Lecture Series to Explore Diversity of Thought, Veterans’ Transition

Kelvin Womack

Kelvin Womack

Diversity initiatives in the workplace have typically focused on including diverse genders, races and ethnicities to create better organizations.

The 2014 Fall Diversity Lecture Series will kick off Sept. 11 with an examination of the emerging field of diversity of thought, which recognizes that everyone has a unique blend of identities, cultures and experiences that inform how he or she thinks, interprets, negotiates and accomplishes a task. 

“For this series, we are taking a different approach to diversity and emphasizing areas other than gender and heritage or ethnic background,” said Dr. George Fair, vice president of Diversity and Community Engagement. “Diversity of thought is this interesting idea that organizations benefit by having people of varied backgrounds ‘sitting at the table,’ so to speak.” 

On Sept. 11, Kelvin Womack will talk about “Diversity’s New Frontier: Diversity of Thought and the Future of the Workforce.” 

Womack is the managing principal of diversity for the Deloitte U.S. firm, as well as a senior principal in Deloitte Consulting’s Life Sciences and Health Care Provider practice. He has served clients at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Womack will discuss a 2013 Deloitte study that says cultivating diversity of thought in an organization can boost innovation and problem-solving. 

Lisa McNeme

Lisa McNeme

For example, according to the study, a group with diversity of thought can make better decisions and complete tasks more successfully than a homogenous group because information is processed more carefully and creatively. 

On Nov. 6, the series will continue with “Transitions: From Military Service to Student Veteran,” by Lisa McNeme

McNeme is the assistant director of the UT Dallas Veteran Services Center, which opened in September 2012 to serve as a resource center for veterans, reservists, eligible dependents and active duty military students. 

She served as a C-21 and B-52 pilot in the U.S. Air Force. McNeme is in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, serving as the admissions liaison officer director for northeast Texas. She earned a master’s degree in higher education from Dallas Baptist University and a master’s degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. 

McNeme will speak about the challenges of transitioning from the military to the academic environment and civilian sector. The lecture also will focus on responsibilities and adjustments student veterans may have and how institutions can facilitate their transition and provide them tools for success.

Both lectures will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the TI Auditorium (ECSS 2.102). Click here to register.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].