Happy first birthday, Harriet B's Daughters.
A year ago, Nicola and I sort of squinched our eyes and sent this live. After months of talking, work, research, consulting others, we knew there was a need. What I don't think either of us would have predicted in our wildest dreams was how it would take off. And, bluntly, we didn't predict the turn the cultural zeitgeist would take in 2017 and how the floodgates would open.
In a year, with no paid staff and everyone doing this on top of our day jobs, we have:
-Started up a 1:1 mentorship program, with over 70 mentorship pairs going.
-Implemented a peer-roundtable mentorship program. We've offered sessions on the museum field, theme parks, working parenthood, and allyship, with more to come.
-Developed resources for workspaces on a variety of topics, including allyship, allyship in the C-suite, building teams, dress codes and racial/gender norms, LGBTQIA issues, intersectionality, and self-evaluation and reviews
-Supported session submissions to a variety of conferences, and spoken at SATE and IAAPA. This spring and summer alone we'll be speaking at AMM (Association of Midwest Museums), TEA Summit, Creativity Means Business, and more. We've had informal gatherings at a variety of conferences, too.
In the coming year, we're looking to strengthen the 1:1 mentorship program (and also revamp it so it's not reliant on me, a giant mug of coffee, and a pile of post-it notes trying to figure out pairings!), increase our video roundtables, support local HBDers in having gatherings on their own outside of conferences, work with universities that have reached out to us, and swell the ranks of our speaker's bureau.
I would be remiss if I didn't give major props to our members for embracing us so enthusiastically and spreading the word. Special thank yous to Janelle Picard and Melody Matheny for working on the IAAPA breakfast last year, Traci Klainer, Clara Hlavac, Sarah Cole, Trent Oliver for all their hard work and wise counsel on a variety of efforts.
At AAM 2017, Ilene Frank (Chief Curator, Connecticut Historical Society) said in a panel on gender in museum leadership, that one of the best things you could do would be to 'make your kitchen cabinet'. Make that circle of women who aren't all at your institution, who aren't even all exactly the same specialty as you, who can be your sounding board. Who can tell you when someone does something awful no, you're right, that's awful, or who can peel you off the ceiling and get you to see reason. Who you can tap for advice or commiseration.
HBD's strength lies not in me and Nikky, but in the sisterhood of its members. I've watched them coach each other through interviews and reviews, requests for raises and job loss; through graduations and huge career shifts late in the game. And I am thrilled to watch our members do exactly what we had hoped at launch: to become more vocal, visible advocates in their workspaces for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in both our work lives and our work products. I can't wait to see what the next few years bring for HBD.
So happy birthday, Harriet B's Daughters. Here's to many more.