Fisher Conference to Explore Diversity in the Workplace

January 10, 2023

St. John Fisher University will host a one-day conference to explore how different sectors can foster and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Diversity in the Workplace Conference will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at the Holiday Inn Rochester (70 State St, Rochester).

Online registration is now open; tickets purchased by Tuesday, Feb. 28 are $40 (use the code EARLYBIRD at check-out); $50 thereafter, plus online fees. 

“Every organization, regardless of industry, has to work to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in their organizations,” said Dr. Marlowe Washington, senior diversity officer for the University. “This conference will bring leaders together to discuss their approach to DEI and share best practices that can be adopted across sectors to create cultures of belonging within the workplace.”

The day will begin with a CEO Fireside Chat featuring Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres ’18 (Ed.D.), chief executive officer of Bivona Child Advocacy Center, and Dr. Joyce Jacobson, immediate past president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Moderated by Tashanda Thomas ’11, chief human resources officer at WXXI, the conversation will explore how each leader has developed DEI within their own organizations. 

The conference includes three tracks featuring expert panelists from three sectors. The education track panelists are Dr. Joellen Maples, dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education at Fisher; Dr. Kevin McGowan, superintendent of Brighton Central School District; and Dr. Allison Rioux ’03, ’05 (M.S.), assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Brighton. The health and human services and non-profit sector track will be led by Dr. Linda Clark, chief medical officer at Common Ground Health, and Miguel Meléndez, Jr. ’08, chief community engagement officer at the Ibero American Action League and president of the Rochester City Council. The corporate sector sessions will be led by Stephanie Pennington, corporate diversity manager for LeChase Construction, and Carlos Butler-Vale, chief diversity officer for Constellation Brands. 

At 1 p.m., a luncheon will feature a performance by Panloco Steel Drum Band. Washington said that the afternoon sessions will follow an “unconference” format, allowing participants the opportunity to share their experiences at their own organizations. Discussions will be moderated by the morning’s panelists. The day will conclude with networking during a cocktail reception.

The conference is being planned by Fisher’s Alumni Board of Directors, the Office of the Senior Diversity Officer, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education, with the support of the Office of Institutional Advancement.

For more information about the conference, email