I volunteer as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the American Cider Association (ACA) because I care deeply about the cider industry and appreciate that the Board is very involved and active in the ACA’s work and mission. As part of the ACA mission statement to create a diverse cider industry, and part of our commitment to antiracism we made back in June, the ACA recently hosted an equity and inclusion training for our Board of Directors on November 10th
Dr. J Jackson-Beckham, the principal at Crafted for All and a trusted advisor with the ACA, was tapped to lead the training on Building Foundations for Equity & Inclusion. During the training, Dr. J reminded us that we were in a safe space and that we needed to feel comfortable to ask questions and express ourselves freely without judgment. After a really funny icebreaker (what’s your superpower!?), she provided us with her definitions for Inclusion, Equity and Justice (you can find more on that through her Patreon account). Her reason for this was to ensure we had a shared language to use during the training. This became the basis for much of our conversation.
I left with a few takeaways from Dr. J’s training that I think will help guide the ACA toward continuing our important work in this space:
- Filling quotas is not the goal. Our goal is having a diverse industry and that is not attained by simply checking boxes nor will be attained overnight, as much as we want that to happen. To achieve our goal of a diverse industry we must have process and progress.
- Setting small goals over and over again will keep the organization (and our world) moving forward.
- We are beginning to set small goals to track mechanisms for progress and process by:
- Tracking the demographics of speakers at CiderCon
- Continuing to make it known that we want to be inclusive and that all are welcome
- Refining processes for board and committee member development
- Making tools available to members such as policy templates, signage, and job description example verbiage
- We need to continue to be supportive and understanding toward others. We are trying to grow an amazing and robust cider industry and we are all on the same team
- A diverse industry means encouraging all to be a part of the industry— including people who think differently from each other and come from different backgrounds
Lastly, Dr. J gave us some homework to do before we meet again in order to make sure we have action items that come out of the training. We had some amazing discussions over the course of our training and it helped me to think about progress, education, and setting small goals. The ACA and our members seem to be excited to continue to work toward these goals and our overall mission. I am very appreciative of the volunteer work of our Equity & Inclusion Committee and the support of our members. I look forward to growing together as we work toward our shared vision for the industry.
—Brooke Glover, Co-owner of Swilled Dog Cider and ACA Vice President