I talked with Paula about the Leader's Circle, why it's important, and what motivates her every day.
What is the mission of the Executives of Color Leader’s Circle, and why is it important?
The Leader's Circle provides a non-judgmental space for executives of color to voice concerns, seek advice and counsel from peers to address concerns and solve problems, and learn from others.
What does the Leader's Circle mean to its members and to the Milwaukee community?
I believe executives of color often find themselves in spaces where they don’t have anyone they can turn to for support and feel they won’t be harshly judged or seen as incompetent. The circle provides an opportunity to share and learn that participants’ struggles aren’t unique, that there’s nothing wrong with them, that they aren’t creating problems for themselves that don’t exist. It's an affirming experience that validates them as the professionals they are.
What are you passionate about?
I'm passionate about a number of things, but justice and fairness are very important to me. I want us to be better to one another. I want racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression to end. It takes a LOT of energy to hate and avoid things that we don’t understand. We’d all be much better off if we’d take the dose of medicine for what ails us so that we can feel better and move on.
Why do you serve others?
I serve others because that’s what I believe I’m supposed to do. I am a faithful person, albeit a quiet faithful person. I do firmly believe the passage, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.” (Of course, I’d change “him” to “her.”) I’ve been blessed with many treasures, e.g., good parents, family and friends, a supportive village, a good education, etc. I have a lot to be grateful for. I want more for others.
NPC organizes several Leader's Circles for Milwaukee-area nonprofit executives. To learn more about the Executives of Color Leader’s Circle, email Joyce Mallory. To learn about other Leader's Circles, email Rob Meiksins.