When Robyn Wagner started at the Bert Nash Center in April 2021, she was the Community Engagement Coordinator.
In that role, she brought to her work a passion for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Belonging (IDEB).
She will now be doing that work full time.
Wagner has been named the Center’s first full-time IDEB manager. She began her new duties Aug. 20.
“We are excited to have Robyn doing this important work,” said Bert Nash CEO Patrick Schmitz. “But she will not be doing it alone. As an organization, we are committed to having Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Belonging be part of everything we do. And Robyn will help us continue to make that a focus and a priority as we move forward, both individually and collectively.”
For Wagner, the work of racial equity is something that is personal and part of her own journey.
“I grew up in a predominately white town in a predominately white neighborhood in a predominately white school,” said Wagner, who is biracial. “I am half Black and half Indian and oftentimes I was the only person of color in a lot of spaces and made to feel uncomfortable, like I didn’t belong. Relating that back to my career, I’ve always wanted to create a space that would be better for my future children. I never want my kids or anyone else to feel like I did in those situations.”
In her new role, Wagner will work closely with Dr. Danica Moore, an equity consultant, and her organization, 4tified Educational Practices. The Bert Nash Center has worked with Dr. Moore since 2021.
Soon after Wagner started working at Bert Nash, she took the lead in restarting and revamping the Center’s Diversity Committee, including having the name changed to the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Belonging Committee. She also initiated the Nash Cares Educational Series which has highlighted mental health and athletes, the cultural experiences of Native/Indigenous populations and mental health, perinatal mental health, and aging and mental health. On Sept. 7 for Recovery Month, there will be a panel discussion on recovery, mental health, and substance use disorders. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to put my personal passion for this work into my professional role. I am excited to take this work we have been doing even further,” Wagner said. “I think it’s incredibly important and it will be incredibly impactful on our organization and community to have someone focused internally on IDEB initiatives. I am eager to really get to jump into this work and help to create a safe, inclusive environment not only for those receiving care but for those team members working here as well.”