As a part of our RE·Imagine blog, we want to highlight the wonderful people who we work with, and who make the work possible. Feature of the Month is a series dedicated to shine light on members of the RE·Center community and highlight their contributions both in and out of the work that we do.
Although Joelle’s awareness of RE-Center began after her daughter attended Discovery Camp as a fifth grader, her involvement in equity work began back in middle school. Every year, she joined other students and their families on Long Island to advocate for the approval of her public school’s budget.
“I learned very early on the importance of canvassing, organizing, going door to door to get people to support the [school] budget. I knew that it would impact the access that I had to different things and, even as a middle school student, had sights about what I wanted to do and was very driven and knew that once I got to high school that it would really matter.”
In High School, Joelle continued her involvement in equity work through The Long Island Interracial Alliance for a Common Future, an organization dedicated to community collaboration across issues on the island. These early beginnings paved the way for Joelle’s current involvement in diversity and equity work.
Joelle offers her expertise as a diversity and inclusion consultant, speaker, facilitator, and coach through her consulting firm, ExecMommyGroup LLC, and is an Adjunct Faculty member in the University of Connecticut School of Business’ Management Department. Including RE-Center, she is also on the board of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture, here in Hartford, and College Possible, a national organization that works to make “college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support.” Joelle wears many hats and brings a deep commitment and passion to everything she does.
“I got advice from a mentor years ago that said when you’re choosing a board to serve on, it needs to be something that you really love … and you would want to do if there were no benefit at all. What is that piece of you that allows you to experience something that is deep within you [but may not be your vocation]? Finding ways to express those points of passion/joy around you in really tangible ways is what allows you to live a full life.”
Joelle is also committed to practicing self-care and joy in her everyday life though exercise, cooking, hosting, spending time with friends, and raising her four children.
“There’s nothing like a full, deep laugh. It breaks through tears, it can help address some of the most challenging/tense situations—you have got to be able to laugh & enjoy life so that’s what I’m aiming to do.”
At RE-Center, we are constantly trying to re-imagine an equitable and just world. We asked Joelle what she is re-imagining.
“I think I’m re-imagining what it means to be a professional, working mom … The funny thing about that fairytale is after the happily ever after there’s no more content. You get some clear instructions early on: you go to school, you get a degree, you find a partner and then you make a life. You get a house and 2.5 kids and a picket fence and a dog and what have you—but after that there’s no instruction and no rule book. So, I’m trying to reimagine what that means … I think you just have to be authentically you. And my prayer is that there are younger folks that see that they can do what it is that they set out to do even if there is no one before them that has laid out that specific path, to know with confidence that there’s a path … I’m trying to live in the moment of what is happening. So that is what I’m reimagining, what it means to be someone like me, what I have to give, what I have to offer, and most importantly what am I modeling for the next generation that will help them to do this thing in a more healthy and happy and joyful way.”
It is Joelle’s commitment to her passions and future generations that makes her addition to our team so essential! Thank you, Joelle!