Published December 16, 2020 at 3:34pm
Story by Mary Martin. Photos by Stephanie Drenka.
Long before social media channels were looking to promote the voices of Black women, Errika Flood-Moultrie was using her expertise to bring undervalued leaders to the surface. Years of work in nonprofit development, entrepreneurship, and consulting have culminated in the Black Women in Nonprofit Leadership Cohort, through Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, which launches in 2021. The combination of education and empowerment is central to Errika’s personal and professional mission, and leaders across North Texas are ready to follow her example.
Spending her childhood moving from city to city in a military family, Errika learned the gift of meeting new people and making friends along the way. And her focus on servant leadership stemmed from her father’s military service as well. “My dad was a giver,” Errika shares. “He was a first sergeant in the army and he never wanted his soldiers to be alone during the holidays. So if there were soldiers who couldn’t go home, my dad would cook and sing and be there for those men who were giving their lives. That’s how I grew up. You make sure that people have what they need.”
That family culture of giving set the stage for Errika’s career in the nonprofit sector, as she worked in medical organizations like Children’s and The National Kidney Foundation. Errika then took on a new role at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as the National Director for African American & Native American Initiatives.
After a lay-off at ADA, Errika shifted her focus to the performing arts as the Director of Community Engagement at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “At ADA I had been implementing programs for communities of color, working to help individuals and organizations navigate those communities with health information and relationship building,” Errika says. “At the Dallas Symphony, I was again using my voice to help the white community engage communities of color and gain local connections. I played the clarinet in my high school band, but I wasn’t there for my musical talent. They needed to figure out how to diversify and build an audience with color. I was able to truly step into the Dallas community and I haven’t looked back.”
Errika’s next career step landed her with the Dallas Black Dance Theater, where she was able to approach inclusion from a new perspective. Her focus was on one question—how can everyone experience Black dance? “At DBDT I was able to build the strong connections that women of color need,” Errika says. “Zenetta Drew, their executive director, was supportive of me in that space and helped me to gain my own relationships, voice, and strength. She helped me not be afraid to go into spaces and say what is important.” The respect for cultural diversity in a metropolitan city energized Errika in her work and showed her a clear path for influence.
Combining her understanding of inclusion, representation, and the Dallas philanthropic community, Errika launched her own consulting company, ConnectThree, in 2015. She set an early goal to use her relationships to support Black women in the nonprofit sector. “My focus is Black women in nonprofit leadership. I had a deep desire to bring together women who are leading in nonprofit, and that desire never went away,” Errika says. “We started with a quarterly lunch for C-suite women in the nonprofit sector, but it started expanding to peer groups and I could see how it could be bigger and more impactful as a year-long cohort learning session.” In 2021 the idea will become reality with the Black Women in Nonprofit Leadership Cohort.’
The leadership cohort will find its home as the newest program at Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT), which was spearheaded by the Kellogg Foundation after the 2016 Dallas police shootings. TRHT takes a comprehensive look at the historical and contemporary effects of racism at the community level. Errika was asked by Communities Foundation of Texas to help launch THRT in Dallas, with three focus areas: narrative change, racial healing, and equitable policies and practices.
TRHT is now led by executive director Jerry Hawkins, who has championed Errika’s cohort concept from the beginning. Errika shares, “I told Jerry, ‘I have this idea,’ and he said, ‘If you can fund it, you can do it,’ so we produced a grant that tells the story of the need, the passion, and the healing that is possible. And it happened!”
As Errika looks back at 2020, she can see how despite the challenges, this year has brought a new sense of awareness around the power and impact held by Black women. “For Black women in particular, the veil was pulled off and we are beginning to be honored more publicly,” she says. “We are getting our recognition and awards. I don’t know if it’s just 2020, or if we got tired of not being paid any attention, but we are going to take it and run with it. This is a season of promotion. I am always going to be here for amplifying Black women’s voices.”
Errika hopes that this coming year the leadership cohort will play a significant role in highlighting the immense value that Black women bring to innovation and philanthropy in North Texas. When speaking with white and majority leaders in various organizations, she has a consistent message, “I need you to recognize that we are talented, recognize our expertise, education and let us bring our whole selves to an organization. We don’t want to code-switch or be valued for a piece of what we bring.” Errika’s determination to bring women to new leadership tables is creating transformational connections and conversations long overdue for a diverse and growing city.
If you are interested in learning more about the Black Women in Nonprofit Leadership Cohort or Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, visit dallastrht.org/bwnp/.