b'Diversity, Equity & InclusionA Team Member Story: Fostering ChangeAs a black woman who grew up in inner city Milwaukee, Think A Focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Smalls Director of Equity & Quality Supports, Candace Yates, sawrsthand the impacts of continuous racial disparities within community and educational systems. Now living in Minnesota, she is reminded of how far we have to go in order to see all children experience equitable outcomes. Our children, my children, deserve better. They deserve a world that believes all children are worthy of high-quality learning opportunities, regardless of their geographical location, socioeconomic status, race, gender identity, or any other identifying trait.Yates started at Think Small in 2016 as a Quality Coach and was quickly promoted to Supervisor and then Manager. In her current leadership role, she will work with senior management to assess company efforts around equity, diversity, and cross-cultural inclusion programs, establishing best practices and identifying opportunities to effectively remove barriers that affect staff retention and advancement. This is accomplished by identifying staff needs and providing resources that will aide in furthering Think Smalls work in closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for young children and working to ensure all organizational business objectives align with our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, she explained.Yates says much of what we have accepted as professional norms and best practices were developed and reinforced by the dominant, white, cultural in uence. Professional development, quality-ratings, community support, and more, must elevate the importance of acknowledging and celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion.Growing racial and ethnic diversity is a reality for everyone in this country, regardless of who they are and where they live.As the landscape of early childhood education continues to shift, it is critical for educators, community organizations, and government agencies to all critically assess their work through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.'