Wilder School Lunch and Learn - "Representation in the 118th Congress: Intersections with Public Administration" with Sesha Joi Moon, Ph.D.
An established leader in the DEI space, Sesha Joi Moon, Ph.D. (B.A.’05/H&S; M.S.’08/GPA; Cert.’09/GPA), director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the U.S. House of Representatives, discusses her career journey in the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility realms and provides insight on how inclusivity intersects with public administration.
When: Noon-1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 15
Where: Via Zoom; link provided to registrants
About the speaker
Sesha Joi Moon is the director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with the U.S. House of Representatives. In this role, her coined philosophical stance is that “diversity is delegating differences and inclusivity is celebrating differences — but equity is elevating differences.”
Prior to her congressional appointment by Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, she worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce within the Office of the Secretary and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Most recently she was director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. During her tenure, she received the Commerce Bronze Award for Superior Performance, Commerce Spirit Award and Spotlight on Commerce for LGBT+ Pride Month for her work leading the Race and Ethnicity Committee as part of the DOC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Council.
Moon is a senior research fellow with The Conference Board’s Engagement Institute where she examined the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion with employee engagement as part of the Employee Engagement and Experience Council. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Excellence in Government Fellowship Program with the Partnership for Public Service.
In addition to completing executive education programs with Harvard University and Cornell University, she holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy from Old Dominion University, where she examined the role of intersectionality on the talent mobility trends of women of color in the federal government. She also holds a certificate and master’s degree from the Wilder School and bachelor’s degree from the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.
She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and has served as a board member with the African American Federal Executive Association, Commonwealth of Virginia’s Criminal Justice Services Board and St. Jude African American Engagement Council. She is also executive director of The JXN Project, which is a grantee of the Mellon Foundation’s “Monuments Project” and recipient of the American Association for State and Local History’s 2022 Leadership in History Award, and has been highlighted by PBS “NewsHour,” Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
About the moderator
As a journalist, PR professional, college professor and agency head, Paula Otto has held senior leadership roles for more than 30 years. She was part of the leadership team that created the Virginia Lottery and served as its executive director from 2008-18. In addition to nearly 20 years at the Lottery, Otto was a tenured professor and associate director at VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture from 1997-2008. In 2014, Otto received the Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence from the Richmond Public Relations Society of America, which “recognizes the achievement of a seasoned public relations practitioner who has made an ongoing commitment to the advancement of the profession.” In 2017, Otto was inducted into the Public Gaming Research Institute’s Lottery Hall of Fame and was named an honoree in the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Person of the Year program.
After retiring from state service in early 2018, Otto returned to VCU where she is a senior consultant for special projects in the Wilder School. She also formed OTC – Otto Training and Consulting – which serves both government and private clients. OTC is recognized by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity as a small, woman-owned micro business. Otto’s areas of expertise include leadership, ethics, strategic planning, issues management, media relations and public speaking.
Otto is also active in the community, volunteering with Bon Secours Hospitals, Virginia Voice and the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia.