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February is Black History Month. While The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce celebrates all our members throughout the year, this month we are shinning a spotlight on our members within the African American community. Join us all month long for our 2nd annual spotlight series. This special feature helps our communities learn a little more about some of their business leaders who work so hard to make it a community to be proud of.
Today, we would like you to get to know Dee Sanae of Mosaic Visions.
Mosaic Visions (MV) is an action-oriented humanitarian organization that also represents multiracial Jews. It is an organization of racially and ethnically diverse Jews and other allies and collaborators that are committed to equity and diversity. This is an organization that is a safe space for Jews of Color and other People of Color to come together to discuss and act on issues of social and civil justice, and diversity-focused on strengthening first and foremost the Jewish community as well as the community-at-large through understanding, acceptance, and inclusion.
Through conversation and dialogue, they strategize ways to strengthen and unify the Jewish community by being more inclusive of Jews from all racial and ethnic backgrounds through actions as well as strengthening the local community to be more inclusive. The next level of action is to work in the larger community by establishing action-oriented projects focused on community building nationally and internationally strengthening diverse identities, acceptance, and inclusion. MV believes in employing both words and deeds that lead to constructive change.
The mission of Mosaic Visions is to form an inclusive space that generates visibility for marginalized and underrepresented Jews of Color (JOCs) within the Global Jewish community through advocacy, awareness, and education. By facilitating diversity, inclusion, racial equity, and social action, both within the Jewish community and beyond, Mosaic Visions also seeks to strengthen the bonds and alliances between the Jewish People and other impacted communities of Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC), forever advancing towards our shared Visions of socially just and tolerant societies.
Dee has been named this year's 2022 honoree of Jewish Women International's "Women to Watch." She has served as the chair and community service chair for B'nai B'rith International's BBI Connect. She served on the Asian Pacific American Film Festival board as the Vice President and Communications Director.
Dee is a Proud alumna of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She is also an Executive Masters of Business Administration candidate focusing on Global Business, Leadership, Governance, and Entrepreneurship Innovation. Dee is a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus of Virginia Tech, Diversity, and Inclusion. She is the Director of the Northern Capital Region Virginia Tech Alumni Association, and DEI Chair of Jewish Women International's National Young Women Network.
We asked Dee three important questions. Read her responses below.
Q1. What are some challenges you faced early on that helped prepare you for the role you are in today and how did you overcome them?
The challenges that I faced early on were a lack of personal and professional experience. I opened my first business and was a young entrepreneur at the age of 20 while I was still attending college. I was a single mother and found a way to go to school, take care of a young baby and bring in income. I learned grit, resilience, patience, but more importantly drive and problem-solving; those skill sets that are needed in business, life, and being an entrepreneur.
Q2. Who/What is your biggest inspiration in both your personal and professional life?
There are so many people that I have drawn inspiration from in my personal and professional life at different periods. My father was my earliest one with his dedication and strong work ethic. For all the women and women of Color businesswomen that came before me. They paved the way so that I would have the chance and opportunity to be an entrepreneur too.
Q3. What is your biggest piece of advice to businesses struggling with diversity and inclusivity in the workplace?
My biggest piece of advice is twofold, leadership should want to make the change and be attentive to the needs of the workplace, and that includes the needs of the employees and staff. Hiring and promoting more diverse candidates for leadership positions will give a new overall and rewarding change to organizations that truly want to be more diverse and inclusive When hiring a DEI strategist don’t hire for short-term changes. True change within the organizational environment and the way of thinking of leadership don't happen in one fell swoop, it is with dedication, consistency, and holding each other accountable.
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