DEIA: Lived experiences and the spirit of democracy
What trends are shaping diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility programs and how can practitioners prepare and plan successful, long-term strategies?
Janice Underwood, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), tackled this question and more during a Wilder School Lunch and Learn virtual presentation, “Leading the Way in Diversity, Equity, Inclusiveness and Accessibility."
Dr. Underwood delved into her leadership with the national diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) mission, including her groundbreaking work as Virginia's inaugural Chief Diversity Officer. She explored her ONE Virginia Plan and shared insights on key strategies leading the way with DEIA across Virginia.
“The reason why I start with my equity story or my lived experiences is because that's how we build relationships with people,” shared Underwood.
She is on a mission to demonstrate that DEIA is “not siloed to any one particular community” but “a patriotic espousing of the founding principals of the Declaration of Independence … a foundation of civic duty and essential to any thriving democracy.”
“This is how we truly begin to connect on a deeper, more comprehensive level as opposed to just staying at the surface check-the-box level with our colleagues and community members, said Underwood, “This work is for everyone.”
“This is how we truly begin to connect on a deeper, more comprehensive level as opposed to just staying at the surface check-the-box level with our colleagues and community members. This work is for everyone.” – Janice Underwood, Ph.D.
She fielded an interactive discussion with participants and concluded with an aspirational look toward the future of individual and systemic strategies.
Nakeina E. Douglas-Glenn, Ph.D., director of the VCU Wilder School Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE) and associate professor, served as the session moderator.