice to speak for those who go unheard. We must hold our business and community leaders accountable to do everything they can to help end racism. 

We say it today, tomorrow and until we are all truly equal that Black Lives Matter.


In peace, 
HRACO Board of Directors

Being Tired, But Still Having Difficult Conversations

Dr. Melissa Crum

Mosaic Education Network

I’m going to be transparent. I’m tired. I’m tired of being worried about the safety of my Black son if he is mistaken for a criminal. That feeling is compounded by worries of safety measures to prevent our family from contracting COVID-19. I’m exhausted from trying to be a homeschool teacher, a working-mom, and supporting members of my African-American community who are disproportionately ill and dying from this pandemic. I’m also fatigued from being a critical voice. These conversations about race, power, and language, though exhausting, are important because Black people’s humanity is on the line. This is not hyperbole. 
These conversations have started with questions like the following:.
  • What court cases made police violence on citizens legal?
  • Why do many people erroneously believe protest and looting are synonyms?
  • If a small percentage of looting rioters discredits the entire movement, then what does a small percentage of bad cops do?
  • How does one differentiate community support for “good” and “bad” police officers?
  • How can we glorify first responders and essential workers, but when one is murdered in her home by police, there is little mention of her? Where is the outrage for Breonna Taylor? 
  • Why are some people concerned with the economic sustainability of businesses more than the treatment of human beings?
  • Why are people surprised that Amy Cooper is liberal? Why do people like Amy believe that differentiating themselves from the white people whose racism is more explicit is enough to be an ally?
The last question was the longest conversation. Many who identify as liberal or progressive believe that not acknowledging race grants them an elevated consciousness that transcends racialized identities. But since Amy knew what to say and how to say it when calling the police on Christian Cooper, she was fully aware of race —specifically her white female privilege and how to utilize law enforcement. This is the kind of white supremacy many don’t talk about. 
In order to interrogate white supremacy, it is important to determine if our actions align with being an ally or accomplice. I argue that an ally identifies with marginalized people’s inherent human value, respects their perspectives, and sees non-dominant people's lives as congruent to theirs. Allies educate themselves on social, economic, and political issues that affect non-dominant communities, and are open to being uncomfortable when faced with the possibility that they (knowingly or unknowingly) are implicated in systems and institutions of oppression. Allies don’t seek to save the marginalized, judge, become defensive when their motives are questioned, or believe that their amicable disposition will make racism, sexism, classism, or any other form of oppression dissipate. Allies understand that to operate out of ignorance is to collude with systemic oppressive structures that negatively impact the lives of marginalized communities. However, I am interested in a higher level of accountability to, cooperation with, and sacrifice for marginalized groups. 
Colleen Clemens discusses the differences between ally and accomplice, “An accomplice will focus more on dismantling the structures that oppress that individual or group—and such work will be directed by the stakeholders in the marginalized group. Simply, ally work focuses on individuals, and accomplice work focuses on the structure of decision-making agency.” 
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about the connection between individuals and structures in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 1963, “I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate…[T]he Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice...who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;’ who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom;...who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
We have seen peaceful protests: Kaepernick and other members of the NFL took a knee, Derrick Rose and other NBA players wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts, and actor Brandon Victor Dixon shared his concerns during a performance of “Hamilton.” Also, ironically, non-violent protestors from the Columbus Freedom Coalition were removed from the MLK Day breakfast in January. They were all told, in so many words, to wait for a more convenient season.
Not everything is convenient. But we must make time for conversations that expand our understanding. Friends, colleagues, and I participate in Mondays with Mosaic - a live weekly conversation about race, education, art and everything in-between. Guests and I have open dialogue about a variety of topics from managing vulnerability to defining feminism. Join us in conversations that expand our knowledge to be better accomplices.
Follow us on Instagram: @Mosaic_Education_Network Facebook: Mosaic Education Network
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JUNE 24, 2020
5 - 6:30 PM ET








Kelly Papenfus, MSSA, LISW-S, is an independently licensed social worker at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she assists in creating wellness presentations, workshops, and materials for employees. She is a trained, master level, counselor and has supported many groups of people, such as the employees at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, children, and adolescents.

In her free-time, Kelly enjoys teaching yoga and mindfulness. She is interested in art and using creative expressions for selfcare. If she is not on the yoga mat, you might find her walking her puppy, Scout, or sipping coffee next to her furry cat, Snap.

Tiffany Crosby is a business leader, life coach, instructor, author, wife, mother, and ordained minister through the Assemblies of God. She serves as a Marketplace chaplain, a Stephen Ministry leader, a member of Ohio Ministry Network’s Leadership Development Taskforce and is also actively involved in community initiatives that seek to unify and mobilize the faith-based community. She provides life coaching through her own company, Petra Learning LLC and is the Director of Learning at the Ohio Society of CPAs. She’s published two books - “The Power of Rest” in 2016 and “Trust the Process” in 2019.

Her favorite pastime is reading, preferably with a decaf vanilla latte or caramel macchiato nearby. In addition, Tiffany enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles with her daughter Monique, exploring nature solo or in a group, dancing, watching football and cultural adventures.

Cecily Cooper is an Associate Professor at the Miami Herbert School of Business. Her research interests include trust, trust repair, humor, and leadership. This research has been published in many leading Management journals and has received three national conference awards. Cecily has a keen interest in creating close partnerships with organizations when conducting research and focuses on providing value to these organizations. Cecily is an Associate Editor at Human Relations. In addition, she serves on the editorial boards of three major journals in the field of Management. She received her B.S. from the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida and her Ph.D. from the Marshall School of Business at the University of SouthernCalifornia.

Cecily is originally from Gulf Breeze, Florida and currently resides on Miami Beach with her twin daughters.

Compassionate Communication in Times of Change

Ashton Colby
Ashton is an LGBTQ+ diversity speaker, transgender man, and a trauma-informed yoga teacher who teaches mindfulness and compassionate communication.

Let’s take a deep breath.
This article will share several tips on how to mindfully manage anxiety, grief, and overwhelm while maintaining compassionate communication in times of rapid social change.
Here in the middle of June, Pride Month, we are experiencing a renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement. The heightened grief of inequality is being felt far and wide. It is important to remember that many of the conversations we are having are not merely at this moment, but are ongoing conversations to be had year-round.
It can be so easy to become disempowered by the constant stream of social media posts and newsroom videos about the state of our world. This can lead to anxiety, the overburden of our nervous system, even to feeling numb. Without even realizing it we can remain in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze when constantly ‘taking in’ the injustices of the world.
Maybe we are a marginalized person who wants to take empowered action, or we simply want to show up as an ally, but we don’t know how to move forward.
When we slow down our fight or flight response we can make choices and take action from a place of compassion instead of depletion. We get out of survival mode, into the present moment, and into our bodies. We then create space to pause and see all the available ‘next steps’ because we are in response mode instead of reaction mode.
If we are an ally: fear of saying or doing the wrong thing can often keep us from using our voices at all to make a positive change in the world. We might feel like we are walking on eggshells when the conversation comes up around diversity and inclusion if we are not a part of that particular group.
Language is ever-evolving but the need to remain open-hearted, speak from a place of vulnerability, will never fail.

3 Tips to Stay Mindful During Difficult Conversations


Are you wearing socks?

Feel your feet on the ground. We can so often get stuck in our heads down a social media rabbit hole and forget where our body is in space! I’ve done it. It is very ungrounding and can increase our state of fight or flight.

Anxiety often manifests in our torso as more rapid breathing or upset stomach.
When we consciously choose to focus on the lowest point of our body it interrupts the thought pattern and brings us back into our body to begin calming down our nervous system.

Wake Up & Smell the Coffee.

Mindfully bringing your awareness to your five senses does similar things as feeling your feet on the ground.
Mentally note:
  • Five things I can see?
  • Four things I can touch?
  • Three things I can hear?
  • Two things I can smell?
  • One thing I can taste (maybe you still taste the coffee you were drinking earlier).

Get Curious.            

What emotions are present for me?

We often judge emotions within ourselves like fear, guilt, shame, or anger.
Get curious about what these emotions are trying to tell you.

When something doesn’t feel right internally, it can be an indicator that something outside us needs to change or our internal perspective needs to shift. When we recognize the emotions that are uncomfortable without judgment we can slow down the momentum by getting mindful, and just letting them be there. Again, trust they are there for a reason.

Allow Yourself to Dream.

Come back to your “Why”.

When we are overwhelmed by present circumstances we often forget the importance of having a vision of what we actually want to create.

We are detached from our creativity to dream of something new we want to create when our brain is just in fight or flight. Create space for yourself to come back and remember the vision of your “why”. Are you making positive change in the world because you know everyone deserves to be seen in their inherent wholeness?

Organizational Inclusivity During COVID-19

Ankit Shah

Career Consultant in the Lhota Office of Alumni Career Management at The Ohio State University
Ankit has more than nine years of experience in the career management field within higher education and K-12 settings. He has advised students and alumni at Methodist University, Denison University, Columbus State Community College, and The Ohio State University. He had the privilege of assisting underserved as well as underrepresented populations in his entire professional journey, specifically in the lens of P-20. Now, due to his diverse educational and professional journey, he is able to use all of his experiences to work with the multi-generational alumni to assist with their diverse careers in the Office of Alumni Career Management at The Ohio State University.
COVID-19 has certainly disrupted many organizations operations and structures in several ways. Has your organization addressed employees’ diverse needs while working from home, or now as organizations begin to bring back employees to the workplace?   During these challenging times, it is not time to put diversity, equity, and inclusion on the back burner! Every organization needs to step up and elevate their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies as well as resources to be able to address ALL employees unique needs to help our workforce get ready for the “new normal or the next normal”. 

What will the “new normal or the next normal” look like for your organization?

Will your organization allow employees to continue to work from home until there are vaccines in place? Or will your organization be able to provide proper health and safety measures on a regular basis to create more safe work environments?   In addition to organization disruptions, workforce has certainly seen disruptions in many industries.  Some industries either will identify innovative ways to evolve or decide is it time to leave the workforce? I know that sounds quite drastic, but realistically, if industries that have laid off or furloughed many of their employees during COVID-19 will have to revolutionize to exist in the future, especially if they want to bring back those employees. 

As the workforce continues to evolve, what new steps and strategies has your organizational leaders developed and implemented in order to improve communication, collaboration among colleagues, and create an inclusive work culture?  These challenging times have increased the need of continuous communication from leaders within the organization to provide more transparency about organizational operations as well as being able to empathize with their employees’ diverse needs due to their own unique situations and circumstances.  Leaders that recognize the importance of creating work environments where employees voices are heard, and provide opportunity for employees to share their innovative ideas to identify creative solutions, will be known as positive and inclusive leader.  Leaders that do not rise to the challenge and recognize that being a change agent for their organization during these challenging times may soon make themselves irrelevant in their own roles within their organization. 

While many different industries and organizations figure out their next normal, importance of inclusive decision making will play a key role in order to help employees feel that they are part of an inclusive work culture. One of the most critical decisions about bringing employees back to work for HR professionals and leaders will be about ensuring there are proper health and safety measures accessible for everyone.  Many employees that are immune compromised or have other types of health concerns will need to be heard to address their unique physical health needs. There are also employees that are struggling with their mental health due to variety of challenges that they have faced or are still facing. Hence, it will be become quite important for organizations to recognize and provide continuous resources to employees of all different situations and circumstances, so they can feel supported by their respective employers. Additionally, organizations will also have to pay attention to inclusive reintegration, which will allow people to work in new ways that fit with their lives and various situations. Organizations should understand that due to these uncertain times, many professionals may not feel comfortable returning back to work. Therefore, it will be quite important to provide much flexibility to employees in the next normal, which can include the following: allowing employees to continue to work remotely, allowing them to return back to work based on current new health policies and procedures in place, allowing them to come back to the workplace only a day to two per week due to various circumstances, or allowing flexibility on what hours that they can work due to challenging daycare situations will be critical for many organizations to address various needs of their employees, and to improve their overall productivity as well as success of the organization. More importantly, organizations that will quickly adapt and create new ways to work due to these challenging times will have employees that will want to effectively engage, collaborate, innovate, and contribute to improve productivity and take the organization to the next level.   
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