It comes as no surprise to say that the National Fund cares deeply about improving job quality. Our economy is built on too many low quality, low wage jobs. What is more, improving job quality is a potent strategy to advance racial equity.
I’ve been speaking to a lot of different audiences over the past year, and no matter the context or the audience, job quality and racial equity have been touchstones of my message. And that is why it is with a heavy heart—but also my best wishes—that I announce we are saying goodbye to two members of the National Fund team who embody these twin goals.
Janice Urbanik has announced her retirement at the end of September. Janice’s impact on this organization cannot be overstated. An early advocate and adopter of job quality, she has been utterly tenacious in her commitment to this work and to sharing her deep understanding of what it takes to get employers to move on job quality. Her work pays dividends for us every day, but especially in this moment, as we seek solutions to the current economic crisis and recovery. When we adopted racial equity and inclusion as a top priority, Janice has continued to lead on this front, using the lens of job quality.
Where Janice is “old school” (she knows I mean that in the best way), Janell Thomas is “new school.” In less than two years with us, Janell brought to the National Fund a unique perspective and a tireless commitment to equity and inclusion. She has kept us honest throughout our work building an internal culture of inclusion and helped us think more broadly about what workers need to be successful. Janell is leveraging those talents to start her own independent consulting business to help organizations reshape their workplace culture to achieve equitable outcomes.
Our job design framework has two elements under the opportunity pillar: recognition and mattering. As we wish these two workforce powerhouses all the best in their next endeavors, I wanted to be sure to let them know — and all of you know — how much they matter and recognize their substantial contributions to the National Fund.