A Warm Welcome to the Garden’s New Director of Social Responsibility & Inclusion, Kevina Devereaux
Meet Kevina Devereaux, the new Director of Social Responsibility & Inclusion. In this Q&A, Kevina shares her background, what drew her to this role and what her vision is for the new position.
Tell us about yourself and your new role?
I started my career working for employment and criminal law firms. I fell in love with working directly with and assisting employees, so I eventually transitioned to working in Human Resources. For the past decade, I have worked in the health care, engineering and the legal fields.
My start with Desert Botanical Garden is the first time I worked for a nonprofit cultural institution. My career has been in the for-profit world, but I immediately fell in love with the Garden since my first time visiting during my interview.
As Director of Social Responsibility and Inclusion, I oversee the Garden’s inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (I.D.E.A.) strategy, coordinate organizational efforts to reach I.D.E.A. goals and strengthening community relationships to cultivate a fully inclusive organization representing the community. Lastly, I will work directly with our partners at Spaces of Opportunity, a 10-acre incubator farm, family gardens, and on-site farmers market in south Phoenix that helps families have affordable access to healthy food and active living.
What led you toward the path of this new role?
In 2018, the Garden was awarded a prestigious Museums Empowered three-year grant for $250,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (I.M.L.S.) to generate systemic change within an organization regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (D.E.I.). I began my journey with the Garden in 2019 as Manager of Workforce Development & Diversity in Human Resources to successfully execute this grant.
When I began, I slowly made internal changes to become a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible organization. In 2020, following the death of George Floyd, our Executive Director Ken Schutz released a public statement to show support and solidarity against the injustices affecting the Black community and other people of color. Although the Garden made changes regarding I.D.E.A. internally, the public and our visitors were not aware.
Shortly after the Garden’s public statement, Ken and I discussed the importance of having a voice that represented I.D.E.A. among leadership. Ken also determined it was equally important for my role to report directly to the Executive Director. This is a new trend among corporations and cultural institutions. My role is one of very few within cultural institutions. As always, Desert Botanical Garden is a trendsetter. Ken is truly a visionary leader, and I am very proud to represent the Garden in my new role.
Happy Pride Month
Celebrating Pride Month with a colorful kaleidoscope of desert life.