Tobias Sherwood

Equity Facilitator/Consultant

What do you do at CEI?
I facilitate trainings in the non-profit, corporate, and education sectors. I also provide staff-level coaching, helping organizations’ equity team members integrate curriculum and tools into both their personal and professional lives.

What were you doing prior to CEI?
Prior to CEI, I worked with first-generation college students at Portland Community College. As a College Success Coach with the Future Connect scholarship program, I provided personal and academic advising, financial aid counseling, instruction of college-level guidance courses, and case management for the students in our program.

I’ve also been a business owner since 2009, working with Portland Public Schools and many Community Based Organizations to provide relationship-based tutoring services to students across Portland.

I began training in earnest as a facilitator ten years ago at Open Meadow Schools. I have developed and facilitated workshops and trainings in various sectors, focusing primarily on personal and academic development.
Why do you do this work?

A sense of moral responsibility, my own personal integrity, and love for my community motivate me in this work.

As a white man, knowing how our country’s systems have been designed to advantage me at the expense of others, it is a matter of living more fully in integrity that I consciously choose-in to this work. It’s important to me that my children, friends, family, and coworkers know that I’m working for what is right and just. Also, more specifically, I feel a deep responsibility to help other white folks engage in and navigate racial equity work.

What do you believe?

I am affected by my whiteness, but not determined by it.

White folks can redefine what it means to be white and partner with folks of color in an empowered way.

There is wisdom in listening to understand.

And we can change things for the better.
What is a question that guides your work?

What am I willing to give up in order to do that which is right?

Quote that resonates with you about this work?

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
– Australian Aboriginal elder Lilla Watson