Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


One U Thriving


Centers & Offices


2045: Towards a More Diverse Future


Jan 19, 2022

2045 is set to bring a huge demographic shift for the United States. By the time today’s teenagers hit their 30s, there will be more people of color than people who identify as White, more older people than children, and more people practicing Islam than Judaism. The effect of this demographic shift is already appearing now, but how are we as a country preparing for a more diverse future of America? In 2045, we are striving for a beloved community, a community that is not a lofty utopian goal but realistic, achievable, and mutual. What are we doing today, to shape and make room for a more diverse and beloved community of tomorrow?

Transcript

Amy Fulton: Good afternoon, everyone. Hello, my name is Dr. Amy Fulton, and I’m the director of the New Leadership Academy in the division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah. Along with our partners at the Hinckley Institute for Politics and EDI, we’d like to welcome you to the January installment of Reframing the Conversation. We are thrilled to those of you who have joined us in person and online streaming today. To those of you in person, pizza will be served after the panel to go just for safety and health reasons.

Before we begin our discussion today, I would like to acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Ute Tribe is the traditional and ancestral Homeland of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes. The University of Utah recognizes and respects the enduring relationship that exists between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We respect the sovereign relationship between tribes, states, and the federal government. And we affirm the University of Utah’s commitment to a partnership with Native Nations and Urban Indian communities through research, education, and community outreach activities.

The Reframing The Conversation panel series brings together experts from across campus and our community to spark important conversations around racism, othering, and safety. It is here where we address contemporary subjects that are affecting the campus and the community at large. This month’s topic is no exception. It is “2045: Towards a More Diverse Future.” 2045 is set to bring a huge demographic shift for the United States. By the time today’s teenagers hit their 30s or many of you, mid 30s, 40s, it’s coming for all of us, right? There will be more people of color than people who identify as White, more older people than children, and more people practicing Islam than Judaism. The effect of this demographic shift is already appearing now, but how are we as a country, as a state, and as a city preparing for more diverse future?

In keeping with our theme for Martin Luther King Week, “Becoming the Beloved Community,” today’s panel will discuss the changing demographics in Utah and how we shape our future to become not only a more diverse, but a more beloved community. Finally, we thank the Hinckley Institute of Politics through continued partnership on Reframing the Conversation series.

It is now my pleasure to introduce the moderator for today’s panel, Natalie Gochnour. She’s the associate dean for the David Eccles School of Business, director of the Kim C. Gardner Policy Institute and senior advisor to the President. She also serves as the chief economist for the Salt Lake chamber, in these roles, she provides policy leadership that helps Utah prosper. Ms. Gochnour has served in the administrations of three Utah governors, Bangerter, Leavitt, and Walker, and was a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration. She authors regular columns and Utah Business magazine and the Deseret News and co-hosts the weekly radio program, Both Sides of the Aisle on KCPW. Ms. Gochnour has both an undergraduate and master’s degree in economics from the University of Utah and specializes in and teaches public finance.

Natalie Gochnour: Thank you so much, Amy. And thank you to the Hinckley Institute for hosting today’s forum, hosting this conversation, and thanks to all of you in the room for joining us and those of you that are joining us remotely, we’re excited to spend the next hour with you talking about this important issue. A couple of housekeeping items. We will have questions and answers during this section. When I go to that, those of you that are live here, we’ll just ask you to stand up at the microphone and share your question with the panelists. For those of you that are live streaming, you’ll see a box where you can put in your question, and we have someone here who will read that to me, and then we can share it with our panelists.

So we have a terrific panel today, and they’re gonna share insights and perspectives with you. And I love learning about them. And I think you will too. So I’m gonna share these meaningful bios with you so that you can get to know them a little bit better as they share their perspective.

It looks like on my far right, we have Jordan Brown. Jordan recently graduated from Weber State University with a degree in health promotion and education. He now is an MD candidate in the class of 2024, where he acts as a co-president of the psychiatry student interest group and member of the White Coats for Black Lives organization. Jordan also serves as the treasurer of the first-ever Student National Medical Association Utah chapter, and he also enjoys spending his spare time mentoring inner city and underprivileged youth in the Salt Lake metro area, attending and supporting the Black Physicians of Utah organization and spending time with friends and family. Welcome to you, Jordan.

Jordan Brown: Thank you.

Natalie Gochnour: On my immediate right, we have James Jackson III. James serves as the supplier diversity program manager at Zions Bank corporation, where he’s responsible for building relationships with capable, diverse suppliers who can provide goods and services across the enterprise. Mr. Jackson has worked in various areas of the financial industry for almost 20 years and found his passion serving and building his community. In conjunction with his role at the bank, Mr. Jackson serves on several boards of directors and is the founder of the Utah Black Chamber. Since its inception in 2009, the chamber has grown to not only serve Black-owned small businesses in Utah, but has become the premier organization connecting and engaging Utah’s Black community and building bridges for inclusion. Thank you so much for joining us, James.

Right next to James, we have Olivia Jaramillo. Olivia is a strategic leadership consultant and a diversity equity and inclusion specialist. She’s currently director for public outreach at Equality Utah. She was born and raised in Mexico. She’s a retired United States Air Force veteran. We can all give her applause for that where she’s served on tours to Iraq, Europe, and humanitarian missions into Africa. In 2016, she was one of the first individuals nationwide to legally change her name and gender marker while still serving on Active Duty. She has worked in furthering equity, diversity, inclusion efforts for several companies and organizations, including the YMCA, Qualtrics, Dominion Energy, EDC Utah, and Adobe. She’s a member of the YWCA’s Public Policy Committee and was a political candidate in 2020, currently lives in Salt Lake City with her son, Oliver. Thanks Olivia for joining us.

And then right next to Olivia, we have Claudia Loayza. Claudia is passionate about the intersections of opportunity, place, and justice. City planning became her conduit for this drive, and she believes that the state of a community depends on how accessible it is to people to work, play, navigate, and thrive in their environments, especially for historically marginalized groups. She’s a second-year master’s student in the University of Utah’s city and metropolitan planning program to better address disparities in city planning, community engagement, and access to critical services from a systemic approach. In her role as communications and community engagement coordinator with the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, she advances opportunities for underrepresented groups at the state level and encourages trust building and collaboration with communities to address localized concerns through policy impact, youth empowerment, equity-centered communications, and EDIA capacity-building for organizations. Wow, welcome Claudia.

So as you can see, we have an incredible panel that can speak to us about these issues from a health perspective, business perspective, an EDI perspective, and a planning perspective. And we’re gonna make full use of your expertise, but I want to just break the ice by just asking each of you this question, to think about what this is titled, “2045: Towards a More Diverse Future.” And it was mentioned that 2045 is the year when the United States becomes a minority-majority country. And so I want to just ask and I’ll start Jordan with you over on my far right to just describe to me what the ideal 2045 community looks like in your eyes.

Jordan Brown: That’s a great question. I think what I like about that statement the most is “towards,” because I don’t think at 2045 we’ll have arrived. I think it’s always a progression. I think we’re working towards something different. I think that’s what this country is about. I don’t think we’re ever supposed to get to a destination. I think it’s an idea. And for me, I think that’s a place where, well, you don’t have to hide who you are, but rather celebrate that. And I think it’s a place where we can accept each other for differences, but also commonalities that we all have in common. That’s what I hope for.

Natalie Gochnour: Love that. Olivia, does this toward resonate with you, the way he’s described, we’re always sort of becoming, we’re always moving towards something better? And what would you add to that kind of vision for 2045?

Olivia Jaramillo: Well, moving towards something better, it’s really something that’s been incepted since this country was founded in the founding documents and everything. It talked about how we’re not supposed to be at that. We’re not there yet. We’re supposed to get there. And at some point we perhaps maybe lost our way and other things. But now that is the opportunity that we can take to go forward. And now that we know better, we must do better.

Natalie Gochnour: Yeah. Yeah. Claudia, when we say 2045, that’s a long ways out. You’re a planner. What do you think of when you think of our community, our nation, our state in 2045?

Claudia Loayza: Yeah, thank you for that question, for our panel’s remarks so far. I think as a planner, our vision is always towards the future. And we’re always trying to anticipate population growth, any kind of adjustments in society to make sure that everyone is taken care of and that they can thrive in place. And I think for me, 2045 looking into the future is also about challenging the perception that we have to be always surviving on the grind and just that hustle culture that I think embodies a lot of our community work and spaces. I’m hoping that by that point we can be more gentle with ourselves and really embodied that becoming idea that it’s gonna be a journey, but at the same time, it’s important to pause and reflect on what exactly we’ve achieved so far and to celebrate in those moments. But I think, as a planner, again, that thriving in place idea is what resonates with me the most, that anyone, anywhere, wherever they are, can access what they need, what they want and do so in a way that really meets their individual needs and empowers them to not have to be in that surviving mentality all the time.

Natalie Gochnour: Okay. James, you get to bring us home on this question. I’ve heard a lot of words: thrive, celebrate, toward, becoming. You can do it from a business perspective or just a personal perspective, but 2045, what should our nation look like, feel like?

James Jackson III: I can do it combined, personally and business. A lot of people don’t know that I’m half Hispanic, and I have a little sister who has a son whose dad is half Polynesian, half White, and also has a daughter who’s half Italian, half White, so as we grow towards a more diverse future, ethnicity would be almost gone, ethnicity and race. It would just be identified as who you want to be identified as, and with that being said, from a business perspective, our goal with the Utah Black Chamber is to work ourselves out of business, to a point to where there’s not a need for so much advocacy and working with the government and corporations on a more diverse workforce or eliminating the barriers in place for an already small business to grow, but we get more and more diverse. And the Black Chamber has seen it over the last three years with a 400% growth that companies are now recognizing that diversity does add dividends, it’s important. And for those that are not focused on it are gonna fall behind. And not only have you seen this in the last two years, but within Utah, we’ve seen this the last five years, how we’ve become more and more progressive towards a more diverse workforce, more diverse businesses getting opportunities. So yeah, I see these minority ethnic chambers becoming less and less important, which is not a bad thing for me. I think it’s a great thing to where we can just be absolved into the Salt Lake Chamber and just be a voice that way.

Natalie Gochnour: I really love the setup that you all have provided. So on Monday, I attended the Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP Martin Luther King luncheon. It was very powerful. I don’t know if some of you were there, but different times, different speakers quoted Dr. King, and I just found myself taking a couple of notes. And these are some of the more common quotes from Dr. King, but we just had a question about being many years, 23 years or so into the future. But one of Dr King’s quotes is about the “fierce urgency of now.” “Fierce urgency of now.” James, I’m gonna stay with you and just ask you, how do you react to that given we want to become, we were aiming in a directionally correct place, but how do we address the fierce urgency of now?

James Jackson III: Success is found in your daily routine. So when we focus on twenty-something years ahead, now it seems so far away and in the world of procrastinators and immediate, we’re gonna set that goal for 23 years later, and then we’ll work on it about 22 years. And so in order to really progress towards a more diverse future in the year 2045, what are we doing right now if we’re gonna get to that goal because we gotta take it as if we’re eating an apple, one bite at a time. What are some things that we can do now to make changes, policy wise, business wise, in the workforce, within the workplace, within the community, these little steps over time. Martin Luther King talks about that staircase, take these steps. And so every year, we go by years, we have 20 something steps to go about it, take that by every month, every day, every minute, every hour, just take those little steps and don’t try to take off some chunks and then have all of us work together by identifying the strengths and opportunities of what we can collaborate on a partner on, let’s do that now and not wait.

Natalie Gochnour: Yeah. I love that. Olivia, you do training of companies. I read some of them, there’s others that you do, but how does the fierce urgency of now affect the way you approach this when you’re helping Utah companies become better?

Olivia Jaramillo: This fits perfectly into all of the work that myself and other DEI specialists are doing, that urgency of now is what we’re doing now is educating and really dispelling any misconceptions out there about anything, because there’s so many people that, for example, for the community that I tend to work most or with just the LGBTQ community, there’s so many misconceptions, there are so many misconceptions about the terms and concepts, the language of it. And once you start actually knowing what all of this is, you stop fearing. So that fear of the unknown is what has been stopping us. And we can do away with that with education, with providing that light on these terms and concepts on providing light on races, different races, ethnicities, that is the work that we can do now and that we are actually doing now.

Natalie Gochnour: Claudia, Jordan, you want to add anything on the fierce urgency of now?

Claudia Loayza: I think for me, it’s important to acknowledge too, that we have to get comfortable with conflict and with uncomfortable conversations and given where we are right now with our state and just kind of the national conversation around how we teach about race and how we teach about these concepts, there can be a lot of pushback. And I think, to Olivia’s point, fear is very much I think the feeling that is behind that, I guess, lack of wanting to grow into those spaces. But I think in part of that learning process, there’s also an unlearning process I think of striving to challenge where in my experience, have I learned this and why is it so persisting and in our work with the Division of Multicultural Affairs it’s policy work but policy is driven by perception sometimes. So it’s important to kind of have that self-assessment with yourself wherever you are in the work, whether it’s public or private. But I think it really requires that self-reflection to understand what is limiting me from growing and trying to address the systemic issues that continue to persist.

Natalie Gochnour: Thank you. Jordan, you can bring this home or I got another quote for you, if you’d rather.

Jordan Brown: I would just add another Dr. King quote that says, “the time is always right to do what is right.” So I would just say that just kind of echoes what we’ve been talking about. I think we could look towards the future with optimism, but right now is the most important. And the changes that we make now can exponentially change the future for everyone.

Natalie Gochnour: So Jordan, we’ll just give one more Dr. King quote, and then we’ll go to some policy issues. But one of the quotes I wrote down from the luncheon on Monday is the quote that said, “life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” And I read in your bio that that’s something that speaks to you. What have you learned about service as it relates to a beloved community where we want to get to, how we’re becoming better?

Jordan Brown: I think what I have learned from my family’s examples and my grandparents’ examples is that if I invest in the people now and I show them that I love them, that I care about them, I’m doing not only what my family would want me to do, but what I think the idea of service is about. I spent nine months so far with a young man in the community and I can honestly say, I thought that I was there to make a difference, but really I’ve grown and learned so much from just spending time with him and getting to know him. And I think that’s what’s great about service.

Natalie Gochnour: I have all these really thick kind of policy questions, and I do want to ask them and we’ll get to them, but because of the way you responded to that, and because of something that Claudia said about getting comfortable with conflict, I want to ask, and let’s start with you Claudia, how do you find common ground with someone you disagree with? What have you learned about finding common ground with someone who just has different life experiences, I gotta assume those are valid?

Claudia Loayza: And so, I mean, you’ve read in my bio that I’m a student. I’m learning. And I think that’s something that’s very special to me, continuing that learning process is something that can lead us through conflict and something that I’ve learned in the process of engaging communities and different folks is when we focus more on the person’s interests versus their positions, that’s where we really get to those underlying concerns of why it is that they’re defensive or why we’re defensive or why we’re apprehensive to approach. And I think as we continue as a state to learn through how it is that we need to do better for communities that have historically lacked, part of it, I think is moving away from that positional bargaining and starting to approach conversations with what do you need and why can’t we provide it yet, what can we do to do better instead of always having to pick a side and pick a position and debate it essentially.

Natalie Gochnour: Olivia, this must come up in your training difficult conversations, people that come from different life experiences trying to find common ground. Am I right? Does it come up in the training?

Olivia Jaramillo: A little bit. And one of the things that we found, even just in our work, in our legislative work, we found that exactly what Claudia mentioned is building that common ground with somebody, it does so much for what you’re trying to achieve is that you build on shared values. You get to a point of, okay, where is it that we do agree on something? And you start building from there. That is something that has worked for us when we deal with lawmakers, but also on the DEI side, it helps so much to know where somebody’s coming from, what their story is. And sometimes it can be easy to label somebody just based on their skin color, based on their ethnicity, but we don’t know them. And we don’t know where they come from. We don’t know exactly what they’ve been through in their life. Once we start building on that, then we can really start building on making progress on building better policies that fit everybody. Because at the end of the day, we’re looking for that equity piece. And that equity means equity for everybody.

Natalie Gochnour: James, you and I talked about spending time on Capitol Hill and an equitable society is one where race, ethnicity, and sex do not determine opportunity in life outcomes. There’s a long history of unfair and discriminatory property, education, housing, voting, and other policies and practices in the United States and Utah. How do we promote policy and promote opportunities for everyone as the minority population in the state grows?

James Jackson III: There’s three things I think about. And just piggybacking on what Jordan, Claudia, and Olivia was talking about this, when you’re in service, service can be an opportunity for medication in division, you know? Cause when you invest in service, particularly with people outside your perspective, you get to learn more. And whether it’s serving the homeless or building a garden within a community you’re not familiar with you get to learn the environment, learn what’s going on and you get a better perspective. I would also say that we were in the height that the NFL season, I like watching the NFL. And my favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. We have an amazing defense, horrible offense, right? We are in the midst of all of us are in defense mode. All of us are, our barriers are up. And so while we’re trying to convey our message to others we’re quick to defend, but we have no offense in place. So the only way to really establish an effective offense is a skill that we have lacked for so long, real simple skill called listening. And we just need to become better listeners to everybody within our community, outside our community. We just have to become better listeners. Cause when we listen more, we get more curious. We’re more curious, we ask more questions and potentially be able to find that solution. So service is one, listening second, third is that we just get more of us up on your stage to run for office. You know that Olivia, she put her name in the hat and we need more of us to get our name in the hat and start helping them. Because as we diversify our legislature, we have more voices for everybody up there, then changes can start taking place.

Natalie Gochnour: Anyone else on the panel want to comment about how we promote policy changes that will improve living conditions, life experiences for people?

Claudia Loayza: I think one thing that I can add is policy should really reflect the ground-truth experiences of people as well. Something that my director, Nubia Peña, who is one of my dearest friends and greatest mentor is she strives to instill in people the idea that we can’t make policies in isolation of those that are most affected. And whether that means having some kind of town hall or some discussion or dialogue with those communities that are going to at the end of the day, live through the impacts of whatever thing happens up at the Capitol. I think it’s important to recognize that we’re not dealing with just numbers or statistics here, it’s with human lives and human experiences and generational outcomes. And I really love what James said about the approach of just continuing to listen and actively listen and do so in a way that also goes back to the community and says, “here’s what we heard from you,” “can you tell us if that’s what you meant?” “And also here’s what we hope to achieve or” “collaborate on based on what you shared.” So I think that feedback loop is important too to make sure that communities understand what it is that their information is being used for. So it’s not always collecting or extracting, but a lot about connecting and making those relationships just more strong.

Natalie Gochnour: Thank you. Olivia, I want to ask you, your experience with Equality Utah do a lot on Capitol hill, a lot in the community, many queer people still feel uncomfortable to talk about their significant others in the workplace. Our transgender community is still grappling with issues such as having proper bathroom access. And our legislation often seems to be going in a direction opposite of our nation. How can we move our community forward to embrace the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community as a human rights issue that needs to be addressed regardless of personal beliefs, faith, or tradition?

Olivia Jaramillo: It’s a long question, but I have a long answer for you.

Natalie Gochnour: Give us some commentary there because we talk a lot about race, ethnicity, but we also want to talk about inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Olivia Jaramillo: Yeah, there’s an intersectionality there as well. So I’ll get to one point of the question first, which is the legislature, our state legislature. You always hear about it in the media that we’re at contention with our legislature that there’s a lot of stuff up there that’s going on that we may not agree specifically on the LGBTQ community. One of the things about our state that makes us so unique though, and it feels like I’m selling the legislature, I’m not, I’m just telling you about the work that we have done and about so much of the things that we do have in our state, which is we were the first conservative state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage. We were five years ahead of the curve in providing non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. And that’s five years before the 2020 ruling of the US Supreme court, In 2020, we provided protection. We banned conversion therapy for minors in the state of Utah. In 2021 the Utah Supreme Court ruled that transgender people can change their name and gender marker on their birth certificate. Now all of this is happening right here in Utah. We’re literally leading the way when it comes to protections for the LGBTQ community. Now we have legal equality, but what about lived equality? And that is where we really need to start making the strides.

Natalie Gochnour: Will you say that one more time? Legal equality…

Olivia Jaramillo: But now we’re working towards lived equality.

Natalie Gochnour: Lived equality.

Olivia Jaramillo: So that is where you see that efforts like EDI, DEI, that is where we’re stepping in to actually bridge that gap between that legal equality piece and what actually happens on the ground. And we feel it’s so important that we do that. Another thing that occurred in 2021, you probably saw a storm of anti-trans legislation just kind of sweep across our nation. And you saw it be successful in many states, you saw it be successful even up in Idaho, but that same legislation, which was introduced by this group called Alliance for Defending Freedom, they introduced it into our legislature and here in Utah, it was not successful. And one thing that we have done now as Equality Utah, that we built this over 20 years relation with the legislature is we’ve started introducing that piece that we were talking about, about building bridges, building relationships, and building that understanding that we can take somebody else’s side and try to empathize or sympathize with that. And that’s one thing that I believe that here in Utah, we are winning and that you are gonna see keep improving.

Natalie Gochnour: That was terrific. Thanks for that perspective. I think it might surprise some people and at the same time more to be done. Jordan, we got to talk about health disparities. You’re a medical student. You would have a lot of insights here. It’s very clear in the data and it’s been magnified by COVID that we live in a state and a country that has enormous disparities by race and ethnicity. Can you comment on that and really help us understand how do we get more minority populations involved as practitioners in healthcare to help with these disparities? You can take it wherever you want. But the idea is to just, how do we address better health for racial and ethnic minorities?

Jordan Brown: I know Stanford just did a study I think about a year ago where they elicited Black physicians and White physicians. And they observed them taking care of Black patients. And they observed a couple of things. They observed that the Black patients were more likely to talk, communicate what they’re feeling and their needs. The Black physicians were more likely to write a more comprehensive note. The Black physician was able to navigate and work some type of better consensus with Black patients as far as preventative health care, not to say that White physicians or physicians that are not of the same race as an individual are not competent or that they’re not able to do their job, or they’re not qualified or not caring, but there’s just something to be said about coming to somebody who understands you differently. There’s something to be said of something that’s unique to people and that they get shared. So I think it’s about driving more and more underrepresented minorities into the field. And I think that can come in various different ways. I think that will help obviously bridge some of those gaps within health disparities. But as far as how do we recruit minorities into the healthcare field, that’s really tricky. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that inhibit racial minorities and kind of their walls that you have to surmount to get there. I think opening up dialogues with the University of Utah and making Utah a more attractive place for residents to come and spend their time and for the physicians like me and some of my other minority counterparts and colleagues in my class to stay and incentivize us and help us to know that this is a place that we want to spend a lifetime helping the community. And I could talk forever about how we can do that.

Natalie Gochnour: Thank you for that. So I have one more question and then I’m gonna turn it over to you. So those of you that have questions, this is your cue to get them ready. This is for any of you that want to comment on it. But if you look at recent social justice movements, they’re largely led by younger generations. We have this aging population. And so the question is how do we bridge the generational divide to engage seniors and capture from their wisdom, their experience, and combine that with the energy of the younger generation to create a broader coalition for social change and building the beloved community. Anybody have any ideas about that?

James Jackson III: Share from our personal perspectives?

Natalie Gochenour: That’d be great, James.

James Jackson III: At least in the Black community, here in Utah, within the black community are older folks are tired, they’ve been leading the charge was so long they’re waiting for young leaders to step up. And it’s been great over the last few years that we’ve had other individuals who are stepping up and becoming a voice, but they’re also recognizing these pathway makers who make the path for them at this point, and always relying on them for mentorship and guidance. I’m always asking the Emma Houstons and Betty Sawyers of the world, going this direction, how do you feel? I’m emailing them constantly about ideas and thoughts of what it was like and where can we grow forward and really just allow them to pass the baton. And that’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking for someone pass the baton to. And so as long as we step up and be willing to take that baton, we communicate and build that relationship with us, that they entrusted us with that baton, then you can make that happen.

Natalie Gochnour: If you can combine the old with the new, that’s a powerful coalition. Anyone else want to comment on that?

Claudia Loayza: I think from our perspective in state government, there is kind of that notion or mentality that government is outdated, it’s slow, it’s old. And part of what our division is working with the governor’s office on is the governor’s roadmap in terms of modernizing state government. And I mean, I think I would add to that that it’s more so about establishing more opportunities to pass on that institutional knowledge to folks coming in. I’m 24, I’ve been in state government for three years now. And I’ve been in it since I was about 21 or so. And when I first came in, I was the youngest in the room. I was also one of the only women of color in the room and even just within the three years, it’s changed so dramatically for me within our department at least. And I think part of it is because of a very intentional approach for us to engage, identify and do so openly and early. We have a fellowship program within our division that tries to engage university students. And we have a youth leadership program that does events every year. We’ve done it for the last 10 years, and it’s starting to establish more pipelines for people to not just seek opportunities within state government, but to also see themselves in state government so that we start to really chip away at those misconceptions that it’s old, it’s not fast, it’s boring, which is not the case. I will tell you that every day in my life is a very busy day in state government. But I think it really has to do with identifying and engaging openly and early for people to really find a spot for them in this kind of area.

Natalie Gochnour: Yeah. Thank you for that. I spent 18 years in state government, so I could really follow what you’re doing there. Who has questions for us? Anyone want to jump up to the microphone and ask a question of our panel, anyone in the live audience? If you don’t mind sharing your name.

Cydney: I’m Cydney. I’m a first-year Ph.D. student here in Educational Leadership and Policy. So a lot of what you were saying was I was thinking a lot about how we’ve seen minority population growth in higher education populations. And what’s happened is very similar to the ways that you say that you want to see the quality of life be elevated as a population. We’re not seeing that on university campuses. I know everybody in the room could probably speak to some of the experiences we’ve had just in the last two weeks. So what are some ways or tools that maybe from all of your specialized areas that you think we could use to help students feel their quality of life on campus elevated? Cause we’re not seeing that. We’re not seeing that as our population grows. I think last year, I’m from California, UC systems all the highest number of Latinx people apply. And we’re seeing that nationwide, but how can we ensure that they’re having a good experience and that we retain them? I really like your piece on that on retaining Black physicians and making them want to stay.

Natalie Gochnour: That’s a great question. So think about that for a minute. The issue being, how do we improve the life quality of students in this environment when it hasn’t felt like that? What tools do we have?

Claudia Loayza: I mean, it’s a very, very important question I think it’s to what everyone has said so far, a pattern of learning from students and understanding their needs first, and as a student myself, I can totally relate to what you said where just with COVID and different events on campus, it’s really uprooted and disrupted some of our schedules and just the lifestyles that we want to keep. And I’d say that part of it is making sure that we’re having better mental health services to identify not just to what Jordan was saying, the best practices and caring for mental health, but also making sure that there are therapists that identify and reflect your lived experiences. I think as a Latina myself, there’s so much, I think within the culture that I grew up, that I had to really challenge and find my way to identify what I needed in terms of my emotional and mental health and something that I think is very much as a student, helpful to me is knowing that there is a therapist or someone that I can look to for that specialized and reflective support. So I think it’s a matter of bolstering those kinds of services not just to help students in crisis, but making sure that there is a continued pattern of come back and make sure that this isn’t just a one and done, then you come to me when it’s really bad, but that we’re also keeping a pulse on what students need throughout the year and throughout different stages of their academic experience.

Natalie Gochnour: Claudia, I love that notion that it’s not just when you’re in crisis, it’s that whole continuum. Do you want to comment on that at all, Jordan, from a medical perspective?

Jordan Brown: Yeah. When I was a kid, I was really into construction TV shows like HGTV. And I remember one of my favorites was this Canadian-based construction company, And they would go in and do these rebuilds for people with houses burned up in fires or financial crisis has left them destitute or various ailments Or misfortunes. And during the rebuild, they would talk about the products that they would use. And they would use two-by-fours that were sprayed with fire-resistant or retardant paint. Those are gonna go on the wall and you’re never gonna see them and it’s extra work, it’s extra money, but that house will never burn down again. I think that’s what we’re missing. I think we’re very reactionary to things, but we do not invest in prophylactic. We don’t invest in stopping it before it happens. And I think that is the issue that, for me personally, I would like to see addressed more. It is about providing the services, I definitely agree with that and getting the healthcare that you need, but I would really like to see an investment in stopping these things from happening so you don’t have to experience the trauma anymore. And I think that’s what we all want to get to.

Natalie Gochnour: Isn’t part of it too, just making it so that we feel comfortable asking for help? Any other questions from the live audience here? Do we have any from the live stream, please?

Jaina: I have questions from the viewers online. I believe last time I checked, we had about 60 viewers online, but someone had asked it is incredibly easy to become frustrated with others who resist the crucial work. And we know that we don’t make progress if we respond with anger and judgment, obviously, compassion and patience are key. What advice would you give when the anger or judgment starts to come out? What are some good responses that you have in your tools to address when these emotions come up?

Natalie Gochnour: Who wants to tackle that? What do we do when anger comes out instead of compassion and patience?

Olivia Jaramillo: Okay, I’m gonna take this one. So one thing that has helped me tremendously is knowing that you’re not just there to tell them everything that you want to tell them about your EDI efforts, DEI efforts. The first thing you’re there to do is to establish a connection with them and to get to know that person, let that anger from that side come out, however it is, your goal is to listen. First of all, you’re just there to listen, you’re there to hear it, whatever may come out, that’s fine. But then start asking the questions. “That’s interesting, since when have you felt like that,” or “why do you feel like that?” And just get to know the person, build that rapport with somebody. And that goes such a long way, even for yourself, if you’re trying to make your own point across. Later on, you’ll know what will work with that person, or it’s really establishing that connection. It goes such a long way. I think we talked about it earlier about knowing why that other person, where they’re coming from. It helps so much.

Natalie Gochnour: Anyone else want to tackle this? Please, James.

James Jackson III: The majority of a lot of conflicts, they come from people that you actually know, family members, friends, and the main reason is because you feel like you know them.

Natalie Gochnour: Thanksgiving, the holidays.

James Jackson III: You already know what they’re about, You already know where they’re coming from. That’s where this back-and-forth comes from. But to Olivia’s point, it goes back to that listening, there must’ve been some sort of trigger that you missed. A recent example that I had was we had something thrown out on social media. Someone addressed a concern. My main response of course was angry. I can’t believe this person said that, what do I do, how do I handle this. I was like, and usually my mindset is go down, and just grind it out. And over time they’ll see that and what we’re capable of doing, but it was great. It’s great to have someone to lean on, pick up a phone and just ask the question. And unfortunately, one of my marketing members texted me and said, hey, did you see this, and I went “yeah, I saw it.” But she took a whole lot better approach than what I’ve made. She’s like, can I have her number? Can I reach out to her? She’s obviously hurt by something. Let me just hear her out and sit down with her. I was like, “yeah, you can do that.” “But I can’t right now.” So two things came to that is one, it’s like just give yourself a moment. Usually when you’re quick to react, it’s not always gonna be the the best way to react. Like I remember, I talk about sports all the time, you know, Lakers were beat real bad recently to a point where LeBron James didn’t even talk to reporters afterwards. And we said, after that, it’s like, I don’t have anything good to say. He tweeted later, he was like, “I’ll do better.” “I apologize. We’ll do better. I apologize.” He’s like, “I didn’t have anything good to say at that point.” And so sometimes it’s best to just be silent, give yourself time to bite down. But also it’s great to lean on partners, colleagues and other friends and say, “hey,” “how do I respond to this?” “How would you take this?” “This infuriates me.” “Am I missing something and what can I do better?” So that’s how I was able to handle that situation.

Natalie Gochnour: I like that, James. Is there other questions? Please do, sir.

Meligha: How are you doing? My name’s Meligha Garfield, the director of the Black Cultural Center here on campus. The question I have for you is , fun question…oftentimes we talk about like, what are we moving towards, but what do you not want to see? Like what do you not want to see at all in 2045, or are you tired of so you don’t want to see?

James Jackson III: I don’t want to see 2020 or 2021. I don’t want to see a repeat of this ever again. Lots of division, everybody’s defense barrier is up. I feel like as we grow towards a more diverse future, I see that starting to dwindle down or people becoming more and more receptive to listening to understand the importance of diversity. And as we become more diverse, I think this division will start going away. I just don’t want to see a repeat of the last two years.

Natalie Gochnour: Others’ comment on that? It’s a really fun way to frame the forum here. What do you not want to see in 2045?

Olivia Jaramillo: I don’t want to see such a huge political divide. I think we’re always gonna be divided by ideologies or whatnot, but understanding that these ideologies overall, we’re all supposed to work towards progress and that progress should be for everybody. And we should never let parties or anything divide us. We’re all moving the same way, we may disagree, but there is always a point to find where we can agree and where we can actually build forward. So what I don’t want to see is such a huge divide.

James Jackson III: I think disagreements and different perspectives. That’s all healthy, we’re supposed to disagree with each other. We’re supposed to have debate That’s why there’s debate in schools. And as you do that, more ideas come out and we become more innovative because we’re getting these two perspectives. But until these two perspectives come together, we’re never gonna go forward.

Natalie Gochnour: It’s a lot of popular literature in public policy about the problem with contempt in public life. And what I hear you saying, James is we can disagree, but we should not have contempt one for another.

Olivia Jaramillo: And I’ll add to that. So even with our own state legislature, you hear all of these things about it, you hear, they must have green skin because they sound like such terrible people, but that’s where I challenge everybody to go up there and meet with these lawmakers, because you’ll find that they’re human beings. And regardless of what you may have heard about them, there is always a point that you can find with them to find that middle ground and you will start connecting with them. And then that is how we can actually make progress towards what we want to do.

Natalie Gochnour: We’ve got another question.

Kathryn: Absolutely. Thank you for this wonderful panel. My name is Kathryn. I’m the dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation here at the U. And so maybe a little bit of an inverse of Meligha’s question or maybe piggybacking on it. And also the great question before, can you give an example of something where you felt you saw real change? Like you saw something you’re like, now that is doing something real. I think it’s one of the things at the university that we struggle with. We can do all kinds of things, but do they matter? We’re always trying to figure out, like, if you saw that thing, you would say that was a real thing, that did something. So can you just give an example from your wonderful spread of experience of something that you felt was real? Didn’t have to be a turning point.

Natalie Gochnour: While everyone’s thinking on that one, I want to answer your question just because it’s top of mind. And then if you all have something to add, but when our state passed the non-discrimination law for housing and employment, I was working at the Salt Lake Chamber at the time, and I got a call from Jim Dabakis and he said, “you should come up, we’ve reached an agreement,” and I didn’t work on it, but he just thought I would be interested. And I thought if he asks, I’ll go up. So I went up to the Capitol and went into the Gold Room. Those of you that don’t know the Gold Room at the Capitol, it’s where if an ambassador comes with the head of state, that’s where they meet. But I watched as our state gathered in the Gold Room to announce this compromise, it was special. I had 18 years on Capitol Hill and it was one of the most gripping, meaningful moments I’ve ever had there. So that was a time when I felt real progress, real change. Others? Yeah, please. Claudia.

Claudia Loayza: So part of our work with the governor’s office is my director’s role as a senior equity and opportunity advisor to him and his cabinet directly. And something that they did back in October was a 21-day equity challenge where each and every day the governor and his staff would go through multiple resources and assignments and prompts for them to reflect on and write their thoughts on. And for me, that kind of turning point or that change shift appeared when I saw their different comments come in. And I mean, I’m not gonna name them by name, but all of them surprised me because so many of them had mentioned, I never knew this history of Utah. For a lot of them, it was the first time they were hearing that there were areas in Utah, in Salt Lake that were in the Green Book, for example, towards Civil Rights area, that’s where people would go to, Black folks would go to to find safe places to come and travel through and different things. I didn’t know all these different stories around the Topaz Internment Camp, Japanese American internment. There’s so much of a history to Utah that I think a lot of these folks just didn’t know. And a comment that stuck with me was, “I didn’t know any of these things, but now that I know, I can do better.” So it was, again, that mentality shift that needed to happen before actually going into action and to any kind of impact. But I think that’s something that inspires me to know that they’re willing to accept these perspectives and this need to change, and then from that point it was a platform for them to start to shift their perspective and mindsets to actually start to work towards action.

Natalie Gochnour: Thank you, Claudia. We are fast approaching the bewitching hour. I want to ask each of you a final question and then I’ll sum it up. It’s a real simple question because you just get one word, but I want you to give advice to Governor Cox on creating a more equitable society, and Claudia can take it right to the Governor’s office I’m sure. So let’s go to you first, Jordan, and come this way. One word of advice to Governor Cox on creating a more equitable society. I gave you the toughest assignment to go first.

Jordan Brown: One word… Integrity.

Natalie Gochnour: Claudia?

Claudia Loayza: Reciprocity.

Natalie Gochnour: Nice. Olivia?

Olivia Jaramillo: I can’t just say one word, quality over quantity.

Natalie Gochnour: And James?

James Jackson III: Curiosity.

Natalie Gochnour: Okay. Very nice. Let’s give them a hand. That was terrific. I’ll just say as we’re closing up, I was scribbling down some notes here, 23 steps: educate, dispel misconceptions, providing light, get comfortable with conflict, unlearning, interest versus positions, service, perspective. Quick to defend, not enough offense, modernizing, build bridges, lived equality, grow forward, work towards progress. Give yourself a moment before reacting. Importance of establishing a connection, compassion, patience, and then I’ll end with reciprocity, quality, curiosity, and integrity.

Thanks, everybody. Appreciate the panel.

How do we improve the life quality of students in this environment when it hasn’t felt like that? What tools do we have?

Claudia Loayza: I’d say that part of it is making sure that we’re having better mental health services to identify not the best practices and caring for mental health, but also making sure that there are therapists that identify and reflect your lived experiences. I think it’s a matter of bolstering those kinds of services not just to help students in crisis, but making sure that there is a continued pattern of “come back and make sure that this isn’t just a one-and-done, then you come to me when it’s really bad,” but that we’re also keeping a pulse on what students need throughout the year and throughout different stages of their academic experience.

Jordan Brown: When I was a kid, I was really into construction TV shows like HGTV. And I remember one of my favorites was this Canadian-based construction company, And they would go in and do these rebuilds for people with houses burned up in fires or financial crisis has left them destitute or various ailments or misfortunes. And during the rebuild, they would talk about the products that they would use. And they would use two-by-fours that were sprayed with fire-resistant or retardant paint. Those are gonna go on the wall and you’re never gonna see them and it’s extra work. It’s extra money, but that house will never burn down again. I think that’s what we’re missing. I think we’re very reactionary to things, but we do not invest in prophylactic. We don’t invest in stopping it before it happens. And I think that is the issue that, for me personally, I would like to see addressed more. It is about providing the services, I definitely agree with that and getting the healthcare that you need, but I would really like to see an investment in stopping these things from happening so you don’t have to experience the trauma anymore. And I think that’s what we all want to get to.

It’s incredibly easy to become frustrated with others who resist this crucial work, and we know that we won’t make progress if we respond with anger or judgment. Obviously, compassion and patience are key. What advice would you give when the anger or judgment starts to come out? What’s a good response to have?

Olivia Jaramillo: So one thing that has helped me tremendously is knowing that you’re not just there to tell them everything that you want to tell them about your EDI efforts, DEI efforts. The first thing you’re there to do is to establish a connection with them and to get to know that person, let that anger from that side come out, however it is, your goal is to listen. First of all, you’re just there to listen, you’re there to hear it, whatever may come out, that’s fine. But then start asking the questions. “That’s interesting, since when have you felt like that,” or “why do you feel like that?” And just get to know the person, build that rapport with somebody. And that goes such a long way, even for yourself, if you’re trying to make your own point across. Later on, you’ll know what will work with that person, or it’s really establishing that connection. It goes such a long way. I think we talked about it earlier about knowing why that other person, where they’re coming from. It helps so much.

James Jackson III: The majority of a lot of conflicts come from people that you actually know, family members, friends, and the main reason is that you feel like you know them. You already know what they’re about, You already know where they’re coming from. That’s where this back-and-forth comes from. But to Olivia’s point, it goes back to that listening, there must’ve been some sort of trigger that you missed…just give yourself a moment. Usually, when you’re quick to react, it’s not always gonna be the best way to react. And so sometimes it’s best to just be silent, give yourself time to bite down. But also it’s great to lean on partners, colleagues, and other friends and say, “Hey, how do I respond to this, how would you take this. This infuriates me. Am I missing something and what can I do better?”

What do you not want to see in 2045?

Olivia Jaramillo: I don’t want to see such a huge political divide. I think we’re always gonna be divided by ideologies or whatnot, but understanding that these ideologies overall, we’re all supposed to work towards progress and that progress should be for everybody. And we should never let parties or anything divide us. We’re all moving the same way, we may disagree, but there is always a point to find where we can agree and where we can actually build forward. So what I don’t want to see is such a huge divide…I challenge everybody to go up there and meet with these lawmakers because you’ll find that they’re human beings. And regardless of what you may have heard about them, there is always a point that you can find with them to find that middle ground and you will start connecting with them. And then that is how we can actually make progress towards what we want to do.

James Jackson III: I don’t want to see 2020 or 2021. I don’t want to see a repeat of this ever again. Lots of division, everybody’s defense barrier is up. I feel like as we grow towards a more diverse future, I see that starting to dwindle down or people becoming more and more receptive to listening to understand the importance of diversity. And as we become more diverse, I think this division will start going away. I just don’t want to see a repeat of the last two years…I think disagreements and different perspectives. That’s all healthy, we’re supposed to disagree with each other. We’re supposed to have debate. That’s why there’s debate in schools. And as you do that, more ideas come out and we become more innovative because we’re getting these two perspectives. But until these two perspectives come together, we’re never gonna go forward.

Can you give an example where you felt you saw real change?

Natalie Gochnour: When our state passed the non-discrimination law for housing and employment, I was working at the Salt Lake Chamber at the time, and I got a call from Jim Dabakis and he said, “you should come up, we’ve reached an agreement,” and I didn’t work on it, but he just thought I would be interested. And I thought, “if he asks, I’ll go up.” So I went up to the Capitol and went into the Gold Room. I watched as our state gathered in the Gold Room to announce this compromise, it was special. I had 18 years on Capitol Hill and it was one of the most gripping, meaningful moments I’ve ever had there. So that was a time when I felt real progress, real change.

Claudia Loayza: So part of our work with the governor’s office is my director’s role as a senior equity and opportunity advisor to him and his cabinet directly. Something that they did back in October was a 21-day equity challenge where each and every day the governor and his staff would go through multiple resources, assignments, and prompts for them to reflect on and write their thoughts. That was a turning point or change shift when I saw their different comments come in. For a lot of them, it was the first time they were hearing…so much history to Utah that I think a lot of these folks just didn’t know. And a comment that stuck with me was, “I didn’t know any of these things, but now that I know, I can do better.” So it was, again, that mentality shift that needed to happen before actually going into action and to any kind of impact. But I think that’s something that inspires me to know that they’re willing to accept these perspectives and this need to change, and then from that point, it was a platform for them to start to shift their perspective and mindsets to actually start to work towards action.

Speaker Bios

Jordan Brown

Jordan Brown, B.S.
Second-Year Medical Student (MS2), University of Utah School of Medicine


Jordan recently graduated from Weber State University with a degree in health promotion and education. He now is an MD candidate in the class of 2024, where he acts as a co-president of the psychiatry student interest group and member of the White Coats for Black Lives organization. Jordan also serves proudly as the treasurer of the first-ever SNMA – Utah chapter in the University of Utah’s history while holding a seat on the professionalism and diversity committee for the class of 2024. He enjoys spending his spare time mentoring inner city and underprivileged youth in the Salt Lake metro area, attending and supporting the Black Physicians of Utah organization, and spending time with friends and family.

Natalie Gochnour

Natalie Gochnour
Associate Dean, David Eccles School of Business
Director, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute
University of Utah


Natalie Gochnour serves as an associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and as director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. She served in the administrations of three Utah governors – Bangerter, Leavitt and Walker – and was a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration. She authors regular columns in Utah Business magazine and the Deseret News and co-hosts the weekly radio program Both Sides of the Aisle on KCPW.

James Jackson III

James Jackson III
Executive Director, Utah Black Chamber


James Jackson, III serves as the Supplier Diversity Program Manager as Zions Bancorporation, where he is responsible for building relationships with capable diverse suppliers who can provide goods and services across the enterprise. Mr. Jackson has worked in various areas of the financial industry for almost 20 years, and found his passion serving and building his community. In conjunction with his role at the bank, Mr. Jackson serves on several boards of directors, and is the founder of the Utah Black Chamber. Since its inception in 2009, the Chamber has grown to not only serve black-owned small businesses in Utah but has become the premier organization connecting and engaging Utah’s Black community and building bridges for inclusion.

Olivia Jaramillo

Olivia Jaramillo
Director of Public Outreach, Equality Utah


Olivia is a Strategic Leadership Consultant and a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Specialist. She is currently Director for Public Outreach at Equality Utah. She was born and raised in Mexico. She’s a retired United States Air Force Veteran, where she served on tours to Iraq, Europe, and humanitarian missions into Africa. In 2016 she was one of the first individuals nationwide to legally change her name and gender marker while still serving on Active Duty. She has worked in furthering DEI efforts for several companies and Organizations including the YMCA, Qualtrics, Dominion Energy, EDC Utah, and Adobe. She is a member of the YWCA’s Public Policy Committee, and was a political candidate in 2020. She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her son Oliver.

Claudia Loayza

Claudia Loayza
Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator, Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs


Claudia Loayza is passionate about the intersections of opportunity, place, and justice. City planning became her conduit for this drive, and she believes that the state of a community depends on how accessible it is for people to work, play, navigate, and thrive in their environments, especially for historically marginalized groups. She is a second-year master’s student in the University of Utah’s City and Metropolitan Planning program to better address disparities in city planning, community engagement, and access to critical services from a systemic approach. In her role as Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator with the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, she advances opportunities for underrepresented groups at the state level and encourages trust-building and collaboration with communities to address localized concerns through policy impact, youth empowerment, equity-centered communications, and EDIA capacity-building for organizations.

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