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University News | 02.27.24

Panel of higher education visionaries to explore assets of diversity in leadership

Registration is open for a panel on March 7 moderated by former Board Chair Joy MacPhail, with Raymond Crossman, Ph.D., president of Adler University; Martha Piper, Ph.D., former president and vice chancellor of the University of British Columbia; and Ajay Patel, president and CEO of Vancouver Community College.

Photo of Dr. Crossman

Dr. Crossman

Do identities that have been historically disadvantaged translate to a contemporary advantage in leadership today? 

In an eye-opening panel conversation, three diverse leaders will seek to explore the importance of individuals who identify as women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community in leadership roles and the distinct assets they bring to meet today’s challenges in organizations and society.  

“All of us have navigated complex social and organizational challenges in our professional lives,” said panelist and Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D. “As leaders from historically disadvantaged communities, we often see opportunities others may miss. We hope to showcase how we have utilized our unique experiences to address issues we face today and beyond.”  

Photo of Martha Piper

Dr. Piper

Highlighting the need for connection, humanity, and authenticity in leadership, “Diversity is an Asset for Leadership” will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on March 7 in Community Hall on the Adler University Vancouver Campus. The discussion will be moderated by Joy MacPhail, the first Vancouver-based chair of the Adler University Board of Trustees from 2018-22. 

The panelists are: 

  • Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., author of “LGBTQ Leadership in Higher Education.” 
  • Ajay Patel, president and CEO of Vancouver Community College. As an immigrant and a person of color, Patel is deeply committed to empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds and community enrichment. 
  • Martha C. Piper, Ph.D., former president of the University of British Columbia (UBC) from 1997 to 2006 and co-author of “Nerve: Lessons on Leadership from Two Women Who Went First.”

    Photo of Ajay Patel

    Patel

 “As an immigrant and person of colour, I feel a responsibility, as president, to advance our college community’s approach of safely supporting Indigenization and equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said Patel. “We can all learn from one another. Every person brings value to the conversation and can offer a unique perspective to the educational landscape. Diversity is strength.” 

“I learned a great deal about diversity as the first woman to serve as president of UBC. Over time, I began to acknowledge that my approach to leadership was definitely informed by my gender,” added Dr. Piper.  

To attend, register by March 3. 

“All of us have navigated complex social and organizational challenges in our professional lives,” said Dr. Crossman. “As leaders from historically disadvantaged communities, we often see opportunities others may miss. We hope to showcase how we have utilized our unique experiences to address issues we face today and beyond.” 

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