Elevating Diverse Perspectives to Advance Organizational Outcomes | Presented by CEW+ and Fidelity

October 12, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Elevating Diverse Perspectives to Advance Organizational Outcomes
Presented by CEW+ and Fidelity

As U-M moves into the next phase of diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning, join DEI experts from Fidelity and U-M for a lively discussion on how diverse perspectives help our schools, colleges, and units develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future. Panelists will share real-world examples from their collective wisdom. Leaders can expect to hear strategies to foster an environment that supports and celebrates diverse perspectives, while staff and faculty can learn how to draw on the strength of their unique perspectives to shape the priorities of their organization and inspire passion and action to further diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in their own sphere of influence.

This panel will feature:

  • Wendy E. John, Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion at Fidelity Investments
  • Sonya Jacobs, Special Advisor to the President and Chief Organizational Learning Officer U-M; Senior Director, Faculty and Leadership Development U-M Medical School
  • Dilip Das, PhD, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at U-M
  • Kristen Howard, J.D., Senior Director, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion at U-M Medical School
  • Moderator: Tiffany Marra, PhD, CEW+ Director

Panelist Biographies:

Wendy E. John
Head of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Fidelity Investments, Durham NC

Wendy John is the head of global diversity and inclusion for Fidelity Investments. Wendy assumed her current position in 2020 and leads the effort to ensure that Fidelity is a workplace and service provider where everyone can fully be themselves. She is responsible for creating and attracting a more diverse workforce, tapping into the power of our differences to develop and retain talent, creating a culture of inclusion, and showcasing Fidelity’s reputation and brand as an inclusive employer and service provider.

Wendy is a 24-year Fidelity veteran who has served in several key leadership roles across Relationship Management, Client Services/Operations, Global Workforce Strategy, Program Management, Implementation and Benefits Consulting. Most recently, she served as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Fidelity Charitable, an independent 501(c)(3) public charity. In that role, she was responsible for overall risk, compliance, external communications, legislative policy, government relations and associate engagement.

Wendy is a global “road warrior” who has lived in 3 countries and racked up millions of airline miles for work and personal travel. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, she moved to Canada after high school to attend the University of Waterloo to study actuarial science. Wendy also received a Master of Science in Investment Management from Boston University. She lives in Durham NC and enjoys reading, sports, and the arts.

Sonya R. Jacobs
Special Advisor to the President and Chief Organizational Learning Officer U-M
Senior Director, Faculty and Leadership Development U-M Medical School

Sonya Jacobs has been newly appointed as Special Advisor to the President, her role is to advise the President and executive leadership of the university and to help lead the university’s efforts on cultural change regarding ethics, values, and compliance. In this capacity, she will oversee the development of a University-wide statement of values and ethics through a process that includes robust community engagement inclusive of faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders across the three campuses.

Additionally, Sonya is the chief organizational learning officer for the University of Michigan and the senior director for Faculty and Leadership Development at Michigan Medicine. As U-M’s first chief organizational learning officer, she is responsible for creating curricula and strategies to build the capabilities of staff, faculty, and leaders across the university. This includes the development of education, training, interventions, and programs to further the university’s initiatives around creating an inclusive and equitable environment.

As the senior director of Faculty and Leadership Development, she is responsible for supporting faculty in achieving their professional and career goals, the recruitment, on-boarding, and retention of a diverse faculty, and leadership development for both faculty and staff.

Sonya oversees strategic planning and implementation of organization-wide career and leadership development, as well as coaching and mentoring support. Her dual appointment allows her to spot opportunities to strengthen collaboration, identify available resources, and replicate best practices across all three campuses and Michigan Medicine. In addition, she holds a leadership role for the design and implementation of a new leadership development framework and succession planning process across the health system.

Sonya is the co-founder of the Leadership Summit for Women in Academic Medicine and Healthcare and the Rudi Ansbacher Women in Academic Medicine Leadership Scholars Program. She also founded the Executive Coaching Certification program at Michigan Medicine.

She serves on the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership Advisory Board and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS) and the Group on Faculty Affairs (GFA). Additionally, Sonya served on the state of Michigan’s Implicit Bias Training Rules Advisory Workgroup, her responsibility included promulgating rules to establish implicit bias training standards for all health professionals in Michigan and to ensure such training can be facilitated in a meaningful and impactful way.

Sonya was awarded the Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence award in 2020, which celebrates local African American women who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service. She was also chosen by the Academic Women’s Caucus as one of the recipients of the 2020-2021 Sarah Goddard Power Distinguished Service Award.

Sonya is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Michigan State University and a master of science in human resources and organizational development from Eastern Michigan University.

Kristen M. Howard
Senior Director, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion at U-M Medical School

Kristen joined Michigan Medicine in 2021 as the Senior Director, Office for Health Equity & Inclusion (OHEI) where her work focuses on providing training, professional development, and subject matter expertise with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion for faculty and staff. In addition, she engages with students of all ages through OHEI’s pipeline work which seeks to increase diversity in the health sciences.

Immediately, prior to joining Michigan Medicine, she served as chief of staff to the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District.  Although corporate restructuring attorney by training, through her work in public education, Kristen has experience leading equity, compliance, government affairs, and strategic communications and marketing.  She is still active in the Michigan legal community and recently published Capital Improvement Financing for Michigan Public Schools in the Michigan Bar Journal.

For her work in Detroit, Kristen was selected as a 2020 Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 honoree, which honors professionals who have inspired others through vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and community service participation.

Kristen is a proud Howard University alumna and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University.  Kristen enjoys spending time with her three young sons and being active in her local community.

Dilip DasDilip Das
Provost’s Office Liaison

Dilip Das is a Provost’s Office liaison for 12 U-M units on campus implementing their five-year Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Strategic Plans. He is the Accreditation Liaison Officer at U-M for the Higher Learning Commission’s 2020 U-M Reaccreditation. Dilip also leads and helps manage statewide college access grant programs and mentors both graduate and undergraduate students. Dilip holds a doctorate in higher education administration, a master’s in science education, and a bachelor’s degree in biology.


This CEW+ Panel is made possible through our partnership with Fidelity, our platinum corporate sponsor.

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