Our Founding Principles
The spirit of reciprocity is a time-honored tradition in African-centered cultures and organizations. This spirit forms the fabric of who we are as an organization and is essential to what we do and how we do it. We recognize that our consultants bring skills and abilities learned prior to, and concurrent with, their own experiences in VISIONS. As an organization, we collectively beneﬁt from the skills, abilities, and self-development processes of the consultants. The power of VISIONS is derived from our relationships with one another and the mutual support these relationships provide.
It started with a question…
In 1984, the founders of VISIONS—three black women who grew up in legalized segregation and a white Jewish man who grew up in the civil rights movement—brought together change agents in the fields of education, law, psychology, public health, business and religion, all of whom were asking the question, “How do we include people who have been historically excluded from white, mostly male institutions?”The challenge was to understand and pioneer ways that everyone could prosper. Following the first wave of affirmative action in the U.S., the common practice had been to add more diversity without paying attention to how to best prepare the workplace, community, or church for success. Organizations failed to recognize the elements that needed to change to ensure that those being brought in would stay and thrive.
Founding Director Valerie Batts, VP, Training and Development, on VISIONS’ humble beginnings and powerful impact.
Co-Founder Angela Bryant shares her experience of VISIONS’ history.
Co-Founder John Capitman shares his experience of VISIONS’ history.
Our Core Values
We are committed to fundamental fairness and justice for all individuals and reﬂect these principles in our actions and interactions with others.
We welcome and embrace diﬀerences. We seek to include people and perspectives that might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.
We are trustworthy, honest, and transparent in what we say and what we do.
We strive to create community in our work and conduct ourselves with empathy where we seek to understand and accept others.
We acknowledge and recognize the unique perspectives, lived experiences, and beliefs of those with whom we work and support.
Strategic Plan 2020-2023
Our Vision for our Organization
We envision a future where VISIONS is known globally for our expertise, skills, and talents, where we: Are viewed as authorities and experts in this work. Are equitable and transparent in all that we do. Operate in a manner that is sustainable, financially successful, and able to invest as needed in critical functions and supports. Ensure continuous excellence of consultants, staff, and board members. Achieve impact at the policy and systems levels through collaboration with policy groups that are primarily focused on advocacy.
Our Vision for our Community
We envision a more equitable world where:
Differences are valued and used for the benefit of all. Where is a common awareness of and language for addressing issues of difference among all sectors. Communities listen more, always seek to understand each other first, grow in their curiosity of each other's perspective, and accept that multiple perspectives are the pathway towards equity and liberation. Our justice, health care, education, and other systems are more equitable.
Intersectionality is recognized, understood, and acted upon.
Goals and Strategies
Evolve our portfolio to meeting community needs and the development of the next generation of DEI leaders by:
- Creating a full, robust menu of VISIONS' offerings
- Expanding our offerings to include a focus on youth, law enforcement and criminal justice
- Becoming a certification and education resource for trainers
Establish an overall and integrated marketing, fundraising, and partnership strategy to enhance and strengthen VISIONS’ reach and impact by:
- Establishing an overall and integrated marketing, fundraising, and partnership strategy to enhance and strengthen VISIONS' reach and impact
- Establishing a fund development strategy
- Developing signature partnerships that advance the work, brand, and impact of VISIONS
- Developing the capacity to advocate and address policy issues as extension of consulting work
Strengthen VISIONS' internal capacity to support, sustain and expand services by:
- Investing in and improving organizational infrastructure and work processes/systems
- Establishing quality improvement capacity to assess and measure the impact of the work
- Further developing and formalizing the learning agenda for VISIONS' consultants
- Developing an organizational culture that recognizes our history and enables our future
Position the Board of Directors to best support and advance the work of VISIONS by:
- Reviewing and updating our board structure
- Updating and clarifying board roles and expectations
- Continuing intentional board development
Working with the next generation…
In 2003, in collaboration with W.K. Kellogg Foundation, VISIONS began to actively look at how these issues are the same and different for young people, and developed a version of our model geared toward those ages 15 to 30. Our engagement with this age group, including developing a cadre of youth consultants, has allowed us to stay fresh in our thinking and our perspectives and join with youth to continue our work to increase opportunity and equity for all people.
Arbury Jack Guillebeaux
10 June, 1936 – 28 August, 2021
On August 28, 2021 Arbury Jack Guillebeaux took his "plunge into the sea of light in the world of mysteries"*. He was a singular and stalwart soul dedicated to service. He never said "no" when asked for help by individuals or communities, corporations or institutions. Jack believed wholeheartedly that once individuals and communities relied on God and envisioned the positive changes they wanted to see- anything was possible. His humble, wise, intuitive, funny, grounded and kind countenance had a profound impact on everyone he met. He was well-loved and will be sorely missed.
Martha White-Warren, VISIONS' beloved board member, passed away on March 31, 2021.
Martha has been a VISIONS Board member since January 2018; after being involved in the work for decades. Martha was a champion of DEI all of her life, but it was even more apparent as she started efforts for Procter and Gamble in New Orleans that spread across the entire company. By word of mouth individuals heard about her special New Orleans sessions and wanted to not only attend but be in the warmth of what she was doing to change the company. She represented truly what the word Champion meant when it came to DEI. Working in the corporate sector at the time, her willingness to trust a woman of color-run non-profit like VISIONS was especially meaningful. She was a compassionate yet thoughtful big picture thinker, always positive and uplifting. Even as time became a precious commodity for her, she still had time for all the things that were important to her, family, friends and VISIONS. She will be sorely missed.
Jo Bowens Lewis, Psy.D.
August 27,1943 – July 9, 2014
It is with great sadness to announce the life transition of our Senior Associate, Sister and Friend.
Dr. Lewis was a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who conducted multicultural psychotherapy and organizational development consulting since 1976. Dr. Lewis supported individuals and groups in creating social justice at four interlocking levels—the personal, interpersonal, institutional and cultural. As the mother of two daughters and two grandchildren, Dr. Lewis had a special interest in the health and empowerment of women and girls.
The Memorial Service was held on Friday, July 18, 2014 in Atlanta, GA.
April 19, 1951 – January 24, 2017
We mourn the loss of a wonderful member of the VISIONS family, Renae Gray.
Ms. Gray is the former Director of the Boston Women’s Fund. As an educator and community activist, she provided training and consultation on issues of race, class, and gender and is committed to social and economic justice, including eliminating violence against women and empowerment of African-American women.