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Diversity Abroad Team's Advice on Working From Home (WFH)

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 27, 2020

 

Many organizations, companies, and institutions are transitioning to working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis and face new challenges managing this while remaining productive and successful. As a virtual team since Diversity Abroad’s founding 14 years ago, being remote is in our DNA. We asked our team to share their tips on how to thrive in a remote environment.

Set intentions... 

Everyone has their own methods for working from home. Many people suggest following a morning routine, getting dressed for the day, and setting aside a dedicated work area. This advice comes down to being intentional about how you organize your work-life balance. We are mindful that as many people are navigating working from home for the first time, there may be additional responsibilities to balance such as children, partners, or other family members at home.


Developing a successful routine for working from home can take some time and will look different for everyone. Set intentions about what remote work will look like for you, being realistic about what your situation allows and the unique challenges of this moment. This could be setting a time you want to be online by, how you’ll communicate needs with your family for peace and quiet, where you’ll work, whether you’ll wear full-on business casual with shoes or be more comfortable, or what time you’ll sign off. Switching to remote work is a major lifestyle change that will require some trial and error. Being intentional about your workday and routine will help take some of the guesswork out of what each day looks like. 

...but be flexible

As you adjust to this new reality, be flexible and try out new habits or techniques to see what works best for you, your team, and your organization as a whole. Try out different environments or settings to see where you are most comfortable at home. You don’t just have to be at a desk or your home office, one of the advantages of working remotely many of us have found is being able to change your location during the day. While this used to mean going to a coffee shop or a library, now it might mean moving to a deck if the day is nice or standing up at a kitchen counter for a while. 

Additionally, be open to new systems for organizing work. Whether it’s an online system like Trello or Google Keep, or utilizing video chat or a messaging platform like Slack in a new way. Working remotely necessitates communicating and collaborating differently with each other. Your team will have to set new expectations and intentions about what success looks like in this work environment. How will you manage projects, track progress, and work together?  

This is a time of great change for everyone, whether or not you have worked remotely before. Be open to your work habits changing - it’s all part of the new reality. And look at this as an opportunity to re-evaluate how you work best and discover new habits or techniques that can help you in the future. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Working remotely means communication happens differently than in a traditional office. You’re expected to do the same work, but in a new environment where you can’t just stick your head in a colleague’s office or have a face to face discussion. 

 

On a very practical level, you need to make sure everyone knows the best way to stay in touch and collaborate. At Diversity Abroad we have outlined which purposes or situations a communication tool should be used for. Generally, we message each other through Slack to coordinate projects, ask for help, and check-in. Email is reserved primarily for in depth project instructions or external communications and we also have standing organization-wide and smaller team calls to plan for the week, brainstorm, and provide project updates. Setting these expectations requires intentional communication, as well as discussion and re-evaluation.

 

It’s also important to work as a team to discuss what everyone’s needs are during this time. Do you need to run errands or walk the dog during the day? Or will you be starting work extra early in order to spend a few hours later in the morning with your kids or family? People’s hours may change now that they are working from home. Remote work can offer much more freedom and flexibility so people can make their schedules work to their needs. At Diversity Abroad, we keep our calendars up to date with meeting times and focused project times (Quiet Hours) clearly marked or mark off OOO (Out Of Office) so our colleagues know whether we have time to talk or if we won’t be quick to reply to a message.

 Self Care

While working from home is a highly individual experience, it doesn’t have to be a lonely or isolating one. This is a challenging time for many people, and seeking support or expressing how you are doing is important. You miss out on a lot of casual interactions and conversations when working remotely, so set aside time for checking in with each other. Many of our team members have standing one on one meetings with each other to review projects and set goals, but also to catch up and see how each other is doing. Take time to connect with and support your colleagues, while also checking-in with yourself. Go on a walk, do exercises, or just get up and walk around the house every couple hours. Make an effort to disconnect from email or Slack during lunchtime or breaks by reading a book or turning off notifications.

 

We hope these tips inspire you, as you adapt to working full-time from home and make it a successful transition in which your team can support each other. 

Tags:  career  Diversity Abroad Staff  professional development  professional skills  resources 

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Meet the Team: Marketing Coordinator

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 26, 2018

Ariana Peña - Marketing Coordinator

 

Tell us about yourself:

 

I recently graduated Cum Laude from Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies, Journalism, & Digital Arts with a minor in Business Administration. During my time at St. Michael’s, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a full semester.While in Argentina, I witnessed firsthand the underrepresentation of ethnic-minority students such as myself in study abroad programs. As one of the few people of color enrolled in my study abroad program, I had difficulty navigating my identity and experiences as a Mexican-American woman studying abroad for the first time amongst a cohort of mostly white men and women. These experiences inspired me to dedicate my senior thesis to researching the historic underrepresentation and unequal access of study abroad opportunities for ethnic minority students. During this time, I also served as a study abroad ambassador during my final year of college, specifically targeting first-generation, ethnic-minority, and financially disadvantaged students. 

 

Why did you join Diversity Abroad?

 

In my role at Diversity Abroad, I am able to give back to the local and global community that inspired my career. I studied abroad because of scholarships that were awarded to me. Knowing that someone else invested in my future reminded me of the continued generosity (both tangible and intangible) that has been granted to me throughout my educational journey. We know that education is the gift that can’t be taken away, therefore the opportunity to provide students with resources to expand their knowledge and experiences in our globally interconnected classrooms is my way of “paying it forward”. Diversity Abroad allows me to do that in a very unique way.

 

Why did you join Diversity Abroad?


I believe every student should have access to the transformative power of receiving a global education. I joined Diversity Abroad because it is dedicated to providing students and professionals with the resources necessary to bridge the accessibility gap in international education and to make for a more inclusive environment. 


 

What do you do at Diversity Abroad?

 

As marketing coordinator at Diversity Abroad, I manage the daily editorial and promotional content for our student and professional audiences via diversityabroad.com, diversitynetwork.org, social media platforms, and email. I also assist in the planning and coordination of company events, including the Annual Diversity Abroad Conference.

 
 

Where do you see global education going in five years?

 

As our world continues to be more connected through technology, business, and social media, it will be more important than ever for young professionals to be able to communicate interculturally in order to compete in the 21st century global market. As a result, I believe education abroad will slowly become a standard for the educational and professional development of generations to come. Therefore, the work of organizations like Diversity Abroad and others in the field of international education will be crucial in shaping accessibility to global education programs. 

 

Tags:  Diversity Abroad Staff 

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Meet the Team: Marketing & Events Assistant

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2017

Eri O'Diah - Marketing & Events Assistant

 

Tell us about yourself:

 

I have over five years of digital marketing experience, with an emphasis on creative strategy, content development, social media and email marketing. My agency background includes notable brands like Sony Pictures Interactive, NBC Universal and 64th Primetime Emmy Awards. I have a Bachelors in Electronic Media Management from the University of California, Northridge and currently serve on the board of Just for Kids Foundation and the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA Twin Cities), where I volunteer my digital marketing skills.

 

Why did you join Diversity Abroad?

 

As a minority student, and one that was economically challenged, I was not able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities like my counterparts. Working full-time to support myself and attending classes made it impossible for me to participate in international education. I accepted this position because I believe global education should be a standard and not a luxury — it is truly the catalyst for success. In my role at Diversity Abroad, I am able to leverage my skills to build awareness and increase accessibility to global education for ethnically and economically underrepresented students.



 

What do you do at Diversity Abroad?

 

I develop marketing and communication strategies that leverages digital platforms such as social media to reach our target student audience and industry professionals. I also assist in developing content that resonates with our audience, identifying industry influencers and coordinate events.


 
 

Where do you see global education going in five years?

 

While global education is progressively expanding, I hope to see more sustainable  opportunities for underrepresented students. Funding, specifically is very much a challenge for many students, especially students of color. With diversity and inclusion reigning as one of the most discussed issues in 2016, I am optimistic that the global education industry will be leading innovation and change in terms of accessibility.


Tags:  Diversity Abroad Staff 

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Meet the Team: Community Engagement Coordinator

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Daneen Johnson - Community Engagement Coordinator

 

Tell us about yourself:

 

As a Student Affairs Professional, I have worked with student-athletes, first generation, STEM, honors, low-income, and international students. I have also worked within a university career services department where I assisted both undergraduate and graduate students with career readiness and employability skills. Prior to joining the Diversity Abroad team, I was as an Advisor at Seminole State College of Florida where I worked within a grant program that sought to assist and increase underrepresented minority students pursuing STEM degrees.

 

As a two-time Alumna of the University of Central Florida, I completed my undergraduate degrees in Hospitality and Restaurant Management. During that time I studied abroad in Italy with an Italian Culture and Cuisine program-- which was the experience that changed my future career trajectory. I continued my education at UCF completing an M.A. in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education. My global experience extended into graduate school when I participated in a mission trip with my church to Cape Town, South Africa.


 

Why did you join Diversity Abroad?

 

In my role at Diversity Abroad, I am able to give back to the local and global community that inspired my career. I studied abroad because of scholarships that were awarded to me. Knowing that someone else invested in my future reminded me of the continued generosity (both tangible and intangible) that has been granted to me throughout my educational journey. We know that education is the gift that can’t be taken away, therefore the opportunity to provide students with resources to expand their knowledge and experiences in our globally interconnected classrooms is my way of “paying it forward”. Diversity Abroad allows me to do that in a very unique way.


 

What do you do at Diversity Abroad?

 

I facilitate outreach for the Passport Tour which is a nationwide campus-based initiative designed to introduce study abroad resources and opportunities to students, faculty and administrators, particularly from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, I write content for both the Diversity Abroad Network and our student site DiversityAbroad.com.

 
 

Where do you see global education going in five years?

 

Global opportunities have progressively expanded for students allowing institutions from all around the world to connect and build relationships. Despite challenges in our society, I am optimistic about the future because technology is advancing and accessibility to knowledge about various cultures is rapidly growing. College students now have access to information about their counterparts across the globe, and they’re tenacious enough to be active about building communities that expand across both our similarities and difference. Growing acceptance of diversity gives me hope for the future of global education.


Tags:  community  Diversity  Diversity Abroad Staff  Underrepresented Students 

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Meet the Team: Manager of Learning & Assessment

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 21, 2016

Pamela Roy - Manager of Learning & Assessment

 

Tell us about yourself:

 

I have been engaged in international higher education for more than 12 years and have published and presented on a wide range of topics in this field.


My transnational story began with my birth in Calcutta, India as I traveled back and forth between India and Toronto, Canada where I was raised, learning to speak Bengali and training as a classical Indian dancer and singer. After high school, I spent 16 years studying and working abroad in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Michigan where I developed a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion work.

 

In 2009, I engaged in an international professional development collaboration with faculty and administrators at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) which sparked a long-term commitment and passion for work on/about the African Continent. I spent the next five years building networks, making lifelong friends, guest lecturing and collecting data in South Africa which resulted in a published thesis on the lives and narratives of Black African, Indian, and Colored academic women in post-apartheid South African higher education.


More recently, I founded the Consultancy for Global Higher Education which offers personalized project management and strategic leadership to universities, non-profit philanthropic, and non-governmental organizations. Some of my clients have included the Global Internship Conference, the POD Network in Higher Education, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and The MasterCard Foundation, one of the largest independent foundations in the world providing access to education, skills training, and financial services for people living in poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Why did you join Diversity Abroad?

 

I was thrilled to learn about Diversity Abroad’s tremendous efforts in raising the profile of diversity and inclusion within global education during my tenure as a research and scholarship associate for Michigan State University’s Office of Study Abroad.


In 2016, while guest speaking on the best practices and ethical considerations for engaging with host communities in the Global South at the annual NAFSA Association for International Educators Conference I was introduced to Andrew Gordon, the Founder and President of Diversity Abroad. We spoke about the organization’s mission, goals, and strategic plans for assessment and learning. There was a direct alignment with my professional interests, expertise, and aspirations so I was keen on contributing to the organization’s successful legacy.

 

What do you do at Diversity Abroad?

 

Learning and research are key aspects of the work undertaken by Diversity Abroad. As the Manager of Learning & Assessment I ensure that the organization maintains its leading voice on access, diversity, equity, and inclusion in global education. Some of my responsibilities include but are not limited to:

 
  • Guiding and managing curricular developments and ongoing improvements for Diversity Abroad’s eLearning trainings, short courses, regional workshops, and the Access Inclusion & Diversity Roadmap

  • Developing and administering surveys of Diversity Abroad members and other stakeholders in higher education

  • Analyzing organizational and survey data resulting in scholarly and non-scholarly articles

  • Leading educational initiatives and conference management for the Global Institute for Inclusive Leadership, the annual Diversity Abroad Conference, and the Minority Serving Institution Summit.

  • Co-planning strategic initiatives and identifying research priorities of relevance to the field of global education and diversity/inclusion

 
 

Where do you see global education going in five years?

 

The next generation of young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in the United States will need the skills and experience to compete in the 21st century global marketplace. One way of doing so is through equal access to meaningful international education programs and adequate support from culturally competent professionals before, during and after their participation in these programs. Diversity Abroad has a major role to play in serving these populations through our advocacy, trainings, programs, and initiatives.


Diversity Abroad is also committed to supporting international students to North America; one such population are students from the African Continent which is home to approximately 600 million people under the age of 25, the world’s youngest population. By 2035, Africa will have the largest labor force in the world and the education sector will continue to grow exponentially. By educating young people in Africa, enabling them to become entrepreneurs, and by building ethical and sustainable partnerships in communities facing challenges, we can all help ensure that these young people lead the transformation and growth of their respective communities and nations.


Tags:  assessment  diversity  Diversity Abroad Staff  learning 

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