In an effort to provide faculty and staff with a better understanding and to offer advice on how be an effective ally to the LGBTQ+ community, Salus University’s Diversion, Equity and Inclusion committee
along with the Human Resources Department, recently hosted the inaugural DEI Educates! virtual event featuring Stan Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting, which specializes in diversity management and organizational effectiveness. The two-hour training session utilized polling and small group discussions as well as a question-and-answer session.
“I'm glad we're just doing this as a faculty and staff group. I think we may get more of a candid discussion,” said Salus president Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE
. “This is a topic that clearly we talk about, but we don't talk about it in-depth. And, it's something that I believe is important for us. It's important for our students and it's an important thing personally, so that we all grow and understand the environment that we're living in now.”
Kimer is a nationally recognized consultant and speaker on all areas of workplace diversity with a deep expertise in LGBTQ+ diversity and served as IBM's corporate global LGBT diversity manager. During that time, he expanded IBM's LGBTQ+ diversity initiatives globally and established IBM's procedures for supporting transgender employees, including case management of employees, undergoing gender transition.
Dr. Juliana Mosley-Williams, special assistant to the president for DEI at Salus, had known Kimer as one of the teacher facilitators when she completed her certification for diversity professionals’ program through the National Diversity Council and believed he could help educate the University’s faculty and staff on LGBTQ+ issues. “He was engaging, had a wealth of knowledge and we were all more enlightened and informed after our time with him,” she said.
Kimer said the session’s learning objective was to understand the basic terms and definitions around the LGBTQ community, including the new areas of transgender and non-binary. “We want you to be able to articulate the compelling business rationale for why you all should be supporting LGBTQ+ diversity, understand the issues and challenges that LGBTQ+ people face, understand how to be an effective ally to the LGBTQ+ community and how to respectfully interact with that community,” he said.
Included in the session were examples of some policies and best practices other organizations utilize to support the LGBTQ+ community, a discussion about the current political landscape around this area, and effective ally ship and communications. The session also featured information about what gendering is and the use of pronouns, which is becoming a really hot topic these days. The session ended with Kimer encouraging the participants to take action.
“When diversity, inclusion and equity intersect in the right place in the right way, you create a culture of belonging because that's where you really want to get to,” said Kimer. “You want everybody who comes and works or teaches at Salus to feel like this is where I belong. And, you want all of your students who are studying with you to have that sense of belonging that they're in the right place, choosing to do their education work with you all.”