Women secured the right to vote in 1920, five generations ago. In that time, unfortunately, many have lost sight that the women’s suffrage movement was the offspring of abolition. Both movements promoted the expansion of the American promise of liberty and equality to all. Acting as abolitionists, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, many women acquired skills in persuasive writing, fund raising, events, and speaking to large groups of both men and women.
This same zeal for equity and inclusion now inspires a team of women leaders at DigitalC to put their acquired skills to work when increasing access in Cleveland to affordable and reliable broadband service. We need to look no further than the dedication for change displayed by DigitalC’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Candice DuBose.
“Whether coaching soccer to youth who lack technical skill, youth who have transient housing, or introducing broadband services in underserved communities, my motivations are the same,” says Candice. “I am driven to connect people with the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves. I love helping others to gain the confidence needed to choose their next move in life and do so in an informed fashion. Teaming with a staff that genuinely shares this empowers me to do more.”
For others, such as Katie Grootegood, Director of Strategic Partner- ships and a former Cleveland schools administrator, her motivation is to unleash the potential of urban school children. “This is a city I love, but more importantly, this community is worthy of only the best,” says Katie. “These children are the future of this great city. These kiddos deserve every opportunity that exists for their suburban counterparts. Our children are capable of changing Cleveland, Ohio, this nation, and the world for better, but they need support, love, forgive- ness, and they need their basic needs to be met. I serve beside my fellow teammates because we know we can make a sustainable difference in the quality of life for Clevelanders and for the future of our youth.”
Angela Thi Bennett, our Administrative Director, reminds us that our mission is personal for her. “I’m blessed that I wake every day and live my life’s passion,” says Angela. “As a former teen mom who resided in a homeless shelter, I know what it’s like to be a ward of the state and feel helpless because someone else is controlling your fate. With DigitalC and EmpowerCLE, we are empowering our families to change that narrative and write their own stories.”
For me, I failed retirement to join the crusade to bridge Cleveland’s digital divide. I am at DigitalC because achieving our mission will bridge many of Cleveland’s divides. Before college, my parents insisted I develop a work ethic by learning bookkeeping at the foundry that my father managed. It was summer of 1966 and we had to travel to work through Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood. We witnessed armored vehicles and armed National Guardsmen who were responding to the devastation from protests asking for equal rights and better economic opportunities. More than 50 years later, these issues remain unresolved for many Cleveland residents. I’m glad to report that the arrival of equitable broadband access to this neighborhood and others is a much-needed step to remedying our city’s divides.
As CEO, Dorothy Baunach leads DigitalC and its mission to bridge Cleveland’s digital divide.