Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


One U Thriving


Centers & Offices


A Racially Just Workplace


Nov 20, 2020

In his powerful essay, “Why So Many Organizations Stay White” Victor Ray concludes, “At a minimum, leaders should stop thinking about discrimination and inequality as rare events and understand that racial processes often shape behavior in the absence of ill-intent.” The November Friday Forum, installment: “A Racially Just Workplace” addressed questions that provide insight and solutions on how we create a racially just workplace, what is needed, and how we create a more equitable and inclusive campus.

A Racially Just Workplace Speakers

Jeff Herring

Jeff Herring, JD, MBA, SPHR
Chief Human Resources Officer, University of Utah


Jeff Herring is the Chief Human Resource Officer at the University. He has served in this position since 2013. Prior to the University of Utah, Jeff served on the Governor’s Cabinet as the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Human Resource Management for 12 years. In HR, Jeff has consistently focused on developing the organizations strategic efforts using principles of increasing customer service, efficiency and effectiveness, and leadership capacity. Jeff is currently a national board member of CUPA-HR.

Prior to his public service, Jeff worked as an attorney focusing in the area of labor and employment law.

Jeff earned his BA in History from the University of Utah. He then went on to earn his MBA with an emphasis on HR and completed his law degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.

Kathy Obear

Kathy Obear
President, Center for Transformation and Change


Currently president of the Center for Transformation and Change, www.drkathyobear.com, Dr. Kathy Obear is nationally recognized as an expert in helping leaders, change agents, and facilitators develop the capacity to create equitable, inclusive, and racially/socially just organizations. Kathy is a Co-founder of the Social Justice Training Institute, www.sjti.org, an intensive professional development experience to deepen capacity to dismantle dynamics of racism and white supremacy in ourselves and in our organizations. Kathy works with leaders and change agents to deepen their capacity to recognize and interrupt racist and white supremist attitudes and behaviors before they do harm, acknowledge the devastating impact of past racist behaviors and institutional racism, shift current racist behaviors and organizational practices, and develop strategies to truly partner with colleagues of color to eradicate racism and white supremacy culture in their spheres of influence to create true racial equity and justice in everything they do.

Laurita Thomas

Laurita Thomas
President, American Research Universities Human Resources Institute


Laurita Thomas is the President of the American Research Universities Human Resources Institute. She is responsible for executive development and leadership programming for the CHROs of sixty-five major research universities in the United States and Canada.  She is a certified master coach and provides organizational effectiveness consulting. Laurita Thomas served as the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Michigan for fifteen years.  There she was responsible for human resource policy for all UM campuses and a full range of comprehensive integrated human resource services, products and operations. She was responsible for 330 staff, a budget of $36M, and a benefit plan of approximately $1B.  Prior to that position, she served as the CHRO for the University of Michigan Heath System for fifteen years.  She is known for her work to create environments where people thrive, partnerships prevail and performance excels.
Her professional human resources career spans roles in the financial industry, higher education and healthcare.  She is a graduate of the University of Michigan in political science and economics.  Her graduate work is in guidance and counseling, and business administration.  She has published many articles and book chapters.  Laurita has received many leadership and service awards, most recently HR Executive of the Year for the State of Michigan from the American Society of Employers and the CUPA-HR Distinguished Service Award.

Damon Tweedy

Damon Tweedy, MD
Associate Professor, Duke University


Damon Tweedy, MD is an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine and a staff psychiatrist within the Durham Veteran Affairs Health Care System. He completed both medical school and his specialty training at Duke.

Within the VA system, he directs a team of mental health providers working across five primary care clinics. At the medical school, he leads a behavioral health seminar for second-year medical students and is a small group leader for another course that introduces medical students to advanced aspects of the doctor-patient relationship. He is also the faculty advisor for the medical student psychiatry interest group.

Dr. Tweedy has written extensively about the intersection of race and medicine, both in academic journals and popular print publications. His 2015 book, Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, made the New York Times bestseller list and was selected by TIME Magazine as a top non-fiction book that year.

Breakout Session Facilitators

Dani Baum

Dani Baum
Recruitment Manager, University of Utah


Dani Baum is the Recruitment Manager at the University of Utah.  She serves as the recruitment subject matter expert for hiring departments on Main Campus and UHealth Academics, consulting with managers, search committees and other HR professionals on best hiring practices.

Shawn N. Bryce
Police Captain, Department of Public Safety


Capt. Shawn Bryce oversees the University of Utah Police community engagement initiatives. She represents U Police on the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team; acts as a liaison to student organizations, focusing on underrepresented student groups; and has administrative oversight of safety presentations to students. Capt. Bryce has more than 23 years of experience in law enforcement. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University and has completed her Early Childhood Education coursework from the University of Cincinnati. She is also certified as a crime prevention specialist through the Ohio Crime Prevention Association.

Paloma Cariello

Paloma F. Cariello
Associate Dean, School of Medicine – Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


Paloma F. Cariello, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She serves as the Associate Dean for The School of Medicine Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. She embraces diversity as a core value and fundamental priority across the different fields in medicine. She believes the power of a diverse group allows for increased creativity and innovation, with unparalleled opportunities for growth.

Devon Darland

Devon Darland
Career & Professional Development Center


Devon Darland (she/her/hers) is a member of the Career & Professional Development Center’s new Anti-Racism Task Force and is passionate about using socially just & creative methods to foster student growth and development outside of the classroom.

Meligha

Meligha Garfield
Director, Black Cultural Center


Meligha Garfield is tasked with directing and strategically planning the Black Cultural Center as a model for the state. He brings expertise on the implementation, development, and evaluation of programs aimed at promoting awareness of the African diaspora.

Carmen Gold-Johnson

Carmen Gold-Johnson
Career & Professional Development Center


Carmen Gold-Johnson (she/her/hers) is a member of the University of Utah Career & Professional Development Center’s Anti-Racism Task Force and is dedicated and passionate about creating accessible pipelines and inclusive spaces for all students to thrive in their education and careers.

Sherrie Hayashi

Sherrie Hayashi
Executive Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA)


Sherrie Hayashi is the Executive Director OEO. Her responsibilities include overseeing compliance to equal employment and education laws at the University. 

Mauricio Laguan

Mauricio Laguan
Faculty & Staff Programs Manager, Office for Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


Mauricio “Mo” Laguan works as a Program Manager at the University of Utah in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (OHEDI). He passionately works towards closing social inequities through informed policy implementation, culturally competent management, and leadership development. His current work focuses on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff, and learners in health sciences education. He will graduate with his Master of Public Administration and Gender Studies graduate certificate in 2021.

Michelle Love-Day

Michelle Love-Day
Consultant, Jordan School District


Michelle Love-Day has been an educator for 19 years. Her style of hands-on learning, encouragement, and realness has helped students to overcome their barriers to success. Michelle has worked with teachers to inspire and establish great reading practices in the classroom. She shares information and ways parents can work with schools, advocate for their children, and how they can assist in creating a rich diverse literacy environment at home and in school. As she began to see the need for black students in Utah, she created an online virtual academy called RISE! in August 2020.

She is passionate about schools being student-focused, equitable, and a place where all students feel that they are welcomed and have an adult they can believe in and who believes in them.

Dori Nottingham

Dori Nottingham
Associate Director of Training, University of Utah Human Resources Management


Dani Nottingham currently oversees the Training and Development department for UHRM.  She has a background in organizational development, culture implementation and leadership development. Dori enjoys helping other succeed in their career by leading through communication principles and the creation of inclusive environments.

Liz Owens

Liz Owens
CEO, YWCA Utah


Liz Owens currently serves as CEO of YWCA Utah where she leads the organization in meeting their mission of “eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

Sarah Projansky

Sarah Projansky
Associate Vice President for Faculty


Sarah Projansky is Associate Vice President for Faculty at the University of Utah, and she holds a joint-appointment as Professor of Gender Studies and of Film & Media Arts. She is author of Spectacular Girls: Media Fascination & Celebrity Culture and Watching Rape: Film & Television in Postfeminist Culture.

Megan Randall

Megan Randall
Career & Professional Development Center


Megan Randall (she/her/hers) is a member of the Career & Professional Development Center’s new Anti-Racism Task Force. Megan is passionate about creating socially just conditions & opportunities that empower students of all identities and backgrounds to thrive in their career journeys.

Sheila Sconiers

Sheila Sconiers
Training Specialist, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO/AA)


Sheila Sconiers is the OEO training specialist. She educates the University community on OEO policies and related issues.

Sarah Sherer

Sarah Sherer
Chief Human Resources Officer, University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics


As the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics Chief Human Resources Officer, Sarah Sherer works with her team to focus on People-First strategies.  She is passionate about building relationships and connecting teams together to empower leaders to support and grow their teams. 

Sierra Stevens

Sierra Stevens
Career & Professional Development Center


Sierra Stevens (she/her/hers) is a member of the University of Utah Career & Professional Development Center’s Anti-Racism Task Force and is dedicated to breaking down socially unjust barriers for folx in and outside of the university system.

Laura Walkinshaw

Laura Walkinshaw
Associate HR Director, U Health Academics


Laura Walkinshaw is an Associate HR Director for U Health Academics. She has expertise in areas such as management consultations, employee relations and performance management. Laura is rooted in many different areas of HR and has served both Main Campus and UHealth Academics.

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