Please consider downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer
to experience this site as intended.
Tools Search Main Menu

2019 Diversity Conference: Finding the Courage to Lead

The 10th Annual Diversity Conference: Finding the Courage to Lead will be held on Monday, April 8, 2019.

Please find information regarding workshops and registration below:

Keynote Speaker

Samina Ali 

Award-winning author, activist, and cultural commentator

Samina Ali is an award-winning author, activist and cultural commentator. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), was the winner of France’s prestigious Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. The book, about a young woman’s arranged marriage and political awakening, was partly inspired by Samina’s real-life experience growing up bi-culturally in Hyderabad, India and St. Paul, Minnesota.

At the heart of Samina’s work is her belief in personal narrative as a vital force for achieving women’s individual and political freedom – and in the power of new and traditional media as platforms for social transformation. As the curator of the groundbreaking, critically acclaimed virtual exhibition, Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices, Samina illuminated the multi-dimensional realities of women’s lives to challenge fears and misconceptions of Muslims and Islam within and beyond Muslim communities.

Weaving her personal story with a passionate appeal for women’s equality and justice, Samina’s current project is an account of her near-death experience delivering her firstborn and an unsparing look at gender bias and the crisis of preventable maternal deaths in one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world. In this memoir-in-progress, Samina describes how she defied the odds by boldly charting her own path to recovery, from relearning to walk alongside her son’s first steps, to retraining her mind — word by word — to write what would become her debut novel.

Get a copy of Madras on Rainy Days by Samina Ali!

*You can obtain CME or Medallion level 1:Intrapersonal Development credit by attending the keynote address. Please indicate that you are seeking credits when registering for the conference. 

Conference Agenda

Please see below the schedule for titles and descriptions of workshop sessions.
TimeOverview of ActivityLocation
8:00am to 9:00amConference Check-InStrong Auditorium
9:00am to 10:30amKeynote: Samina Ali with Q&A Strong Auditorium
10:30am to 10:45amConference BreakVarious Locations
10:45am to 12:15pmBreakout Session AVarious Locations
12:15pm to 11:30pmPoster Session & Lunch breakVarious Locations
12:15pm to 1:15pmLunch (ticketed event)May Room
1:15pm to 1:30pmConference BreakVarious Locations
1:30pm to 3:00pmBreakout Session BVarious Locations
3:00pm to 3:15pmConference BreakVarious Locations
3:15pm to 4:45pmBreakout Session C

Registration is now open! Please click the button below workshop descriptions. The conference is open to all community members, faculty, staff and students. There is a buffet lunch available for a $15 charge.  You can choose to register for the conference with or without lunch. Please read the workshop descriptions below before registering. You will be able to register for one workshop per breakout session.

Breakout Session A – 10:45am-12:15pm

 A1-Embracing voices, histories and identities ~Joyce Duckles & Members of the Sankofa Communiversity

How do we create spaces that embrace the voices of our diverse communities and provide pathways for authentic social action? Building on a long-term collaboration of community activists and university researchers, we founded Sankofa Communiversity as an alternative and sustainable model, an intergenerational community-based hub for research and learning.

 A2-The Heartbeat of Cultural Humility: A Professional Development in Two Parts ~Kristin Hocker, Dena Swanson, Matt Cook, Mark Miller

Creating an inclusive and equitable environment is challenging when those environments are historically homogeneous. This workshop will share how the My Brother’s Keeper grant inspired collaboration between the Newark Central School district and Drs. Swanson and Hocker, to impart Cultural Humility as a framework for establishing inclusive practices.

 A3- Courageous Leadership:  Valuing Diverse Perspectives and Taking Meaningful Action ~ Cynthia Coates, Kara Finnigan, Annabelle Kleist, Caroline Nestro 

Too often, organizational “listening” starts (and ends) with a general request for feedback.  We’ll discuss how courageous leaders authentically ask questions and listen to responses with intent to incorporate diverse voices and perspectives to reduce othering, value differences, advance creative solutions and ultimately take action. (Medallion Program: Level 1 Civic Engagement)

 A4-Women of Color Circle: Moving from the Margins to the Center ~Sasha Eloi-Evans, Claudia De Leon, Ghislaine Radegonde-Eison

Audre Lorde said, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”  Participants will learn how the WOCC is a transformational model allowing women of color, more specifically Black women and Latinas, to advocate for and empower each other.

 A5-Leadership Lessons from Gender Salary Equity Training ~Rachel Roberts

AAUW’s curriculum teaches gender wage advocacy and salary negotiation skills. Having taught this to over 850 women throughout the City of Boston, this workshop distills the main concepts, the lessons learned from the diverse participants, and how this skill-set can be a model for leadership and organizational development.

 A6-Design Thinking: An Innovative Approach to Solving Complex Issues ~Krystalyn Jones, Justin Lewis 

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that uses empathy and experimentation to deliver innovative solutions. This workshop will allow leaders and those with a stake in the development of successful diversity & inclusion initiatives that can effectively shift a culture to practice the design thinking process on their organization’s goals. (Medallion Program: Level 1 –Knowledge Acquisition)


Breakout Session B – 1:30pm-3:00pm

B2- Understanding Leadership: applications of leadership models and theories ~Ed Feldman, Emily Kumpf, Colleen Raimond 

This interactive workshop focuses on leadership concepts.  Leadership is a process that utilizes the values of Common Purpose and Collaboration which are important in creating change.  You will leave with an increased awareness of these values and how they empower yourself and others to successfully create positive and inclusive social change. (Medallion Program: Level 1 –Opening session)

B3- Student Impact in the Rochester Community — Minority Male Leadership Association (MMLA) Case Study Overview ~Founding & Current leaders of the MMLA

Men of the Minority Male Leadership Association will discuss the efforts they have made to promote equity in the Rochester City School District. They will primarily highlight the initiatives they have taken to promote Minority Male Success, while discussing the efforts they have made to increase the 40% African American Male High School Graduation Rate.

 B4- Art Reflecting (In)Equity ~Eleni Duret

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.” – bell hooks
We will explore the function of art as a microscope of the inequities in society, while also constructing our own reflective imagery to help us develop and sustain environments of inclusivity and equity.

B5- Integrated Diversity is Achievable: Applying Critical Education Principles in Research, the Workplace, and Society ~Timothy Dye, Wyatte Hall, Jose Perez Ramos, Nancy Cardona Cordero, Marlene Elliott

Guided by Freire’s concept of conscientização (critical consciousness), our multidisciplinary research/education/practice group strives to increase and sustain scientific diversity in our shared space, research programs, educational approach, and community service and practice. Our infusion of Critical Consciousness into our work and worksite has created  a new paradigm for academic organization, stimulating recruitment, academic productivity, and job  satisfaction. Particular emphasis is placed on encouraging innovations that address core challenges within the personally-meaningful settings of our teams’ own intersectional communities, leading to greater engagement throughout the research/ educational/ practice/ worksite continuum.

 B6- Leadership Response to a Racial Hate Crime in an Academic Medical Center ~Robert Holloway, Linda Chaudron, Frederick Jefferson, and others

In response to a racial-hate crime against an employee in a University setting, we developed an approach to provide supportive spaces where small groups could explore and discuss the impact of the event among themselves. We believe this coordinated approach creates opportunity for healing, growth and resiliency in pursuit of a more inclusive work environment. (Medallion Program: Level 2 Interpersonal Competency)

 B7- Leadership in a Religiously Diverse Democracy ~Denise Yarbrough

This hands on workshop will use the case study method to engage participants in solving real life controversies that have arisen in the public sphere and in various professional contexts arising out of the religious diversity of our society. Participants will develop interfaith competency for professional and civic leadership.  (Medallion Program: Level 1Civic Engagement)


Breakout Session C – 3:15pm-4:45pm

C1- Leadership in Action: Using the Theater of the Oppressed to Develop the Skills to Endure a Respectful and Inclusive Environment  ~Adrienne Morgan, Margie Shaw, Kathryn Castle, Susan Dodge-Peters Daiss 

Leadership “requires legal and ethical knowledge; communication, reasoning, and conflict resolution skills; and attitudes necessary to act as moral reason dictates.” Patient care requires the establishment of positive therapeutic relationships even under challenging conditions. Come experience how the Theater of the Oppressed develops skills to navigate the most challenging encounters.(Medallion Program: Level 1 Cognitive Complexity)

C2- What’s in a Name? How the Office of Minority Student Affairs Creates a Home for Students of Color ~Norman Burnett, Thomas Crews, Claudia De Leon, Sasha Eloi-Evans, Walisa Griffin

From the Office of Special Student Services to the Office of Minority Student Affairs; the OMSA staff will look at their 50-year evolution at the University of Rochester. The session will explore how unapologetically claiming their namesake has allowed OMSA to foster legitimacy, belonging, and inclusion for students of color.

 C3- Overcoming Fear to Lead Beyond Campus ~Glenn Cerosaletti & Student Leaders

Students often arrive at the University with negative stereotypes about communities beyond campus. This session will feature students who have overcome their fears of the unknown to discover the rich diversity of communities beyond campus, and resiliency within themselves. Together we will explore how we can create systemic change.

 C4- Self-Reflection and Accountability: Leading with Cultural Humility ~Precious Bedell, Molly Jolliff, Robert Stone 

Learn how to integrate the concepts and attitude of cultural humility as a mindset for lifelong learning and leading.  Through a commitment to self-reflection and an understanding of power and privilege we ask more of our institutions and ourselves and act to address power imbalances and promote change. (Medallion Program: Level 1 –Intrapersonal Development)

 C5- Dare to Disrupt: Recognizing and Disrupting Workplace Racism ~Victoria Farris

Experiences of racism and microaggressions are widely reported by students, faculty, and staff of color as pervasive on college campuses across the country as well as in corporate spaces across the country. We hear declarations of allyship, but what does that really mean? This interactive workshop will discuss the pervasive nature of microaggressions and racism, and explore what it means to be an effective ally or change agent. Participants will be challenged to effectively disrupt common microaggressions among their peers to contribute to fostering a more inclusive workplace environment with courage.

 C6- Being Clark Kent: Dispelling Society’s Superman Complex to Drive Us Towards Cultural Proficiency ~Matthew Grimes

In this interactive session, participants will explore and challenge misconceptions surrounding the achievement of black and brown students in the United States and brainstorm strategies to cultivate the adaptive leadership skills of all students. Using Sonia Nieto’s five levels of support,” participants will learn how to address implicit and explicit bias to move towards cultural proficiency.

Register Now

You can also register on the eventbrite app. Just search for 2019 UR Annual Diversity Conference on the eventbrite app or website. If you have any questions or concerns, please email