Affinity Groups - Dallas Theater Center
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COMPANY MISSION Dallas Theater Center will engage, entertain, and inspire our diverse community by creating experiences that stimulate new ways of thinking and living. We will do this by consistently producing plays, educational programs, and other initiatives that are of the highest quality and reach the broadest possible constituency.

Affinity Groups

An affinity group is “a group of people having a common interest or goal or acting together for a specific purpose” to benefit the Dallas Theater Center (DTC)’s business objectives of enhancing equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our organization. Affinity groups (AGs) are voluntary, employee-driven groups that are organized around such shared business objectives. Social, networking, religious and political groups are outside the scope of DTC’s affinity groups. Affinity group formation should align with DTC’s mission, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement and long-range plan. 

Affinity group activities should lean into DTC’s goal to become “the best place to work for theater-related talent (artistic, production, administrative) in North Texas,” by retaining the best talent, promoting leadership and development and providing internal support for staff while encouraging equity, diversity and inclusion in every department and all levels. 

At DTC, the purpose of affinity groups is to provide a safe and brave space for full and part-time staff (including our Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company members and Playwright in Residence) to gather around common interests and values supporting DTC’s equity, diversity and inclusion business objectives.

Definitions

INTERSECTIONALITY was advanced by Kimberlé Crenshaw for women of color, arguing that classifications, such as gender, race, class and others cannot be examined in isolation from one another; they interact and intersect in individual lives, in society, and in social systems. Acknowledging [one’s] multiple identities helps to understand ways a person may experience privilege, oppression, and a myriad of life’s realities. 

CULTURE is a social system of meaning and custom that is developed by a group of people to assure adaptation and survival. Cultural groups are distinguished by a set of unspoken rules that shape values, beliefs, habits, patterns of thinking, behaviors and styles of communication.

Support

As DTC’s executive leadership, Kevin Moriarty, Enloe/Rose Artistic Director, and Jeff Woodward, Managing Director fully support the formation of affinity groups at Dallas Theater Center (DTC). Affinity groups are able to meet during work hours and at a DTC campus location.

Directors and hiring managers should accommodate staff interested in forming, leading, and/or participating in an affinity group provided required business responsibilities can be appropriately managed to permit such participation.

DTC’s EDI Committee (EDIC) will provide direct support to properly approved affinity groups in an advisory and approval capacity. Support may include:

  • Accepting and approving applications to form an affinity group consistent with DTC’s guidelines and policies supporting its equity, diversity and inclusion business objectives.
  • Providing guidance, advocacy, and access to resources where budgetary and business priorities permit such support – Scheduling meeting space at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, the Kalita Humphreys Theater campus, or Potter Production Studio where budgetary and business priorities permit such support
  • Offering a list of approved alternate meeting locations where budgetary and business priorities permit such support

 

Affinity groups agree to adhere to DTC policies as outlined and discussed in the Employee Handbook. Questions about policies should be directed to the Director of People Operations.

Groups are required to submit a meeting report to edicommittee@dallastheatercenter.org within 7 business days after each meeting and include the following information:

  1. Affinity Group Name
  2. Meeting Date
  3. Location of meeting | Number of attendees
  4. Guest speaker(s): list name(s) and affiliation(s) (if applicable).
Ground Rules

Affinity groups (AGs) agree to adhere to policies as outlined and discussed in our Employee Handbook. 

Respect / Good Faith 

Participation and Mindfulness: 

  • Listen actively — respect others when they are talking 
  • Be conscious of body language and nonverbal responses – Treat all members of the group fairly and respectfully – Participate to the fullest of your ability – growth depends on the inclusion of every individual voice – Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks, focus on ideas
  • Instead of invalidating somebody else’s story with your own spin on her or his experience, share your own story and experience – Respect individual privacy. 

 

Group Formation 

Each affinity group will complete and submit an application to the EDI Committee (edicommitee@dallastheatercenter.org) for approval before the group’s first meeting. The application will include a purpose statement and identify a group leader or co-leaders responsible for the group. As a reminder, Affinity Group membership is open to all currently employed DTC employees. Members supporting the equity, diversity and inclusion business objectives of a particular Affinity Group and complying with DTC’s policies and procedures in support of such objectives are welcomed to participate in its activities. – Affinity groups are open to full and part time staff only as indicated on page 4 – At minimum of 3 people is needed to form a group. – A staff person can lead or co-lead only one affinity group per fiscal year – Staff may participate in one affinity group during the pilot year – Staff can attend meetings as long as they meet the criteria of the group as defined by the AG and properly approved by the EDI Committee. 

Meetings 

  • Affinity groups should announce meetings (or scheduled meetings) indicating date and time and if a guest speaker(s) will be present.
  • Meetings must take place between 8am – 8pm at a DTC location (see list below)
  • Meeting time should not exceed 2 hours
  • Alcohol and/or drug consumption is prohibited during meetings. 

Dissolution of Group or Removal of Member Executive leadership and/or EDI Committee may suspend or end an affinity group or remove a member from a group if a DTC policy is violated. Executive leadership will be the final decision-maker regarding the suspension or ending of an affinity group or suspension or removal of a member. 

  • People Operations will lead an inquiry of any violation of DTC policy. Findings will be presented to executive leadership for a decision.
  • Executive leadership will be informed of DTC policy violations immediately.
  • A final decision will be discussed with AG leader or co-leaders (if appropriate)
  • Depending on the violation, the group and/or individual may appeal to executive leadership. 

 

Handling Concerns, Issues or Problems

At times, affinity groups will discover concerns, problems, or issues related to AG guidelines and Company policy(ies) and practice(s). The following process offers the group or a member of the group options for communicating an issue. 

  1. If the concern, issue, or problem is related to a violation of a DTC policy or policies (as outlined in the Employee Handbook), the staff person should communicate with People Operations Director directly. DTC’s policies and procedures will take precedent regarding the matter.
  2. If the concern relates to a revision to a policy or practice, the staff should email the EDI Committee chairs – Andrea Somers and Dionne Davis (or their successors).
  3. If a member of the affinity group has a concern or need advisement related to Affinity Group Guidelines, staff may reach out to a EDI Committee member or send an inquiry directly to edicommitee@dallastheatercenter.org.
  4. Depending on the criticality of the issue, the staff person(s) will receive a response within five business days (or perhaps sooner if addressed by Director of People Operations.)
Spaces

DTC is dedicated to fully supporting its affinity groups. As space is limited, space will be reserved on a first come, first serve basis. If a group is unable to secure a room at any of DTC locations, contact People Operations Director.

Booking Space at a DTC Campus

The affinity group leader or co-leader will provide the meeting date, time, top three space choices, and room set-up to edicommittee@dallastheatercenter.org. EDI committee member(s) with access to ArtsVision may be able to reserve space for the group at a DTC location.

DTC CAMPUS SPACES 

DEE AND CHARLES WYLY THEATRE

  1. Level 6 Studio and Patron Lounge
  2. Level 7 Conference Room
  3. Level 9 Education Center
  4. Level 10 Sky Lounge

 

KALITA HUMPHREYS THEATER

  1. Frank’s Place
    Wynn Studio
    Lobby
    Meadows Conference Room
    Bryant Hall

 

POTTER PRODUCTION STUDIO

  1. Potter Break Room
    Conference Room
Resources and Forms

Suggestions 

  • Designate a leader or co-leadership roles (depending on the size of the group) to serve as a leadership representative of the group;
  • Develop a group charter or statement to help to clarify the group’s purpose. A charter may include a mission statement, goals, criteria for joining and benefits of participating in the group, as well as meeting agreements (ground rules) to establish how the group will work together and facilitate conversations. It is important that the charter or statement aligns with DTC’s mission and equity, diversity and inclusion business objectives and EDI statement.
  • Select meeting days and times that work best for your members;
  • Send an email announcing when meetings are scheduled, Be certain to indicate if a guest speaker will participate and his or her area(s) of expertise.
  • Reach out to an EDI Committee member if you need assistances

 

Forms (click the name of the form to access)

  • Affinity Group Application –This document is submitted by interested staff member(s), leader(s) or co-leaders wishing to form an affinity group
  • Speaker Request – This document is used to request approval of a speaker for an authorized event. No Affinity Group can invite Speakers to attend events without first receiving approval by the EDI Committee.
  • Space Request – This document is used to request approval of a space for an authorized Affinity Group event. No space may be used to host an event without first being approved by the EDI Committee.
  • Affinity Group Legal Reporting Form – This document is used to report acitivities of each meeting of your Affinity Group.

 

Additional Resources 

  • Dallas Theater Center Employee Handbook (add Google drive link)
  • Examples of Affinity Groups / Employee Resource Groups (add Google drive link)