Collaborative Divorce will only truly succeed if it is viewed as a process for everyone. Every sex, every ethnicity, every religion, every sexual orientation, every gender identification, and every economic group. Such applies to the professional who practice Collaborative Divorce. Our membership and leadership must reflect society.
Unfortunately, and despite efforts such as pro bono projects, CDT and our clients lack diversity. Therefore, we must look deep within ourselves as individuals, and collectively as an organization and ask, what can I do, what can we do, to enlarge our collaborative community? What can we do to reduce barriers to access in obtaining a Collaborative Divorce or to practice within the Collaborative community?
We must proactively reach out to fellow professionals who are themselves members of such diverse groups but also allies to and who represent diverse groups and invite to them to learn about Collaborative Divorce and encourage them to become collaboratively trained and to become a member of CDT. We must focus promotion of Collaborative Divorce in all communities, just not the affluent zip codes.
We must identify and help remove barriers to Collaborative Divorce. We must go the extra mile, be on the forefront and blaze a trial to better build upon values of diversity, equity, and inclusion by integrating them into CDT’ operations, Board of Trustees, membership, and clients and by developing standards how to best model those values as we advance CDT’s mission and vision.
Diversity of staff, board and membership boosts the quality of organizational decision-making and encourages creativity. And when board members, employees, donors, and others who shape the values and activities of CDT come from a wide array of backgrounds, they bring unique perspectives that influence how CDT can approach its mission in more inclusive and innovative ways.
CDT should strongly consider creating a Diversity and Inclusion Committee to articulate these values and the intent to be guided by them. A committee that can use all available resources to examine issues such as internal biases and lack of current diversity in membership, leadership and clients, and adopt practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the work CDT does as a organization, and the services its members offer to the public through membership, communication and marketing. This will require honest internal dialogue that encourages our staff, Board of Trustees and members to reflect, listen to each other, listen to those in the community, and learn from one another's experiences. Such will also require thorough critical self-examination to explore and identify how CDT can better embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organizational value and intentionally make space for positive outcomes to flourish in exposing and providing Collaborative Divorce services to our members, non-member lawyers, allied professionals, and our clients/client community. Finally, CDT must engage in a dialogue with members and target future members and clients to explore how CDT can best advance its work throughout the community to advance CDT’s mission.