Webster’s defines “diversity” in part as “the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.” That pursuit is considered an absolute priority in the modern workplace.
But are your employee communications and organizational outreach striving to meet the same standard? Worcester Academy Director of Equity and Inclusion Bonnie J. Walker will discuss the necessity of inclusive communication in a virtual program scheduled for noon to 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Bonnie’s presentation promises, in her words, “to provide the tools to become better allies in writing and speaking about diversity, equity and inclusion, and in writing and speaking in general. From everyday conversations to writing for publications, there is appropriate terminology that should be used to write (and converse) to avoid (unintentionally) doing harm.”
The $10 event fee includes an opportunity for attendees to “pitch” themselves and their organization. A link to the Zoom-based event will accompany registrants’ confirmation email.
With a 15-year history of multicultural and inclusivity roles at both Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Worcester Academy, Bonnie offers an authoritative take on this important and very timely subject.
“An inclusive and safe environment, be it organizational, institutional, or some other community environment, is a space where all people feel supported and are extended a sense of belonging that includes psychological and social-emotional safety, regardless of identity, and a spectrum of differences, including demographic,” she says. “Inclusive and safe spaces are sustained when those supporting and engaged in the space are culturally responsive and work together for thoughtfulness, empathy, respect, and excellence.”
In regards to communicators, she notes that “writers and editors should be versed in inclusive language use, and consider a variety of areas to promote inclusivity, including in articles, journals, and all publications, as outward-facing contributors in society.”
Bonnie’s expertise as practitioner of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a balance of high touch and visionary work. It includes community outreach, relationship-building, organizational development efforts, as well as identity development, cultural competency education, and strategic restructuring and planning. She began her career at WPI as an admissions counselor. She also co-chaired the University Diversity Advocacy Board, an appointment that led to her position as Director of Multicultural Affairs.
In her current position at Worcester Academy, Bonnie is coordinating and executing the blended needs of hands-on operational and programmatic work with that of strategic planning and vision. She creates tailored training and workshops, and advises DEI-focused committees to educate the community. She oversees a number of campus-wide initiatives designed to support the campus community, which will soon include campus cultural-climate assessments.
The work of Project Inclusion has informed Bonnie’s lens for building strategic diversity frameworks, and influences the direction of her focus on institutional strategic planning. She supports affinity groups (known in corporate circles as employee resource groups), and is focused on creating diverse faculty search pools and inclusive excellence at every stage of the recruitment and hiring process.
Bonnie, who earned both her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Clark University, is a member of several higher-education organizations and partnerships. She also sits on the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts Board of Directors as its Second Vice President, and is a board member of the African Education Center.
Her interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion stems from her education and social justice “heart,” with deep roots tied to her personal identity as a woman of color and commitment to antiracism.