Meet Aparna Rae: She’s Doing Big Things in DEI

Aparna Rae, entrepreneur and founder of Moving Beyond, a consulting firm that works to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion across all aspects of impact investing, tells us how she came to do this work, why she joined the Women Donors Network, and gives us the scoop on Moving Beyond’s 2021 Workplace survey series.

Tell us about your social justice journey and how it brought you to the Women Donors Network. Why did you decide to join the network?

My Mom would say that I was born an activist. As a pre-teen, I spent many hours in the principal’s office for the crime of defending classmates being bullied by teachers or standing up against mediocre education. I was in my mid-20’s, with a graduate degree in education (decolonizing pedagogy), when I began using the words social justice to describe my point-of-view. I come to WDN with a desire to shift women’s giving and advocacy networks towards greater equity and intersectionality, and a deep realization that we all need to be in spaces that are deeply uncomfortable to create change.

How does WDN tie into the work that you do professionally and in your social justice circle? How does your work with Moving Beyond tie in?

My work at Moving Beyond is deeply technical – spreadsheets, formulas, surveys – and on the other, quantifying social justice. For too long, social justice or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have existed in rhetoric. I get to quantify how those values show at work, with leaders, in the community, within individuals and break something abstract into smaller chunks that we can understand and ultimately build solutions for.

WDN is engaging in a study with its members right now as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Your organization, Moving Beyond, is engaged in similar project. Tell us more about the study. What impact are you hoping will come out of it?

We understand the basic practices that help people realize their best selves outside of work, we also know that certain events such as the murder of Breonna Taylor or the attack on the Capitol can create adverse psychological impacts that extend into work. But we know little about the experiences of people outside Fortune 500 companies, and about how work can promote human thriving and increase well-being. The study is collecting data and analyzing it intersectionally, to tell a story about the people who make up this country.

If you could give one message to WDN members about your work with Moving Beyond what would it be?

Data can tell powerful stories, and we want to tell ones that reflect who we are and where we’re going.

Where can we connect with and follow your work?

Moving Beyond’s first survey is out, you can take the first survey here as an individual. You can also take the survey as a team of three or more people form the same workplace and get a profile free of charge at the end of the study. Click here for more information on the team sign-up.


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