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KSUnite at K-State Olathe

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Oct. 19
5-8 p.m.

Event Description

Come join us for an evening of learning at K-State Olathe with the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Kansas State University, Rana Johnson, Ph.D.


All times below are in central time (CT).

4:30-5 p.m. | Registration

5-5:30 p.m. | Light dinner: Jack Stack BBQ

5:30-6:30 p.m. | Session: Sense of Belonging

Lessons in a Suitcase: Intrapersonal Awareness, Empathy and Other-Centered Perspectives

6:30-7:30 p.m. | Session: Professional Development

DE and I and the Marketplace: Understanding the Pluralistic Consumer Base

7:30-8 p.m. | Reflections and Closing Comments

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Meet our speakers

Rana Johnson, Ph.D.

On December 1, 2022, Dr. Rana Johnson, became Kansas State University's inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.  Serving as K-State's senior executive, she is responsible for guiding practices and creating opportunities to define, assess and promote inclusive excellence across all aspects of university life. She provides strategic vision and leadership to effectively integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) into the work and culture of the university, working closely with university leadership, diversity point people, the university community, alumni, and external collaborative partners to shape and implement investments, plans, and strategies aligned with institutional goals to create a welcoming environment for all.  Additionally, she oversees and manages K-State's new Division of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, including administrative oversight of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) and the K-State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE).

Dr. Johnson transitioned to Kansas State University from Indiana State University.  She served on the president’s cabinet, and chaired the President's Council on Inclusive Excellence in addition to co-chairing Goal 1 of Indiana State's Strategic Plan, which included advancing a commitment to equity and inclusive excellence across the university community. 
She also held the inaugural Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer position at Unity College in Maine. Prior to the position in Maine, she served in several key leadership positions at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Kentucky’s higher education coordinating agency, for almost two decades.  
During her tenure in state government, she was involved with several state-funded projects that addressed educational development and student success, including a program supported by a grant to increase the number of diverse students earning doctorates and becoming faculty at colleges and universities across the nation. Additionally, she served on a Lumina Foundation grant, with several collaborative partners across Kentucky, to support Latino student success. 
Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Spalding University, a master's in speech communication from Eastern New Mexico University and a doctorate in interpersonal and intercultural communication from the University of Kentucky. She served as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Kentucky and a teaching assistant and speech and debate judge at Eastern New Mexico University. She believes to whom much is given, much is expected.

Michael A. Gonzales

Michael is the principal and owner of NE&E consulting and travels the country as a consultant to corporations and non-profits, he is a coach for executives and DE&I professionals. He is also a speaker, panelist, interviewer, and advisor on DE&I topics impacting business and workforce imperatives. As the former corporate leader of Hallmark’s DE&I department, he was responsible for Hallmark’s DE&I’s strategies and objectives, their internal and external collaborations, partnerships, and compliance. He was responsible for the execution of the DE&I’s priorities regarding, workforce, workplace, marketplace, and community. Michael was also responsible for the company’s seven Employee Resource Groups, (ERG’s).

He is a co-founder of the Diversity & Inclusion Consortium, a national organization of over 500 DE&I practitioners and advocates hailing from 39 states 67 cities including four international cities, Toronto, Canada; London, England, Hanoi, Vietnam and Mumbai, India. The Consortium was created when he saw a need for collaborative thought and problem solving. The main objective of the Consortium is to share best practice and to provide each other insights and support regarding DE&I opportunities and challenges in a safe environment.

Michael is a frequent lecturer on university campuses advancing student knowledge and appreciation for DE&I not only for their college experience but in preparation for their professional career. When time allows he assumes the role of professor teaching a course on diversity, inclusion and equity.

He currently serves on 9 national, regional and local boards and councils.

Michael is skilled in the areas of executive and DE&I professionals coaching, assessment & consulting, speaking & presentations, building critical relations, innovation and resourcing, business collaboration, employee relations, diverse and cultural understandings, compliance metrics and program management.

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