Our Executive Director is Committed
Our Executive Director Barry Massa signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Equity Pledge in 2022. This came on the heels of the death of George Floyd in May of 2020. LifeCenter did a thorough evaluation of our organization to determine if we were doing all that we can to be diverse and inclusive. Based on several discussions with management and survey results from staff, it was determined that as an organization, we definitely needed to improve in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). As a result, the DEI Committee was formed in August 2020. The DEI Committee consists of staff members from each department, including Massa. We've also included a DEI Statement of Values in our employee handbook that reads:
As individuals, we will:
- Commit to respecting and being open to other people’s ideas and differences.
- Put aside our biases.
- Listen for understanding.
As an organization, we will:
- Strive for an environment that values differences.
- Take pride and lead the way for a larger push for diversity and inclusion.
- Create a culture where all feel welcomed, respected, and valued.
Because we are committed to putting our biases aside, to strive for an environment that values differences, and to create a culture where all feel welcomed, respected, and valued, we are able to provide equitable services to diverse communities.
This is our DEI Mission
Engaging the African American Community
LifeCenter engages our African American community, particularly with a focus on the need for more diverse donors, and educating the community on kidney health to prevent diabetes and the need for a kidney transplant.
In the community, we sponsor and educate at African American-specific events, such as Black Family Reunion, the Cincinnati NAACP Block Party, and our annual Live Healthy and Move is within a predominantly African American community.
Celebrating and Elevating the LGBTQIA+ Community
LifeCenter is committed to celebrating and elevating members of the LGBTQIA+ community, to show allyship, love, and solidarity. We annually participate in the Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival and create Pride-specific t-shirts and other swag for staff and the community we serve. In the office for Pride Month in June, we hold a decorating contest to see which department can best show their pride through decorations.
Connecting with the Hispanic Communities
LifeCenter is fortunate to have a colleague, Julie Luebbers, who is bilingual and translates all of our outreach into Spanish. It’s important to speak the language of those we are trying to reach. She also, works closely with our community partners in the Hispanic community, such as F.I.E.S.T.A., Su Casa, Santa Maria Community Services, Esperanza Latino Center, and La Mega, to further reach those individuals where they are.
We also organize and participate in focus groups to better understand the attitudes and beliefs of those in the Hispanic community regarding organ, eye and tissue donation. These focus groups then help us to better plan how we engage with this community going forward.
Partnering with the Muslim Community
LifeCenter has a strategic partnership with the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC), and Imam Musa to reach the Muslim community to share with them the power of organ, eye and tissue donation, and how it’s in accordance with the Islamic faith. Imam Musa has appeared in videos discussing organ, eye and tissue donation for LifeCenter, spoke at our Community Breakfast in 2022, and most recently in 2023, he led a panel discussion with LifeCenter within ICGC. We are grateful to the ICGC and Imam Musa’s enthusiastic partnership.
Check Your Biases at the Door When You Come To Work
LifeCenter believes the most diverse and inclusive workplace environment and culture is one where people come to work after checking their biases at the door. Introspection and reflection are healthy. We encourage this with DEI touchpoints at all-staff meetings, mandatory all-staff DEI trainings twice a year, and working with Human Resources on recruitment and retention.
Our strategic plan for 2023-2025 will focus on four pillars:
Internal alignment: Create a shared understanding throughout LifeCenter that DEI is a critical priority and has a deep and significant impact on the donor family experience, donation outcomes and organizational success.
Operations: Create an executable operational plan to measurably advance DEI at LifeCenter.
Talent Acquisition: Diversify LifeCenter’s talent pipeline so the organization more accurately represents the communities it serves.
Thought Leadership: LifeCenter will be seen as the leader in knowledge related to organ, eye and tissue donation.