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Members of the Inclusive Leadership Program at the opening session at Regis

Regis College hosted the opening session of the second cohort of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICU Mass) and Suffolk University Inclusive Leadership Program. This five-month program brings together higher education professionals working towards increasing their impact in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Over 100 participants from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island convened on the Regis campus for the day-long kickoff event.

“At Regis, we have a commitment to do better to address systemic racism within our walls and beyond. Our mission of welcoming all without distinction is a guiding principle in all that we do. Regis’ participation in this initiative is one of many examples at the university to follow through on that commitment to form individuals who believe and contribute to a more just and equitable society,” said Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN, president of Regis College.

This initiative supports higher education professionals in their quest to expand their leadership impact individually, institutionally, and regionally (system-wide). Through a monthly series of interactive panel discussions, participants will expand their inclusive leadership knowledge and share their findings with their respective campus communities. Members of the second cohort come from a range of professions including faculty members, athletics coaches, general counsels, deans, diversity and inclusion officers, student life leaders, marketing and communications professionals, and more.

Audrey Grace, JD, MEd, Regis’ vice president for inclusive excellence and chief diversity officer, is collaborating with Joyya Smith, Suffolk University’s vice president of diversity, access and inclusion; and Kaitlyn Pires, vice president for administration and member relations at AICU Mass.

“This program offers leaders from across Massachusetts’ higher education community to come together to learn ways in which they can strengthen their collective influence to advance inclusion. Collaboration is not new to diversity officers in higher education and I’m grateful for the opportunity this program provides for others to maximize our collective resources and build capacity throughout our institutions. I am especially proud to see 17 members of our own Regis community in this program,” said Grace.

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Keynote speaker Su Joun

The keynote speaker for the opening session was Su Joun, Principal of Diversity@Workplace, a consulting group that works with organizations to diversify their workforce and create inclusive, equitable work environments through consultation and training. Joun’s engaging presentation introduced the fundamentals of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and covered a range of topics including definitions and concepts, the current state of DEI, common obstacles and pitfalls, and everyday inclusive actions.

"It was fantastic to meet and be with such an engaged group of participants - the conversations continued into the parking lot after the event! I am positive this group will have a tremendous impact on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at their colleges and universities,” said Joun.

Upcoming sessions will focus on the topics of organizational leadership, individual leadership, and system-wide impact. The final session will be a closing celebration at Suffolk University. Speakers include Dr. William T. Lewis, Sr., diversity and inclusion thought leader and entrepreneur; Sabina Nawaz, global CEO coach and leadership expert; Ruth Molina, director of the New England Higher Education Recruitment Consortium; and Jamie Washington, President and Founder of the Washington Consulting Group.