By Sharla Hooper
Virtual event focused on developing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) skills in leadership and featured accomplished keynote speakers and panelists
University of Phoenix welcomed 1415 participants from 22 countries to its first annual Inclusive Leadership Summit and Career Fair, held April 12-15. The virtual, free event focused on developing skills as an inclusive leader and providing opportunities for networking connection and employment, with the Career Fair featuring 35 employers.
Titled “Creating the intentional leader of today, tomorrow and beyond,” the event was designed to help participants reimagine how to impact diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their careers and workplace. Event learners have the opportunity to earn a digital badge, “Inclusive Leader: Self & Social Awareness,” to share on LinkedIn and other social profiles or job boards. While open to the public, the event was also well attended by University of Phoenix alumni, students, faculty, and staff, who accounted for 33% of attendees.
“The Summit was an absolutely fabulous experience. I feel so honored to have been a part of it,” states Misty Smith, a current student. “I was so excited to see an organization who hires neurodivergent individuals included!” added Smith. “University of Phoenix has given me connections with so many people who keep me inspired and motivated to complete my degree and reach my goals. I want to thank all who worked so hard to bring this event together and open communication and opportunities that I did not even know were possible.”
The event kicked off with remarks and open discussion by opening keynote speaker and anti-racist author and advocate Tim Wise. Attendees were able to access sessions on career planning, in-depth workshops, research presentations and choose industry-focused tracks: Leadership & Management, Healthcare and Education. Thursday’s sessions were dedicated to the topic of fostering psychological safety and featured insights on racelighting and inauthentic allyship by the closing keynote speaker, Dr. J. Luke Wood.
“I am a student of Leadership and volunteered for the summit not only to provide support to the event organizers, but also to learn more about leadership in the context of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” shares Herman van Niekerk, Ph.D., associate dean in the College of Doctoral Studies. “One of the important emerging leadership styles is Collaborative Leadership, which must consider organizational diversity. It is also shared leadership and therefore important to explore how DEI and inclusive leadership will enhance organizational success. The Summit provided a valuable opportunity to learn more about DEI and experience it from an organization leadership as well as societal perspective.”
The Inclusive Leadership Summit integrated research findings from University of Phoenix Career Institute™ and Research Centers to inform topics addressed while highlighting academic fields of study offered at the University.
“The Career Optimism Index® research findings serve as a valuable tool for both leaders and academics to better understand the growing needs of a multicultural workforce – and how we can continue to strategically develop working environments through inclusive leadership and fact-based strategies and decision making that supports a sense of belonging for organizational stakeholders,” states Kimberly Underwood, Ph.D., chair, Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion (CWDI) at the University.
ETS, the world’s largest, nonprofit educational assessment, measurement, research and learning organization, and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, a premier source of timely news, provocative commentary, insightful interviews and in-depth special reports on diversity in higher education, as sponsors of the event.
The Summit was featured by “In the Margins” podcast of Diverse, hosted by Jamal Watson, Ph.D., in an interview with guest Saray Lopez, MBA, director, Student Diversity & Inclusion with the Office of Educational Equity.
Diverse also covered key takeaways from the opening and closing keynote sessions of the event.
Recordings from the sessions remain available to registrants until May 15 through the virtual platform, and recorded sessions will also be posted the Summit webpage. Registrants may still earn a badge by watching at least nine of the recorded sessions and completing the survey.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit phoenix.edu.