DAI’s Sarah Helmstadter is Founding Member of Industry Task Force on Race and Equity

June 22, 2021

DAI’s Senior Vice President of Global Workforce Sarah Helmstadter is part of a new Task Force on Race and Equity in International Development.

“This task force will be pushing the development industry forward on the anti-racism journey, increasing the diversity of our collective U.S. workforce, and doing the right thing in our communities and in our programming,” said Helmstadter. “The task force, led by [Kaur Strategies Founder and President] Indira Ahluwalia, brings together leaders with the ability to effect change. I am super excited to be a part of it! I look forward to amplifying the diversity, equity, and inclusion work that DAI launched in 2020 under the Racial and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI).”

RSJI is a CEO-created effort—overseen by a Steering Committee led by DAI Board chair Maria Otero—to permanently weave racial equity into the fabric of DAI as a core principle in all our operations, strategy, practices, policies, and decisions. The initiative has spent the past year laying the groundwork for a transformative, companywide approach to institutionalize anti-racism that is inclusive of all regions, platforms, offices, and projects.

The Task Force on Race and Equity in International Development aims to build awareness about racial inequity in the development industry; strengthen diversity, inclusion, and equity in our offices and our work; and effect positive change. The task force is composed of leaders representing large, medium-sized, and small for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as Social Impact, RTI, ACDI/VOCA, and EnCompass.

Ahluwalia has pushed to keep the task force focused and action-oriented: “To be effective and create meaningful shifts, we will concentrate on racial and ethnic equity,” she said. “We will also focus on where we have manageable control—within our own U.S.-based development organizations. With the influence we can exert as leaders in how we reconsider our own organizations’ policies, systems, and organizational culture, we can impact staffing composition, recruitment, retention, succession planning, and communications, and also ensure accountability and transparency. Given the work we are all doing to better understand how to institutionalize equity, our own ethos is being strengthened.”

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