New Diversity Leader at MWPAI, ICAN Brings Diverse Experience to the Position

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When Anasa Sinegal saw the position of Head of Diversity and Engagement at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute and the Integrated Community Alternatives Network, it was as if the position had been created with her in mind.

Sinegal grew up spending a lot of time at the California African American Museum where his mother was the founding librarian. Between the ages of 8 and 15, she was surrounded by art and objects from the Black Diaspora.

Sinegal and her son are also survivors of domestic violence and have spent time in the justice system and trauma therapy. She said she saw herself in families seeking help from ICAN in dealing with traumatic situations.

Combined with education and professional work in journalism, communications and higher education, Sinegal’s life experiences have touched every aspect of the role of Diversity and Engagement Leader.

“Now I see that all of these jobs have really led me to this,” she said.

The work, which divides its time equally between MWPAI and ICAN, was part of the arts institute’s efforts to achieve diversity, inclusiveness and community participation. ICAN was an ideal partner because of its similar goals, said Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio, President and CEO of MWPAI.

“For Munson-Williams, the first part of these strategic plan goals was community engagement and diversification not only of the people involved here, but also of the staff themselves and our community outreach,” D’Ambrosio said. . “ICAN has the same goals. “

The partnership gives the two organizations a great opportunity to take a closer look at diversity and inclusion not only internally, but in the community at large, said Steven Bulger, CEO and Executive Director of ICAN.

“We are delighted to welcome Anasa,” Bulger said. “Both individually and what she brings to ICAN and the community. “

Lived experience

While now living in Little Falls, Sinegal was born and raised in California. From there, her life took her to various parts of the country.

She received her journalism degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and a Masters in Communication from Cal State University. A professional career in broadcast journalism has taken her across the country, including a stop in Texas where she was the only non-white person in a 54-person apartment building.

After graduating from California, Sinegal returned to North Carolina where she was director of digital media, journalism and communications at Central Piedmont Community College. In this role, she started an outreach program, taught classes and worked to recruit more diversity into the school.

These same skills are applicable in the Diversity and Engagement role, where Sinegal will have shared responsibilities, but will focus on improving representation.

“Both institutions are predominantly white and I want to change that,” she said. “I want to foster inclusiveness and diversity here.”

Using policies, like developing diversity and inclusion-focused hiring practices and training programs, helps change behaviors, Sinegal said.

“When we set a policy, it gives everyone an opportunity and tries to maintain that playing field,” she said.

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Sinegal also plans to dispel myths about hiring, including the belief that there are no diverse candidates to fill certain open positions.

“There are so many other reasons related to systemic racism that brought candidates to your table or failed to bring another candidate to your table,” she said. “What does it look like: are we blind checking resumes without people’s names?” There’s a whole process that goes on before someone gets a job offer.

Diversity in Utica was one of the reasons Sinegal was drawn to the position and her background in journalism made her not afraid to go out and talk with people back home, rather than just trying to hook them up. attract to MWPAI or ICAN. She said she would encourage officials from both institutions to visit various neighborhoods.

“This is how we involve the community,” Sinegal said. “If there is all this mystique here about the museum, then let’s go to where our neighbors are.”

Steve Howe is the town reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at showe@gannett.com.


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