Meet the Experts: Rob Henry
Every day I am excited by the opportunity to increase my support of, and bring transformative change to, the advancement profession. CASE allows me to share my programmatic, management, and advancement expertise, along with my passion, as the organization advances its mission to transform lives and society.
I joined CASE more than 15 years ago as executive director of emerging constituencies. My vision was to build the premier diversity and inclusion program that embraced and supported a highly talented and diverse workforce of advancement professionals. Soon after, we created the Minority Advancement Institute.
While CASE has built an array of DEI programs across regions (the CASE Advancement Internship Program, the CASE Graduate Trainee Program, and the Conference on Diverse Philanthropy and Leadership) and conducted DEI trainings, advancing diversity in the profession still has been a slow journey.
It is critical for advancement teams to increase the diversity of their workforces to recruit and retain professionals who mirror students and alumni; establish donor and advocate bases that reflect individuals at institutions; and foster cultures where all professionals can advance.
Ongoing global responses to the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others—including waves of protests challenging the status quo and encouraging organizations to evaluate the barriers to success for diverse individuals—highlight the need for CASE to intensify its efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
The acronym DEI should be familiar to most by now, but you may be asking, “what is belonging?”
Belonging is engaging the full potential of individuals where innovation thrives, and views, beliefs, and values are integrated. Most organizations recognize the DEI concept, but often fail to realize that you can have one and not the others. For example, an institution can have a high percentage of diverse employees (high diversity), but in lower-level positions (low equity).
The ideal goal is to have a work environment that embodies all elements of DEI, creating a sense of belonging for the employees.
As CASE moves toward implementing its new efforts in DEIB, we will focus on three key areas.
Diversity recruitment to help members identify diverse candidates, assemble diverse pools of viable candidates, and have diverse placements materialize.
Minority Serving Institutions collectively enroll almost 5 million underrepresented students in the U.S. The CASE Opportunity and Inclusion Center focuses on building advancement capacity for MSIs with the goal of sustaining access and creating opportunities for future generations of minority, first-generation, and low-income students.
DEIB trainings that develop internal expertise within advancement programs. DEIB expertise is needed for more than the human resource professionals or the assigned diversity officers. CASE will help members build competencies to identify DEIB gaps and assist in designing culture sensitive advancement programs.
CASE recognizes the challenges that our members face with DEIB and is committed to fulfilling its distinctive mission. This new DEIB road map will create a stronger sense of belonging within the advancement profession. I am honored to lead CASE’s new division of Development, Culture, and Talent.