Rethinking Systems for Equality with Stephanie Byrd

Solutions go well beyond conversations: we need to put money on the table to solve the problem.

When you don’t have a roadmap, the beauty is that you can create it, and the risk is that … you can create it. Today on the show we have Stephanie Byrd, the CEO of the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Region American Red Cross, who is here to talk about the vulnerability of life’s success, and the opportunities we have to lean into our work and create a greater community.

The journey

Stephanie took on leadership of the ‘Success by 6’ role with United Way when the community was looking for inspirational strategies to address a very difficult time.

During that time, Stephanie was moving out of a career. She shares that she began her career in Cincinnati. She left graduate school with a Masters in health and hospital administration, then worked in health care for a number of years. After that, she created Health Span and worked for the Health Alliance before the Success by 6 offer came. It was perfect timing; she was looking to do something different.

And this was important for her, because she was on the verge of leaving the city. She had three African-American children at the time; was this really the city and the future she wanted for her children? So when the offer came, she decided not to flee, but instead, dug in and saw what she could do about the situation. She decided to make whatever difference she could.

Stephanie felt like being part of the creation of a movement to give every child the same opportunity that her kids have was hers to do. She had a lot of skills and built a lot of relationships in healthcare; it was something she could leverage that for the next thing.

When it comes to wrestling with the topic of equity, where can we go from here?

This is a significant and deep issue, not just in Cincinnati, but in the country and the world. The good news is that we are increasingly aware of it, and we are willing to have a conversation about where we are.

But we have to be mindful that solutions go well beyond conversations: we need to put money on the table to solve the problem. Many of the issues are systemic, and we have to rethink our systems to get everyone in our community on the same playing field.

We need to invest in creating healthy relationships and help people become successful in their personal lives.

Building employee relationships

One of the things we don’t pay enough attention to is listening and being accessible, so that employees can learn that you do care. We want them to learn that it’s not just about their particular job, but it’s who they are — and what makes them who they are — that allows them to be their best selves on the job.

We often make our employee relationships transactional and not relational, and a successful organization is one that knows how to balance that. It takes time, patience, and organizational culture, but that’s what attracts Stephanie to the nonprofit arena.

What motivates you to do what you do?

It was truly about thinking how she could make a difference based on a very difficult time in their community’s history. In doing that, it allowed her to see not only what brings her joy, but also what she could give back.

Stephanie shares her journey to the Red Cross, and how their mission of alleviating human suffering is one that resonated with her. Part of the appeal for her is figuring out how to reintroduce the Red Cross to the community: How can they make it attractive to people either as a career opportunity or because they’re looking to give back?

The key is that you’re able to put your skill sets to use and give back and help people when they need you.


Resources for Stephanie Byrd


American Red Cross Greater Cincinnati and Dayton Region

American Red Cross (LinkedIn)

Cincinnati Preschool Promise

My Pre-K

United Way of Greater Cincinnati (LinkedIn)

Talent Magnet Institute





Referenced Podcast Episodes

TMI Podcast Episode 25: Workforce Solutions: Investing in Purpose and People with Janice Urbanik

TMI Podcast Episode 17: Conscious Capitalism with Steve Shifman

TMI Podcast Episode 14: Early Childhood Education and Workforce with Shiloh Turner and Florence Malone

TMI Podcast Episode 4: How Business Leaders Can Invest in Students with Tim Hanner

TMI Podcast Episode 3: Know Your Neighbor Concept with Shakila Ahmad


[gravityform id=”2″ title=”true” description=”true”]

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.