2020 Founders Award Ceremony - Highlights

andy reynolds donna stringer october 2020 sietar usa founders award Oct 16, 2020

The 2020 Margaret D. Pusch Founder’s Award Ceremony

President Sandra Fowler welcomed us all to the 2020 Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award Ceremony with a brief history of SIETAR USA and an introduction to its founder, Margaret D. Pusch. She was our first President and Executive Director. It was her strength and wisdom that led SIETAR USA to establish the Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award in her honor as her professionalism exemplified the gold standard for a lifetime of service to SIETAR as well as to many individuals, the community, and the intercultural field. 

This  award recognizes commitment and service to the intercultural field based on accomplishments in four areas: Service to the Intercultural Profession: publications, teaching, workshops, conference presentations, mentoring; Contributions to Community: service on boards and task forces of organizations focused on intercultural issues, championing the message of SIETAR inside and outside of the intercultural relations field; Contributions to SIETAR: active service as an officer, committee member, chairperson of  special projects; and Professionalism: exemplifies the highest standards of intercultural thought and practice. This award is for a lifetime of making a significant impact on the intercultural and diversity fields.

On behalf of SIETAR USA, Sandra proudly presented the 2020 Margaret D. Pusch Founders Award to Andy Reynolds and Donna Stringer in recognition of their extensive contributions to the intercultural and diversity fields. In her presentation she cited some of their numerous professional accomplishments.

As a team Andy and Donna have worked to bring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice into the SIETAR realm and beyond through master workshops, conference sessions, and service on various committees and task forces. Over the decades they have delivered many workshops focusing on courageous conversations, unconscious bias, and white privilege as well as organizational development, such as Unpacking Cultural Differences: Tools for Greater Effectiveness (Common Power, 2019).

As faculty members at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC), they taught courses together and with other faculty for many years. Together and individually, Donna and Andy have mentored people of all ages who needed advice and/or guidance finding their path in the intercultural and DEI fields. They gave graciously of their time and expertise. As a team they have served an array of communities and passionately worked toward fair voting practices and registration of minorities in battleground states.

As founder and President of Executive Diversity Services for 27 years, Donna provided team building and culture change strategies to organizations in the United States, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and Europe. She co-authored the 52 Activities series, Cultural Detective Women and Men, and wrote book chapters and journal articles on racial and gender equity, cross- cultural values, communication, and conflict styles. Donna was honored by being named a Diversity Legend by the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals.

As a cross-cultural consultant and trainer for more than four decades, Andy has been consulting, training, and teaching race and gender relations, workplace diversity, and inclusion. He served as President of SIETAR USA and a member of the Board of Directors. He is known for his passionate and forthright approach to issues of equality and fairness for all members of societies throughout the world. He is a courageous leader who navigates dangerous spaces and difficult conversations surrounding social justice issues with strength, grace, and integrity.

Perhaps the most touching part of the award ceremony was the outpouring of gratitude, respect and love for Andy and Donna from some of their colleagues and friends.  Here is a glimpse of these tributes: 
Chris Cartwright: You never feared the challenge… I love and respect your work. You are living an amazing life, and I am moved by the courage and the class you bring to DEI work…you are an inspiration to us all.

Mary Meares: You are role models to us all in so many ways…welcoming, open, always learning and teaching others, and constantly engaged in new and different things. You are the ideal interculturalists who inspire us to become better learners, professionals, and interculturalists.  You embody grace and curiosity.

Robert Hales: These are two people who embody the synergy between social justice and activism and academic credibility. You have contributed to what we have needed now more than ever to improving the odds that democracy will survive and to making sure that issues of DEI have a positive impact on this uphill challenge. You have blended DEI and ICC. You have given us the tools of passion and compassion to work for change. The importance of your work will live on and on. Andy and Donna, I love you both.

Ann Marie Lei: I’ll start with I love you both! Congratulations and thank you for bringing the work of DEI to SIETAR USA. Andy, as a leader you saw each of us for who we are and encouraged us. Donna, as a teacher, colleague, and friend, you have nurtured our personal and professional lives. I will always remember my joyful conversations with Andy around a meal.

Tatyana Fertelmeyster: I got to know the US through Andy and Donna, who have shared their loved experience of part of this country’s history. They present us with a true example of integrity by doing what they say and who are forever fighting the fight for racial justice. I am grateful to have you in this work and in our lives. I love you. 

Sue Shinomiya: Andy, you taught us to hug! You gave us an invitation to connectedness and inclusiveness, which seems part of your nature. Donna, you bring love, compassion, and fierceness to everything you do. As legends in diversity, you both lead us from awareness to action. 

Kelly McLoud Schingen: Your legacy is more than the materials you leave behind. Your passion and force in mentoring relationships will live in the hearts of the people whom you have touched. You have both encouraged me and given me access to opportunities because you truly saw and connected with me. I am ever grateful to you as my mentors. You have had a great impact on so many other people as well.  You have left us a wonderful legacy of love.

Anita Rowe: Andy and Donna are devoted to their work and bring passion and warmth to those whom they meet. They walk the talk and never take themselves too seriously. Their courage and generosity are remarkable as well as their steadfast commitment to social justice. As a masterful storyteller, Donna brings her classroom content alive with meaning and insight. Andy is one of the most courageous people I know whose probing questions and discussion reveal enhanced perspectives. You are role models who exemplify all that is meaningful in the work that we do.

Lee Gardenswartz: [I want to express] my respect, admiration and love to Donna and Andy for their lifetime of excellent work in the intercultural and diversity field. Andy and Donna are generous teachers, who share themselves and their training materials as well as an incredible commitment to making positive contributions to society. [I am reminded of] my favorite Jewish Sunday school phrase “to repair the world” [when I think of] the lives led by Donna and Andy.

While there was no resounding applause to end this ceremony, true feelings of love were generated by the heartful expressions of colleagues and friends.  SIETAR USA applauds their dedicated efforts over a combined century to make the world a better place. Andy and Donna have undoubtedly left a true legacy of love and wisdom. 

Written by Betse Esber, PhD
Assistant Editor