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Power of Diversity Lecture Series

Power of Diversity Lecture Series

‌The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity sponsors the Power of Diversity lecture series to inspire campus dialogue, community engagement and civic education and learning about the national narrative on diversity and inclusion. The annual series includes two distinguished guest speakers from the national or international scene and four scholars from our own faculty.

The speakers include scholars, thought leaders and diversity professionals whose research, scholarship, leadership and advocacy enhance the university's efforts to present diverse ideas, perspectives and viewpoints to inspire greater understanding and appreciation for inclusive excellence.

All events are free and open to the public.
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Power of Diversity Lecture Series (Spring 2018)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Steve Pemberton

Vice president, diversity and inclusion for Walgreens Boots Alliance

​"​From Corrective Action to Competitive Advantage: How Diversity is Reshaping Our World"


Steve Pemberton is vice president, diversity and inclusion for Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise in the world, employing 370,000 people in 25 countries.

Steve is responsible for overseeing the company’s global efforts to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment focused on the following areas: strategic diversity management, global diversity councils and business resource groups, disability initiatives, supplier diversity, and compliance objectives.

Under Steve’s leadership, Walgreens reached record levels of performance on nearly every measure of diversity and inclusion from representation to supplier diversity spend. An extended part of his responsibilities has been to serve as a public ambassador for the company on matters of employing people with disabilities. In that capacity, he has frequently represented Walgreens’ employment model at the White House and on Capitol Hill. In 2015, he was appointed by United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to serve on an Advisory Committee for the Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.

One of America’s most inspiring executives, he brings a deep personal understanding of human differences and the human experience to his position. Steve was a ward of the state for much of his childhood, an experience he chronicled in his 2012 best-selling memoir, A Chance in the World (Thomas Nelson).

Steve’s extraordinary life journey, featured in People Magazine, has been translated into multiple languages and continues to inspire audiences across the world; his tireless advocacy for the disenfranchised has earned him national recognition including from the Trumpet Foundation.

His dedication to public service and personal and professional achievement have also earned him honorary doctorates from Winston-Salem State University (2014) and Boston College (2015). In 2015, Steve was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award by the United States Congress, presented to individuals from the private sectors who have contributed to expanding opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions, and who have set exceptional examples for young people through their successes in life.

Prior to assuming his role at Walgreens, Steve was chief diversity officer and vice president of diversity and inclusion at, where he coined the term ‘Next Practices’, to reflect the need for a stronger alignment between diversity and inclusion and driving shareholder value.

A graduate of Boston College, he is a Bostonian by birth and a Chicagoan by choice. Steve resides on several non-profit boards including UCAN, The Home for Little Wanderers, Bernie’s Book Bank and The United States Business Leadership Network. He and his wife Tonya are the proud parents of three children.

Steve Pemberton

Steve Pemberton, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion Global Chief Diversity Officer Walgreens Boots Alliance

Cheryl Toman, PhD

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
3 p.m., Senior Classroom
Tinkham Veale University Center

Cheryl Toman, PhD

Chair, CWRU Department of Modern Languages and Literature & Professor of French
Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Program

“The Fight for Inclusion in the African Canon: Women Writers of Cameroon & Gabon.”

Professor Toman’s area of research is African women’s writing with a special emphasis on authors from Gabon, Cameroon, and Mali. She also has a secondary interest in women in the Arab world, specifically of the Middle East.

Her most recent book, Women Writers of Gabon: Literature and Herstory (Lexington Books, 2016) is the first book-length study in English of Gabonese literature. The study discusses the perceived “invisibility” of women writers and focuses on the major contributions of Gabon’s first generation of female authors.

Professor Toman’s first book, Contemporary Matriarchies in Cameroonian Francophone Literature (Summa, 2008) is the first comprehensive text on the history of women’s writing in Francophone Cameroon and concentrates specifically on women’s empowerment using African constructs to interpret tradition.

Toman has also directed four collections of essays uncluding Defying the Global Language: Perspectives in Ethnic Studies (Teneo, 2013).

An accomplished translator, Toman has translated several books, short stories, and poetry including the first novel written by an African woman, Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury’s Rencontres essentielles (Essential Encounters) that appeared in the MLA Texts and Translations Series in 2002.  In Spring 2018, Toman’s translation of Justine Mintsa’s Histoire d’Awu (Awu’s Story) will be published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Her current book projects include a comparative analysis between Malian women’s writing and Wassoulou music and a second study on women writers of Gabon with this latest research focusing on Gabon’s second generation of women writers specifically.

Grace Clifford, MAEd

Grace Clifford, MAEdThursday, March 8, 2018
3 p.m., Senior Classroom
Tinkham Veale University Center

Grace Clifford, MAEd

Associate Director, CWRU Education Student Services Disability Resources

“Building a Culture of Inclusion: Creating Campus Advocates for Students with Disabilities in the Health Sciences”

As Associate Director Grace Clifford determines and implements accommodations and advocates for students with disabilities. She endeavors to ensure that all students are able to fully participate in their chosen programs and activities at CWRU.

She is the staff advisor to the student group, AccessAbility which endeavors to support students with disabilities through mentorship and reducing stigmatization. Grace Clifford received her MAEd in Leadership in Higher Education from Baldwin-Wallace University.

Mark Joseph, PhD

Mark Joseph, PhDWednesday, March 28, 2018

Mark Joseph, PhD

CWRU Leona Bevis and Marguerite Haynam Associate Professor of Community Development, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Founding Director, National Institution on Mixed-Income Communities

“The Everyday Vigilance Required to Make Real Progress Toward Racial Equity & Inclusion"

Mark Joseph is the Founding Director of the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities and a Faculty Associate at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development. Prior to joining the Mandel School faculty, he had a post-doctoral scholarship at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Joseph was formerly a Principal with Community Development Associates, a consulting firm based in New York and Chicago, which provided strategic planning and research support to community-based initiatives around the country. He also worked for several years at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago on research on comprehensive community-based initiatives.

His general research interests are urban poverty and community development. His current research focuses on mixed-income development as a strategy for addressing urban poverty, with particular attention to transforming public housing developments. His co-authored book Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation was published in November 2015.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Cityscape journal published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is also on the editorial boards of Housing Policy Debate and Housing Studies.