We’re excited to introduce you to some of the incredible DEI training facilitators that are part of the SGO team. We asked them to share what sparked their passion for this work, what DEI means to them, and why they do what they do. Meet Simone Jadczak, DEI Facilitator!
What does DEI mean to you?
To me, DEI is a celebration of the rich complexity and uniqueness of all people, of our society, and our world. It is an opportunity to learn outside of one’s bubble, to understand one another better, and to explore together a path towards justice and equity.
How do you come to this work? How did you learn it was necessary, and how did you get involved?
I feel I have always in some fashion been a part of this work. Being a multiracial and multicultural individual meant I have lived through and experienced firsthand many inequities and injustices. Especially being multiracial in white dominant spaces caused me to always be desperate to seek out understanding and conversations around the experiences I was living, and the those I was witnessing. When I first entered education as a teacher, I saw many of the same inequities I experienced as a student being perpetuated for my students, and this led me to become more active in DEI work in a formal capacity.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for teams when beginning DEI work, and how can they overcome it?
I think one of the biggest challenges is supporting team members to recognize their individual biases and areas in which they can do more learning. There is a knee jerk reaction that most of us have to wanting to believe and prove ourselves unbiased, and free from discriminatory actions, and this reluctance to see and recognize our own areas of growth hinders the sense of community that is necessary and inherent to much of this work, and slows down progress. In order to overcome this challenge, I believe a team and the individuals on it, must all know the purpose and goals of the DEI work at hand as it relates to their community, and to them as individuals within our society. Fostering a sense of safety when beginning these conversations is critical in order for all to get on the same page and understand the goals and purpose for the work they will be navigating together.
What’s the most fulfilling experience you’ve had while doing this work?
I don’t know that there is one particular moment that stands out above the rest, but rather many small moments that add up together. It is incredibly fulfilling when people I work with, both adults and students, say that they felt seen and heard through the experiences we have had together. We as people hold so much complexity within us, and we experience things in such diverse and unique fashions, that it is always extremely fulfilling to know that you have created space and safety for that complexity to exist.
What have you learned through your experiences in facilitating?
I have learned and re-learned the value in silence and patience. As an educator, I know to give space and time for thinking, but this is just as true for adults as it is for students. There is value in silence when we are in dialogue, and remembering to allow time for thought and processing ultimately results in deepening the conversations and experiences. It can be uncomfortable to sit in silence at times, but embracing that discomfort is also part of the learning.
What are some of your favorite resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and why?
I’m a huge fan of any and all visual and kinesthetic activities and resources. I am myself, very much a visual and kinesthetic learner, meaning I learn best by seeing and doing, and I feel that resources that allow for this paired with text/conversation can truly result in a deeper level of understanding.
Learn more about the SGO team and our diversity, equity, and inclusion training offerings.
Now that you know more about our facilitators, learn more about working with us!