By Sylvia Murray, Becca Elwin, Camille Chuaquico, Iwona Matczuk, Kaitlyn Saruwatari, and Evan Joy McLaurin
This past summer of 2018, as part of the culmination of our MBA degree from The Heller School of Social Policy and Management*, we had the great opportunity to consult for REACH. Our work addressed a key management challenge, and through intensive, collective work we provided recommendations to the Board of Directors, leadership team, and staff on establishing equity and collaboration in their compensation packages and staffing model respectively. Throughout our time with REACH, we were continuously impressed with their work, their values, and their culture. As external eyes to the organization, our consulting team wants to uplift and honor the excellence of REACH, emphasize the importance of an urgent need for working in the social justice sector and supporting our most vulnerable communities, and share our top 5 reasons REACH is a fantastic place to invest one’s energy and work.
Collaboration at the Core.
At REACH, the voice of each employee contributes to cultivating a shared culture of respect, collaboration, and care. We had the great opportunity to listen to employees share about the amount of heart each of their colleagues puts into the work and puts into taking care of each other. Co-workers collaborate within and across department and leadership lines with the knowledge and understanding that they are all in it together. The work is done better when done together. We also remained continuously impressed by the dedication of REACH’s senior leadership team to build deep connections to their employees in a way that lessened the degrees of separation between employees and the senior leadership staff. REACH has a tight-knit culture that enables senior leadership to supervise front-line workers, continuously receive their insights and feedback, and together influence decisions around the trajectory of the organization. Holding collaboration at the core of an organization can be easy to state and hard to follow, but REACH truly leads as an example of what is possible when we collaborate to support each other and actualize our best selves in and out of work.
Grounded in Community.
REACH not only engages communities in the work, REACH is in the communities. REACH intimately intertwines into the communities they serve. So many organizations these days base themselves in a location separate from the communities and populations with whom they work. REACH breaks this barrier, eliminates the divide, and immerses themselves. Based in Waltham, the organization remains rooted and has their hearts on the ground easily reachable to the surrounding communities they serve. REACH allows themselves to be familiar, to be accessible, and to be integrated.
The Frontlines of Social Change.
We believe now more than ever it is essential to be connected to organizations working tirelessly to protect womxn in violent and vulnerable situations, and support their health, safety, happiness, and well-being. REACH is at the frontlines of social change supporting survivors and nourishing their lives to ones of fulfillment, joy, and community. We witnessed REACH putting survivors at the center of each decision made no matter the implications for the organizations’ programs, funds, or staffing. No matter what, survivors come first and their safety and well-being is of utmost priority. By centering the realities of survivors, REACH contributes to a transformative wave of social change speaking truth to power, a powerful reality that believes and deeply supports survivors, and a new future collectively built on trust, justice, and connection.
Too often we see organizations in the tough, tiring, heart-wrenching work of social justice struggling to compensate their staff, leaving workers feeling undervalued and underpaid for their intense and courageous work. REACH sees this dynamic and aims to shift the narrative towards one of equity. We can confidently share that REACH offers competitive compensation packages, including pay and benefits, that strive to lead in the industry and really highlight the high value of their incredible employees. Taking it one step further, REACH has been transforming their organizational practices through the lens of internal and external equity. Working to not only attain, sustain, and transcend equity when compared to other organizations, but also working to cultivate internal equity and lessen the gap between the highest and lowest paid positions in the organization. This radical stance on compensation, this attention to equity and pushing the envelope in how we compensate in the social justice field, puts REACH at the top of our list in employers we admire and trust to really value their staff.
Beyond Colleagues, A Workplace Fam.
If the top four reasons haven’t convinced you yet why REACH is a wonderful place to work, then we’re confident the family-vibe will seal the deal. The staff at REACH have a magical way of building and nurturing relationships to go beyond colleagues and to be a family. We had the honor of working with REACH for a short four months, and in that short time we felt part of the community. In our interviews with REACH staff, words they used to describe work at REACH included but weren’t limited to “awesome,” “energizing,” “meaningful,” “enriching,” and “hopeful.” It was incredible to hear that directly from a range of REACH employees who have been there from 1 year to 9 years, and based on our time with them we absolutely agree.
Interested in becoming part of the REACH family? There are a number of ways to do so. Check out REACH’s career page here to learn more about their current job openings. Already have a job? There are other ways to get involved. You can become a volunteer, holiday gift sponsor, or a fundraiser host. Click here for more information.
*The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University is a graduate school whose aim is to “drive positive social change through research, education and public engagement that informs policies and programs designed to address disparities in well-being and social inclusion in a sustainable way.” Housed in a top-ranked policy school, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is unique in that the community is strongly influenced by interdisciplinary approaches to social justice work, creating a collaborative atmosphere. Over the summer, MBA students conduct their final Team Consulting Project (TCP). Teams work as consultants for a local organization and address a management challenge, culminating in data-driven solutions and a presentation to the Heller School, their client, friends and family.