We bring our values of curiosity, awareness, connection, equity and wholeness to all the work we do.
Everything begins with the practice of curiosity. We ask better questions. We use our inquiry to get unstuck, adopt a new mindset or become more aware. Curiosity is what leads us to an expanded awareness.
Awareness allows us to take in more of the field. We pay attention to what is happening internally and externally. This level of awareness opens us to the possibility of more connection. Connection with ourselves, with others and the world.
Connection leads to an understanding of our interconnectedness where we can cultivate a richer, more dynamic relational space. From this connected space we can consciously foster more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments.
Recognizing the inherent worth of all individuals, we create policies, procedures, practices, and programs that ensure all people can thrive now and for generations to come. When equity is put into action, we help facilitate greater wholeness on multiple levels.
From a renewed and more comprehensive understanding of wholeness, we cultivate the capacity for transformation change in individuals, systems and society. Then we begin again. Ask better questions. Become more aware. Use curiosity to expand awareness.
The Athena Group is committed to advancing justice, equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion internally, in collaboration with the subcontractors on project teams, and in our work with clients, organizations and communities.
Our work is guided by our Equity Statement and a Social Agreement, and new team member onboarding practices that underscore how we work together to manifest our potential.
Various aspects of this agreement help us to:
- Build trust by cultivating authentic relationships and by conducting our business transparently. For instance, all firm Partners are invited to quarterly budget meetings.
- Explore privilege through training, reading and discussion. Onboarding readings include “White Supremacy Culture” by Tema Okun and “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. We host and promote a 21-day racial equity leadership challenge for our Partners and larger network.
- Engage courage as we model learning and development of strong diversity, equity and inclusion practices when working with our clients, such as in a community transportation planning project we led in which we advocated for and secured adequate project funds to allow all interested community members to participate without language, economic or other barriers.
- Listen deeply and create a space for each voice to be heard. We commit to being conscious of our individual communication style and engaging in ways that benefit the group. For example, stepping forward if we tend to be hesitant in speaking, and stepping back if we tend to speak a lot.
- Demonstrate a commitment to high quality public service, with equity factors inextricably linked. We seek to share opportunity and responsibility with others for the best outcomes in the organizations and communities we serve.
- Shift power with focus on community members who have been most marginalized. This is a foundational aspect of our approach to equity, and we consistently seek to understand the experiences of people most impacted/marginalized in firm projects, elevating those voices and guiding projects to be responsive to expressed needs, strengths, and concerns.
Our Commitment to Equity
Equity means all people have access to what they need to thrive. The Athena Group actively engages ourselves and our clients in examining power relationships, values, systems and structures in the context of equity.