Jennifer A. Stollman, Ph.D., is a world-renowned equity consultant specializing in building and sustaining inclusive workplaces and educational spaces. Most recently, she worked as the Academic Director at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. At the Institute, she developed and honed diversity, equity, and inclusion techniques that can easily be used by individuals in their professional, community, and personal lives to minimize unproductive biased thinking and action. Additionally, Dr.Stollman spent over 20 years as a professor of history. She worked at large and small colleges and universities in the Midwest, the South, and the West, training students on how to use history to advance contemporary justice efforts. When it comes to equity and inclusion, she believes that everyone is capable of extraordinary and positive efforts. When Dr.Stollman is not working, she enjoys hiking the Southwest, cycling America’s roads, chasing her sweet dogs, Lincoln, Maisie, and Abby.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- How Dr. Stollman became a world-renowned equity consultant
- The challenges Dr. Stollman faces as a white lady teaching diversity and inclusion
- How being the descendent of Holocaust survivors shaped Dr. Stollman’s worldview and career
- Why Dr. Stollman became politicized about equity and inequality
- Simple things that we can do to be more inclusive
- Audiences that we may not think of in terms of inclusion and biases
- How to easily educated yourself about inclusivity and diversity
- Website: https://www.flexability.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getflexability/
Generating Awareness for Inclusivity and Diversity
Jennifer A. Stollman, Ph.D. comes from an academic background, but the work she does is applicable in almost any environment, personal or professional. Most recently, she worked as the Academic Director at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. There, she developed diversity, equity, and inclusion techniques that can be used to minimize unproductive biased thinking and action in every facet of our lives. In this episode of the Intentional Greatness podcast, Dr. Stollman joins us to share her story. She walks us through the challenges associated with being a white woman teaching diversity and inclusion, and she discusses the impact of the work she is doing.
Diversity and Inclusion Knows No Bounds
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are things that we inherently struggle with, and sometimes, we don’t even know that we are doing anything wrong. As a white lady teaching diversity and inclusion, that understanding is difficult to convey. Dr. Stollman spent four years of her childhood in the foster care system before being placed with a wealthy Jewish family that gave her everything she needed to thrive. Dr. Stollman was not raised with any sort of religious affiliation. But later in her life, she discovered that she was actually the descendent of Buchenwald survivors from the Holocaust. She also discovered that her biological parents were living nearly a block away from her, and all of these realizations had a drastic impact on her worldview. It would be counterintuitive to restrict diversity and inclusion to specific demographics. Dr. Stollman’s background has been a springboard to make an impact with her work.
There’s Still Work to Do
Dr. Stollman became politicized about equity and inequality throughout grad school, but also as a result of her own experience. She encountered tremendous sexual harassment and sexism, so when the #MeToo movement came about, there was no doubt she would stand behind every one of those women. It was inspirational, and as she continued down the academic route, Dr. Stollman got an opportunity to do some really difficult work regarding diversity and inclusion in Mississippi. She is very upfront about the fact that she is not a black or indigenous person of color, because the animosity towards her privileges is the result of hundreds of years of violence in this country. There is still work to be done today, and people like Dr. Stollman serve as a beacon of hope in these difficult times. With all of the uncertainty in the world, this is one thing we have complete control over as individuals.
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