Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) has always been the tent-pole to our mission and vision of Saga Education. We aspire to remain at the cutting edge of educational innovation and impact. Meet our DEIB committee members and discover how they integrate DEIB into their personal lives and nurture a sense of belonging at all levels of our organization.
Melody Thomas (she/her/hers)
HR Manager, Employee Relations and DEIB
What DEIB topics or issues are you most passionate about, and why are they important?
Truthfully, ALL DEIB topics and issues drive passion for me. DEI and creating spaces of belonging will always be a top priority and of great importance. I see it as an everyday thing, the same as a daily regimen or as common as 'hi and hello.'
In a few sentences, explain why Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) are important to you personally.
DEI is important to me personally because I feel like I have witnessed a time when things weren't equitable. I have been in environments that are not diverse and have felt like an outcast, thus not belonging. It does not feel good, it is simply wrong. I want to be a part of every conversation that leads to opportunity, bridging the gaps and systemic changes, and doing my part to promote healthy conversations that allow for awareness and change. Everything starts with a conversation, and then there's action! I want to listen, talk, and then lead!
Are you engaged in DEIB initiatives outside of Saga? If so, please share a bit about your external involvement.
I currently hold the Diversity Chair position for my local SHRM board and serve on another board that serves tomorrow's leaders.
What goals do you hope to achieve through your work in DEIB, both at Saga and beyond?
How much time do you have? :-) I don't think I could list just one or even a top five. But what I do know is that I want team members to feel like they have a space that serves them and fills their cups.
Is there someone or something that inspired you to become involved in DEIB efforts? If yes, please share.
Not anyone directly. I am influenced by my experiences and the impact of others. Again, DEIB is as constant or common as a daily greeting.
What challenges have you encountered or observed in the field of DEIB, and what solutions do you propose or support?
You have to have a strong team of support. DEIB is not a one-person thing, it is definitely all hands.
What advice or encouragement would you offer to your colleagues at Saga who want to get more involved in DEIB work?
Just come, just try -- hang out with the DEIB Committee during a monthly planning meeting or join the space. The DEIB Committee serves Saga; we work for Saga. It is not about anyone's individual goals or agendas. It is about what's best for Saga.
How do you see DEIB efforts making a difference at Saga Education, and what would you like to see in the future?
With regard to making a difference, I get regular feedback on our DEIB efforts and the committee. Team members seem to enjoy it and find value in the DEIB efforts. What do I want to see in the future... I mean, EVERYTHING - lol!
Read our three-year DEIB Strategic Plan on how we will use these work components to accelerate educational equity through the proven power of high-impact tutoring.