I hope this letter finds you all safe and healthy. 2020 has been a challenging year, and we were confronted with even more in the month since our last email update.
In recent weeks, the national conversation has moved from managing the COVID-19 pandemic to grappling in new ways with the reality that the systems that we shape, and that shape us, are infected with racial injustice. We know that the impacts of racism are far-reaching, impacting systems of commerce, government, research, recreation, conservation, and beyond. That’s why it’s important to reflect on ways we can authentically support an inclusive culture and ensure our mission benefits all stakeholders fairly and equitably.
It might not be obvious how an organization like GLOS can be a positive agent of change. It’s my hope and sincere intention that the work we’re doing here at GLOS will be an “equalizer” for easy, open access to data and information in our region. From improving how people understand harmful algal blooms and water quality, to streamlining how we can access data on real-time water conditions, the contours of the lake floor, and more, we’re here, ultimately, to see that the benefits of high-quality water data make it to all 40 million residents of this watershed.
Our core values of empowerment, simplicity, and integrity reinforce our commitment to making stakeholders in the larger Great Lakes region more confident and better informed through improved access to information. We acknowledge that this is best accomplished when we engage a diverse suite of partners, make it easy for people to discover and access the data they need, and enable our stakeholders to transform data and information into knowledge and action.
Finally, on a personal note, I have found that gratitude and grace are always helpful practices during periods of difficulty. I know I am incredibly grateful to be leading this organization, serving as a steward for these information resources, and working with an incredible group of dedicated and intelligent individuals who are committed to working in the best interest of the Great Lakes. Thank you all for your contributions, voices, and perspectives. If you have feedback or thoughts about how we can improve our efforts around diversity and inclusion, we are listening! Please feel welcome to reach out to me directly anytime.
Let’s hope that these collective challenges we face now will yield brighter outcomes in the future.
Wishing you the best this summer,