We are excited to announce that Gina Parker Collins is Founder & President of RIISE, will join us as a regular blog contributor in the area of diversity.
Gina Parker Collins is Founder & President of RIISE – Resources In Independent School Education, which puts systems in place to protect, retain, and attract families of color at independent schools.
This desire to fully support private school education and the community it serves is derived from being a parent of children attending independent schools and a professional background in thought leadership, diversity and inclusion, and experiential marketing.
Gina’s ability to shape environments that make a personal connection with a targeted audience comes from thirteen years in the publishing and experiential marketing industries. As Director of Event Sales for American Baby Magazine, a division of Meredith Corporation, Gina extended brand awareness of top print advertisers in the baby category by engaging new and expectant families with integrated live experiences which reflected this important life stage change.
This then led to a position as VP of Events at Working Mother Media, offering thought leadership experiences on diversity/inclusion and work life balance to Fortune 100 companies in their recruitment and retention of diverse top talent. Gina consulted with these corporations who made diversity a business imperative in an effort to grow within an ever increasing global market. Gina traveled across the country sharing diversity best practices in leadership training and work/life balance workshops for mid to senior level executives’ eager to grow in their professions and become vested members within their companies. As an African American woman, Gina was also inspired and encouraged to leverage this development to grow professionally amidst a dominant culture that did not reflect the diverse nature in many of her communities.
Gina chose an independent school education for her children because of the privileges these ivy institutions offer in expanding the young mind with the rigors of academics, a curriculum rich in the arts, the challenge to become critical thinkers, the attention spent on developing character, and the opportunity matriculate with other students who share the same goals to attend the best institutions for higher learning. Gina and her family love the privileges that come with an independent school education and work hard to balance this privilege with the realities of the cost of such a privilege. Although, Gina did not attend Firm Schools she found familiarity through her tenure in the corporate world and was able to reflect on the business case that corporations make for diversity when it comes to the bottom line. Valued employees stay – Retention. They become ambassadors tapping into diverse top talent – Recruitment.
After experiencing universal attrition of families of color at Firm Schools, Gina had a vision to implement similar corporate strategies around diversity and inclusion for well-balanced retention in our schools. These strategies include academic and social workshops, counseling initiatives, academic, social, cultural and financial resources, research, social networking, and best practices for support/affinity groups, alumni mentors programs, and recruitment events. Reciprocally, well-balanced retention can have a huge positive impact on the recruitment of great families of color to Firm Schools, making it an even more privileged environment for the entire school community.
Gina is passionate about giving families at independent schools what they need to have well-balanced retention by providing live events and a virtual platform that has become a one stop shop for resources and research valuing and encouraging families to become active members of their school communities. While at the same time, RIISE offers schools programming and support that furthers their accomplishments around diversity and inclusion.
Gina’s ultimate joys are spending quality time with family which includes occasionally beating her husband Keith in a spirited game of backgammon and taking notice each and every day of the new ways in which her children are growing in, and experiencing the world. She loves jazz music, international films and lazy days in the Vineyard. Gina also acknowledges that she is a full expression of God’s divine love and works diligently to reflect that love in her life.
Gina blogs here on the RIISE website.