Diversity/Equity/Inclusion (DEI)

AAUW seeks to promote inclusion and awareness for all members to create an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive membership reflective of today’s world.  First attract and retain a more diverse membership and create an atmosphere of belonging and inclusivity for all members.  We seek to encourage ongoing dialogue about DEI awareness and turn these conversations into actionable goals and strategies to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in our Branch and communities.  The DEI Groups meets monthly on 2nd Mondays at 3p.m. via zoom.

Summary of Edda Coleman’s talk at January 17, 2023 General Meeting

On Being Good, Caring, Ethical, and Non-partisan when Serving Constituents

Edda Collins Coleman, newly elected to Orinda Union School District Board, was our speaker at the January membership meeting.  Ms. Coleman is a managing Director of Cogent Strategies advising Fortune 50 companies as they communicate with Congress and the Executive Branch.  She is also a Co-Founder of “All In Together”, a nonprofit with the mission to equip voting age women with a non-partisan civic education; and Chair of the Board of Directors of “Facing History and Ourselves” – equipping teachers with strategies and content that help young people wrestle with current events and difficult issues through the lens of history.

Ms. Coleman shared her personal story of growing up in the midwest in a family involved in the community and political campaigns.  No wonder that she left for Washington D.C. after college, where she got a job working for Virginia Governor Mark Warner lobbying Congress for the State of VA.  She then worked on democratic presidential campaigns.  He expertise was growing in fundraising and lobbying, especially in the health care arena.  When John Kerry lost, she was recruited by an insurance carrier to lobby for them.  She decided to write a manual on “how to lobby”, after which she became a lobbyist for the American Pediatric Association.  Her current employer was named one of the top lobby firms in D.C. in 2022.

She was disturbed by the fact that there were not many women in politics or lobbying.  So she co-founded “All In Together Campaign”, to train women to become civically engaged and gain confidence to speak in front of legislative committees to lobby for our issues.  And her concern about what is not being taught about history in schools, she got involved with Facing History and Ourselves and is currently chair of that organization.

Ms. Coleman is a fantastic speaker and this article does not do her talk justice.  A theme throughout her presentation was working for people (politicians) who are good people who cared and served their constituents in an ethical and non-partisan way. She said her focus on the Orinda School Board will be to partner with the City of Orinda, fiscal responsibility, and academic excellence.  With the example of her family and mentors, commitment to education, past experience, and her ability to influence public policy for good, Orinda schools will be well served by Edda Collins Coleman.