Welcome back to the grounds! I am grateful to all Chautauquans — our patrons, property owners, community group leaders and others — who extended a gracious and warm welcome in 2021 for my first season as senior vice president and chief inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) officer. I had numerous conversations centered around your hopes and aspirations for our community, including areas where we have room for growth. These conversations were extremely helpful in shaping the Institution’s IDEA plan that will guide our collective work in the next two years. I am pleased to share that we have launched a new IDEA website, www.chq.org/idea, where the plan is available to download.
I would like to share three key features of this plan. First, the plan assumes that all those who call themselves Chautauquans — whether they are staff, trustees, patrons or other community members — have a key role in ensuring its success. Second, the plan aligns with many of the strategic priorities outlined in the Institution’s larger strategic plan, 150 Forward. Third, the plan is both aspirational and achievable; it outlines pathways where our efforts to welcome new and diverse patrons to the grounds overlap with our collective efforts to create a sense of welcome and belonging for all those who grace our grounds and programs.
Many Chautauquans feel passionately about the work enveloped in the IDEA plan being a strategic priority and investment to ensure the long-term vitality of the Institution. These thoughts came up during the listening sessions that led to the creation of 150 Forward and were reiterated to me by many Chautauquans. I am especially grateful to those who shared their hopes and fears, particularly in outlining both the ethical and moral reasons for us to engage in this work, but also the business opportunities. I hope that the strategies, specific objectives and focus areas listed in the plan provide us the foundation to thoughtfully and meaningfully engage in this work.
I had the pleasure of presenting this plan via Zoom to a few Chautauquans, as well as some community groups and leaders, over the past two months. I look forward to sharing the plan again during the upcoming season. Details for these gathering times and locations will be in the Daily’s calendar listings. My hope for these gatherings is to seek reflections from all Chautauquans. I especially encourage you to review the IDEA plan while considering the following invitation: Are there specific focus areas you’d support, or strategies that you might be willing to contribute to?
In the coming weeks, we will provide you further details about some of the specific plans we put into motion. These range from our renewed focus on Chautauqua Dialogues to updates on our Accessibility Audit work. I hope that you will join me in this collective endeavor.
Senior Vice President & Chief IDEA Officer