MALN Opinion+: Beth Chandler

YW Boston President & CEO on making a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to MALN Opinion+, a weekly series airing every Friday. This is a space for our opinions, where we talk about current events and questions the Latino community is curious about!

YW Boston is the oldest chapter of the YWCA in the United States. Since 1866 the organization has been working to help advance social justice and the treatment of women in society.

This week we were joined by Beth Chandler of YW Boston. Beth joined YW in November of 2012 and was appointed President & CEO in the Summer of 2018. With over 20 years of experience working in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, Beth has worked to support initiatives focusing on affordable housing, community development, and urban public education. 


In our interview with Beth, we spoke about how COVID-19 has heavily influenced their work in the past year. YW works with companies by providing workshops and leadership programs to instigate systemic change throughout them and assist in their journey in making a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace environment with the goal of uplifting women and people of color. 

You may have been hearing words like diversity, equity, and inclusion lately, and they can sometimes be a bit tough to understand in different situations. Beth explained to us what they mean for YW Boston and how they use these ideologies to influence their work.

“Diversity is really just counting the numbers and thinking about the different identities that people have and being able to check off people because of those identities, then inclusion is ensuring that those peoples voices are really heard regardless of how they identify,” Chandler said. “Particularly if someone identifies with marginalized communities we ask, are their voices being heard in these organizations? Are they really allowed to provide input? Do they have power and influence whether they are in the room or not? And equity I think of that as, what are the mechanisms that you’re putting in place to get from diversity to inclusion? So what are the practices and policies and culture that are helping you ensure that everybody in your organization feels included?” 

Beth explained further that really in the end, “It’s about creating a work environment where people can excel and where they feel valued.” 

She says that treating workers fairly and correctly is what can encourage them to keep putting out their best work for an organization. These concepts have been really important lately, with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing so many to work from their homes it’s been crucial that companies keep diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind when considering the varying home situations people may have. 

Someone working from home may not have adequate space to work from or even juggle childcare on top of their normal workday. Companies need to recognize their employees as individuals and find respectful and considerate ways to make things work for everyone no matter their situation. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Website: https://www.ywboston.org/

Blog: Holding inclusive Zoom meetings;

 2021 reading list:

2020 Map of local small businesses

*2021 list is being curated

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