Just One Q podcast cover with guest Dr. Shirley Knowles

Building Resilient DEI in a Post-Affirmative Action Era

How can DEI withstand changes to Affirmative Action?

While the legal challenges to Affirmative Action are bad news, they’re not the end of the road for DEI. As DEI practitioners, we can overcome this wave of political resistance and stick to the path. We can continue to build inclusive organizational cultures. Our toolbelt includes the visible commitment of leaders, support for employee resource groups, sector-wide outreach, education, and more.

On this episode of Just One Q, Dominique chats with guest Dr. Shirley Knowles, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Progress, a customer-centred tech company based in Massachusetts. They discuss the importance of maintaining DEI commitments despite the recent changes to Affirmative Action in the U.S. and some simple, actionable tips for DEI practitioners facing resistance.


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Dr. Shirley Knowles

Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer | Progress

Dr. Shirley Knowles joined Progress, a Massachusetts-based leading tech company, as its first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer in 2021. She is responsible for leading the company’s inclusion and diversity initiatives designed to foster a culture of belonging where all employees feel valued, safe and seen. She previously served as the first diversity and inclusion officer at a large property and casualty insurance company in Boston, where she led initiatives to promote inclusivity and appreciation of cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic and educational diversity.

Dr. Knowles earned her BA in communications from Marquette University; a Master of Leadership Studies from North Central College; a Master of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies and Master of Science in Communications Management from Simmons College; and a Doctor of Education in organizational leadership from Northeastern University.

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See how easy it is to activate soft skills in your organization. Soft skills training on 3 key topics: DEI, Leadership, and Collaboration.