goodbye, 2022; hello, 2023
by Zhou Fang, Intersectional Group
2022 was a pivotal year for me. It started with the official approval of my Green Card (permanent residency in the U.S.) on January 3rd, which gave me the legal rights to start a business. On February 24th, my equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) practice, Intersectional Group, was officially registered. On March 8th, International Women's Day, I, for the first time, introduced myself as the founder of the practice. I started to speak more publicly in May, during AAPI Heritage Month. Since then, I have been able to maintain a healthy amount of public speaking engagements.
Volunteerism has always been important to me. It not only broadens my network, but also it gives me the opportunity to serve and give back. It enriches my life and hopefully me volunteering enriches others' too. In 2022, I joined the boards of Portland HR Management Association and AMA PDX. I also am a voting member of Jade District Steering Committee. Speaking of voting, while I am not eligible to vote in elections as I am not a citizen yet, I am an advocate for voting rights. Unfortunately, the voting rights expansion bill didn't pass during the midterm election in Multnomah County, Oregon. Intersectional Group, however, will continue to advocate for voting rights for as long as it needs.
Mid-year, Intersectional Group released our first Pay Transparency Report. While it was received well, there is room for improvement. Later in January 2023, we will send out an upgraded Pay Transparency Survey. For each entry, we will donate $1 to a selected non-profit that has a focus on equity and inclusion, up to $500. Please stay tuned (sign up for newsletter). Similar to voting rights advocacy, as long as pay transparency and pay equity are still an issue, we will continue to work on and advocate for them.
In the summer of 2022, we launched our Podcast, From the Roundabout. It is a program that discusses and explores paths and journeys that shape who we are today. We had wonderful guests (4 episodes so far) and we are actively inviting more this year.
As the year progressed, Intersectional Group got more and more exposure to and beyond our network. The practice has been referred to organizations and leaders that are invested in and committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. I have been invited to collaboration opportunities with other practitioners as well. It is an encouraging and a humbling experience as we all know how hard it usually is to start a business. On top of that, equity, diversity and inclusion are a space where practitioners still have to overcome confusion, skepticism, questioning, and reluctancy.
Speaking of questioning, some asked why I made my pricing information public. It is simple: as an organization that advocates for (pay) transparency and equity, if we didn't lead by setting an example, we wouldn't be doing the work right. Equity, diversity, and inclusion work is progressive and valuable work and it deserves to be seen and compensated as one. At the same time, as a minority owned business (woman, person of color, immigrant), we understand the financial hardship many minority owned organizations have to go through. We gladly provide a discount for businesses and organizations that are also owned by members of historically underrepresented communities.
As some of the readers may have noticed, today (January 3, 2023) marks 1 year since I became a permanent resident of the United States. It is not a given that I have the opportunity to operate a practice that aims to help and it is my commitment to use the privilege well.
2023, onward and upward.
Founder and Principal EDI Practitioner