The LOFT is so excited to share with everyone the hiring of our newest staff member, Danté R.H. Reda. Danté is The LOFT’s Chief Operating Office and his responsibilities include overseeing programming, human resources, and working alongside Judy in policy development, advocacy, strategic planning, and budgeting. We are so excited to have him on board! Read our interview and learn more about him.
For our community members who don't know, how do you identify in the community, and what are your pronouns?
I identify as a Gay Black Male; my pronouns are he/him/his.
You have been hired as The LOFT's first Chief Operating Officer, what is something about this position that most excites you?
As the inaugural appointed Chief Operating Officer at The LOFT, being a servant leader and an openly gay Black male, several aspects of this position excite me, here's why:
- Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy: The opportunity to champion diversity and inclusion within the organization. As an openly gay Black male, I understand the importance of representation and inclusivity. In this role, I can contribute to fostering a workplace where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued, respected, and empowered.
- Servant Leadership Impact: The ability to practice and promote servant leadership. By prioritizing the team's needs and supporting their growth and well-being, I can contribute to a positive and collaborative organizational culture. This approach aligns with my values, emphasizing empathy and a commitment to serving the organization and its members.
- Strategic Operational Excellence: The challenge of enhancing operational efficiency and effectiveness. The COO role allows me to strategically assess and improve organizational processes, contributing to the overall success of The LOFT. This includes streamlining operations, implementing innovative solutions, and ensuring that the organization functions at its best to fulfill its mission.
- Community Impact: The opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the community served by The LOFT. As a servant leader, I am motivated by the positive change and support we can provide to the LGBTQ+ community. Whether through outreach programs, resources, or advocacy, I am excited about contributing to bettering the lives of those we serve.
- Organizational Growth and Development: The challenge of driving growth and development. I am excited about working collaboratively with the leadership team to set strategic goals, foster innovation, and contribute to The LOFT's long-term sustainability and success.
- Role Model and Representation:The chance to serve as a role model and advocate for diversity in leadership. As an openly gay Black male in a prominent leadership position, I can inspire others, particularly individuals from underrepresented groups, to pursue leadership roles and contribute their unique perspectives to the broader community.
As the COO of The LOFT, I am thrilled about the opportunity to blend my identity, values, and leadership style to impact the organization and the community it serves positively. This role aligns with my passion for diversity, inclusion, and servant leadership, allowing me to contribute to a workplace that embraces authenticity, equity, and positive change.
You have many years of leadership experience in previous positions in the non-profit world, share with us what attracted you to working with the LGBTQ+ community at The LOFT.
My professional journey in leadership within the non-profit sector has been deeply rooted in my commitment to value-driven work and creating a positive impact. Joining The LOFT, and specifically engaging with the LGBTQ+ community, resonates profoundly with me for several reasons:
- Personal Alignment: As an openly gay black male, working with the LGBTQ+ community holds personal significance. It allows me to bring my authentic self to the workplace, fostering a sense of belonging and understanding crucial in any leadership role. This alignment contributes to a more inclusive and empathetic organizational culture.
- Passion for Inclusivity: My experience in value-driven work has instilled a deep passion for inclusivity and equity. The LGBTQ+ community has historically faced various challenges, and I am driven to contribute to initiatives that promote acceptance, understanding, and equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Servant Leadership Ethos: My leadership style is rooted in servant leadership, emphasizing the well-being and growth of individuals. The non-profit sector often demands a strong commitment to service, and I am drawn to The LOFT's mission to serve and empower the LGBTQ+ community. It aligns with my ethos of leadership as a service to others.
- Community Impact: The ability to directly impact and improve the lives of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community is a powerful motivator. Non-profit work, especially in LGBTQ+ advocacy, provides a unique platform to create positive change, challenge stereotypes, and contribute to a more inclusive society.
- Value-Driven Approach: The LOFT's commitment to values aligns with my own. Whether it's promoting diversity, advocating for social justice, or creating safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, the organization's values resonate with my professional ethos. This alignment enhances my motivation and dedication to the work we do.
- Continuous Learning and Growth: Engaging with the LGBTQ+ community continually allows me to learn and grow as a leader. The community is diverse, dynamic, and resilient, and working with such a multifaceted group presents ongoing opportunities for personal and professional development.
My attraction to working with the LGBTQ+ community at The LOFT is deeply rooted in personal alignment, a passion for inclusivity, a commitment to servant leadership, and a shared value-driven approach. It is an opportunity to combine my professional expertise with my identity to contribute meaningfully to a community I deeply care about.
What are some of the important values as a leader that you bring to the organization that you try to employ in everything you do?
As a servant leader, transparency, accountability, and authenticity are crucial for creating a positive and influential organizational culture. Here's how I apply these values:
Open communication: I believe in fostering open and honest communication within the organization. Transparency involves sharing information about the organization's goals, challenges, and decision-making processes. This helps build team members' trust and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Accessible information: I strive to make relevant information accessible to team members. This includes providing updates on projects, sharing key metrics, and explaining the reasoning behind important decisions.
Setting Clear Expectations: I believe in setting clear expectations for team members regarding their roles, responsibilities, and goals. Clear expectations make it easier for individuals to understand their contributions and how they fit into the larger picture.
Taking Responsibility: Accountability means taking responsibility for both successes and failures. As a leader, I acknowledge mistakes, learn from them, and work collaboratively with the team to find solutions. This sets a positive example and encourages a culture of continuous improvement.
Being Genuine: Authentic leadership involves being true to oneself and expressing genuine emotions. I strive to lead authentically by being honest about my values, motivations, and vision for the organization. Authentic leaders are relatable, and their authenticity can inspire trust and loyalty.
Building Relationships: I believe in building authentic relationships with team members. This involves a genuine interest in their well-being, professional growth, and success. Authentic leaders connect with individuals personally, creating a supportive and collaborative work environment.
By embracing transparency, accountability, and authenticity, I aim to create a workplace culture that values open communication, responsibility, and genuine connections. These values contribute to a positive organizational environment where individuals feel empowered, motivated, and aligned with the overall mission and values of the organization.
If you would like to reach out and welcome Danté, you can do so at [email protected]