Isabelle Moses: “I was hired at Faith in Action…in large part because there was a lot of turnover of Black women staff in the network, and on national staff. And people started to ask the question, ‘What is going on?’ I do think it kind of stems from this movement that organizations go through from on the spectrum.You start with diversity: we want more representation, we want more people who look like the people we work with every day in our organization. So you hire folks. But you don’t necessarily create the conditions for those folks to be successful. And that’s kind of moving towards inclusion, and it is actually okay. I have a seat at the table, I can say what I want to say, and I feel included. Equity, my needs are being met. My needs might be different from your needs. When you’re kind of in that earlier stage of this evolution, you experience a lot of churn. Organizations experience a lot of churn because they haven’t created the conditions for the folks that they’ve hired to succeed.

And so when Faith in Action was in that place of hiring folks who were not set up for success, and you experience the kind of churn that we saw, at some point, you have to stop and ask the question, ‘What is going on? What needs to change for folks to actually feel supported and well resourced in order to do their best work, and ultimately, to stick around?’ Because if we’re in the business of movement and societal change, and you’re constantly churning people, you don’t actually make any forward progress. You’re barely treading water, possibly drowning. You actually can’t win on the things that you care about with that type of churn. We’re feeling like we can’t move the needle on issues that we care about unless we actually stop and figure out how we take care of our people and resource folks in order to be able to stay in the work for the long term.

And I think we’re starting to see some early signs of that shift, where we’ve had some pretty long tenured staff, who’ve been able to kind of ride this wave and now are given the power to actually hire the teams that they want, figure out what strategies we need, and are excited. And the folks who are tired, we’re figuring out how to send them on sabbatical so they can come back. And we don’t have to burn people out. That does not have to be the mode.