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2024 Power 100: Jessica Pepple

A woman with medium-length black hair wears large hoop earrings and a black-and-white dress. Photo | Courtesy of RFK Community Alliance Jessica Pepple, chief diversity & culture officer at RFK Community Alliance
Jessica Pepple Title Chief diversity & culture officer Company RFK Community Alliance, in Lancaster Employees 535 Residence Worcester Colleges Florida State University, Keller Graduate School of Management, Boston University Read all the Power 100 profiles here
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RFK Community Alliance’s hire of Jessica Pepple into a newly created top leadership position is a model for how to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into an organizational culture.

Pepple joined RFK in 2022 to put her passion for equity into action into the human services sector. Previously working at the King Philip Regional School District in Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham in diversity, equity & inclusion, Pepple is the first person to lead those efforts as a member of RFK’s executive leadership team.

A merger completed in 2022 brought together Dr. Franklin Perkins School and Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps to create the larger, rebranded RFK Community Alliance. With revenue of $46.6 million in fiscal 2022, according to its annual report, it is region’s 12th largest nonprofit serving at-risk populations.

The organization reaches more than 2,000 people and families who are racially diverse but face various life challenges such as learning differences, neurodiversity, trauma, and behavioral health needs. Pepple’s task is to bring a common understanding of equity to the staff and people served by RFK programs, which include day and residential schools, behavioral health care, adoption services, adult vocational and residential services, and community youth programs.

Pepple’s hire two years ago was highlighted in the 2022 Annual Report as a key milestone for RFK. She has since implemented an organization-wide DEI newsletter; led celebrations of important DEI events such as Pride Month, Black History Month, and Juneteenth; established a process for people experiencing marginalization at work; and advised several school districts on developing policies and procedures to minimize dehumanization in school settings. For her work, Pepple was a recipient of the 2023 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award from the Massachusetts Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers. 

Read all the Power 100 profiles here.

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