October spotlights many important causes from Dyslexia Awareness Month to World Teacher’s Day and World Sight Day. As we near the end of the month and reflect on the importance of bringing awareness to equity and inclusion for all, I had the timely opportunity to speak with one of Benetech’s newest board members about her passion for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion — especially when it comes to education.
Dr. June Rumiko Klein, Vice President for Business Affairs and CFO at Palo Alto University, is a seasoned edtech professional and financial executive who joined Benetech’s Board of Directors and is chairing the Benetech Finance Committee.
What attracted you to Benetech and its mission?
My journey from the for-profit world, where I spent half my career, started with learning about how nonprofits – specifically ones I admired, like the YMCA, Kiwanis Club, League of Women Voters and the PTA – achieve their mission. As a member of the PTA, I learned about the inequities in our public schools, but also met amazing kids that proved that education is the great equalizer.
I believe that education is a way for all people to give hope to their lives and their communities and also that technology is changing the affordability of solutions and how fast we can help those who are much less fortunate. Benetech’s commitment to inclusive education and social impact technology meshes beautifully with my own beliefs.
Why do you believe Benetech is well positioned to make an impact on inclusive education?
Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion has been a passion of mine for almost two decades. My education started over 15 years ago with a Presidential Task Force at Palo Alto University to increase diversity in the faculty, and it accelerated when cultural intelligence became my dissertation topic for my doctorate in education at Fielding Graduate University.
Benetech’s focus on inclusive education with ground-breaking products like Bookshare and a long commitment to helping people with disabilities to read and learn addresses diversity, equity and inclusion for this population around the world. With the world going virtual almost overnight due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to ensure that the blind and those with other disabilities are able to participate fully in education.