#175 Shalini Pahwa “Neurodiversity in the Workplace”

Shalini Pahwa has 20+ years of leadership experience and is currently the QA & Test Competency Leader for the US Client Innovation Centers at IBM. She manages a team ranging from test managers and automation SMEs (subject matter experts) to brand new associates, delivering full testing services to clients across industries. Shalini Pahwa is passionate about diversity and inclusion initiatives at workplaces and led IBM’s first Neurodiversity program and continues to support it as it expands globally. Shalini has a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Loyola University at Chicago. She also holds a degree in Science and Indian Law from the University of Delhi, India.  Prior to joining IBM, Shalini worked in Quality assurance field for the Plastics and Financial Industries. She also worked for Sports Authority of India as an Assistant Director for Sports Planning and Coordination. Shalini enjoys outdoors, photography and has been a state Volleyball player in India. Shalini also volunteers her time to support special education programs and whenever possible likes to sing her heart out and have some Karaoke fun. She is happily married to her husband, a Critical Care Physician and has two children, a son who is a copy editor and a writer in New York and a daughter who is at MSU in their Music – voice program.

Today we talk about all the positives about this program and how to overcome the perceived barriers. I’ve spoken to a few folks about this episode and learned that neurodiversity is a new term for many people. According to an online dictionary, here’s the formal def: the range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population (used especially in the context of autistic spectrum disorders).

Here’s the IBM video celebrating their neurodivergent team.

And here’s the article on Cultivating Curiosity!

Today’s show was engineered by Ian Seda of Radio Kingston.

Our show music is from Shana Falana !!!

Feel free to email me, say hello: she@iwantwhatshehas.org

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#170 Mary Haddad and Ann Pierre-Louis “All Black Lives Matter”

Mary Haddad is an artist and student who took an idea she had about how to respond to the repeated destruction of a Black Lives Matter sign and turned that idea into a transformational, collaborative, creative experience for students of both the Oakwood Friends School, where the sign had been destroyed, and Spackenkill community which she’s a part of. The result of her efforts is a beautiful mural commemorating the lives of just a few who have been killed by police in the past several years.

Also joining in our conversation is student clerk of the Oakwood Friends School, Ann Pierre-Louis, who helped to get the Oakwood Friends School students involved and who joined in painting portions of the mural.

The mural is currently part of the I.D.E.A. Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in America Gallery show at Cornell Creative Arts Center in Kingston.

The I.D.E.A. art exhibition is a collaboration with New Horizons Resources (NHR), The Arc Mid-Hudson, and the Cornell Creative Arts Center. It was conceived to enable the diverse population of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities supported by NHR, and their staff to express their feelings about social injustice in our world and our community. This show highlights artwork that expresses thoughts, feelings and experiences in regard to racism, social injustices and oppression faced by people supported and employed through both NHR and The Arc Mid-Hudson. Their hope is that the work in this exhibit promotes a mutual understanding of how racism impacts our entire society and community, and provides opportunity for constructive dialogue and positive change. They aim to create an environment where people can feel safe and supported in their need to discuss these very important topics and their impact. The Exhibition is on display from May 1-July 31, 2021.

You can view the virtual gallery online here.

Mary’s mural will travel throughout the Hudson Valley, temporarily leaving the I.D.E.A. exhibit to be a part of a Juneteenth event at Mansion Square Park in Poughkeepsie, and then moving to the WomensWork.Art Gallery in August and the Art Effect Gallery in September.

Additional students who participated in the mural are from Oakwoods Friends School: Kaylie Agresta, Brandon Christansen, Shakiba Daqiq, Molly Doherty, Brooklyn Dottin, Celeste Farangi, Bella Gedeon, Ryan Kraehar, lla Kumar (ee-luh), Ra Kumar, Aubrey Mahoney, Kishi Oyagi, Ally Ramos, Fio Sachs, Lulu Schloss, Ruby Schloss, Jareth Stokum, Jenine Tobias, Ibrahim Waheed (ee-bra-heem) and from Spackenkill Community: Mariam Baloch, Ria Bhutani, Amelia Chapin, Maya Chinkan, Emily Cohen, Andrew Chun, Kathryn Gagliardi, Ava Geer, Grace Haddad, Najib Haddad (nuh-jeeb), Yousef Haddad, Mya Hansen, Anikha Justin, Kathryn Kaylor, Isaac Kolisch, Emily Ma, Sophia Maslyn, Elizabeth Mastrantuono, Ofeibea Micah (oh-fey-bee-uh), Olivia Michail, Liam Moren, Udaya Rattan, Deshaun Smith, Abigail Straus, Anoushka Swain, Hannah Ullinger

After our conversation, I share a bit about open-mindedness, which perhaps is an important element to real change as it relates to both law enforcement and other elements of our world that could use an upgrade. Open-Mindedness on NPR. Here’s the Implicit Association Test mentioned in the NPR program.

Today’s show was engineered by Ian Seda from Radio Kingston, AND produced, hosted, and edited by ME, Theresa, so please forgive any hiccups.

Our show music is from Shana Falana !!!

Feel free to email me, say hello: she@iwantwhatshehas.org

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#137 Maria Elena Ferrer-Harrington “Artist and Consultant”

Maria Elena Ferrer-Harrington is the Executive Director of Humanamente — a diversity and inclusion consulting organization, Chair of the Athena Network New York — a psychosocial support network in the area of social services, health, and specifically in mental health, for immigrants experiencing psychological challenges related to the migratory process, a board member of the Family of Woodstock — a network of individuals whose mission is to provide confidential and fully accessible crisis intervention, information, prevention, and support services to address the needs of individuals and families, and a socially engaged artist.

Maria Elena has successfully facilitated migration-related workshops since 2004. As a member of the global Athena Network Association, Maria Elena has presented her work with immigrants at the network’s annual Migration and Mental Health congress in London, Rome, Berlin and Brussels. She introduced the concept of migratory mourning nationally in 2012, and has since led migratory-mourning panel discussions at several conferences.

She is a member of the Arts Mid-Hudson Advisory Board, and has been recently appointed by Kingston’s Mayor, Steve Noble, to the City Arts Commission. Maria Elena’s drawings and paintings were recently exhibited at the Muroff–Kotler Visual Arts Gallery at the State University of New York at Ulster awarding her the opportunity to show her artwork at highly regarded Plaza Gallery of the State University of New York in Albany in 2019. She juried the Cornell Creative Arts Center’s very first exhibition, “We’re All Humans,” and inaugurated The DRAW’s new studio at the Energy Square with her art installation, “Masking Identities: Rebuilding Deterritorialized Cultural Memories,” a deep dive into the complexity of the migrant’s narrative and experience. Both art shows are open to the public through October 2020.

Today she shares her own experience as a migrant, what migratory mourning is, the complexities of migration, rebirthing and of course ART!

Today’s show was engineered by Manuel Blas of La Dosis Perfecta.

Our show music is from Shana Falana !!!

Feel free to email me, say hello: she@iwantwhatshehas.org

Leave me a voicemail with your thoughts or a few words about who inspires you! (845) 481-3429

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