Diversity and Inclusion has been a passion of mine throughout my life and career. I currently serve as Vice Chair of the Iowa City Human Rights Commission where I was the lead author on our Statement on Black Lives Matter. I drafted our statement of support of direct payments of American Rescue Plan funds to excluded workers (specifically undocumented immigrants) and went on local television to promote it.
I am a past member of the Iowa Department of Human Rights Board (2012-2016) where I worked on policies related to Disproportionate Minority Contact in Law Enforcement and lobbied state legislators of both parties.
I led Professional & Technical Diversity Network (PTDN) in the late 2000’s, a nonprofit that held events to welcome a more diverse workforce to the area. We coordinated with several local groups like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Hispanic groups and the African American Museum to put on and promote these events. I received an award that was based largely on this work (CBJ 40 Under 40).
I have volunteered my time to help those with barriers to employment through resume and interview coaching. I have advised individuals that had discrimination claims on how to address this in their organization and/or with the local civil rights investigators.
In my 20-year career in Human Resources I’ve investigated and resolved dozens of discrimination and harassment claims regarding age, race, gender and LGBTQ+. I’ve had tough conversations and dealt with extremely sensitive and personal issues where answers are often unclear. I have coached countless leaders on these topics to help them promote diversity in their groups. I recruited diverse candidates and made workplaces more equitable to welcome them. On more than one occasion, I have successfully helped workgroups accept their first openly transgender coworker when some employees expressed discomfort.
I am a past Chapter President and current state board member of the Society for Human Resources Management where I have promoted diversity, equity and inclusion topics in the workplace. I have lobbied at the national level for policies that would help employees and have developed positive relationships with members of both major parties to further this work.
I have published 14 columns in The Edge (a past business magazine published by The Gazette) on workplace issues and how to treat employees better. I have spoken at the Iowa Ideas Conference on workplace issues, including discussions of diversity and equity.
I am the Equal Opportunity Leader for my National Guard unit and have helped consult at the state level around issues of inclusion in the Iowa Guard, including LGBTQ individuals who were sadly not able to openly serve when I enlisted 27 years ago. I’m so glad they now can while also recognizing that we have work to do. I regularly conduct training with my unit on these topics.
I now teach equity, bias and combatting discrimination as part of courses at the University of Iowa. I have conducted numerous training courses with business leaders and employees over the years.
I’m proud of my record of advocacy and accomplishment and look forward to continued work.