2020 NW Diversity Learning Series Topics

Click on the topic of interest in the list below or simply scroll down the page to learn more about all of the sessions!
January 29, 2020:            Intersectionality: Confronting the Tensions Of Our Overlapping Identities
March 25, 2020:              Call it what it is: Eliminating the Impact of White Supremacy in our Systems
May 13, 2020:                   Marginalizing Immigrants Is an Old Story: It’s Time to Write a New Chapter  
June 24, 2020:                  Algorithms and You: Decoding the Bias Within
September 23, 2020:      Latinx Rising: Delivering on the Promise
November 18, 2020:        Unsettled and Traumatized: How Do I Deal With the Hate Around Me?
Logistics for all sessions:

Time:  8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (continental breakfast served at 7:45 am)

Location: Nordstrom Flagship Store, Seattle

                  1617 6th Avenue

                  5th Floor, J.W. Nordstrom Meeting Room


Accessibility:  Hearing assistance devices are available through Nordstrom. Please request this service at least two-weeks in advance of a session letting us know what kind of device you use so that we can coordinate with Nordstrom personnel. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, by certified interpreters, is available upon request at all Series sessions. Please note that requests for this service must be received by NWDLS at least three weeks prior to a session.

NEW for 2020The HR Certification Institute has pre-approved this activity for recertification credit towards the aPHRTM, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR® ,   PHRiTM and SPHRiTMcertifications. The content of the activity submitted has met the criteria of the Approved Provider Program. To learn more about the type of credit and number of hours as appropriate for each session please contact Nicolette Graham, email nicolette.graham@i4sdi.org
NOTE: (Please note: Order of session dates may shift for topics as we work with presenters. We will update the website if this occurs.)

Intersectionality: Confronting the Tensions Of Our Overlapping Identities

Session 1: Wednesday, January 29, 2020

“Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things.”  —Kimberle Williams Crenshaw


2020 promises to be a challenging year for identity dialogues of all kinds, both within and outside of the workplace. To aid participants in effectively engaging in these dialogues, our first session centers upon the concept of Intersectionality, and how to effectively apply it in the workplace. 


Legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term, intersectionality, in the 1980s as a metaphor to understand our multiple social identities in relation to power, privilege, and oppression. In the past 10 years, however, intersectionality has emerged into mainstream conversations without being fully understood.  


Together, through thoughtfully designed experiential learning activities, we will clear up common misconceptions, explore how this concept applies to ourselves and how we can use it as an analytical tool to understand and improve workplace dynamics and relationships.


Join us as we engage this foundational topic for the 2020 Series—setting the tone and providing a springboard for each of the following five sessions.


Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this session, you will have practiced the following capabilities:


  • Effectively analyze the complexity of your own dominant and marginalized identities

  • Assist and support someone in identifying which of their identities maintain power, privilege, marginalization, or oppression in the workplace

  • Apply a systems lens to your organization’s culture to uncover how some identity groups may be privileged while others are marginalized

  • Draw from the experience of the web of intersectionality to build more trusting relationships—a process for change across levels of authority


Workshop Tools:

  • D & I Professional Awareness Scale - Pre & Post Test

  • Matrix Worksheets for Self Identity & Organizational Identity

  • Power & Oppression Wheels for Self and Organization

  • Reflection Questions Worksheet for Self & Organization

Presenter and Facilitators:

Michelle Rivera-Clonch, PhD, comes to the NWDLS with two decades of experience in higher education and community organizations. Early in her career she served as the Assistant Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Rollins College, and as Director of the Women’s Center and Women’s Programs at Western Carolina University. After earning her PhD, she became an Assistant Professor of Psychology at historic Antioch College where she developed curricula emphasizing experiential education. Alongside her private practice - Peace Within: Counseling for Women - she currently teaches courses in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Critical Media and Cultural Studies at Rollins College.


In 2018, Michelle was the Subject Matter Expert for the Central Florida Diversity Learning Series session on Intersectionality where members included Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Darden Restaurants, and Florida Hospital.

Working in South and Southeast Asia since 2002, organizations such as the Human Rights Commission of Thailand, Men-Tsee-Khang: The Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of H.H. the Dalai Lama, and the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice, Michelle underwrote trainings where she collaboratively facilitated a range of topics such as gender justice, conflict and root cause analysis, mindfulness in activism, capacity building, mental health, and empowerment skills for allies for social change. In 2015, Michelle was selected for a Rotary Peace Fellowship in Bangkok, Thailand, where she earned a professional development certificate in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies at Chulalongkorn University.

Michelle Ilugbusi graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Rollins College. Michelle’s hope is that her education and personal experiences can be used not just to help counsel people, but to aid others in their own work with diversity and inclusion populations. In 2018, Michelle helped facilitate the session on Intersectionality for the Central Florida Diversity Learning Series in Orlando, Florida, where participants attended from Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Darden Restaurants, and Florida Hospital.



Barb Dos Santos received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and is currently seeking a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College. Barb’s life goal is to open a holistic wellness clinic to provide accessible services to diverse populations. In 2018, Barb helped facilitate the session on Intersectionality for the Central Florida Diversity Learning Series in Orlando, Florida, where participants attended from Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Darden Restaurants, and Florida Hospital.

Call It What It Is: Eliminating the Impact of White Supremacy in Our Systems

Session 2: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Learning Goal: Learn how white supremacy became a concept in the United States, and how it became embedded in organizations—conscious or not. Identify the characteristics of white supremacy in organizations that advantage and value some people, and disadvantage and devalue others, and learn what you can do to eliminate its impact.

 Why: White supremacy has been, and still is, a dominant, overarching principle in the formation of most institutions in the United States—corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, neighborhood housing, and it affects everyone.  According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), white supremacy “is an ideology whose earliest incarnations arose in the early 1800s [in the United States] as a reaction of [white people in the South] to the emerging abolitionist movement [the abolition of slavery].” One of the principle beliefs of this ideology is that white people should dominate over all other people.

The danger of white supremacy is that it couples deep-rooted racist beliefs with power, which ultimately leads to the continual oppression of all minority groups and the perpetuation of white dominance in our society. None of us can stay silent in our organizations while our peers are devalued and knocked down for their cultural and social identities to the benefit of white supremacy. 

We believe it is time that we acknowledge the history, understand the daily repercussions, and finally eliminate the impact of the toxic infrastructure that is white supremacy. If we can accomplish this by transforming distrust and discomfort into resilient relationships, our organizations, and all of us, will be far better for it. 

Potential Tools:

  • Historical definitions and manifestations of white supremacy in the United States

  • A checklist, “Looking in the mirror”: As a person of your demographic, a list of actions you can take to influence change to dismantle white supremacy

  • Checklist of policies & processes to check (for HR, ERG’s, etc.)

  • A guide for facilitating a discussion about white supremacy with your team or workgroup

Marginalizing Immigrants Is an Old Story: It’s time to Write a New Chapter

Session 3: Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Learning Goal: Learn how to make your workplace more welcoming and inclusive of immigrant employees by knowing the historical role immigration has played in the development of the United States, the contributions of immigrants to the advancement of the country and our economy—particularly in terms of start-ups, innovation, inventions and creativity, and confront the biases and myths about immigrants, particularly immigrants of color.

Why: We believe with the recent upsurge in anti-immigrant sentiment, it is imperative to set straight the false narratives that amplify the stereotypes and assumptions about immigrants. Hate crimes, discrimination, prejudice and mass shootings have accelerated against immigrants in the last few years. Well entrenched myths abound, such as, “immigrants steal jobs from American workers.” This false narrative has been further exasperated by politicians and the media and politicians. The truth is the “non-human immigrant” (technology/automation/A.I.) is the culprit doing away with human jobs, not incoming real people.

In the context of diversity, where one comes from, in this case, one’s nationality, is an important dimension of social identity (noted in the Diversity Wheel model as geographic location). In terms of intersectionality, to be called out, denigrated and attacked for one aspect of your identity creates fear and anxiety. This is a fierce culture clash currently.

We believe organizations and co-workers can take a higher road ensuring that co-workers and leaders of more recent immigrant background be treated respectfully and fairly so that they feel a sense of belonging and engagement in our workplaces. Creating relationships that are resilient to the cultural clashes surrounding immigrants is worthy of our time and skill development.

Immigration Facts:

  • 86.4 million: Population of immigrants and their American born children in the U.S

  • $2 Trillion: Estimated contribution of immigrants to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2016

  • 43% of Fortune 500 companies that were founded or co-founded by immigrants or their children as of 2017

  • 25% of all new business and half of Silicon Valley high-tech start-ups were founded by immigrants

  • 49% of immigrants are Naturalized Citizens


Potential Tools:

  • An infographic highlighting immigrant contributions to the U.S.

  • A timeline to show the history of hateful acts perpetrated against immigrants (in other words, not new in American political and social history)

  • The Diversity Wheel (the dimensions of our social identities)

  • Create a checklist that focuses on debunking the myths

  • Guide: What does “welcoming” and “respecting” immigrants look like?

Algorithms and You: Decoding the Bias Within

Session 4: Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Learning Goal: Learn what Artificial Intelligence (AI) means, how it impacts you as an individual, your work environment and influences how you and others think, perceive, believe and act.  Gain understanding about how AI is affecting diversity and relationships, and what we can do about it.

Why: We believe that Algorithms, the engine of Artificial Intelligence, are so pervasive that they are profoundly changing the way we experience and do things, and that we should become more aware of how they will affect us as people of multiple identifies intersecting with equity and inclusion.

One of the developments in A.I. is the use of persuasion architecture using demographic and psychographic information to create angst, fear and outrage against targeted identity groups. This development is seeping into the workplace through social media—it seems innocent, but it has negative ulterior motives and hidden agendas.

We believe it is important to build and equip relationships to be more resilient to the culture clashes involving diverse groups spurred by social media and Artificial Intelligence.

Potential Tools:

  • A primer on Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms and some of the ways they are being used

  • A checklist to see which social media platforms are using and potentially manipulating one’s personal data.

  • A list of questions to ask:

    • How might AI affect my professional development if my background includes being a person of color, a woman, LGBTQ, an immigrant?

    • What are the intersections I need to watch out for?

    • Are there ways to recognize persuasion architecture in my individual feeds? 

Latinx Rising: Delivering on the Promise

Session 5: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Learning Goal: Encourage relationships between Latinx and other groups by exploring the dynamic sphere of Latinx, from the growth engine it represents in terms of talent, leadership, purchasing power, and population, to continued underrepresentation and lack of inclusion.

Why: Latinx, Latino/Latina, Hispanic—what is the evolution of these terms? Do they even resonate with the people being labeled?


We believe the 2020 NW Diversity Learning Series should reflect the attention Latinx are receiving nationally, such as the 2019 Hispanic Promise, a collaborative pledge signed by 45+ corporations, including SAP Concur and Microsoft locally, along with more than a dozen Hispanic organizations, to advance and empower U.S. Latinx* employees, customers and citizens.


The Hispanic Leadership Summit (2018) reported in its 2020 Vision that “a significant difference exists between the demographic and economic presence of the Hispanic community, and how the community participates, and how it is represented and portrayed in American society.” The result of this difference is that “the Hispanic community’s potential is not being realized.”


We believe by encouraging relationship building across groups, we will help disarm the distrust and discomfort some may feel, and steadily replace the culture clash with resilience. 


*The Latinx population is the second largest racial or ethnic demographic group in the U.S. (18%) after whites (Pew Research).  


Potential Tools:

  • Latinx ERGs, best practices and how to develop a Latinx ERG

  • An infographic- surprising statistics

  • A history lesson: Hispanics in the U.S. – pre-session survey?

  • Recruitment and retention strategies for Latinx

Unsettled and Traumatized: How Do I Deal With the Hate Around Me

Session 6: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Learning Goal: To learn how to promote a culture of safety, empowerment and healing to support employees experiencing trauma, whether the result of hate crimes, mass shootings, political disagreements, or targeting of ethnic or LGBTQ+ groups, or workplace intimidation or violence. This session will draw on trauma-informed care and best practices for a healthy workplace.

Why: We believe companies and organizations should pay attention to the effects of increasing societal hate* and violence on their employees, on employees’ families, and on their communities. These effects run a gamut of instilling anxiety, fear and trauma, to even emboldening some employees to commit hateful acts.

In addition, high profile sexual abuse cases may traumatize anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or violence. We believe becoming trauma aware and informed will help our organizations develop relevant policies and practices that will help employees transform distrust and discomfort associated with culture clash, to build more resilient relationships across difference.  

*The Southern Poverty Law Center reports the number of hate groups operating across America rose to a record high in 2018: 1,020 documented groups. Most recently in our area, KIRO 7 reported racist fliers were posted in the Columbia City Area (September 15, 2019); the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter ran two stories, “Examining hate crimes on the Eastside,” (March 15, 2019) and “Fliers linked to neo-Nazi group pinned outside Kirkland, Kenmore churches,” (July 12, 2019).  

Potential Tools:

  • Trauma-informed principles

  • Healthy workplace best practices

  • Understanding the sources of hate and ways to diffuse it

  • A. E. I. O. U.  (behavioral conflict resolution or negotiating model) A=Attack, E=Evade, I=Inform, O=Open, U=Unite

  • Critical self-reflection tools

  • A list of local community services (Crisis Line, etc.)

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