January Virtual Training: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The DIET that works- Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Townships

No two townships are the same- from its residents to its landscape. For a township to successfully serve, it is important that leadership and staff understand who resides and engages with the township, to better understand and address the needs of the community. This training provides an introduction to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with a focus on understanding why it really matters, providing simple activities to get started, and removing potential barriers that exist from simply not understanding the intention of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the local level. Attendees will leave with some tools and strategies for assessing, training, and building the foundations for an inclusive township experience.

Melissa Williams, DM has decades of management and process improvement experience in a variety of settings. Her professional career has touched on social work, government, juvenile justice, K-12 special education, and higher education. Starting in social work, she observed early on the rewards of strong organizational leadership- and the problems that arise without. A passion for customer service excellence honed over time and she transitioned to administration striving to create a work environment that both focused on data-informed decisions and emotionally intelligent leadership. Dr. Williams interests and expertise include developing diversity, equity, and inclusive (DEI)-minded work environments and training focused on education and training, mentoring, and generally supporting effective and inclusive organizations.

Over time, her passion for scholarship and practice became centrally focused on helping management effectively improve processes and delivery of services. Recently, Dr. Williams returned to the public sector working as the Administrator for the Township of Schaumburg. A self-proclaimed sci-fi nerd, she resides in Hoffman Estates, IL and shares in the joy of parenting 2 boys and 3 dogs with her partner, a K-12 Special Education Instructor. She looks to continue her service, engaging in research and consultation with inclusive leadership focused on improving performance and efficiency. Dr. Williams is a proud alumna of both traditional and nontraditional education. Her Bachelor of Science, granted by the University of Michigan, focused on civil rights and sociology. She then went on to receive her Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, in Social Service Administration, in the evening program for adult learners. This allowed her to work full time as a Special Education Case Manager for over 500 students in Chicago Charter Schools. Dr. Williams then achieved her Doctorate in Management from the University of Phoenix, while working full time for the State of Arizona and raising two toddlers.