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Presented By: Rackham Graduate School

LEAD: Bridging the Divide—Uniting Against Racism

LEAD, Leading Equity And Diversity, is a series of conversations where attendees have the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of guests who lead DEI initiatives. This LEAD conversation will address the need to have people of all social identities (across race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc.) involved in the fight against systemic racism. It’s human nature to be drawn to people who are similar to us and our desire to bond with our community intensifies under threat. How can we avoid an “us vs. them” mentality and mobilize as a unified force against racism? Speakers will discuss pathways to bonding and bridging across difference. Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) captioning services will be available.
Howard Ross is a lifelong social justice advocate and is considered one of the world’s seminal thought leaders on identifying and addressing unconscious bias. He is the author of ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance, and The Washington Post best seller, Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives. His latest book, Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect Is Tearing Us Apart won the 2019 Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Social Change and Social Justice. Ross founded Cook Ross Inc., one of the nation’s leading diversity and inclusion consultancies. He sold the company in July 2018 and founded Udarta Consulting, LLC. Ross is also a former rock ‘n roll musician and has taught meditation and mindfulness for more than 20 years, including his role as co-founder and lead facilitator for the Inner Journey Seminars.
Sonya Jacobs is the chief organizational learning officer and senior director of faculty and leadership development for Michigan Medicine. As U-M’s first chief organizational learning officer, she creates curricula and strategies to build the capabilities of staff, faculty, and leaders across the university. This includes the development of education, training, interventions, and programs to further the university’s initiatives around creating an inclusive and equitable environment. As the senior director of faculty and leadership development, she is responsible for supporting faculty in achieving their professional goals, as well as recruitment, on-boarding, and retention of a diverse faculty, and leadership development for both faculty and staff. She co-created programs focused on the advancement of women and founded an Executive Coaching Certification program. She holds a bachelor’s from Michigan State University and a master’s from Eastern Michigan University.
Deborah Willis is the senior program lead for the DEI Certificate and program manager for professional and academic development at the Rackham Graduate School. Dr. Willis develops and implements innovative programs to engage a highly diverse academic community and consistently strives to foster collaborations that support the professional development of scholars and encourage an inclusive environment. Throughout her professional career, she has provided leadership, vision, and advocacy for graduate students, staff, and faculty particularly around equity, inclusion, and social justice issues. She established and moderates the LEAD Webinar Series to elevate the voices of those who lead DEI initiatives and to provide diverse perspectives for webinar attendees. Dr. Willis holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan.
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We want to ensure full and equitable participation in our events. If an accommodation would promote your full participation in this event, please follow the registration link to indicate your accommodation requirements. Please let us know as soon as possible in order to have adequate time (one week preferred) to arrange for your requested accommodation(s) or an effective alternative.

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