Session 4: Reconciliation: Building Allyship Between
Black Men and White Men
June 25, 2019


The relationship space between Black men and White men is charged with fear, racism, and apprehension within the context of a long historical, deep emotional divide in American history. Currently, we can point to examples where black male leaders are maligned and disparaged simply trying to fulfill their roles as advocates in government, business and sports. Conversely, white men are grappling with the fear of being typecast, excluded, or marginalized in a society that embraces its full multi-cultural identity. We believe there is so much opportunity to build allyship between these two groups of men, and others—the future compels it.

Learning Objectives:

Building a foundation for greater empathy and allyship among Black/White men in order to:

  • help men harness the positive aspects of masculinity

  • eliminate harm caused by patriarchy

  • expand male leadership to be responsive, agile, and creative


Joel A. Brown, J.D., Ed.D. is a thought leader specializing in cultural intelligence, leadership, and organizational strategy. As a change agent, Joel works strategically with organizational leaders to cultivate innovative, creative, and adaptive environments where the cultural genius of everyone can be harnessed and leveraged successfully. 


Best known for his critical analysis, creativity, humor, and his ability to build consensus, Joel has partnered with Fortune 500 Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to help them achieve sustained growth and organizational breakthroughs. His clients have ranged from LinkedIn to the United Nations, and his “sweet spots” have included men’s leadership, storytelling and personal narratives, workplace dialogue, and cultural intelligence. 


Joel is a member of several international think tanks, including D2K, the Diversity Collegium, SIETAR, and the Global Community Dialogue. He is also an Expert Panelist with the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks and certified in the Cultural Detective suite of intercultural tools.  Joel is also a visiting professor at the IESEG Management School in Paris, France, and Lille France.


Joel graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and philosophy, with a minor in Spanish and African-American studies.  Subsequently, Joel earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2000, and was also inducted into the University of Virginia Raven’s Society.  In 2018, Joel completed his doctorate in educational leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California.


Nick Van Santen, M.Div., Ed.D. is the Assistant Director of Student Formation and Immersions at Saint Mary’s College of California outside Oakland, USA. Nick specializes in creating transformative learning experiences, offering a holistic approach to human development, and relationship building. As an educator, Nick works strategically with community partners to accelerate participants’ learning and development by integrating social justice theory with reflective practices so that leaders can personally grow in ways that promote the common good.


Best known for his innovative programs, community engagement, warmth, and his ability to cultivate diverse and authentic teams, Nick has partnered with non-profit organizations to maximize resources and impact through innovative instruction and community engagement opportunities ranging from food justice in Salinas, CA to gentrification in West Oakland to youth and homelessness in Los Angeles to immigration along the US/Mexico Border. Nick’s “sweet spots” include men’s mentorship, leadership development, and social-emotional support. 


Nick is a member of the National Steering Committee for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities and participant of the Interfaith Leadership Institute. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member with the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College. Nick is a SafeZone facilitator, instructor of a campus-wide introductory leadership course, and Title IX officer. Nick is a graduate of the College of Idaho and Princeton Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2018.

NWDLS is Managed by:  The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion (ISDI)


ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success.  


ISDI was founded in 2015 and assumed the management of the Northwest Diversity Learning Series in 2016, formerly managed by Archbright. Barbara Deane, the original NW Series co-founder, and Effenus Henderson, retired Chief Diversity Officer, Weyerhaeuser are the co-founders and directors of the Institute.  This is the 21st year of the NWDLS!


JOIN US in 2019 for the NW Diversity Learning Series:


(Please note: the order of topics and titles may shift slightly as we work with presenters.)

Session 5:  Grappling with Cultural Humility for the Intersectional Person with Invisible Disabilities, September 24

Session 6:  Communicating in Polarizing Times: Words Matter!, November 12