Introducing Breakthrough’s Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Manager

A Message From Matt Gray

(REDI) Manager

Hey beautiful people! Matt Gray here. I am the new Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Manager here at Breakthrough Central Texas (BTCTX). Not only am I new to this position, but this position is new to Breakthrough Central Texas.

See…this position takes what has until now been known as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program Manager and modifies it to focus directly on a  social identity marker that profoundly affects Breakthrough and the students we serve: race. In this new role, I am continuing in the DEI work that I’ve committed myself to over the past seven years of my professional career, but I am centering race in that work. This is something that I have experience with from my days teaching Ethnic Studies for high school students.

There, I built a curriculum that centered on race among other social identity markers such as sexuality, gender, and immigration status. I also have previous experience as a DEI Program Manager and designed professional development seminars centering antiracism and antiracist practices. 

Now, in my new role, I find myself working towards goals like building out the structure for initiatives that make BTCTX a more inviting and engaging place for Black students, understanding and contributing to Breakthough’s role in serving a predominantly Latino/a/x community, and comprehensively building out REDI framework that permeates through all facets of our organization. That has to be what I enjoy most about working in my new role: working with professionals that reflect the many facets of BTCTX for example, the Change Team, whom I work in collaboration with to sustain REDI initiatives across BTCTX. 

When I am not working on BTCTX’s REDI initiatives, you can find me hiking trails on the Greenbelt or rock climbing at a local bouldering gym, so whether it’s in the office, forests, or gym, hopefully, we have the pleasure of crossing paths. Until then, enjoy life.

More about Matt: Matt has a B.A. in English from Florida A&M University. He brings a wealth of REDI experience from developing a DEI curriculum within his Ethnic Studies classroom at Austin Achieve High School, founding community support groups like Black Professionals of Austin Achieve (BPAA), to creating adult professional development sessions rooted in DEI in the form of literary series surrounding antiracist texts.

In his role as REDI Manager, Matt combines his background and experience in DEI with his background as a Google Certified Project Manager and Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master to lead projects and initiatives rooted in DEI, framed in Agile principles, and implemented with a people-centric approach. All of this is in service to change the organization’s psychology around how we work with and for people. 

When Matt isn’t working on REDI initiatives, you can find him hiking trails on the Greenbelt or rock climbing at a local bouldering gym.   


About Breakthrough’s Change Team 

The Change Team at Breakthrough is a group of 13 staff and AmeriCorps members who have volunteered their time to make Breakthrough a better place in regard to Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We are a diverse group of folks who are selected from a pool of volunteers. We try to ensure that we have as much diversity and inclusion as possible on the Change Team, racially, ethnicity-wise, and also in terms of role at Breakthrough. This year we have representation from our middle school, high school, and college completion teams, as well as our Operations and Development departments. We also have involvement from folks on our Leadership team, staff, and AmeriCorps, and this year we have our first current Breakthrough student representative! We try to be as inclusive as possible because we believe there is strength in having diverse voices at the table. 

The Change Team members commit to 2 one year terms, each starting in September, the beginning of the academic year, which is a natural transition time for us. At the beginning of the year, our group selects 6 “workgroup” topics. These topics are issues that have been raised by staff through anonymous surveys that are conducted yearly. Our work groups are groups of 2 Change Team members who work in partnership with the staff and leadership who are also engaging in that particular work topic. 

Learn more about The Change Team below!