Diversity Awareness Partnership


10:15-11:30 AM | Breakout Sessions: Track 1

Title: Experiences of Women of Color in the Workplace (Panel Discussion)


Nicole Roach (Moderator), Mosaic Ceiling
Bijal Desai-Ramirez
Brittany Hogan,  Rockwood School District
Elizabeth Marengo, Nestle

Description: Often the narrative around women of color in this country is negative and pejorative leaving many with socialized bias or unconscious bias toward them. This powerful panel of individuals will share their personal and professional stories giving perspective to a different narrative.


  • To discuss stereotypes of women of color that need to be challenged
  • Specific challenges and barriers faced by women of color in the workplace
  • What can I do to change the conversation?


Title: Gender Identity and Expression 2.0

Presenter: Anna Warbelow, The Whitfield School

Description: This interactive session focuses on the fluidity of gender identity and expression.   Participants will have the opportunity to review larger concepts around gender and sexuality, take a deeper dive into understanding trans, particularly non-binary, identity, and learn practical tips for creating safer and more inclusive environments for all gender identities.  A portion of the session will be dedicated to examining institutional policies and practices and actionable next steps. Participants are encouraged to ask questions!


  • Gain a better understanding of gender and its application in organizational policies and practices.
  • Identify next steps for creating a more inclusive environment for trans individuals.


Title: The Social Model of Disability, More Than Accommodating Difference, Embracing the Strengths of Full Inclusion


Aimee Wehmeier, Paraquad
Kim Lackey, Paraquad
Chris Worth, Paraquad

Description: The presenters will discuss the history of the disability rights movement and the evolution from the medical to the social model of disability. In addition, speakers will describe what is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and how going above and beyond the minimum legal requirements can benefit employees and your organization. Throughout the presentation, practical real-life experiences will be shared and best practices will be offered to help you recognize and embrace the strengths of full inclusion.


  • Attendees will gain an understanding of the history of the disability rights movement and how it has lead us to where we are today.
  • Attendees will understand the difference between the medical and social model of disability and how they relate to independent living.
  • Attendees will gain knowledge about best practices and strategies for creating an inclusive culture that goes beyond merely providing accommodations.


Title: Culture Versus Religion: Exploring How Culture and Religion Impact One Another


James Fowlkes-Comninellis, Archdiocese of St. Louis and a Byzantine Catholic
Venerable Jue Huang, Director of Fo Guang Shan St. Louis Zen Center
Rabbi Neal Rose, Congregation B’nai Amoona
Leslie Heberlie, Interfaith Partnership


We often talk about religious diversity and learn about the many faith traditions that make up our landscape, but we less frequently explore diversity within religions. Is a Buddhist a Buddhist, or is there more to it than that? We will hear personal narratives about how culture impacts the lives experience of religion and is varied within a tradition.


  • Hear stories of how persons of faith experience the diversity of cultures and lived faith experiences within their own tradition
  • Identify the distinctions between the speakers’ understanding of what is their religion vs. their culture
  • Illustrate how the diversity of cultural traditions present within several religious traditions create unique religious experiences


Title: Training Isn’t Enough, Building a Comprehensive Diversity Equity and Inclusion Program (Registration Closed)

Presenter: Angela Cody, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Description:   “Ugh, it is time for that ‘Diversity’ training again.” Year after year, we talk about the same things: Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and non-discrimination. The boxes are checked and yet the needle doesn’t move. Developing a comprehensive, multi-dimensional, metric driven, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program, will not only set your organization up for success, it will positively impact the total employee experience.  


  • Identify the key drivers for Diversity & Inclusion programs
  • Distinguish between organizational and personal value
  • Elements within a Diversity & Inclusion strategic plan
  • Reimagine Diversity & Inclusion work.


1:00-2:15 PM | Breakout Sessions: Track 2

Title:  Healing our Community: Forward Through Ferguson #STL2039

Presenter: David Dwight, Forward Through Ferguson

Description: Racial Equity is an outcome; a future St. Louis where life outcomes cannot be predicted by race. While we have a definition of what Racial Equity is, we don’t have a shared vision for what that looks like in reality and what about our community would show we’ve achieved equity. This breakout session will explore how discovering and defining our a vision for Racial Equity can drive urgent systems change work in the present. 


Title: Overcoming Communication Barriers When Working with Speakers of Other Languages

Presenter: Anita Barker, International Institute


  • Increase awareness of cultural issues that interfere with communication
  • Increase awareness of linguistic issues that interfere with communication
  • Strategies for overcoming communication barriers when speaking English or using an interpreter
  • Helpful resources


Title: Navigating Microaggressions in the Workplace (Registration Closed)

Presenter: Keisha Mabry, Hey Friend & Co

Description: Microaggressions are the daily statements, actions and incidents that embarrass, shame and discriminate against members of marginalized groups such as racial and ethnic minorities. During this session, attendees will learn how to navigate these commonplace behaviors in the workplace using a five-part SPEAK technique.


Title: From Legislative Action to Community Organizing: Cultivating LGBTQ Allyship in Missouri


Mandi Kowalski, PROMO
Elizabeth Fuchs, PROMO

Description: This session will focus on the role of ALLIES and discussing action steps for supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.


Title: Attracting, Engaging, and Retaining Millennials

Presenter: Kendra Elaine


  • Dispel common myths
  • Understand the millennial mindset and what they really need
  • Learn practical ways to connect with and lead millennials
  • Create the framework for effective coaching conversations


2:30-3:45 PM | Breakout Sessions: Track 3

Title: Communication Across Difference in Toxic Political Times


Dewitt Campbell, NCCJ
Meghan Roy, NCCJ


During this session, participants will confront many of the most difficult conversation topics that are currently happening in our communities.  We will explore the thoughts and feelings that come regarding those that we agree with and those that we disagree with in such conversations.  We will explore our current strategies for engaging or not engaging in these conversations and look at tools that can be used to have more productive conversations, especially across identity, ideological and political differences.  


  • Identify common topics that often lead to difficult conversations.
  • Explore emotional and cognitive reactions these types of difficult conversations.
  • Discuss current strategies, both helpful and not so helpful that participants engage in and witness in others.
  • Practice skills for engaging in productive conversations across difference


Title: Journey From Diversity to Inclusion: Using Advanced Inclusion Metrics to Create a More Diverse, Better Performing Organization (Registration Closed)


Astad Dhunjisha, Monsanto
Damion Jones, Monsanto
Buddy Benge, Monsanto


  • How to lead from inclusion
  • Discuss ways that Monsanto targets, develops and assesses our Inclusion and Diversity initiatives
  • Creating an Inclusion Index and a comprehensive metrics strategy. Identifying assessments that measure what you want them to
  • What to keep in mind when assessing D&I work


Title: Listen. Talk. Learn. More: Continuing the Dialogue

Presenter: Catrina Salama, Diversity Awareness Partnership

Description: Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in the summer of 2014, our communities locally, nationally, and globally have been impacted by an increasing amount of conversations about race and related issues. From #BlackLivesMatter to Mizzou to Sandra Bland, our cultural consciousness around racial bias has been heightened, and we are being expected to understand these concepts with an increased level of dexterity. Though the core of our conversations has remained the same, the ways we talk about them and the stories we tell have changed. We have listened, talked, and learned. And many of us are ready to do more.


  • Respond productively to common points of contention when discussing race
  • Apply definitions of helpful terminology to your lived experience
  • Describe the impact of intersectionality of race and other identities

** Diversity Awareness Partnership is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. This program is valid for 1.00 PDC for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. For more information about this certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.


Title: The Youth Journey of Gender Transitioning (panel discussion)


Alix Johnson (Moderator), Diversity Awareness Partnership
Dr. Christopher Lewis, Transgender Center at Children’s Hospital
Dr. Sarah Garwood, Transgender Center at Children’s Hospital
Laurie Copeland
Will Copeland
Kelly Storck


  • Gain knowledge and best practices when working with youth around issues of gender identity and expression
  • Identify resources in the area for youth who are in need of support
  • Identify tangible ways to create intentionally inclusive environments for transitioning youth


Title: The Wall of History: How did we get where we are today?


Kelly Hurst, Crossroads Anti-Racism
Mary Jean Traeger, Crossroads Anti-Racism


  • The Wall of History framework provides an opportunity to explore a racially diverse version of US history of which most participants will be unaware. It begins to reframe the way racism is often located in black/white binary analysis and helps participants begin to understand how white supremacy was intentionally constructed to exploit all People of Color groups
  • This session typically challenges how participants think about US history and the national origin story. Often participants are aware of the contradiction between who the US says it is (Land of the Free, Home of the Brave) and the inequality that exists; but they also struggle to articulate a cogent analysis of inequality. Participants generally know a good amount of historical detail (events, laws and the Supreme Court case that interpret the laws) but do not have a framework that connects those things to structural inequality and especially white supremacy. This session is designed to provide that framework.


  • Analyze the history of the USA using the Wall of History framework in which US history is divided into four distinct eras
  • Identify the evolution and unique dynamics of white supremacy, colonialism and racism in each of the eras