January 22, 2020

It Takes a Village: Developing Inclusion Coaches, with Alison Brown and Juliette Francis

Episode 32:

As president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota, Alison Rempel Brown leads an organization that is firmly committed to science education and equity. Under Alison’s leadership, the Science Museum has adopted a new strategic plan designed to transform the organization into a resource that captures the power and talent of all people – especially women and people of color – so they see themselves as scientists. New programs, like 2018’s Year of the Engineer and the ongoing Water Planet initiative, leverage the Science Museum’s relationships and rich assets. And the adoption of a brand new Statement on Equity and Inclusion captures the museum’s vision to use STEM as a tool to advocate for justice and equity, acknowledging that significant change must start from within. Alison was named one of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal’s People to Watch in 2017, and she received the publication’s Women in Business Award.

Alison came to the Science Museum from the California Academy of Sciences, where she oversaw infrastructure and operations and helped lead the organization through the construction and opening of a spectacular new facility in Golden Gate Park. She is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Juliette Francis joined the Science Museum’s senior leadership team in November 2013. She brings experience in employee relations, workforce planning, compensation and benefit management, and training and development to her position overseeing the museum’s service to both its paid staff and its expansive volunteer corps.

Juliette comes to the Science Museum from College Possible, a national nonprofit headquartered in Saint Paul that provides low-income students with an intensive curriculum of coaching and support to help them earn college admission and college degrees. As Director of Human Resources and Operations, Juliette oversaw the organization’s HR, new site operations, and technology functions. Her professional experience also includes human resources work at Girls Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys and Fury Motors.

Juliette has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She has been actively involved in the Saint Paul Winter Carnival for more than 13 years, and she sits on the Business Programs Advisory Board at Inver Hills Community College.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Alison discusses the history of the Science Museum of Minnesota, and its purpose and goal to empower and educate the community
  • Alison describes her vision for the museum and shares her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion work
  • Alison shares how eye-opening statistics from an employee culture survey helped her realize the importance of intentionally focusing on internal work
  • Juliette shares the steps the Science Museum of Minnesota has taken to support individual cultural competence growth in its employees
  • Juliette describes the cultural competence coaching program that the Science Museum has developed internally to support its employees
  • Alison shares how the Museum works to bring everyone into their cultural competence processes and continue to improve their program
  • Juliette shares the Museum’s success, and she explains why the Museum intentionally avoided pairing employees with coaches with whom they had a reporting relationship
  • Alison explains why CEOs need to focus on working on their own cultural competence to most effectively lead the organization’s efforts
  • Alison describes the Science Museum’s “RACE: Are We So Different?” exhibit and its traveling component

Additional resources: