First Event in SPECTRUM Series Highlights How to Reimagine Our Economy
At the first SPECTRUM event of 2021, speakers and hosts shared their personal and professional experiences as women in leadership — as well as the paths that led them there — and how those experiences guide their pursuit of an economy that is more equitable for all. A common thread was pushing attendees and leaders to move from rethinking our existing systems to completely reimagining new ones. Many of the speakers stressed the importance of lifting up others and forming support systems to not only break barriers but ensure others can follow. And, importantly, how to actually bring about the reimagined future these changemakers are working toward.
The event was held on Equal Pay Day — a day recognized, contextualized, and challenged by the speakers. “Today is Equal Pay Day. White women have to work until today to earn the same that men earned last year. But, for Black women, it is August 3; Native women, Sept. 8; Latina women October 21,” said Leticia Peguero, VP of Programs at The Nathan Cummings Foundation. “(It gets me thinking about) how race and gender play into how we see ourselves, are positing ourselves, and how we show up in leadership.”
To create an equitable economy for all women, we must build platforms to hear and amplify everyone’s voice, bringing broad stakeholder groups together to support and make the needed changes. Without these voices, our economic systems are less robust and are not able to effectively address systemic disparities. This is especially true for women and women of color, who will feel long-lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Women have been losing jobs at much higher rates than men throughout the pandemic, turning back the progress made in recent decades. This all comes amid historic achievements by women, including the election of Vice President Kamala Harris and the appointment of Rosalind Brewer as the new CEO of Walgreens — the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.
“We may want our systems to work better, but without examining how the work gets done, we can only hope for incremental and isolated incidents of progress,” said Yusill Scribner, Head of Operations, Impact America Fund. “My challenge to you: Center your day-to-day work on how you carry out your vision.”
We accept that challenge, and invite you to join us. Continue the conversation at the next two events in the SPECTRUM21 series. Registration is now open for the full event series.
Highlighted Takeaways on Ways to Build an Equitable Economy from ‘I’m Speaking’
Below are highlights and important messages from each of our speakers.
Mauree Turner is a born-and-raised American-Muslim and Oklahoma community organizer. Mauree’s life’s work is geared toward fighting for and maintaining the civil rights and liberties for all who enter America. They are also the current Representative for the state of Oklahoma’s House District 88, the first Muslim Legislator for Oklahoma, and the first openly non-binary person to be elected to a statewide office in the U.S.
“I wanted people that looked like our community to represent us — and there was a lack of that at the Capitol.”
Amáda Márquez Simula is a Latina community organizer and mayor of Columbia Heights, Minnesota. She is Columbia Heights’s first non-white elected official ever. Her priorities in office center around strengthening her community.
“See women of color, people of color, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community as leaders and ask them to run. Then support them.”
“Learn to say people’s names correctly — your colleagues, your friends. Do the work yourself. People deserve that respect, and you can do it.”
Yusill Scribner is a strategy and ops professional whose career spans tech, media, investing, government, and the law. She is currently the Head of Operations at Impact America Fund, an impact venture capital firm whose goal is to increase the economic agency and participation of underserved communities and low-income communities of color in the U.S.
“How does something get done? That’s the killer question. It’s how we get from here to there. It’s the key to turning intention and effort into lasting change.”
“Our vision is for a future where people of color experience true agency in the impact economy. We ask ourselves how we want to express that vision into the actions and tasks that we do every day.”
Leslie (Lupe) Renteria Salome is from the lands of Acapulco, Guerrero, in Mexico and raised in the unceded territory of Kumeyaay lands (San Diego, California) where she discovered her passion for amplifying community power as an organizer. She is now building her coaching practice through a healing-centered approach with a commitment to co-create sacred and safe spaces for youth to process their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
“What are you willing to give and offer? What internal shifts must happen to share the power with youth? Will you invite youth in as their true selves?”
“Lived experiences from elders are what young people need right now. Young people are in the front lines leading lots of the efforts for social change. … What should I learn and know in my role to better show up and support young people?”
As Vice President of Programs at the Nathan Cummings Foundation and a certified executive coach, Leticia Peguero develops strategies grounded in principles of social justice philanthropy that are nimble, responsive, and reflective of the integrated and complex nature of social change. She is a critical partner to the CEO and the board in achieving NCF’s vision of a best-in-class social justice philanthropy that is integrated and intersectional in its approaches and fully aligned in its culture, operations, and systems.
“This work is about all the women in my life who did not have the privilege that I do today. How do we engage and create the causes and conditions that allow me to be in this position and lead in that way, understanding that the baton will be passed?”
Inspired by the opportunity to reinvent the way we back new ideas and support entrepreneurs who are creating a more equitable and sustainable world, Allie Burns joined Village Capital in 2016 and was named CEO in January of 2019. In her role at VilCap, she’s responsible for overseeing a team of “rabble rousers” who are dedicated to creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs who have been traditionally overlooked by early stage investors.
“It’s not enough to acknowledge the pay gap day just for white women … we need to bring everybody to the same line.”
“I really want to do something that I feel like is contributing to the good of the world.”
Christine K. St. Vil is a speaker, author, social media trainer and homeschool mom of three children, as well as a wife of 15 years. She is the Founder of the Social Scoop, where she helps small businesses (primarily mompreneurs) harness the power of social media to grow their business and brand.
“It’s so important that we look beyond what we’re comfortable with and what we know and find ways to be more inclusive.”
“Women are always forced to just do it, work through anything, show up anyway, and just be the strong person. This last year has definitely allowed me to focus more on the things that are important.”
Monique Aiken is passionate about social change and positive impact after spending 15 years in investment banking. She is currently the Managing Director of The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) and a Contributing Editor for ImpactAlpha.
“Make investors aware that they have a role — that they can and should do something.”
The Reconstruction engages investors, entrepreneurs, activists and academics around the world “to inspire us as we move capital toward justice. … We have a moment to construct it differently than in the past.”