On Wednesday, June 19, the Oregon Executive MBA will host its first-ever Diverse Professionals Networking Reception at its facility in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. Cosponsored by the University of Oregon Black Alumni Network and the UO Alumni Association, the event will bring together business people from around the region for an evening of connection, conversation, and fun.
The event is a fundraiser for the UO Black Cultural Center, a university initiative that Ericka Warren ’92, MBA ’19, has played a leading role in making a reality. Located on the university’s flagship campus in Eugene, the $2.2 million center is slated to open in fall 2019 and will provide black students with a welcoming space in which to celebrate the richness of their culture.
The reception will also serve as the launching pad for a new opportunity for first-year Oregon Executive MBA students: the program’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Fellowship. The $10,000 fellowship will be awarded to up to five incoming students who are actively promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations, their communities, or the world.
DEI fellows will play an active role in shaping the Oregon Executive MBA’s inclusion efforts, measuring progress and providing feedback through focused meetings. They will also offer recommendations to the program’s administration on an informal basis. In the spirit of paying it forward, the inaugural group of fellows will aid in the selection of the fellows who will start in the program in 2020 and 2021. These students in turn will help select the fellows of future years, creating a vibrant community and building a sturdy legacy.
The initiative has two intertwining goals: grow the diversity of the students in each year’s cohort and increase the focus on the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the Oregon Executive MBA experience.
Warren—who is also the first president of the university’s Black Alumni Network—is clear on the value the fellowships will bring to the Oregon Executive MBA within the classroom and in the program’s larger community of alumni and supporters.
“The Oregon Executive MBA is designed to groom thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and future c-suite executives. It is important these professionals learn to lead from the lens of equity and inclusion, striving to create cultures where all employees can thrive and realize their full potentials,” said Warren. “The DEI Fellowship is a commitment to making a space for diverse professionals and using their experience to help us continue to build an inclusive community.”
Together, the June 19 reception and the DEI Fellowships represent the Oregon Executive MBA’s continuing promise to work with students, alumni, faculty, and staff to continue actively promoting these crucial values.
“We have always aimed to make the Oregon Executive MBA a welcoming place for everyone,” said Oregon Executive MBA Director Rachel Todd. “But as we listened to current students, we realized we could do a better job by proactively creating ways to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion. This new fellowship is an important step toward realizing this goal.”
The Oregon Executive MBA would like to thank Domonique Debnam, MBA ’19; James Dixon, MBA ’19; Joey Hamilton, MBA ’19; and Ericka Warren '92, MBA ’19, for their creative thinking and tremendous contributions to this significant new initiative.
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