DEIA Task Force Retrospective

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DEIA Task Force


Table of Contents Our Mission & Impact Our DEIA Journey Task Force Milestones DEIA Statement Taking Action Goals for 2023 Acknowledgements Looking Ahead 1 2 3 6 7 8 9 10

Our Mission

PennPAC is a 501(c)3 independent nonprofit that engages Penn alumni as pro bono consultants for other nonprofit organizations on short term projects. PennPAC does not receive funding from the University but rather relies on the generosity of donors PennPAC consultants, Board members, Penn alums, and others who believe in our work

By accepting applications from Penn graduates from all the schools and various classes, PennPAC assembles consulting teams with a wide breadth of experience, skills, and perspectives Ordinarily, these individuals might never cross paths However, their passion for nonprofit work has led them to a common place

Nonprofits receive fresh perspectives and support tackling business challenges that may otherwise go unaddressed because of time, financial, staffing, and other resource constraints. Alumni receive a rewarding, well designed, skill building volunteer opportunity.


As of June 2022, PennPAC has provided over 45,000 hours of service, mobilized over 1,500 volunteers, and worked with 200 nonprofit organizations. To date, we have provided $9 million in pro bono consulting services. Our projects improve the efficiency of nonprofits and increase the effect on the lives they support and enrich

hours of service in pro bono consulting services nonprofit organizations engaged volunteers mobilized
$9m 200
Our Impact 1

Our DEIA Journey


PennPAC endeavors to ensure that our organization and teams are inclusive, accessible, and reflect the diversity of the Penn alumni community. Further, we strive to make sure that our work with non-profit clients serves diverse, local communities and furthers equity, access and inclusion.

W H Y A D E I A T A S K F O R C E ?

In 2020 Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd were murdered, ushering in a renewed period of national activation and introspection.

PennPAC did not remain untouched by these events. We committed to assess ourselves and see how we could be and do better. We’re aware that the behavior of each PennPAC volunteer reflects on PennPAC and the greater Penn community, and our desire is to lead by example. PennPAC had already embraced the role of agent for positive impact in the DEIA space. A natural progression of this role was the establishment of a DEIA Task Force to continuously ensure reinforcement, education, and improvement of our DEIA efforts.


Task Force Milestones

1An invitation to join the Task Force was sent to the PennPAC community on April 6, 2021 for the kickoff meeting on April 15, 2021

2Sixteen people from a broad range of backgrounds attended the kickoff meeting. Among the items on the agenda, the following terms were discussed and considered:

Diversity in the context of DEIA specifically refers to populations that historically and systemically have been and are underrepresented, marginalized, and oppressed These populations include racial and ethic groups such as Black/African diaspora, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Indigenous, and Latinx; LGBTQIA populations; peoples with disabilities, women, and older people

Equity is justice, impartiality, and fairness within procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems Tackling equity issues requires a historical understanding of the underlying or root causes of outcome disparities within our society. Inequity thrives in systems and thus requires new systems intentionally designed to create equitable outcomes Inclusion is a culture of belonging underpinned by systems, processes, and practices designed to ensure diverse individuals are regarded as whole, complex, and valuable members of an organization

Accessibility is the degree to which an environment, service, product, or program eliminates barriers to participation for diverse and underrepresented communities

"The PennPAC DEIA initiative is actionable, responsible, and thoughtful in its approach to putting in place an integral foundation for all the impactful work the organization is doing. I am honored to be a part of the Task Force leading this."


Task Force Milestones

Following the kickoff meeting, Alejandro Pinto developed a DEIA Task Force Survey to identify priorities and members who wished to be involved in DEIA initiatives

5The DEIA Task Force next sought to construct a positive articulation to the PennPAC community about our commitment to being a diverse, inclusive, accessible organization that worked well with our stakeholders and clients A DEIA Statement was thus developed through a highly collaborative process that sought and incorporated feedback of both the Task Force and PennPAC’s Board of Directors

Vighnesh Subramanyan took on the role of Chairperson and developed the 2021 2022 DEIA Plan This plan incorporates the priorities identified by the Task Force Survey and a timeline for action during the Task Force’s first year

Concurrent to the creation of the DEIA statement, PennPAC began reviewing our practices for ensuring that we staff diverse teams of volunteers on client projects and consider diversity when seeking to fill leadership roles.

Representatives from the Task Force met with the Volunteer Relations Team to discuss striving to ensure that PennPAC’s teams reflect diversity of the Penn alumni community. We also revised our volunteer application to include optional self identification of race, ethnicity and gender

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Task Force Milestones

Paula Kaye Richards created a DEIA Survey to gather data on PennPAC’s demographics, understand how members are learning about PennPAC, identify pain points, understand retention challenges and benchmark progress. Forty five responses were returned. While participation levels were not statistically significant, the data was still very valuable Salient among the feedback was that while our volunteers are diverse in age, gender and sexual orientation, we are not as diverse in race, as the majority of our volunteers are white

DEIA Training for volunteers was identified as a key priority. In 2021, PennPAC added a Soft Skills training for project leadership This training, led by Arun Iyer, provides scenario based interactive exercises for PennPAC Co Leaders with the goal of providing exposure to interpersonal and team dynamics that they may be exposed to during a client engagement The scenarios add familiarity with practical leadership concepts and show where PennPAC policies intersect; as well as activating a critical thinking-base and tools for conflict resolution. In early 2022, this module was reviewed to focus on specifically DEIA related situations

The DEIA Training Subcommittee began to develop a Consultant Training, the purpose of which is to improve communication and sensitivity, both within PennPAC project teams and with clients. In order to make this training as valuable as possible, the group met with several experts, explored opportunities to partner with the University, gathered resources, and explored DEIA tools, such as the Implicit Association Test, Circle of Trust and asset based consulting This module will launch in Fall 2022 Scott Millstein and Salila Yohn provided critical resources and contacts that advanced our efforts on this workstream.

In parallel to the Task Force, the Governance Committee has begun to develop a DEIA initiative for PennPAC’s Board The plan includes training and a gaps analysis to ensure there is diverse representation on the Board.

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DEIA Statement

PennPAC believes the diversity of experiences, ideas and individuals in our community make us strong From our roots in West Philadelphia to the cities we serve, diversity is at our core To create a more just and engaged world, we must celebrate diversity, practice inclusion, champion equity and work to ensure accessibility.

Our diversity reaches across dimensions that include (but are not limited to) sex, gender identity, age, race, religion, profession, veteran status, abilities, socioeconomic level, and sexual orientation While we are committed to addressing diversity as an intersectional issue, we are mindful of the systemic racism that remains deeply ingrained in our society.

We envision a community where all PennPAC stakeholders, including the University of Pennsylvania community, nonprofits, funders and partners, feel welcome to bring their authentic selves in pursuit of our mission A community with volunteers who bring a broad range of experiences to contribute to the cities in which we live To do so, we will serve nonprofit clients who share our values, employing people and serving beneficiaries across cultures, identities and experiences. Internally, we will face our unconscious biases and privilege and the impact they have on our work and community.

Our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility means a commitment to continuous learning We are accountable and will report on our work, progress, and plans We have the will to build trust and a learning culture to do this work. As a result, our community will be stronger, provide more value for each other and have a greater impact on the clients we serve. Together, we will learn, grow and thrive.


Taking Action

The University has resources and expertise aligned with PennPAC’s DEIA goals spread across various departments and offices We have been reaching out to many of these in our effort to learn as well as to grow our network of engaged alumni. Such efforts include:

Exploring training opportunities offered by The Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity Programs at Penn on unconscious bias and organizational practices

Working with Penn’s Office of Social Equity & Community to understand DEI resources within the Penn community. We adapted their definitions for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Connecting with the Penn Spectrum Programs Team to spread the word on PennPAC The Penn Spectrum Programs team is part of Alumni Relations It works to encourage alumni of color and LGBTQ alums to find and maintain meaningful connections and active engagement with Penn A PennPAC representative, Seghen Aklilu, was placed on the Planning Committee for Penn Spectrum Weekend.

If you have feedback, questions or if you would like to join the DEIA Task Force, please email Karen Schub Epstein at We would love to hear from you!


Goals for 2023

In terms of next steps and priorities, our plan is to focus on the following in the coming year:


We will consider whether we are targeting our volunteer recruitment efforts to, and including in our process, a diverse range of Penn alumni A subcommittee interested in focusing on this workstream will be put together in the coming months.


We will also work to develop a more deliberate strategy to ensure the staffing of diverse project teams

Readers appreciate accurate information


We will monitor the rollout of our DEIA training programs in the fall. A survey to gauge reactions and gather feedback will be developed by Andrea Bell Based on the responses, we will seek to build upon these initial training efforts.


We will begin a review of our volunteer evaluation processes with an eye toward a process that minimizes potential implicit and/or explicit biases


Looking Ahead

There are a number of other processes we plan to consider evaluating through a DEIA lens, including the following:


Considering how to outreach to nonprofits we may want to prioritize, e.g. those led by people of color, addressing issues of racial inequity, etc. In addition, this work would include how the Nonprofit Selection Team’s evaluation process might weigh these priorities


Reviewing PennPAC’s current communications, collateral materials and language as well as considering a process for responding to current events with a DEIA lens


Considering how to make PennPAC’s programming more accessible to both volunteers and clients who may need accommodations where there are language barriers, physical challenges, etc



Special thanks to the DEIA Task Force for all of their hard work & dedication:

Ajay Joshi, GEx '11

Alan Garcia, Ed '11

Alejandro Pinto, C '16

Alexandra Hakim, C '03, L '07

Alicia Fowler, W '09

Andrea Bell, SP2 '08

Arun Iyer, C '98, G '02

Carol Henning Franczyk, SP2 '90

Crystal Spraggins, C '88

Daniel Gonzalez, C '20

Vighnesh Subramanyan, WG ’17 Chair, PennPAC DEIA Task Force

Vighnesh is a Product Manager at Bluecore. He has previously worked at IBM, Denali Therapeutics and Cornerstone Research. Vighnesh has been a Team Leader and Deputy Team Leader on PennPAC client engagements, and a member of the Volunteer Relations Team and Nonprofit Relations Team Vighnesh also sits on the PennPAC Board of Directors.

He shares, "Working in diverse communities, and leveraging the power of a large and diverse alumni base, DEIA is at the heart of what we do at PennPAC The DEIA Committee was formed in 2021 to examine where the greatest challenges lay for PennPAC, and how they could be addressed effectively, sensitively, and respectfully. The collaborative work we ’ ve done has helped us be a more resilient, inclusive, and impactful organization "

Thank you to Alexandra Hakim and Crystal Spraggins for their role in creating this report

We are grateful to the entire PennPAC community for their continued support.

Earl Brown, L '01

Elaine Harris, WG '84

Francesca Devine, C '17

Frances Lee, WG Gary Li, W '19

Jacques Laine, C '17

Julie Wertheimer, C ’07, GPU ’10

Kavita Ramakrishnan, C '04

Lincoln Pao, C '85

Melissa Donovan, C '98

Melissa Mayer, C '00

Michaela Tinkey, C '19

Pamela Ellermann, C '13

Paula Kaye Richards, W '06

Salila Yohn, L '96

Sangho Lee, EAS '12

Scott Millstein, C '92

Seghen Akilu, C '11

Simone Betchen, C '95, WG '21

Susan Pechman, C '79

Takila Oku, W '96

Timothy Harrod, WG '88

Varun Vallabhaneni, W '20

Yu You Jiang, M '20
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