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MHS@SDC2017day2Here’s what EqualityWorks, NW clients have to say about us.

Read this interview with Executive Director Michael Hulshof-Schmidt from Building Green

Michael Murphy, Regional Manager, Road Scholar (Beaverton, OR)

I attended the Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism this year, and I was pleasantly surprised that the organizers chose to both focus on DEI, as well as to invite you and the panel to present during the lunch session on day two. The discussion was a helpful introduction for many people in the room, and a codifying illumination of the DEI challenges that we face within the tourism industry, as well as in society writ large. I hope to see DEI, and discussions such as the one that took place at the conference, take a larger role at these types of industry events, especially in front of rooms filled with a majority middle and upper-middle class, heterosexual, cisgendered, white folks (myself being included in that category).

So thank you very much for your discussion!

Rosemary Jernigan, Assistant Self Sufficiency Program Manager, Oregon Department of Human Services (Grants Pass, OR)

The deep appreciation and love you brought us is still warmly settled in our hearts. I cannot express my gratitude enough. As I am sure you understand, privilege, oppression, and the history of the United States is not a widely appreciated and open conversation. You allowed us to sit in knowledge while creating a safe environment where individuals could go at their own pace while digesting your wonderful humor.
We  were in admiration of how capable you are in holding space for others to feel safe. I applaud your gift and dedication to the freeing of oppression through knowledge and deep love.

Alex Rice, Education and Prevention Services Coordinator, Volunteers of America Men’s Residential Center, Al Forthan Scholarship

People got a lot from the room discussions and the shared language worksheet you designed. They really enjoyed your ability to take a topic that can cause defensiveness, but you make people not feel ashamed, and created a space for them to be open and vulnerable. Multiple people told me they are looking forward to exploring issues of equity more and bringing it to their work place. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job!

Chris Evans, Community Development Coordinator, Department of Human Services (La Grande, OR)

It has been a while since our Understanding Privilege training, and I find I’m still thinking of examples from history, current dynamics, and trying to apply what I learned.  Equity, race, gender and privilege can be a very tough topic to discuss, and this requires tough self-reflection too.  You made this topic very approachable for our team.  Your training created a safe space for our team to share personal experiences, different perspectives, to be uncomfortable, and to learn from each other. This was a powerful experience for our group and I believe it made a lasting impact on me personally, but also made a positive impact on our workplace. You have shown me why it is so important to work for change, and how “ally is a verb, not a noun.”  Thank you for presenting to our group.  I would highly recommend Michael for future trainings.

Tom Soma, Executive Director, The Children’s Center (Oregon City)

Michael is an amazing presenter and facilitator—one of the most effective I’ve encountered in my 35-year career. His knowledge, humor, warmth, sensitivity, and intense attention to interpersonal dynamics uniquely suit him to training groups on tough issues (such as diversity and trauma).

Michael invites participation in a skillful, gentle manner—and he has a way of keeping everyone both thoughtfully engaged and comfortably off-balance. He shares himself openly and honestly—calling upon not only his wealth of professional knowledge but some poignant personal experiences as well. In so doing, he quickly builds the kind of trust and rapport so essential to effective team dynamics.

Michael’s workshop on ‘Vicarious Trauma and Trauma Informed Care’ for the Children’s Center could not have been better timed. He met the team’s own recent trauma head-on—transforming the potential for crisis into an opportunity for growth (both personal and organizational). Our three hours together seemed to fly by. He could have easily held our attention all day.

I recommend Michael highly and unconditionally. And there’s no doubt I’ll hire him again!

Hakim Singh-Ji, Equity & Policy Development, City of Portland / Bureau of Development Services

EqualityWorksNW has worked to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the City of Portland through expert facilitation of uncomfortable conversations about race, gender and ethnicity with our employees. The amazing impact their work has had on our employees is positively affecting the workforce and culture of local government.

Carlos H. Rodriguez, Organizational Development Manager, Oregon Department of Forestry (Salem, OR)

During the Oregon Department of Forestry’s March Leadership Team meeting, Michael Hulshof-Schmidt delivered a successful Leveraging Power and Privilege workshop to Forestry’s Leadership Team. His flexible presentation style, incorporation of humor, and embodiment of being an ally of targeted communities facilitated critical thinking and a high-level of engagement from the audience. Michael also provided guidance for practical application of the information delivered.

I would not hesitate to bring him back to dig deeper into issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. The Oregon Department of Forestry recommends without reservation Michael and his program.

Brent Watkins, Operations and Policy Analyst, Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

I have always believed myself to be a culturally evolved person. Over the course of Michael’s workshop regarding privilege, diversity, and equity, I had to honestly confront my ignorance related to how people of targeted communities experience life in our country. I was uncomfortable without feeling threatened, but the discomfort was the type that prompts action and encourages change, not guilt or discouragement.

Marvin D. Fjordbeck, Senior Assistant Attorney General of Oregon (Salem)

I attended Michael’s presentation at the State of Oregon Diversity Conference and was delighted to find it not only intellectually stimulating, but also very practical.  I very much appreciated the template that he provided for when I’ve trod in hurtful territory:

  • Listen
  • Apologize
  • Ask how to repair, including “What do you need from me?”
  • Expect to make mistakes

The presentation style and engagement offered useful strategies and helpful language for dealing with difficult situations.

I am a middle-aged white male, and I had a few moments where I shook my head at the resistance of some of my contemporaries in privilege. (We used to call us “Cadillac liberals” when I was growing up in the Southern Oregon town of Klamath Falls.) While I’ll always keep learning, I appreciate training that offers me valuable “ah-ha” moments.

Elizabeth Burton, JOBS Program Manager, Union/Baker Counties, Oregon

Thank you for providing the “Understanding Privilege” training in La Grande. Your humor, straightforward approach and kindness deepened the impact of the information shared. I appreciate still feeling bothered and unsettled — that was a gift. Keep teaching!!

Bridget Dazey, Executive Director, Clackamas Workforce Project (Oregon City)

EqualityWorks NW offers thought provoking equity training in a group setting with opportunities for self-reflection. Michael and his team can help your team to “unpack” both known and unknown definitions, bias behavior, and help to start an education process towards more equity in your organization, which can translate into other parts of the community. EWNW has helped our organization begin to create a new lens for the work we do every day with the people we serve, as well as making long-term impacts on our policies, practices, and procedures.

Diane Petford, Family Caregiver Specialist, Malheur Council on Aging & Community Services

While reading the “Heterosexual Questionnaire” I experienced an epiphany. Three questions in, I realized how I’d fallen short of answers and what most matters is the reciprocity to dignify and respect ourselves as fellow human beings.

The awareness of “intent and impact” is powerful! Adapting this paradigm has become essential to how I’m connecting with and communicating with others.

Michael, you are an ambassador, we are recipients of the message in a most impactful way.

Holly Friesz, Board President, Mental Health Association of Oregon

Michael is a knowledgeable, kind, and effective facilitator. He is skilled in creating and supporting dialogue around tough issues as well as unpacking these issues in a gentle, thoughtful way. We asked Michael to facilitate our retreat, focusing on communication and board development. Michael’s use of humor, grace, and empathy kept everyone engaged and guided our efforts.

The retreat shined light on board and program directors resilience, dedication to the mission, positivity, and the respect we have for one another. Michael’s facilitation sparked an energy and excitement for the work we do to support the important mission of MHAO.

We highly recommend using Michael to facility your next retreat or company training.

Maria Christina Grace, Business Employment Specialist, Work Source Oregon (Ontario)

Thank you for presenting at the Eastern Oregon Diversity Workshop: LTBTQ+ Issues Michael! I found you to be a delightful facilitator; the discussions were energetic, engaging and very interesting. I highly recommend using presenter Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, Executive Director of EqualityWorks NW!

Roxanne Myslewski, Development Manager, The Children’s Center (Oregon City)

I wanted to thank you again for your time here last week. The discussion was so lively and engaging, and I learned so much from you and your team. I sincerely appreciated you asking tough questions and pushing back. Particularly with the Black Lives Matter movement — it was truly awesome to witness your succinct and direct explanation about why we need to focus attention on this now, rather than diverting to ALL lives. Thank you.

In the past I have been a part of many “diversity days” etc. where the facilitator sat back and simply distributed nebulous terms and buzz words. Your training was truly educational and engaging. I am revisiting concepts daily and have had several really exciting conversations with colleagues and family afterwards. I appreciate what you do, and how you do it.

Sara Behrman, Board President, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe (Portland, OR)

Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, Executive Director of EqualityWorksNW, did an amazing job with our board as he helped us build our fundraising skills within the framework of community engagement (a natural fit for our organization). Under Michael’s guidance and encouragement, our board designed and executed a number of new fundraising strategies within a challenging, but strategic Action Plan. Here are some of the comments by those serving on the Board of Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe when asked what they enjoyed most about their board experience:

  • Board training by hired consultant Michael Hulsholf-Schmidt who helped us to develop various strategies for fundraising etc.

  • I am most proud of the training I received from Michael Hulsholf-Schmidt, our fundraising consultant with the various strategies used for finding donors. It was very successful for me, and helped me meet my goals of raising $2,000 or more before the end of June. And to reach the goal set by the Finance Committee.

  • I’d like the board to offer more workshops around fundraising with our fundraising consultant.

  • Michael’s trainings and guidance.

  • I enjoyed the board development sessions led by Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, and appreciated the growth by so many board members in the area of fundraising and friend-raising.

  • I enjoyed planning and executing my part of the gala the best. Second best I really enjoyed Michael’s fundraising training.

  • Michael is an empathetic listener who values diversity, inclusion and equity. During the course of his engagement, he donated a substantial percentage of his fee to our organization and challenged other board members to match or exceed his gift. And they did!

Wayne Scott, Manager, Organizational Development & Learning, Multnomah County

Michael and his colleagues at EqualityWorks, NW are an indispensable resource to the Portland metropolitan area and beyond. In addition to being engaged, energetic, and creative teachers of complex topics pertinent to the workplace, they are masterful navigators of highly sensitive terrain. I have used consultants from EqualityWorks, NW for coaching, mediation, and team-building activities, as well as facilitation. Whenever I recommend consultants on diversity, equity, and inclusion, their name is always on the list.

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