The work is not done

February 11, 2020 | (63) Comments

My wife Shannon and I watched the Oscars Sunday night, as did about 23 million people across the world. She and I are movie buffs, and like many, we enjoy the anticipation of seeing which films will leave with the golden statues.

As entertaining as this always is, it’s no secret that the Academy Awards has historically not been the most diverse display of talent. In fact, you’ll likely recall that just a few years ago, the absence of diversity was so glaring it prompted the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag in response to the homogenous slate of nominees.

The Academy took note and overhauled its voting membership to be more inclusive across race, gender, age and geography. With almost 800 new members, the voting body was suddenly about 40 percent female and 30 percent non-white.

After nearly 90 years, it seemed the Academy was finally on track to get it right. And last year seemed to bear the fruit. In 2019, the Oscar nominees were the most diverse in Academy history, with people of color winning Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Costume Design and several other categories, about 10 in all.

Then as we watched on Sunday, I was daunted by how quickly the Oscars had again become so dissimilar to the rich and diverse tapestry that is America. There was one nominee of color among the four acting categories: Best Actress nominee Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated for her performance in Harriet. And although Erivo did not win, she left her mark on all – and certainly on me – with her soul-stirring performance of Stand Up.

The big award of the night – Best Picture – went to Parasite, the first non-English film to win the coveted best film award and the first to win both the Best Picture and Best International Film Oscars. This is a remarkable nod to the fact that we can appreciate each other’s story, even if it’s not our own.

Why is this important? Why does it matter who the members of the Academy nominate and who ultimately gets the award? Watching this show reminds me of how long it takes to create change, and how quickly that change reverts if we are not intentional. It was so fitting that singer Janelle Monae wrapped up her performance by reminding the audience that it is Black History Month and challenged them to “come alive.”

If we view change as a few checked boxes that we superficially revisit when unrest peaks, our progress is short lived. Change is a daily practice and a series of intentional, progressive actions. In this case, the Academy’s membership overhaul was a good step in the right direction to ensure representation. And I don’t profess to know the movie business, but before that can really matter, opportunities for diverse talents, stories and images that reflect everyone must exist.

There is work to be done. And the Academy should be one of the easiest places to start. Our stories are powerful – they transcend our differences and bind us indelibly. If the main industry that thrives on telling the stories that bring people together still struggles to ensure everyone’s story is heard and appreciated, there’s work to be done. We’ve got to come alive, and we must be intentional about coming together in every action we take, every single day.

63 Responses to “The work is not done”

    • Shanté Rodney

      I am so moved by my CEO’s wonderfully diverse, open hearted, inclusive and aware perspective. When I began the article, I certainly didn’t expect to be moved nearly to tears. I was already a proud member of the TCH family. Now I’m a humbled, welcomed part of the TCH family! Incredible!

        • La Trecee Evans

          Wow Mr. Wallace thank you so much for the notice and your concern and your passion to this. I am new here at TCH, I have been here for 6month. I come from a place, that does not have the diversity here that I have found here at TCH. On a higher note I have NEVER worked for a CEO and ANY job, that even remotely shows this level of concern and empathy as you. You sir have my upmost appreciation and gratitude. I am an African American women who is very in tuned with my history, and I thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to even acknowledge this.

  1. Denise Tanner-Brown

    Mr. Wallace,
    Your bold and uncompromising leadership is contagious. America in all her beauty and splendor has work to do and I know we will get there one day! Thank you for being the catalyst to change, the conversation starter, and a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion. I wear my TCH badge in two ways-a means of identification within the organizationbut also as a badge of honor and it is because of the culture and environment you’ve created. Thank you for your leadership!
    Denise Tanner-Brown

  2. Joy J Malbrough

    Mr. Wallace, I wholeheartedly agree. In order to be successful in our efforts for positive and lasting change, intentionality must be our guidepost and inclusion, our North Star. Thank you for the constant reminder that good is not good enough- not for our patients, their families, or our team members! May we continue to Dwell in the Possibility of a world where people of all shades and abilities are represented in all of their beautiful splendor!

  3. Andrew Abela

    Very well said. I think you summed it up perfectly when you said “If the main industry that thrives on telling the stories that bring people together still struggles to ensure everyone’s story is heard and appreciated, there’s work to be done.” Let’s hope we can all find a way to come together now, and not just in times of peril.

  4. Ken Javier

    Very well said sir! Reading your post inspired me to look up the most diverse cities in the world, and low and behold Houston, TX made several of the lists. The amazing work we do to serve our diverse community makes me feel so proud and grateful to be apart this compassionate organization. The culture of amplifying unity at TCH is simply electric!

  5. Amber Teal

    I take pride in having a leader who is unafraid to jumpstart these important conversations that confront injustices. It is one thing to notice them; it is another to publicly express them.
    Thank You.

    • Maria Miller

      “Do whats RIGHT even if its not easy sometimes” my grandmother use to say. Yes there’s still alot of work to do. So much Diversity in Texas Children’s hospital…patients and staff …

  6. Trinda Brown

    Mr. Wallace,
    Well said. You are truly a man of wisdom and insight and I appreciate the fact that you recognize that it takes change to make the wrongs right. As a society, we all have so much to contribute and in return we will make this world a better place to exist.

    Thank you.

  7. David E. Gebo, RN

    As a fellow movie buff, I couldn’t agree more! There is a lot of hard work to be done in just about all aspects of our society regarding inclusion and an embrace of difference and diversity. Thank you for saying it out loud!

  8. Sean McGowen

    Mr Wallace,

    Your leadership in these moments of reflection reminds me of how proud I am to be a part of such an amazing organization. I appreciate the fact that you speak on matters that most find uncomfortable. We must continue to strive for diversity and equality. Thank you for being such an amazing human being and leader!

  9. Katrina Simms

    As a Texas Children’s employee for 8 years now. That was remarkable! You are an Awesome leader of this company! I look forward to reading your post every time. The MLK post was also Amazing! Diversity is key! I have boycotted the Oscars for the most part. But I did see the great speech from Joaquin Phoenix. You have a great vision. All of the leaders within this company should follow your footsteps because you are a great example of what remarkable leadership is. Your devotion and admiration is tremendous. Thank you!

  10. Tamika Jones

    Mr. Wallace,

    In a world where many of us give our blood, sweat, and tears for organizations/companies whom we can’t be 100% sure how the leaders feel about us or the issues we face, it is REFRESHING to know your thoughts on these subjects and what you stand for. Diversity and inclusion are so important because we are all different and bring many pieces to our big TCH puzzle. I’ve always enjoyed your leadership style and wear my badge proudly but today… after reading this, I am inspired and that is what a true leader does.

    I go forth today wanting to do the best for these babies and kiddos because you continue to do your best for us. We appreciate it and THANK YOU for taking the time to educate yourself and others!

  11. LaWanna Meade

    I love what you said! Truer words have never been spoken…..and if only we can follow this lead as it is a good guidepost to moving us forward. We can’t change the whole world at once, but we sure can brighten up our corner of it with “INTENTIONAL” changes that will be long-serving and not just for today. We, as a country, organization, and even as individuals, must do the work, daily. Anything done repetitively becomes the habit, so then, we must be intentional and consistent in our commitment to this change. TCH is a BLESSED organization because your leadership and foresight is incomparable and, honestly, Mr. Wallace, you are the absolute BEST leader I have ever known and why TCH remains “the best place to work”! Leadership is KEY. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to this end and to many other ends, which make coming to work everyday a JOY!

  12. Emily Klein


    How beautifully stated that we must come together and be intentional in our actions each and every day.

    Whenever I speak of Texas Children’s Hospital to others it is with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, because we represent one amazing team who work together for common goals of hope and healing for our patients and their families.

    What a great message from our leadership of how each day we can all take action and come together in every aspect of our daily lives, with intention.

  13. Cassandra Dixon-Summage

    You never cease to amaze me Mr. Wallace. You have been intentional since day one of stepping into this organization. We are so blessed because your leadership exemplifies excellence. You make it a joy to work at Texas Children’s. I just want to say Thank you.

  14. Miviala Cuadot

    Mr. Wallace,
    I am in tears after reading your post of diversity and inclusion because I am part of that minority that often is not seeing or acknowledged by the majority. I am so proud to be part of this organization because a leader like you is very hard to find now a days. God bless you Mr. Wallace!

  15. Mr. Wallace,

    Thank you for the beautifully written “On the Mark”. I’m not from Texas and one of the things that I appreciate most about Houston and working at TCH is the diversity.

    I appreciate your leadership, together we win.

  16. Lynn Speed

    Thank you so much for this. It is great to know that we, as a TCH family, have a leader that is not afraid of speaking the truth and standing up for it. I hope those that are oblivious to the need for change and the importance of it will take heed to your boldness, and recognize their part in committing to educating each other in cultural inclusion.

  17. Yolanda Roberts

    Mr. Wallace I feel blessed to have a God fearing CEO. You believe in equality for ALL, as it is very evident the diversity in our Texas Children’s Organization. I am very proud to be a part of Texas Children’s and it filled my heart with Joy to read your genuine concern for All people.
    Thank you for being true to yourself and for your commitment for always standing for what is right.

  18. I really appreciate your understanding and support regarding diversity.
    I feel that as our leader you are doing a phenomenal job with setting the example.
    I LOVE THIS PLACE! … The morale has become better and better each day .
    I see great things to come in 2020 #ACHDteam
    Best regards,

  19. Latrice Epps

    Mr. Wallace

    This was a very well states and moving article. Thank you for acknowledging the continued need for diversity across our nation. Being a women of color who grew up in the inner city and with parents from the deep south, this is subject that touches home. AS I celebrate Black History Month, every month I will come alive.

  20. Sheila Starr

    Uncle Mark Wallace,
    That’s been your name for me among my family, friends and peers since my arrival at TCH. An uncle impacts your life, encourage you, support you, inspire, invest time with you all while teaching, developing and reinforcing. Uncles are special men invested, playing a significant role in your life. Uncle Mark Wallace, you a make me proud as my Uncle. I often speak highly of you among others who are not attached to our TCH family. Your ability to not only recognize the need for positive influence, you are an inspirational influencer adhering to positive changes. I thank God for his Revelation and your transparency.
    Continue being the amazing Man that you are.


  21. Susan Garcia

    I also agree with Mr. Wallace and the above comments. I think diversity can only be unleashed and its benefits reaped when we recognize these differences and learn to respect and value each individual irrelevant of their background. I think each individual in our organization brings with them a diverse set of perspectives, work and life experiences, as well as religious and cultural differences.

  22. This “On the Mark” grabbed and held my attention! I hope every member of the TX Children’s family, from leadership to orientation attendees, reads this and realizes the work is NOT done! The portion we could ALL copy, print and tape to our monitors: “We’ve got to come alive, and we must be intentional about coming together in every action we take, every single day.”

    A gentle reminder never hurts.

  23. Stacy Dodson

    I was in awe of you at 2019 Townhall. Sharing your thoughts in this blog further confirms you are socially conscious and aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion. Your blogs for instance, allows for an opportunity to openly discuss our ideas and opinions. “For the great achiever, it’s all about me. For the great leader, it’s all about them.” – Marshall Goldsmith

    Your vision, mission and passion for TCH, concern for patients and even communities gives us a sense of why we come to work everyday.

  24. Sabrina Cowans

    Mr. Wallace. Thank you! I am so proud and honored to be a part of an organization with a CEO like you at the helm! Thank you for always promoting diversity and acknowledging that while we as a nation have not yet arrived, if we are intentional, it can and should happen.

  25. Sheila Brooks

    I wish there was a way to clone your heart and your love for people. It is an honor to work for someone that’s always looking out for others. It would be nice if we had public inspiration wall so that we could share with our families just how much you our leader care and love all people.

  26. Andre Branch

    Mr. Wallace,

    True leadership starts at the top, and you are without a doubt and brave and courageous leader who often speaks truth to power. Change will only come when people of influence acknowledged that there is a problem. I am more than proud to work for your organization and salute you my dear Sir! God bless you!

  27. Cynthia Griffin

    Mr. Wallace,

    Well written! “Intentional”, is the one of the words highlighted on my 2020 vision board. You are an amazing leader and I appreciate your transparency. It is an honor to work with you Sir! Thank you for your leadership.

  28. Joan Andrada

    Immigrating to the USA some twenty years ago was scary and exhilarating at the same time. The excitement dimmed much upon my arrival to the USA though, when many immigrants advised that in order to survive, it is best to keep one’s head down always.

    I took the advice as very important since it has proven its worth to so many immigrants before me. I then proceeded to keep myself focused on the work with my head down. Still, the youth and the rebel in me, allowed me to intersperse my life with many moments of keeping my head up. These times were when I proceeded to enjoy the new and diverse culture around me … when I interacted and worked with people from all parts of the world, tasted the various cuisine from everywhere, listened to eclectic music, discussed various philosophies and perspectives, and admired and contributed to innovations that became better because of input from people of diverse backgrounds. With my head up as many times as down, I had a fun and enjoyable acculturation from East to West.

    When I read the article of Mr. Wallace entitled “The work is not done” today, I realized that when I joined the TCH organization a few months ago, I did not just get a job. I actually have received the privilege to belong to a family that embraced its diversity.

    ‘Embracing Freedom, Leading Tirelessly, Living Compassionately and Amplifying Unity’ are values that did not just come about by accident. These values were intentional. These values were a green light toward cultural awareness and acceptance of each employee’s capacity to strive to be the best in their work and to give to others through unity, motivation, inspiration, innovation, creativity, responsibility, respect, and service.

    I wish the TCH culture to everyone, especially the immigrants to the USA. Then, like me, they no longer have to exercise their necks (keeping their heads down or up) but just be who they are and strive to be the best they can be.

  29. La Shaun D. Jackson

    As a new employee of TCH, it is a pleasure to know our CEO understands the importance of diversity and inclusion. Mr. Wallace thank you for sharing what so many of us feel. I am honored to be apart of an organization that “get’s it”.

  30. Shantel LeBlanc

    Thank You, For saying what most people are still afraid to say. We as people need to realize and accept that we are stronger together in LOVE , than we are apart in HATE. We appreciate you so much.

  31. E. Franklin

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for your acknowledgement that even though progress has been made, we still have work to do in the area of diversity. As a minority it makes me proud to be a member of the TCH staff knowing that my CEO can relate to the change needed in the workplace and the world. Noticing areas that need improvement and the work that still needs to be done makes you the great leader that you are for this hospital. Thank you for your leadership Mr. Wallace.

  32. Carol Marshall

    Dear Mr Wallace, Thank you for your bold statements and challenges. I so appreciate your thoughts and I’m encouraged by your comments. I have worked in several industries, and Health Care is unique in its staff and customer diversity which I have tremendously enjoyed these few years- It makes a difference. This diversity naturally builds a place of intellectual learning and personal growth for all of us as we take part. We care for and treat everyone who walks in our doors and to mirror this, I believe TCH’s dedication to hiring and keeping this diversity needs to stay strong and central to who we are. Meeting this challenge is an opportunity few industries see so directly. Without diversity, we cannot be competitive, innovative, caring, effective or successful. Goals to increase diversity at every level of the organization in clinical and support staffing and management are important, even including human resource flexibility in all areas (not just nursing) in consideration of culture and work family balance. To me, this is how we achieve the same cross-weave that is our patient population. What we show and give, we receive in return. In this way, the weave is tight and the fabric strong and excellence high. Thanks for sharing and challenging me to be more inclusive in my life at home and at work.

  33. Cassandra Shorter

    Dr. Wallace I could not pass on the opportunity thank you for your words in this article. To be honest I wasn’t sure where you were going with this and I am so glad that I didn’t stop reading after the first sentence. Your words captivated me and I could not stop reading. As others have said, you could have kept silent and I am so glad that you didn’t. This is not one of those “silence is golden” situations. I am sure that this eye-opening message regarding fairness within diversity is and will continue to be an ongoing struggle. Sometimes we can open our eyes to a situation – but the question is “what do we do now?” and “where do we start?”… How can I help?

  34. Nan Ybarra

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for acknowledging what many seem to believe is a non-issue in 2020. Diversity is the strength of this nation and yet it has become a divisive point of contention in the political climate of today. We as Americans have some soul searching to do and acknowledge how we contribute to the solution or allow the status quo to continue. Our silence is complicity and our inaction is our shame. I appreciate your publication of this subject and your leadership.

  35. Brittany Walters

    Mr. Wallace,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I am so proud to work for a fantastic organization that not only goes above and beyond for women and children throughout our global community, but we have you as a leader that advocates for diversity and inclusion. As I read your post this morning, I am reminded of the Disney Team of Heroes training I attended this week. Precisely, two of the four service H.E.R.O principles that relate to your post, H- have more intentionality and R- reach higher. Thank you for being an incredible champion of diversity and inclusion, and encouraging us all to strive for continual improvement and to be more intentional.

  36. Cerissa Lagrange

    Mr. Wallace,
    Though we have a very long way to go, I admire that your so open and attentive to many things that goes unsaid. It truly is a blessing to have someone in such a great position to recognize that we have a ways to go BUT is willing to step up and shed light upon such a touching subject in America! Thank you Uncle Wallace for sharing your thoughts with TCH,,,,

  37. Katie Kalenda-Daggett

    There is so, so much within your commentary that stirs me. There is the shock of how quickly our society and communities default to fear or exclusion, whether on purpose or subconsciously, resulting from the belief that there is one pie and that there isn’t enough to go ’round. Media is a reflection – and simultaneously a driver – of culture. The Oscars give a chance to check ourselves. There were many missed opportunities in the awards, but the recognition of Parasite gives us something to lean-in on…

    The human situation is universal. No matter language, socioeconomic status, time period, geography, orientation, immigration status, age or otherwise – we all have a common need to belong, to share our experiences, and to be heard.

    Each day, we have the opportunity – indeed, the obligation – to be present, to listen, and to connect with the families and patients we serve, not just clinically but also emotionally. We meet families in some of their most precious and most vulnerable times. We can extend the gift of humanity, of understanding, and of relevance when we go beyond transactions and allow ourselves to connect person-to-person through the universal, human situation. When we do that, we all win each and every day.

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