A Lesson on Organizational Inclusion

May 10, 2021 HERdacity Season 2 Episode 48
A Lesson on Organizational Inclusion
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Organizational Inclusion

In this episode, herdacious host Lorelei chats with Rose Saenz about the importance of organizational inclusion at all levels of an organization. Unfortunately, it can be easy for workplace hierarchies to let employees feel overlooked. However, Rose urges us to realize that we are not just a number in the masses. With 20 years of management experience, Rose teaches us how to recognize the worth in our contributions while encouraging company leaders to remind their employees of their own value. From seeking out the frontline perspectives to aligning in our common goals, Rose guides us toward building an inclusive workplace culture that celebrates the impactful work we all do. Whether we’re executives, administrators, or frontline staff, never forget that we each have a role to play — all of which is equally worthy!  

Host: Lorelei Gonzalez
Co-host: Rose Saenz

Rose M. Saenz's 20+ year career is centered around serving our seniors in various senior living roles from nursing care to operations to new developments. Rose is currently President and Operations Specialist for RevealSol, LLC, a consulting company and the Vice President of Workforce Development for Texas Assisted Living Association. Rose is passionate about educating and supporting community leaders in how care is approached, ensuring independence, autonomy and dignity of senior adults is of highest regard through day-to-day operational practices, programming and community design.

Things you will learn in this episode (chapter markers available):  

  • Hierarchy of Hinderance 3:25
  • From old school to new school 6:12
  • Execute inclusion 9:18
  • Action steps for improved culture 14:20
  • Creating a safe space 20:50
  • Empowered employees empower employees 22:20
  • Femme fact: Wilhelmina Cole Holladay 30:55

Resources mentioned in this episode:  

Episode sponsors:  

Looking for additional resources on this topic? Check out our blog “Why it’s Important to Have an Inclusive Workplace and How to Get There”

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Sponsor: Today's episode is brought to you by HERdacity. HERdacity is a non-profit, inspiring confidence in women to achieve their professional goals. For resources, networking opportunities, and a strong community of women, visit herdacity.org to learn more.


Lorelei: Welcome to HERdacious, a podcast for audacious women. Welcome back to HERdacity, the podcast for audacious women looking to make some moves in their career, and we are here to help you in that. My name is Lorelei, the happy host of this conversation, and today we're gonna be talking about organizational inclusion, and it's not the type you think. To co-host this episode with me, I have senior living advocate and operations consultant, the VP of workforce development for the Texas Assisted Living Association, Rose Saenz. Hey.


Rose: Hello. Thank you for having me.


Lorelei: My pleasure. This is gonna be a great conversation. So to kick us off, please define organizational inclusion as we'll be speaking about it today.


Rose: When I think about organizational inclusion, this is of course my own personal definition of it, it's really an organization adopting the fact that we're going to ask our frontline staff what matters. We're gonna include them in the conversation, and then we're gonna include them in our decision making. So we're gonna move forward with those thoughts around their ideas, their opinions of how the operation can run. I just feel like sometimes that's just left out.


Lorelei: I love that. It's not a top-down, "everything we think is the right" approach. It's again, inclusive, inviting conversation that allows development from many different angles, many different points of view.


Rose: And from all different levels of employment, so whether we are the housekeeper or we are let's say the CEO of the organization, we all matter, and our voice matters, and so it's a matter of how we use that voice.


Lorelei: When we talk about using our voice, I love that you are advocating for organizational inclusion, tell me why this became a passion of yours.


Rose: It's a passion of mine because everyone matters, all team members have something to contribute, and I found that while I was operating communities, many times they were just overlooked. And I'm talking about the front line staff, maybe even the department leaders themselves, even my own voice, overlooked and it seemed like decisions were just coming from the leadership levels at the top, or your executive level or your VP levels that would say, "Oh, hey, we need to develop a culture, we need to have a culture program, let's go ahead and bring that." And then they just roll it down hill. Next thing you know, I get this as I'm trying to manage a community and I'm going, "Okay, well, this sounds great. All sounds wonderful." And then I go to talk to maybe the team about it, and they're just like, "Ah. Okay, sure. Rose, whatever we gotta do."


Lorelei: They didn't get any buy-in.


Rose: No, no, of course not, 'cause it didn't mean anything to them, they just didn't understand why it was just like another directive.


Lorelei: Well, on that note, why does this typical approach, this traditional organizational, top-down approach, hinder broad workforce inclusion?


Rose: When you think of a traditional organizational chart, you have your CEO at the top and then you have maybe your executive team underneath that reports directly to the CEO, and then from there, if you're a larger organization, you then have maybe the VPs or regional directors and this can apply to any type of organization. Right.


Lorelei: Sure. Builds out kinda like a pyramid.


Rose: Yeah, yeah, and then of course, you get to the point where you have somebody actually operating the facility, and in my case, in senior living, it was the communities. Right, and that would be my role. I was the administrator of these communities, and then from there, I'd have another layer of department leaders, and then from there they would manage all of the front line staff. So this whole image to the front line staff when they are first brought in for onboarding, and they get their manual and they open it up and they see this organizational chart of reporting. My God, if I'm all the way at the bottom. Jeez, do I even have anything to say, do I matter? I mean, it just gives you this perception of feeling like not worthy or not valued, so that to me is a problem. It's a subconscious attitude that can happen from that that's beyond just where the front line staff are thinking they're not valued. Now you have leaders thinking that they're more valued and therefore you can end up with this kind of subconscious response. It's a bit dominating. And you didn't expect it to be that way, like even in my role as an administrator, I didn't expect that I was gonna be dominating in some ways, but at a subconscious level, I kind of was, and I had to learn from that. So that to me is a problem. Like we operate that way in business. You need to have a reporting structure that's functional, but how we present it maybe needs a different way of thinking or a different perception.


Lorelei: Sure, it's well intended and it use to function really well decades before when things were more like manufacturing-based or whatnot. And now a lot of it's informational, a lot of it's relational, a lot of it is technical, and it requires a lot more interaction, a lot more connectivity.


Rose: Absolutely, and back then, we also stayed in companies for 50 years and we retired from the same companies. So it was this climbing the ladder type of approach. The workforce today is not like that.


Lorelei: No, not anymore.


Rose: Good and bad, I think in some ways, because you're just not as loyal necessarily anymore. So something has to connect with you.


Lorelei: So how do we start changing this traditional style, top-down mindset? This old school approach.


Rose: Well, instead of thinking out of this top-down, let's really go back to the core. What is your mission in your organization, what is that reason that you even have a business? What are you serving, who are you serving, what is it you're providing, and then where do you align your staff to that mission? So whether it's a leadership level or it's a front line level staff member, it's a CEO level, how do you align with that mission? You need a value, like a common ground where everybody comes together and says, "This is mission worthy." And then that's how I think we can start to change the mindset of it. We all have our responsibilities within the roles that we play within the communities or the organizations that we're in, and so it's all important. We just need to have this commonality where we all come together for the same reason. What is it that's our drive? What's driving us, and that doesn't matter what position we hold.


Lorelei I love that, finding common values in the work that you do. I wonder if that works under the assumption that people have those common values when they take that job.


Rose: Yeah, most likely. I guess when you start your business, and I started mine, my consulting company, I had to think about that. I was like, "Okay, what is my core value, what is it about this organization?" And so I can see that my value may not be the same as yours. Or the person I'm working with next to me. We're all gonna connect a little bit different, but there's something that brings us together. There's definitely something that maybe even enticed you to work at that job or to even apply, or there's maybe the delivery of the service, whatever it might be.


Lorelei: Going back to the idea of organizational buy-in, tell us why that's important for this inclusive conversation that you think is really important to develop in companies.


Rose: If we don't have buy-in, then we're just gonna continue with the same cycle of churning staff where you just have this turnover of staff over and over again. And what we don't realize is that that costs our organizations lots of money. Every time you turn over a staff member, there's estimates out there that say it's like 20% of that person's salary. That's huge. And that will add up extremely quickly. Let's say you're in healthcare in general, there are certain parts of healthcare in the senior living world that are at 95% turnover. Now imagine 20%, 95%. I mean, oh my gosh, how do we even stay operating. That's wild, it's wild. So it's not sustainable for us to continue and not think about how can we retain the people that we do have, how do we connect with them better, how do we ensure they feel valued and what matters to them? What's important to them?


Lorelei: So if we're thinking about the folks that traditionally drive these types of conversations. What role does the executive team or the organizational leadership play in including all of those within their company structure?


Rose: It has to come from the senior leadership of the organization that really understands the buy-in portion of this. Once they understand the benefits, not only the financial implications that are gonna benefit the organization, and I mean that in a positive way, like they're going to have less turnover means they're gonna have more money at the bottom line. But the other flip side of that is you have such an improved quality of service, you have continuity of service, you have better continuation of employees that are learning and growing with the organization because you have time to invest back into them. So it takes the entire organization to understand that concept and to buy into that in order for it to work. And if you have segments of the organization that don't follow through with that, then you'll see that very clearly and loudly that they haven't bought into it because there may be having an extremely higher turnover or they're having a lot more negative reviews on their service. But it starts at the top.


Lorelei: How do we start to change the narrative for these organizations when it comes to all level inclusion like you're advocating for?


Rose: Yeah, what really came back to me on this thought, as you asked this, is Simon Sinek. I read his book, Start With Why.


Lorelei: Oh my gosh, yeah, so many people reference that.


Rose: I know, and it really changed me and it's been years since I read it. My world is senior living, and when I think of my world of senior living, it really made clear sense when... Well, first, of course, I heard the short version of his Start With Why talk, the TED Talk, and then got the book and then dove into it and went, Oh my gosh. This really makes sense. Within the book, he actually states, and it's a real small little section in there, but he says, amplify the source of inspiration. And that equated back to me as the source of inspiration is our mission, it's our mission statement, it's our common value that brings us together that kind of bonds us as a whole team. All on the same mission to go and provide this particular service. In senior living, the why is the resident, and the resident is the core of the business, and all layers of services, all layers of employment affect that core. And so when I think of Simon Sinek and how he described things, it translates to me as, "Okay, the residents are the why, the next layer of support, which he calls the how, to me, that's the front line staff. They're priority, right? They have the direct contact with the resident, the core mission, they are the first line of defense to your customer service line. And if they're not being included in the conversation, the message breaks down. They're probably not even delivering your message, your mission, your values. Yeah, and they are the ones that determine if the residents are gonna be satisfied, if their families are gonna be satisfied, they really are in control of everything. So then from there, the next layer that comes out to me is the leadership layer... That's me. That was my role. I was then realizing I am a support person, I support the frontline staff to do their role, which is to meet the mission. That kind of expanded out, and of course, he goes into the how and the what. And his descriptions go much more educated than I am but in my simple terms, it was like, it just was an aha moment for me to say, "Oh my gosh, all these years I've been looking at this totally wrong. I've been looking at it as an organizational top-down chart, when really I need to be looking at as the core is the mission." And then my support team is the front line staff, and then I become the leadership support staff to them so they can accomplish their goals, and then the executive team supports me and so on. It was a big wake-up call.


Lorelei: I love that. Well, on that note, we're gonna take a quick call from our sponsors, we'll be right back.


Sponsor: Hi, Barbie here from Moonray, husband and wife indie-pop duo. If you enjoy the intro music, we invite you to listen to our debut EP Honeymoon. Streaming now on all platfomrs. Visit www.moonray-music.com for more.


Lorelei: And we're back talking about organizational inclusion with Rose Saenz. Rose before the break, we were talking about how we start changing the narrative for organizations to be more inclusive at all levels of the company. How do we get the frontline staff to become more included in said conversations?


Rose: That's a great question, and I think that's the question I probably get the most. Okay, this all sounds great, but how do I put it into action and make it happen? So I'll just start with some recent information that I was looking at. Harvard Business Review had an article, build a culture that aligns with people's values, and it was kind of a short little blog article, but man, it was really powerful. It kind of really just hit home with a couple of little things, so I'm just gonna highlight those real quick for you. They highlight that candidates are seeking work places where they can be intertwined with their beliefs, so there needs to be some commonality, some connection. And I think that's what we were talking about before the break, is that core mission. And I thought this was really interesting and probably to no surprise to a lot of people in the work force, but although leaders admit that an unhealthy company culture can impact engagement, a disconnect remains. Leaders may believe they're putting in the work to build and improve, but the reality is that employees don't agree. Nearly half of the employees, 45% or so, say leadership is minimally or not at all committed to improving culture.


Lorelei: That's a damning number, 45%.


Rose: And it's so true though. I mean, I think that there's a lot of this great thought that goes into it and to designing a culture program at the executive level, but by the time it gets down to the actual implementation and the actions, it just doesn't always translate very well.


Lorelei: Kinda watered down or I spend all the money creating the culture, then they don't spend enough really sharing and getting buy-in of said culture, right?


Rose: Right. Or even think through maybe how to put it into practice. Yeah, when you hear the statement that nearly half of the employees say that leadership is minimally or not at all committed into improving the culture...


Lorelei: Not great.


Rose: Not great at all. My thought is, why not just ask them?


Lorelei: [laughter] Yeah, so simple!


Rose: [laughter] Just ask them! What does culture mean to them, what matters to them? And then once you get that buy-in from them and you engage them in the process, even the simple thing of asking them, you're already getting half way there. Like you are already making a big impact.


Lorelei: That's a pretty big olive branch, to reach out to the employees who can often feel like they don't matter, as you've mentioned before.


Rose: I wonder if sometimes the leadership team members are afraid to ask as well...


Lorelei: Why would they be afraid?


Rose: You know, there seems to be things like wage pressures, if we asked about, do you feel that you're being paid fairly? What would the response be? I don't know, that could be scary. We don't know what the answer is gonna be, and it's a natural thing to fear a little bit of change for whatever reason, and maybe it's from the top-down type of thinking. You think you're supposed to have all the answers as a leader. And this is a different way to think about it. I don't think that leaders have any negative intentions whatsoever about not wanting to ask staff if they feel that their wages are paid fairly or anything of that, I think a lot of times is just that leader sometimes just feel like, well, aren't I supposed to know my staff already? Aren't I supposed to know what they need? If asking, they may have a sense of feeling like they're failing, and so I'll speak from my own personal experience on that. I thought I was supposed to have the answers. It took frontline staff having the courage to talk to me and me allowing that kind of safe space for them to have open conversation that they were able to tell me what really mattered to them, and it perked me up to listen and to put down any kind of barriers that I may have internally had of thinking that I was supposed to supply all the answers by them telling me, "No, Rose, that's not what matters to me." Having a flexible schedule is what matters to me, I've got two little ones and a mother-in-law that I'm taking care of at home or whatever it may have been, right. But those conversations would have never happened, I would have never learned that. It would have been kind of thinking in this old school mindset of, I'm the leader, I'm supposed to know the answers. If I hadn't at some point develop this bonds with the team members and have this relationship to just be able to have that point of a conversation where it just started to flow, it changed my life. It changed the way I think about working with teams, maybe I'm a little late in the game, and most people out there have this figured out, but for me, just like with Start With Why, where I transform that my role is actually a supportive role, not a dictator leadership type role. That was a transformational moment for me to say I am a supportive role to the team. I need to give them the safe space so they can open up and share, and they can tell me what they need. And that's when I learned the real core things that they needed at the community level, at their daily routines and their shift was simple stuff. It was stuff I could fix in a heartbeat, but maybe they just never thought to ask, or I never opened up the floor to have a conversation where they could ask.


Lorelei: Right, right. As a leader, you put yourself in a vulnerable position to allow those opportunities for conversations to happen, and I think you're right. Often, a lot of leaders are trained to think they're supposed to have the answers and showing vulnerability and that you don't have the answer, that could be some sort of weakness that could be perceived negatively.


Rose: Right, yeah, and my own personal perception of myself was thinking like I was failing, and that was not at all the case, if anything, I think we had greater success after the moment of realization.


Lorelei: I bet. So what role does frontline staff play in advocating for their own inclusion in these company-wide policies and cultures and decision making in general?


Rose: I'm so glad you asked this. Okay, this is huge, this is huge. Okay, so as a leader, we set it up. When we have the safe space, it's open. Alright, now it's up to the team members themselves to step up and say they need to speak up, but they've gotta get that courage to be able to do that, but it all starts with first making sure they feel safe. If they feel like if they say something, they're gonna lose their jobs then they're never gonna say anything, right. Or if as a leader, we're just saying all this great stuff about culture and it sounds great, and we ask them questions, and we get their input and then we never do anything about it, I think that's even worse, right? 'Cause then they're like, "why I even say anything? Like they don't care, they're not gonna do anything about it anyway." So then all your effort is for nothing. So no, I think it's great. The team members themselves, once they allow themselves to be heard, they've spoken up, then all of a sudden they have more sense of belonging and pride, and like they are a part of something greater than themselves now. And there's a little bit of loyalty that starts to develop and then all we have to do as leaders is continue to nourish that. Then hopefully we're going to improve our retention and we're gonna have great customer service and everything else just kind of falls into place.


Lorelei: Nice. Well, to pull at that thread for just a second, how do we know that frontline staff care about being included in these conversations in the first place?


Rose: Well, there's some good stuff out there on, of course, all over the web, and there's some bad stuff too. But some of the stuff that I was looking at recently found that [and it was by Smarp [dot] com], and they are an employee communications advocacy platform. So they're publishing this information about employee empowerment, and they found that 79% of people who quit their job site lack of appreciation as a reason for leaving. And they also said the 53% of Americans are currently unhappy while working. So all that being said is like, okay, there's a problem, we know there's an actual, real problem when the data shows us that. But then they turned it around and they said, "Okay, but when the employees feel empowered, they feel trusted, they feel included, then they're definitely more willing to work the extra mile to take that ownership of their work to give you different types of ideas of solutions." And there's even this really cool part that they had in their blog statement that I really liked, and I thought we probably maybe should dive into it a bit deeper, but they could even learn how to take prudent risks.


Lorelei: Explain that.


Rose: So in my version of interpreting that, in my world of senior living, there's a lot of risk that we're dealing with day in and day out, and the frontline staff are caring for people. They're not building or developing a widget or something.


Lorelei: Right.


Rose: These are human beings in human life, and so when they're looking at the situations, they can better understand the risk factors involved with the individual that they're caring for, and they can bring those to attention, right. Or they can also help mitigate some of that risk because they're more involved, they're more engaged, they're more loyal to the organization and understanding, and then hopefully they've been with us longer to have a better full grasp of the whole picture of the organization. So... I thought that was a really good one, 'cause then, like I said, in senior living risk is always at the top of our list to try to manage.


Lorelei: Would you mind sharing some of your personal experience in putting this organizational inclusion into practice in your own leadership style?


Rose: Yes. I think I've mentioned all my failures, so that's good to start with. But where it really kinda hit home was this, and this didn't happen just once... Unfortunately. It happened a lot when I was operating community senior living communities. I would have these frontline staff members that when I come around, I was the administrator, so to speak, so they saw me as like the boss. They could potentially be in trouble or something around me, and so they would kind of just put their head down or they wouldn't speak up very much. And I was like, "This is not good." And I was trying to do management by walking around really connecting with people, and there was a few times that a person would come up to me and their role was a caregiver, and they looked at me and they said, "You know, I'm just a caregiver." As if! When I asked them for their opinion, they said, "I'm just a caregiver."


Lorelei: Oh, it didn't matter.


Rose: Right, right. And it was like really in my face going, "No, like, Are you kidding me? Like, No, you are not just a caregiver, you are THE caregiver. You are the one that really matters to that resident and to that family. Like you're the one in there, you know every intricate detail about the resident, you know if they like coffee with milk or without. You know all these intimate details about them, so you are much more than just a caregiver, you are THE caregiver." It really hit me hard personally, because I had seen myself in those shoes at one point in my life when I was first starting out and thinking that maybe I'm not gonna be as valued, or I worked for maybe an organization that felt like you were just a number.


Lorelei: Right, right.


Rose: And I thought, "no, no, no, that's not gonna be what I'm gonna run. No way." I want everybody to understand the value that they contribute to the organization.


Lorelei: So... How did you do that?


Rose: So what I did is I just started asking more questions. Well, first I reinforced again to the individual, you are not just a caregiver. I probably said that hundreds of times throughout the time, but then I started to bring them into team meetings and I started to ask questions. Like, "Hey, what could we do to improve this?" or, "Hey, we've got a lot of call offs, how can we handle that?" and all the things going on. And then I started to take those ideas and implement them into practice, and then I come back and say, "Well, that didn't work, or that did work. And thanks guys, that was so helpful." And that was what really made the biggest difference, because what I found was my retention improved.


Lorelei: Nice.


Rose: So financially, things looked really great. The customer service and satisfaction improved. Everything looked like it was going in the right direction. I mean, don't get me wrong, every organization is gonna have some turnover, you don't expect to not have that, you want people to grow and move on in their life, in their career, but that was huge when the rest of the industry hitting 85% to 95% trying to overwrite, we were sitting at 10 to 12% turnover rates.


Lorelei: Wow! Crushing it. I really appreciate that you shared your experience in this, because not only did you create a safe space for them to talk to you about their role, their advice for you in those positions and other various conversations that are really important to have with your staff, but you did in fact implement the things that they suggested, and then came back to them with data, this didn't work, this did work, we're gonna keep doing this. You enveloped them into the culture.


Rose: Yeah.


Lorelei: What did you find from that?


Rose: It was amazing. I learned so much from them. First of all, I did not have all the answers. That was clear as day. Where I thought maybe I was going in the right direction for the most part, I was somewhat there, but no, I did not have it. And I was working so hard to get those answers on my own, when all I had to do was ask and the solutions were right there. So what a waste of energy. But like I said, I just learned that my role, it was like the big pivotal point in my career, was my role was to be a supporting role, and not a leader, so to speak. But to support them... To be able to provide their services. And I think it trickled down, or trickled up, I should say, into the department leaders that I had. They became more empowered in making their decisions and working with their team members. At the end of it all, I found the inclusion, including all of the team members on the team was the key. It was what mattered, it was what made everything work and work well. So I'm very proud of all of those team members that put up with me through my failures. And like I said, I just learned so much from them. Their my greatest teachers.


Lorelei: Well, you have been an excellent teacher for us today. You have mentioned a few resources for us to check out in our journey forward in an organizational inclusion. Do you have any others to share with the audience?


Rose: There's one other one. If you're trying to develop your core culture right now and you're thinking through, "Well, what would those values be?" And you're maybe just starting your organization so you don't have a lot of team members to include yet. There's a good book out there called Fundamentally Different by David Friedman, and it's building a culture of success through organizational values. There's a lot of meat in there and you can kind of pick and choose what works for you, but I found that that's a pretty good starter book.


Lorelei: Excellent, thank you. This has been a really great starter conversation for us to talk about organizational inclusion from a different perspective, and how companies can better develop themselves and their workforces to meet their missions in ways that are more efficient, more effective, more impactful. Even for the bottom line.


Rose: Yes, it's great.


Lorelei: Well, Rose, now we're gonna transition to how we normally end our episodes. Can you guess how many museums in the United States are dedicated exclusively to female artists?


Rose: Oh my goodness. Not enough.


Lorelei: That's the right answer.


Rose: Right?


Lorelei: That's right, there is exactly one museum in the United States dedicated solely to the artistic works created by women.


Rose: Oh my goodness.


Lorelei: Yes, in fact, there is only one museum in the world dedicated to championing women through the arts with its collections, exhibits, programs and online content, and that is the National Museum of Women in the Arts housed in Washington, DC.


Rose: Thats pathetic.


Lorelei: That's the only one. However, the story of its creation is pretty epic. The mission of the National Museum of Women in the Arts is to inspire dynamic exchanges about art and ideas all the while advocating for better representation of women artists who, as you might have guessed, are under-represented in the presentation of art everywhere, especially in major museums. Now, it would not be fair to talk about this historical museum without crediting the woman behind the idea, Ms. Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, who's unfortunate passing grieved the art community this past March 2021. In today's femme fact, we'd like to honor her contributions to the arts, as well as her advocacy for the representation of women in all scopes life. Wilhelmina Holladay, or better known as Billy to her loved ones, developed a keen interest in uplifting women artists after taking a personal trip to Vienna with her husband.


There, she fell in love with the 17th century still life that was painted by the Flemish artist, Clara Peeters. Holladay quickly became a fan of Peeters, who had been based in the Spanish Netherlands for the greater part of her artistic career. Holiday later ventured to Spain to see more of Peteer's work. Unfortunately, upon her arrival, Holladay found that there was little to no evidence of Peeter's additional works in any sort of art history textbook documentation, nor any formal acknowledgement of the painter as an established artist. So she looked for other results of women artists throughout history. Now, I think you've heard enough of these women's history facts on the show to predict what the results of Holladay's findings were with like a 99% confidence interval. To our great un-surprise, Holladay found very little remnants of women artists who had been documented and acknowledged in art history, and this experience urged Holladay to dig deeper into the recognition of artists who were women and thus had been edited out from a majority of history. With the fire in her heart, Holladay and her husband Wallace passionately pursued works produced by female artists, eventually amassing a collection of around 500 works by over 150 artists. The original collection quickly diversified beyond the fine arts to include archives of catalogs, books, photography, and biographical information on women artists.


The Holladay's later opened their home for public tours of their amazing collection, catching the attention of Nancy Hanks, the second chairman and first chair Woman of The National Endowments for the Arts. She had been appointed by President Nixon. Hanks encouraged Holladay to make something bigger of her collection, and she did. Holladay used her curated collection as the basis for the National Museum of Women in the Arts establishment, officially opening its doors to the public in 1987. Holladay's purpose of establishing a single unifying place dedicated to the acknowledgement of women artists throughout history was to start filling in the massive gender gap that existed so evident in art history and museum curation. It wasn't that there hadn't been prominent and successful female artist throughout history, because there were. And it wasn't that women were any less talented throughout the ages than their male counterparts, because they were very talented. They were simply overlooked and omitted in history and later in historical curation due to repeated gender bias that has plagued our civilization. But today, the National Museum of Women in the Arts has grown from its initial 500 peace origins to a whopping 5,000 works strong, creating a permanent landmark dedicated to art history and women's history, for which we send out our eternal thanks and pay homage to the ultimate art historian advocate Wilhelmina Cole Holladay.


So the next time you're in DC, remember to visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts and see the incredible works of our fore mothers and bygone sisters. They will never be forgotten. Rose, it has been an epic pleasure to visit with you today and to learn more about organizational inclusion, the topic that you talked to us about. I think it is definitely overlooked in the workplace today, and I love that we're bringing that to the forefront again. Thank you, I appreciate it.


Rose: Thank you for having me. I would be remiss if I didn't say that senior living organizations are primarily made up of women, at least at the front line level and at the community level. The majority of us are running those communities. This topic is really dear to my heart. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to share my story and hopefully help all those leaders out there that think they know all the answers.


Lorelei: Heads up, ladies, it's okay to not know the answers. We can ask questions and grow, and that's what we're doing here today. Thank you, Rose. Thank you so much for your time and for your expertise.


Rose: Thank you all for listening.


Lorelei: If you know someone who you think would benefit to listening to this podcast, please share HERdacious with them. And if you haven't already subscribed yourself, we're an awesome podcast and we need your support. My name was Lorelei, this was HERdacious. Until next time, acknowledge your own craftsmanship and be okay with not knowing all of the answers. 

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Femme fact: Wilhelmina Cole Holladay