Efforts underway to strengthen JFS

 Among the many things learned in my 12 years as director of Job and Family Services: organizations can always make themselves better.  

Of course, this applies to everything in life. Never grow comfortable and always reevaluate how you can improve.

This is the approach we take at JFS and it is the reason we recently made three key moves:

  • hiring someone to lead community engagement efforts
  • working with a local strategy company to examine the JFS “brand”
  • consulting with local experts to ensure we strengthen our ongoing efforts to be an equitable, inclusive organization    

These efforts all tie together. We want to position ourselves as an organization known for helping all Hamilton County residents to a better place in life.

Our community engagement effort will be led by Chandra Mathews-Smith, our new assistant director – Community Strategies and Engagement. A long-time employee of Beech Acres Parenting Center and the Southwest Ohio Council on Aging, she will ensure our consumers and community partners know we are listening and willing to team up on projects to improve the lives of Hamilton County’s families and children. She will help us engage organizations and groups we have missed connecting with in the past.

The Katalyst Group is helping us look at our brand and public perception of our agency. How do we interact with our consumers and how do they feel about that interaction? Are we conveying the right information and image? Do people understand how much we help, what that help is and how many we are helping?

Intersections Partners is helping our organization take equity and inclusiveness to a new level. JFS is one of the most diverse workplaces in Hamilton County; a strength of our organization. We reflect the diversity of our client base. But we also want to ensure we recognize the differences in people – both internally and externally — and interact with an appropriate level of respect. Inclusion looks at how we choose to act with people who are different, and equity acknowledges people start from different places in life and may need support toward their goals.

The common theme in all three of our new efforts is ensuring we connect with, listen to and send the right messages to all members of our community. Everyone has value to contribute and we must address the barriers that exclude or limit our organization from hearing those contributions.

We help hundreds of thousands of county residents each year through our multitude of services. These new efforts are the next steps in our ongoing efforts to make JFS a better, stronger organization.

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: From the Director

Tagged: brand, branding, chandra mathews-smith, community engagement, diverse, diversity, equitable, equity, hamilton county department of job and family services, hamilton county job and family services, inclusive, moira weir