A Message from Canopy’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

Taheti Watson-Chief Engagement & Diversity Officer

Taheti Watson, Canopy’s Chief Engagement & Diversity Officer

It is an honor to serve as Canopy’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. If you are considering Canopy as a place to work, participate in our internship program, volunteer, or exploring Canopy as a solutions provider for your family, please know that our organization proudly offers an inclusive environment that welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.

We are aware of the injustices that continue to take place around the world throughout our nation, and in our communities. These are challenging times for everyone, and change tends to take more time than we like.  However, our efforts to create an equitable environment where everyone can thrive will continue to be a priority.

We create an inclusive work environment through a variety of initiatives such as town hall meetings, CEO Luncheons, and employee engagement surveys, professional development opportunities, and diversity education, all aimed to address the various dimensions of diversity and equity. We developed a diversity and inclusion model that remains an integral part of our mission by creating an engaging workforce. We also recognize that a genuine commitment to this effort cannot rest on one person. Our Board and Senior team serve as sponsors overseeing our engagement, diversity, inclusion, and equity strategy in partnership with our Diversity Council and Canopy’s Diversity and Inclusion Board Committee.  The Council is charged with developing and implementing plans designed to meet the needs of our employees. Through the employee resource groups, employees can support each other’s personal and professional growth and enhance their individual and collective ability to contribute to the organization’s overall mission, which is embedded within Canopy’s culture.

We believe this type of culture enhances our ability to attract, retain, and develop diverse talent, and that supports Canopy’s mission.  We believe that every child, given the appropriate tools and supports, can be a success story, and we believe in creating a space where diverse and unique talents can be leveraged to accomplish great things.

Taheti Watson, CDE, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

We can and must do better

Dear Canopy Supporters,

We can’t adequately articulate all the emotions engendered by what we’ve previously witnessed and what we continue to see in our communities and around the country.  We are, at times, enraged, and at other times numb.  We are depressed and exhausted, but then engaged and hopeful.  We want to isolate ourselves and shelter in our own microcosm to wrap ourselves in the safety and familiarity that comes from being with family and trusted friends.  But we’re also motivated and inspired to step out and speak up to ensure that, this time, things will be different.  We know that many of you share those same feelings.  The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, known and unknown, have surfaced deep trauma in each of our hearts and across our nation, as we once again see the disconnect between justice and the inherent truth that all people are created equal.

African Americans and other people of color have been unequally subjected to police brutality.  Racism is real.  It infuses our society and our institutions. So, too, is the generational trauma that flows from decades of injustice, inequity and discrimination. Throughout the recent weeks, countless people across all backgrounds and races have stood together in the face of inequality to be seen and heard.  We can do better.  We must do better.  We are compelled to move forward through empathy and action because that is what this moment demands of all of us.  We can no longer be complacent.  We can no longer just try to be a good person.  We must take a stand and we must remain resolute in our commitment to lean into our differences as we confront injustice and inequality.

As Dr. King said in his letter from a Birmingham jail, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  Honoring this vision requires deep, systemic change in our criminal justice system, in our educational institutions, and in our healthcare system, among others, and an enduring commitment to courageously engage in ongoing dialogue across all levels of society.  Perhaps the inverse of Dr. King’s declaration is also true – that “justice somewhere creates a path to fight injustice everywhere.”  That is our prayer for Canopy.  We want to create a guiding beacon that shows the world how to establish an office, an organization, a community, and relationships where people thrive and are valued, are supported and treated equally; where injustice is something we only read about in history books.  We want to be a place that values diversity in all of its forms and honors every unique and precious voice.

We are thankful for the significant work of our Diversity and Inclusion Council.  While we have made great progress over the years under the direction of our Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, we will move forward with greater intensity and resolve.  We also commit to a trauma-informed approach as we take our next steps of bias education and discussion.  As care providers, overlaying a trauma-informed approach to the hard work of bias and reconciliation will provide much needed empathy and understanding around the thoughts, feelings and actions we are all experiencing.

Confronting the brutal facts that led to the scenes unfolding on the news cycle will require courage, honest dialogue, and a resolute commitment from every one of us to risk connection.  The Board and leadership of Canopy will be engaged in this critical work, not only to create a culture where all of our Canopy family can thrive, but also so we can each be our very best as we continue to bring hope and healing to thousands of kids and families across all 82 counties of our state.

We won’t always say the right thing.  We won’t always do it the right way.  We will make mistakes, but we are engaged; we are committed and we are in this for the long term.  Please know the Canopy leadership will be there to walk this important journey of healing together.  We ask that you join us as we approach these next steps with a commitment to love, empathy and equity, and with a mission to be the change we expect to see in the world.


Dorian E. Turner,
Board President

John D. Damon, Ph.D
Chief Executive Officer