Makeba Clay – The First Recipient of a SHRM Foundation/ACDI-VOCA International Volunteer Opportunity

At the end of 2016, the SHRM Foundation forged a new partnership with ACDI-VOCA, a Washington, DC-based international development organization experienced in managing impactful, skills-based international volunteering programs. They offer professionals international volunteer opportunities at no cost to the professional or their organization.

Makeba Clay is the first recipient of a SHRM Foundation/ACDI-VOCA International Volunteer Opportunity. Makeba is a leader in diversity and inclusion in the DC-metro area having worked most recently as Chief Diversity Officer for the National Museum of African Art and now as the CEO of Innovative Global Solutions Consulting, LLC, a woman-owned management consulting firm.

In addition to her many years working with cross sector organizational leaders to build high performing and inclusive cultures that thrive, her work has also been recognized by the Alliance for Workplace Excellence through its Diversity Champion Award; The League of Innovation through the Innovator of the Year Award; The Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award; and most recently by the White House Council on Women and Girls.

The SHRM Foundation is proud to introduce Makeba to the SHRM community. Makeba has provided some insight into her volunteer opportunity which will begin next month in Ghana.

From Makeba:

Partnering on this project with the Techiman Maize Traders Association (TEMTA) in Ghana is an amazing opportunity that allows me to demonstrate my commitment to global workforce diversity through public service. Public service is a value that was instilled in me as a child through both of my parents. Growing up, I witnessed their tremendous efforts giving their time, talent and fiscal resources to individuals and organizations in our Upstate New York community.

Because I deliver strategic business and operational solutions in human resource management through my business, this international opportunity and its complexity with the need for a true understanding of integrating diversity immediately excited me. Through my work, I provide targeted trainings including organizational leadership, technology, diversity and inclusion strategies, and project management. I will creatively integrate these strategies during my time partnering with the Maize Farmers, situated in a rural area of Brong-Ahafo Ghana.

I am on a mission to understand their challenges, triumphs, and realistic future goals for their businesses. I want to see from the lens of these hardworking farmers in the agriculture industry. While abroad, I will share tactical operational strategies that can in the future enable the farmers to become more efficient while improving their business practices.

I believe grasping a sincere cultural understanding is critical in every human interaction. This is especially true when working cross-culturally.  As experts in our respective fields, we sometimes make assumptions about what we view as the problem within an organization without framing our point of view from a holistic perspective. In order to create integrative solutions that make sense to all stakeholders, we must take into account key factors when operating in the global marketplace. It is also important to bring things full circle by linking the history, culture, ways of being, and the contemporary context of the people within that community. Toward that end, I have had to study about the cultures within this region of Ghana, and I have also had to gain new knowledge about the Agriculture industry. I did this in order to gain a substantial understanding of how to link best practices in business management operations within their cultural context.

I look forward to working with the farmers associated with the Techiman Maize Traders Association at the launch of an extraordinary partnership with the SHRM Foundation and ACDI-VOCA that reflects my commitment to social responsibility and inclusion.