As the Director of L-RAD, Janai helps Greatheart approach inclusive leadership from a scientist-practitioner perspective: developing practices grounded in research and translated for application in the workplace. She brings with her nine years of experience working cross-culturally in China in various contexts including: education, publishing, communications and graphic design.
Janai obtained a M.A. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Seattle Pacific University and a M.A. in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies from Seattle Pacific Seminary.
How does D&I relate to you personally?
Foundationally, I believe that we should live in a way that considers and values the perspective and presence of each person—no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, ability, orientation or any other signifier that we use to place people into groups. However, to truly value people, we must not just appreciate the diversity they bring—but also make sure that that diversity has a "seat at the table".
There are three main experiences in my life that have shaped this thinking:
As a Christian, I believe that we are to work as reconcilers: Helping each person have the opportunity to live into their best selves. This often means confronting structural and social situations that have developed in a way that tends to exclude rather than include.
During my time living and working in China I discovered the importance of both self reflection and of appreciating difference. Often ways of doing and thinking are not "right" or "wrong"—they are simply different. However, if we don't take the time to understand what is shaping the way we think, we can miss seeing this distinction.
Lastly, as a woman who loves sports and the outdoors, it has been interesting to observe how gender stereotypes in particular operate to create exclusion both within the business world and within the social sphere.
These things have caused me to appreciate and value the diversity that exists in the world around me, as well as to see how often these valuable, diverse voices are excluded in some way or another—whether it be from our own thinking, from our decisions in organizations, or from our adventurous outings. I hope that we can be a world—and I can be a person—which not only appreciates and values diversity, but also which ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to feel that their voice and contribution is heard and valued.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like spending time with friends and exploring the great outdoors. Best if they can happen together and on the side of a rock (rock climbing). My special talents include: jumping photos, singing the wrong lyrics to songs, filling people’s inboxes with interesting articles, using too much hot sauce on all consumable food items, and alerting the world to the failures of the font Papyrus one Instagram post at a time.