The 2023 theme of International Women's Day is #EmbraceEquity, and our spotlight this month, Lorie "Lo" Sandaine, is a a passionate champion for underserved, underrepresented, and marginalized communities. As the COO of Women's Foundation for the State of Arizona, Lorie works everyday for women's rights, equity, and inclusion in the workforce.
Equity and equality are often confused, but they are not the same. While equality offers the same for everyone, equity provides everyone with what they need. "Would everyone want to wear the same size and color of shirt?," asks Lorie. "As a COO, there is no one way to be equitable. I need to communicate to each team member in the ways they will best hear it. It needs to be a lifestyle - not just a seminar." Leaders and organizations can continue to reflect and learn on how to become more equitable for all those they serve.
She emphasizes that employers benefit when leaders see each employee as an individual and empowers them to do what they love and do well. "I need to be open enough to see strengths, not deficits," she explained. "As a company, we work harder when we are not playing to each team member's strengths and amplifying those."
Lorie encourages each of us to explore and discover our strengths early to cultivate the life we want. Women are more likely to find this focus later in life, missing out on early career opportunities. She has dedicated her career to making a difference and creating both new services and new opportunities for those in underserved or marginalized communities. Lorie currently serves as the Board Chair of Arizona's Chapter of Association of People Supporting Employment First.
As a Viet Nam war refugee, woman of color in the workforce, and single mom of four kids, Lorie shares her lived experiences and breaks the mold as a mentor and leader for those she works with and touches. "A leader can lead with vulnerability, elegance, rawness, and authenticity." She encourages leaders to look at the status quo and challenge it. By expanding DEI, leaders have the opportunity to create a sense of belonging. To have a workforce that wants to stay, they need to feel they belong.
Thank you, Lorie, for your commitment to #EmbraceEquity and elevate the voices of those most marginalized in our communities!