DEI Conference

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

DEI Conference: I SEE YOU

Thursday, July 27 | Ball Event Center, Olathe

Register for Conference

Ryan McElmurry

Contact me about group pricing.

I See You

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Baker University welcomes you to our first DEI conference.

Get the tools you need to build a better tomorrow. Grow your network, form meaningful connections, and identify and share best practices to make a positive change in your industry and community.

I See You will educate, advocate, engage, and empower individuals to cultivate partnerships and conversations that create and sustain an environment that is inclusive, equitable, and diverse.

Participants will discuss strategies that can be used in business, education, health, and beyond.

Price: $80

What’s Included?

  • Speakers with years of experience implementing successful DEI strategies and navigating complex and evolving issues
  • Networking opportunities with both peers and professionals from other fields
  • HRCI credit for HR professionals
  • 1 credit hour of continuing education credit for educators
  • Lunch and optional networking happy hour


8 a.m. Doors Open

9 a.m. Welcome & Keynote

10:25 a.m. Breakout Session 1

11: 15 a.m. Breakout Session 2

12:10 p.m. Lunch (included with admission)

1 p.m. Panel Discussion “Good Talk”

2:15 p.m. Breakout Session 3: Deep Dive With Panelists

3 p.m. Breakout Session 4

3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks & Raffle Giveaway

4 Networking & Social Hour (drinks included)

5:30 p.m. End

Download a Program

Keynote Speaker

Silas S. Dulan III, MSM
Associate Vice President, Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Black & Veatch

Silas Dulan will kick off the day by sharing the belief that DEI is based on ensuring that everyone unequivocally feels they have the ability to thrive. He will demonstrate that strengthening employee engagement, fostering trust, and building lasting relationships require organizations and communities to respectfully communicate and develop a DEI action plan.

At Black & Veatch, Mr. Dulan works with company leaders to advance commitments to creating and sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. He previously served in a variety of DEI-related leadership roles, most recently as director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at electric utility company Evergy. Mr. Dulan’s experience includes facilitation of companywide training and education, extensive work with employee resource groups and boards of directors, and improvement of diversity in hiring. He holds two degrees from Baker University and serves on the institution’s Board of Trustees.

Good Talk: Panel Discussion, 1 p.m.

Our expert panelists, who are leaders from a variety of industries and fill diverse roles, will provide a range of perspectives as they discuss the challenges and nuances found when implementing DEI strategies. Breakout session 3 at 2:15 p.m. will be a deep dive with the panelists.

Dr. Abyssinia Tabron, Panel Facilitator
Vice President, Clinical Engagement and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion+ Belonging, KVC Health Systems

Walking the talk calls for aligning our actions to our intentions. This can prove challenging in light of worker expectations, fiscal implications, shifting political climates, and social justice imperatives.

Dr. Tyrone Bates
CEO of True Empowering, LLC
Coordinator of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Shawnee Mission School District


Danielle Binion
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, University of Kansas Medical Center


Michael Gonzales,
Principal at N&E Consulting
Co-Founder of the Diversity & Inclusion Consortium
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Hallmark Cards


Dionne M. King
CEO and Strategic Consultant, DMK Consults, LLC


Willy Pegues IV
Vice President of DEI, McCownGordon Construction

Jason Oliver
DEI Consultant, Oliver Consulting

Breakout Sessions

Session 1, 10:30 a.m.

Cultural Norms, Bias, and Belonging

Lona Davenport Covington
Diversity & Inclusion Specialist, Honeywell FM&T – Kansas City National Security Campus

Who are we and how do our cultural group norms influence our vision and methods of navigating the world around us? In this presentation, we will participate in a cultural self-awareness activity and reflect on our relationship with the world around us and how the biases we hold may be getting in the way of our efforts to create an inclusive climate at work or in our personal lives. We will discuss the impact, strategies to mitigate the impact of biases, and methods to improve our cultural competency toward a stronger sense of belonging.

Fostering a Culture of Inclusion: Where Disability Intersects!

Darla Wilkerson
CEO of Center for Disability Inclusion

Fostering an environment of inclusion is a high priority for many and drives DEI efforts. Disability is a part of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but often a very minimal, or a non-existent part of an organization’s DEI strategy. Studies show that businesses and organizations whose practices include disability inclusion reap higher productivity and profits, encounter less turnover, and experience an increase in morale and other associated benefits. The fact that disability intersects with all other under-represented groups should be reason enough to make disability inclusion a top priority, but stigma still plays a large role in inclusion. In this session, attendees will receive information on disability awareness to reduce stigma and resources on disability inclusion best practices, including tips on how to enhance disability inclusion efforts in the workforce, workplace, and marketplace.

Evolution of Equity and Equality in K-12 Public Education

Shelly Sanders
Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Support, Lee’s Summit School District

This session will focus on the role equality and equity have played in the K-12 public schools. The content will be connected to court rulings and legislation that have impacted K-12 policies, practices, and processes.

Intent vs. Impact

Cam F. Awsesome
Speaker and Diversity Consultant,  Awesome Talks

This presentation will be about communicating effectively between cultures.

  • Develop a common language and understand what is meant by “culture”
  • Engage in courteous conversations with peers from different cultural backgrounds
  • Acknowledge, embrace, and celebrate difference without offending
  • Develop awareness of how different cultures impact daily interactions
  • Build confidence through communication

Session 2, 11:15 a.m.

Understanding and Combating Contemporary Antisemitism

Sarah Markowitz
Director of Education and Programs, Jewish Community Relations Bureau, American Jewish Committee

As you work to create a more inclusive and understanding organization that tackles difficult DEI conversations, it is critical to intentionally include the Jewish community and discussions of antisemitism. Jewish diversity and religious practices are often not widely understood or recognized, and antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2022. As part of JCRB|AJC’s proactive approach toward combating antisemitism through education, our presentation aims to ensure greater understanding of the Jewish community and to empower all participants to be allies in the fight against antisemitism.

Celebrating Diversity – Intercultural Communication

Nior Gonzales
Senior D&I Specialist, Honeywell FM&T – Kansas City National Security Campus

This presentation will provide participants with the fundamentals of effective intercultural communication skills, as well as develop an awareness and understanding among different cultures. After this session, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Define intercultural communication, culture, and intercultural sensitivity
  • Learn how to increase your understanding and awareness of cultures different from your own
  • Describe communication styles from low-context and high-context cultures
  • Apply your understanding of intercultural communication in a case scenario

Tardigrades: A Microscopic Animal that Offers the Opportunity of Discovery to All

Dr. William Miller
Director of Biological Research, Baker University

We will discuss how we use the charismatic and cute microscopic animal, the tardigrade, or water bear, to excite school children, university students, retired volunteers, park rangers, and the ambulatory disabled from all backgrounds with the possibility of discovering something new to science. Tardigrades are famous for being the toughest animal on earth by surviving absolute zero, temperatures above boiling, and tremendous pressure. Tardigrades were the first multicelled animal to be exposed to space and return to earth alive. Yet, despite being easy to find and work with, we know very little about their diversity, distribution, ecology, and evolution. We use water bears as a tool to teach science and research. We have taken students out of wheelchairs and into the high frontier of the canopy, helped fifth graders publish their findings, conducted outreach with the National Park Service, and aided a senior citizen in the discovery of a new species.

Session 4, 3 p.m.

Don’t Just Play the Game, Change the Game

Dr. Christopher Thomas
Program Manager of Education and Learning, Office of Equity and Diversity,  Children’s Mercy Hospital​

Launched in January 2023, the Game Changers Network is a pilot, first of its kind, expansive system of DEI ambassadors disseminated throughout the Children’s Mercy hospital system meant to (1) accelerate departmental progress toward priorities outlined in the hospital’s DEI Strategic Plan, (2) provide leadership development across the organization, and (3) increase the capacity for DEI-related initiatives and innovation. Participants in the Game Changers Network are given tools to clearly communicate the role and importance of DEI and health equity to their departments, are trained to identify DEI-related issues and engage in courageous conversations within their departments, as well as collaborate across departments to streamline departmental learning opportunities. The goal is to move DEI-related conversations beyond observation and into action, building capacity for all hospital staff—regardless of experience or position—to make concrete, actional decisions about building a more inclusive work environment for patients, families, and staff.

Breaking the Binary

Sarah Apple
Science Teacher and Cultural Competency Coordinator, Raytown C2 Schools

In 2023, we saw Missouri lead the nation in a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills proposed across our country. These legislative bills are extremely harmful to individuals within the LGBTQ community and in direct conflict with current medical science. This workshop is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the science behind sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This knowledge allows us to better understand the inequities facing those in the LGBTQ community so that we may better support their safety, positive development, and academic and life success. Exploring the fascinating and evolving science of sex, gender, and sexuality will provide participants with the terminology and awareness to creatively rethink our spaces and practices to make our communities more inclusive.

Modern Leadership Competencies

Jason Oliver
DEI Consultant, Oliver Consulting

The corporate world has been emphasizing the importance of DEI in the workplace, but it is not enough to simply hire a diverse workforce. Leaders need to have the competencies to create an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. In this talk, I will cover these topics:

  • Aspirational vision/inspirational leadership
  • Consequences of homogeneous environments
  • Leader vs. LITO (leader in title only)
  • Learning the language of authentic diversity
  • Intersectional exclusion
  • Gender default: women = white women
  • Representation does not increase without resistance

Ball Event Center


Ball Event Center

21350 W. 153rd Street
Olathe, Kansas 66061