19 Apr The DEI Stories Of The NWC Staff
At NWC, we position diversity at the core of our purpose. We know that modeling diversity on our team can offer a myriad of opportunities for you and your team to learn and grow. That’s why I am so excited to share the newest iteration of the NWC team. Many of which share complex and intersectional identities that lead them down the path of DEI. I believe that sharing our DEI stories is a powerful way to humanize each other and practice empathy and compassion. Please take a moment to read the DEI stories of my staff and witness how anyone can show up for DEI no matter who they are or where they’re from.
Anum (she/her/hers) serves as the Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff at NWC. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, Anum calls the Queen City of the Southwest, Dallas, TX her home. She identifies as an American Asian-Muslim woman who for years has stood up for the liberation and humanity of Muslim and immigrant people. Anum started her DEI journey after the tragic events of 9/11. She knows what it’s like to have to overcome many hurdles to assimilate into US culture. The heightened islamophobia in the air and the loss of so many lives put those of Asian and Muslim descent at odds in American society. Since that fateful day, Anum has dedicated herself to working towards the just, fair, and compassionate treatment of Muslims, Asian descendants, women, and asylum seekers.
Ashton (she/her/hers) serves as a Senior DEI Manager and Strategist at NWC. She was born in the small, rural town of Bronaugh, Missouri, and now calls Kansas City, MO home. Ashton identifies as a white, cisgender, straight woman. Her approach to DEI work is informed by the complex ways in which her privileged identities and social disadvantages – namely her experiences with her mother’s incarceration, family substance abuse, and childhood poverty – intersect. Ashton dove headfirst into higher education to broaden her understanding of how systems of oppression played a role in her life and others. She leverages her position at NWC to ask the bigger questions about healing, justice, and equity. As a researcher and strategist, she seeks to decolonize research practices and leverage social science for social good.
Mark Travis Riviera
Mark (he/him/his) serves as a DEI Coordinator at NWC. He grew up in an inner-city environment in New Jersey and now calls California home. He identifies as a disabled, queer, femme Latinx man. Mark knows what it’s like to enter a room and be the only one that exists at the intersection of his complex identities. That’s why Mark is so passionate about creating spaces that are accessible, inclusive, and intersectional. One of his favorite sayings comes from the disability justice movement: “nothing about us, without us”. Mark approaches DEI work by keeping his identity and lived experiences at the forefront of his mind and holding space for folks like him.
Lauren (she/her/hers) serves as a DEI Manager at NWC. She was born in Houston, TX but grew up in Middletown, NJ where she and her family were the first black family in her neighborhood. But her identity is more complex than just her race. She also identifies as Black, cisgender, female, introverted, African, and disabled. While in the finance world, she witnessed toxic work cultures and saw firsthand how people with privilege have used their power over others. During the pandemic, she was laid off and decided she was no longer going to stay in places where privilege was rampant and unchecked. She had always wanted to do meaningful work but was afraid to take the leap. Through soul searching and research, she discovered her passion: DEI. Lauren is happy she pivoted to NWC and now uses her position to open up meaningful conversations about DEI in places that need them most.
Lindsay (she/her/hers) serves as a DEI Coordinator at NWC. She’s originally from Inman, SC but currently calls Boiling Springs, SC her home. She identifies as a white, heterosexual, cisgender female from the South who has seen what folks who don’t share her privileged identity experience. She started on the DEI path by looking within her own family and their historic racist and biased beliefs about others. She grew up in an environment where racial slurs were common and normalized. She found herself being one of the only members of her family that would speak out against racism. Because of her environment, she felt a calling to make DEI work a central part of life. So, when she met Nika White at the Greenville Chamber Diversity and Inclusion Summit, she knew this was where she wanted to be. Now, Lindsay continues to use her privilege and voice to stand up for others and provide allyship to marginalized communities.
Natasha (she/her/hers) serves as a DEI Manager at NWC. She calls Dallas, TX home, but currently resides in Watertown, MA. She identifies as a woman, person of color, and member of the LGBTQ community. Centering queer, women of color and their lived experiences is nothing new for Natasha. In her hometown of Dallas, she organized LADY, a queer women’s collective that provided community and opportunities to connect local lesbians in the area. She believes queer women of color should always have a seat at the table because she’s seen what happens when that’s not the case. Natasha knows what it’s like to work in a company where the majority of the executive staff are white and cisgender while people of color and women were treated less than equal. Since those days, Natasha has dedicated herself to supporting LGBTQ women of color and creating opportunities for them to have visibility, community, and a seat at the table.
Anna (she/her/hers) serves as the Director of Engagement and Business Development at NWC. She’s originally from Manila, Philippines, and still calls Manila home. She identifies as a Filipino-American woman and takes pride in where she comes from, but her pride didn’t come overnight. When she first moved to the US, she felt ashamed to enjoy traditional Filipino fare like fish sauce, shrimp heads, and more. But over the years, serving in a DEI space, she’s come to embrace the beautiful parts of her culture and how to position her heritage as an advantage in her work. She uses her position at NWC to support the growth and expansion of DEI work and hopes it positively impacts the lives of others like it did for her.
Christina (she/her/hers) serves as a DEI Manager at NWC. She was born and bred in St. Louis, MO, not far from Ferguson where the fateful killing of Mike Brown occurred. The unjust shooting of Mike Brown was a catalyst for Christina to go down the path of DEI. As someone who identifies as a black woman, who’s loud and proud, she felt a need to use her voice to call out the racist treatment of people of color in her university system and the state of Missouri. She believes collectivism, standing together, and building community around DEI work can pave the way for lasting change. Now, Christina continues to use her voice, passion, and vision to shed light on racism and create a positive impact on the lives of people of color
Without the help of my incredible team, I wouldn’t be able to make the impact that I hope to make. You can count on my team to help your organization create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment from the inside out.
Learn more about my team here.