KeeleyOne Spotlight: Jessica Kruse
KeeleyOne is focused on creating an atmosphere that promotes Diversity & Inclusion. Jessica Kruse, Learning & Professional Development Coordinator for KeeleyU and member of the KeeleyOne team, is passionate about educating Keeley’ns on all aspects of Diversity & Inclusion. Her dedication to people is evident and she strives to create an environment where everyone’s voice is heard.
Jessica helps coordinate our KeeleyU offerings, ensuring that our Keeley’ns across the nation have access to our world-class learning & development resources. When she heard that KeeleyOne was beginning to take form, she knew she wanted to be a part of this movement. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, she knew that this was an opportunity to join a cultural pillar that sees her as a whole person and values her thoughts and opinions. She also realized that this was an incredible way for her to help other Keeley’ns that may be struggling with not feeling welcomed, valued, or included. Diversity & Inclusion can mean different things to different people and for Jessica, it holds a very deep and important meaning.
“For me, Diversity & Inclusion means that we open ourselves up to everyone and give them a seat at the table. We must purposefully review policy and practice to be sure our expectations and standards are applicable to all people. When people think of Diversity & Inclusion, they typically think of race and gender, but we must be mindful of all aspects of Diversity & Inclusion, including age, veteran status, education level, socioeconomic status, disabilities, sexual orientation, and so much more.”
Forming a new cultural pillar from the ground up can present quite a few challenges and Jessica has found that her biggest challenge is time. Everyone on the team is busy with their roles and personal lives that it can be difficult to find all the time needed to really create a truly inclusive & diverse workforce. However, this is definitely a challenge that Jessica is dedicated to overcoming as she knows just how important the mission of KeeleyOne is.
Outside of these challenges lies an incredibly exciting future for KeeleyOne. The growth that the team has seen over the past two years is amazing and Jessica is excited for what’s to come. Her favorite part of KeeleyOne are the VOICE Chats as they allow us to learn and listen while being compassionate and empathetic towards another person’s experiences and point of view. She is excited to continue to grow these VOICE Chats across the country and encourages Keeley’ns to send in ideas for VOICE Chat topics. Keeley’ns can also get involved by attending other training sessions, having open and honest conversations with their fellow Keeley’ns, and even apply to be a part of the KeeleyOne team! This involvement is so important as the team continues to evolve KeeleyOne, so if Jessica could give one piece of advice to Keeley’ns as this journey continues, it would be:
“Listen! Be open to just listening to another person without judgement and without thinking about what you want to say next. Listen to their story earnestly and with empathy.”
In addition to the numerous educational opportunities that KeeleyOne offers, Jessica recommends the following resources with a strong focus on the LGBTQIA+ community: