Elizabeth Moon, director of Workplace Inclusion & Belonging, invites all UC ANR colleagues to participate in a postcard design contest and survey about diversity, equity and inclusion.
Are you able to visualize what inclusion, equity and belonging looks like at UC ANR?
Create a postcard depicting an image of inclusion, equity and belonging at UC ANR and submit it online at https://bit.ly/postcardcompetition2023 by May 8. The top six designs will receive a $50 Amazon gift card, their design featured on the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion website and the published postcard.
In addition, please share your experiences and ideas in an anonymous survey about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at ANR and ideas for possible ways to enhance our work in this area. Submit the survey by 11:59 p.m. on May 10 to be included in the random drawing for four $25 gift cards. To enter the gift card drawing, enter your email on the survey or email email@example.com privately with subject line “Completed Survey.”
Complete the DEI survey at http://bit.ly/DEISURVEY2023.
- Author: Mike Hsu
Getting to know UC ANR's new director of workplace inclusion and belonging
As a self-described “Jersey girl” with “half-Italian, half-Scottish” roots, Moon first experienced a multitude of cultures during college at George Washington University, in the diverse patchwork of downtown D.C. As part of her anthropology major, she engaged with the local Laotian community and wrote her senior thesis on Laotian dating and marriage practices.
Then, through Teach for America, Moon taught English to elementary school students in a multicultural, under-resourced community in Houston, Texas. Fulfilling her dream to live and work overseas, Moon moved to South Korea, where she taught English to a wide range of students – from preschoolers to generals in the military.
After her Korean husband came to the U.S. for graduate studies, Moon found herself interacting with and counseling many international graduate students. When the couple moved to Davis, she earned a master's in teaching English as a second language from Sacramento State. She began teaching at American River College, working with students from all over the world – predominantly Eastern Europe – and helping them acclimate to the American style of professional communication and hiring practices.
In 2013, Moon's experience working with international students landed her a position in career development at UC Davis' Graduate School of Management, where she worked in developing career skills for MBAs. She eventually paired her work with her passion for inclusive spaces for all, serving as the GSM Chief Diversity Officer.
We sat down with Moon recently to learn her vision for the newly created position at UC ANR. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.
Among your many accomplishments at UC Davis – including creating the Action for Diversity GSM Community Group and developing the GSM DEI Strategic Vision and Goals – you organized community book studies. And this year, the book was “Becoming a Changemaker” by Alex Budak. What is one key takeaway that you can share?
One person in a job that has a certain title cannot singlehandedly transform the whole organization. However, each person in an organization has the power to create real change while working by asking their colleagues questions, such as ‘Where do you see the challenges? What is happening your community, in your group, in your team?'
Acknowledging you're very new to UC ANR, what are some of the challenges and opportunities that you have been seeing?
In my first weeks in this job, from everything I'm reading and the things that I'm starting to hear from people, I'm learning there's a lot of incredible work and energy and effort going into creating an inclusive and equitable community – and California – and really living up to that strategic goal.
But it's in a lot of different places. I really want to take three months to assess where everyone is, because you can't do anything without data these days. You need to have some data, not just anecdotal pieces: What is happening across UC ANR and how can we bring those pieces together?
So even if we're all working on different initiatives in different ways, we should know what the others are doing and thus really create that collaborative integration.
It sounds like you're envisioning your role will be as a nexus of that information and those various initiatives.
I see myself more as someone who brings things together. In my opinion, work in this area never works with a top-down approach with “You must do A” or “You must do B.” For me, it's about engaging, learning and using the language of that community. So it's not big, grandiose gestures, it's really small steps: building trust and putting my own biases to the side to learn from the person in front of me or the community in front of me.
It makes sense that you have to learn and understand a culture before you can change it.
I hate to say “culture change,” because I think sometimes that turns people off. I think it's about bringing people through and into a larger cultural experience. It's a journey. Each of us will be at different places in the journey.
And I want to put it out there: I myself am going to make mistakes. There are going to be times that I will not be successful in what I'm hoping to achieve. Or I may say the wrong thing.
What I really would like to see is that we – each of us – can come into a space authentically, so that people feel comfortable providing constructive feedback so that others can know more and do better. Internally, as staff and academics, we should work to have difficult conversations with respect and an open mind – even if it goes completely against our core.
If you operationalize some key components in the equity space and inclusion space in a way that's not top-heavy, you can start to move people in a certain direction – maybe you won't change their minds, because you're not going to change everyone's mind – but we can start moving our policies and procedures in a way that basically guide people towards a different perspective.
You can't force it. Once you force it, people often stop listening and learning.
Internal defense systems go up and people shut down.
Internal defense systems go up. They think: “You're just trying to change me.” It's a very difficult balance. If you're going to really have “inclusion and belonging,” that means inclusion and belonging of each and every single person – from Butte County to Imperial County.
And that means that there are going to be conflicts. There's no way to ever abolish conflict. There'll always be conflict and change. Those are constants. It's how you can manage through those conflicts and changes in a way that still respects the authenticity of each person coming to the table. And that does take learning, and that does take support and guidance.
It goes back to encouraging constant, active learning, doesn't it?
First and foremost, I think all of us are learners. If each and every one of us comes to a conversation with curiosity, with the skill set to ask curious questions, it can really help to break down some of those barriers. Questions like: “Why would you like to do that? How do you see that working? In what ways does that help us be better? Where else can I find more information about what you're discussing?”
Today in the Leadership DEI Discussion Group, we were listening to this TEDx talk about the “single story” and making sure that each one of us understands that sometimes, without us even knowing, we're presenting a single story. And we need to have those multitude of perspectives.
I started watching Ethan Ireland's videos, “Voices of CalNat,” and they're incredible. Having all those voices helps us to not have that “single story.”
In more concrete terms, how will you be listening and learning across UC ANR, in the coming weeks and months?
I know we have the At Work survey, but I would like to do an additive survey to gauge the feelings of our internal community, our academics and staff, and gain more information about their perspectives and the challenges that each community is working on. What is happening in Yolo County may not be the same as what's happening in Sacramento County: What are the differences within those communities that needs to be more specifically addressed?
Race needs to be a part of it, but there's also sexual orientation, there's gender, there's religious views – there are multiple aspects of diversity that need to be looked at.
As I'm doing these listening tours, I'd also like to start creating some focus groups – from small-group, one-hour sessions that are just conversations with folks to larger-scale meetings at some point – to start some design thinking around DEI at ANR, so that it's a collaborative process.
I am focusing on these aspects of inclusion and belonging, but by no means am I the only expert in this building. There are people who have so much expertise in a lot of different areas, and I'm going to be relying on them for their expertise to point me in the right direction to learn about that area.
I come from a generation where perfection was required and expected. But what I've learned over the last nine years at the Graduate School of Management is failure is okay. Failure just means that you're one step closer to the learning that's going to take you to where you need to go.
Located at the Second Street Building in Davis, Moon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (530) 883-1174./h3>
Do you have new ANR colleagues in your program or at your location? Please let them know about the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alliance and invite them to participate.
The DEI Alliance promotes diversity, equity and inclusion in our work and workplace to make UC ANR a truly multicultural and inclusive institution for employees and our clientele.
To keep these values top of mind, the group will plan regularly scheduled discussions based on short articles, videos and podcasts, said Jodi Azulai, a member of the alliance
“This will likely start before fall, but in the meantime, we could use some new folks with new energy,” she said. “We could use new people with fresh ideas to serve on the Coordination & Outreach and Learning Subcommittees.
Both UC ANR veterans and new hires are welcome to join.
“If you would like to help plan the monthly discussions, please let me know,” Azulai said.
For more information about the DEI Alliance, contact Azulai at email@example.com or visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/deialliance/DEI_Alliance_Home. To join, fill out the membership interest form on the website.
Nominations are being accepted until noon on July 11 to fill two vacancies on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Council.
Earlier this year, Vice President Glenda Humiston convened the DEI Advisory Council to support efforts that UC ANR staff and academics have undertaken to improve quality of life for marginalized populations living in California. Diversity is one of our core values and developing an equitable and inclusive society is one of our public values.
Nominate yourself, a colleague, a direct report or other UC ANR staff or academic member.
Prior to completing the nomination, please confirm the nominee's interest in participating in the Council. Review member expectations and the Council's Mission Statement and Vision at https://ucanr.edu/sites/PSU/files/358281.pdf.
- Experience and/or interest in advocating for change and moving forward DEI work.
- Experience and/or interest in navigating/negotiating for organizational change in UC ANR.
- Membership aims to represent the diversity of the UC ANR community and state of California, specifically including representation of marginalized racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and ability groups.
- Membership includes a mix of staff and academics, represents a cross-section of UC ANR offices and programs, and geographical distribution (north/south, urban/rural).
During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May, UC ANR colleagues gathered via Zoom for virtual events to learn, share, support and celebrate. The presentations were recorded and will be posted under DEI on the Learning and Development recording archive page https://ucanr.edu/sites/Professional_Development/Monthly_WebANRs/Webinar_Archive under "Asian Pacific Islander Month."
"Stories in Seeds: Asian American Identity as rooted in heirloom crops"
Kristyn Leach, Namu Farms and Second Generation Seeds
May 25, 2022
Kristyn Leach, a Korean American farmer in Yolo County, will share her personal story of activism for food and environmental justice, as well as her passion for nurturing connections between Asian American communities and the unique crops and foodways that are deeply rooted in their heritage. In addition to growing Korean and East Asian produce using traditional methods, Kristyn is active with Second Generation Seeds, a collective of Asian American growers dedicated to offering heirloom seeds and resources that help communities of the Asian diaspora reclaim and revitalize their diverse food cultures. Recording on YouTube: https://youtu.be/WKbyeiVPJL0.
UCCE helps Asian American small farmers overcome language barriers
UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisors Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Margaret Lloyd, Aparna Gazula and Hung Doan
May 31, 2022
Meet the UCCE team that serves Hmong, Mien, Chinese, Korean and other Asian American farmers in California. Farming is a complex business made even harder when English is not your native language. When the pandemic struck, UC Cooperative Extension helped Asian American farmers quickly comply with COVID-19 policies and adapt to new market conditions. The small farms team members are currently assisting Asian American farmers to adapt to climate change, access grants and other resources, and identify more ways to remain competitive and sustainable. The researchers also educate policymakers about issues affecting Asian American farmers to shape policy that is more practical.
Small farms team serving Asian American farmers:
- Margaret Lloyd, Pang Kue and Fam Fin Lee, Capitol Corridor
- Vong Moua, Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties
- Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, Michael Yang and Lilian Thaoxaochay, Fresno County
- Aparna Gazula, Xuewen Feng and Qi Zhou, Santa Clara County
- Hung Doan, Riverside County