SEC-member schools, business leaders and professionals attended the 4th annual conference to explore best practices in diversity and inclusiveness

Business leaders, working professionals, diversity officers, human resource officers, and others gathered at Texas A&M University for the 4th annual SEC Business School Diversity Conference on Feb. 27 through March 1.

Hosted by Mays Business School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the conference focused on strategic planning for diversity and inclusion leadership.

The keynote speaker was Damon Williams, head of the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Innovation and a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. He is one of the original architects of the Inclusive Excellence concept in American higher education and a nationally known leader in diversity leadership and responsibility.

As in previous SEC diversity conferences, held at Missouri, Arkansas, and LSU, the meeting aimed to:

  • Identify, advocate, and disseminate best practices and promote new initiatives about diversity and inclusion in business.
  • Conduct and promote research initiatives aimed at minority business students, staff, faculty and other stakeholders.
  • Empower academic and private sector professionals to become knowledgeable and engaged in diversity and inclusion practices.
  • Provide colleagues with professional development and resources to advance equity in recruitment and the classroom.

In addition to attending numerous sessions with speakers, the attendees also toured Kyle Field and were invited to explore the role unconscious bias plays in their everyday lives by visiting the CEO Action “Check Your Blind Spots” mobile tour hosted by PwC.

Also speaking were Ken Bouyer, EY America’s director of inclusiveness and recruiting; Craig Coates, instructional associate professor entomology at Texas A&M; Melissa Corwin, vice president for human resources, diversity and inclusion at AT&T; Alicia Dorsey, assistant provost for institutional effectiveness at Texas A&M; Carol Fierke, provost and executive vice president at Texas A&M; Eli Jones III, dean of Mays Business School at Texas A&M; and Annie McGowan, associate dean for undergraduate programs at Mays Business School and holder of the Bill and Gina Flores Professorship in business.

Other speakers included Robin Means Coleman, vice president and associate provost for diversity at Texas A&M; Bernie Milano, president of KPMG Foundation; Jennifer Reyes, director of assessment and diversity initiatives at Texas A&M; and Benjamin Wu, professor of ecology in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M.

A team of PwC professionals led by Joe Lally facilitated a Design Thinking session focused on development of inclusive mindsets.

Milano said of the PhD Project’s core mission: “It’s a systemic problem. We’ve got to recruit faculty of color to attract students of color. People need to see people who look like them in order to be comfortable.”