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Advance Equity Speaker Series

Learn from our speakers as they discuss advancing equity in their professions.

WGU’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) team hosts this monthly speaker series as part of our commitment to change lives for the better by advancing equity and expanding access to opportunity. Our objective for this webinar series is to share insight and perspective on various DE&I topics. Each one-hour session will feature renowned DE&I experts and personalities such as Olympic gold medalist swimmer Cullen Jones, TED Talks speaker Sara Jones, executive leaders, and WGU faculty. Recordings and resource materials from each session will be available on this page after the event.

 

If you are interested in presenting, please click below to fill out application.

May 2022

Understanding Mental Health Stigma: Perspectives from a Queer Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist

May 24

11:00am - 12:00 pm MT

Dior Vargas is an award-winning intersectional mental health activist delivering education and resources to all communities. A native New Yorker, growing up in Spanish Harlem, Dior identified as an activist in high school after facing her own mental health issues and realizing the gap in mental health resources for people of color and the QTBIPOC community. She is a self-proclaimed storyteller bringing warmth, humility, and vulnerability to the conversation. For more information about Dior’s work, publications, research, and recognition, visit her website.

 

April 2022

Creating Pathways to Empower and Change Lives

April 12

Michael P. McMillan, President and CEO of The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., (ULSTL), a nonprofit organization providing social services to the Metropolitan St. Louis community joins a discussion on creating pathways to opportunity with economic self-reliance, creating social equality, and securing civil rights.

March 2022

Breaking the Bias: Equity and Inclusion for Women in the Workplace

March 24

Four dynamic leaders will share their perspectives on the impact of women in the workplace today and the importance of combatting bias.

February 2022

Diversity in Medicine: Black Men in White Coats

February 24

Physicians from three specialties will share their journey into medicine reflecting on the gap of Black men in medicine, healthcare disparities in our underserved communities, and the systemic barriers preventing Black men from becoming medical doctors.

January 2022

Demystifying Our Cultural Beliefs

January 27

How do cultural norms, values, and biases affect our experiences and decisions? WGU presenters, Christine Gleason and Kate Porter explore how we can drive cultural change in our one-by-one interactions, and discuss key actions you can take to Advance Equity and Engage Respectfully.

Past Webinars

Civil Rights Activist Novella McCline-Page: How Lunch Counter Protests Led to a Lifelong Commitment to Activism in partnership with Women at WGU

Native Nashvillian, Novella McCline-Page, became an active participant in the non-violent civil rights “sit-ins” in the 1960s. As she and other college students sat at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Nashville, they were bombarded with racial slurs, doused with food, spat upon, showered with cigarette ashes, and arrested. Her picture, sitting at the counter at Woolworth, is on display at the new Tennessee Museum in Nashville as well as the Muhammad Ali Civil Rights Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. During the Centennial National Convention of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in 2008, this picture was prominently displayed in a life-sized poster, honoring her as a Civil Rights activist.

Building a Future-Ready Workforce: Race in the Workplace

Advancing racial equity in the workplace is a system-level challenge. Join our panel discussion to hear from leading employers regarding representation, advancement and experience of people of color. Plus, what does the path forward look like? This includes the key challenges to address, actions companies can take and additional steps for a wider set of stakeholders to accelerate progress on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

LatinX Speaker Panel with Edward Gonzales in partnership with WGU LatinX Owls

As part of WGU’s Hispanic Heritage month, Edward (Eddie) Gonzales will share his inspirational story about how he overcame childhood challenges to landing a career at NASA. Presently, Eddie leads diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Additionally, he serves as a mentor and promotes STEM engagement for underrepresented and underserved communities.

DE&I Executive Roundtable

In this executive roundtable, Talia Mark Brookshire, Director of DE&I will discuss the successes, lessons learned and opportunities various professionals in the DE&I landscape face. Attendees will hear gain insight from:

  • Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity, NASCAR
  • Sharese Shannon Mathis, Assistant Dean-Campus Life, Albion College
  • Kara Adams, Director of Guest Experience and Chairwoman for B.O.L.D, Portland Trailblazers
  • Jorge Quezada, Vice President-Inclusive Diversity, Granite Construction; Former DE&I Officer for Northwestern Mutual and Kraft Foods

Lunch with Cullen Jones, a U.S. Olympic Champion

As a former world champion and Olympic gold medal swimmer, Cullen Jones began speaking with the purpose of motivating and inspiring others. Knowing the absence of diversity in swimming, Jones has built his career around changing the landscape of his sport. His topics include, mental toughness, overcoming cultural norms, setting goals and reaching them, and exceeding expectations. Using humor and life experiences, Jones develops speeches with a focus on displaying the parallels between the sports and business world. This pursuit has transformed into a career in public speaking with notable company’s such as Deloitte, Boeing, Bank of America, Citibank, Phillips 66 and many universities.

We Welcome Your Feedback

Contact WGU's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) team for more information.