Community Conversations

Community Conversations 2019-2020

The political and social landscapes are changing along with the norms for social discourse and the familiar processes for creating and sustaining healthy, vibrant communities – including the workplace. One way to counter this is through dialog and effective networking. So, this year’s series will focus on capacity building, but with an emphasis on communication. This, so that we can engage - across all lines of difference - in important, sometimes difficult but always necessary, conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion as about personal and organizational values, personal experiences and expectations and strategies for supporting others in the Wellesley community. We look forward with pleasure to working with you.


Previous Programs

The Race Card - August 8, 2019

Increasingly, as a nation we are grappling with how to confront racism.  Some deny its existence, some prefer thinking about it in certain contexts, while some live with its impacts every day. Understanding the very personal manifestations of the social construct that is race, is one way to center our perspectives in dignity, empathy and respect.  It is also the way to better understand our own and others’ the experiences and to further develop our capacity to push for change. With this in mind, we invite you to join us in a very personal exploration of racial identity as we dive into Peabody Award winning journalist Michele Norris’ Race Card Project. Launched in 2010, this project has become an effective “vehicle for expression and voice” with people living in all 50 states and 90 countries sharing personal back stories, sentiments and hard truths rarely expressed out loud. 

Guest Speaker: Sonja Spears, Esq. – Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.


Knotty Problems Roundtable Discussions - November 5th

Community Conversations is delighted to collaborate with Prof. Alex Diesl to bring you this special edition of “Knotty Problems Roundtable Discussions.” For the past six years, Alex has been running these sessions to provide opportunities for informal, cross-disciplinary, small group conversations about teaching. However, this special 2-hour edition, invites conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as well as inclusive excellence and belonging. As with the traditional Knotty Problems Sessions, this forum is open to all Wellesley College faculty and staff who are interested in a thoughtful, informal discussion about these timely matters. The format will be small group conversations, to allow everyone a chance to both speak and listen. Please come; ask questions; share concerns; exchange stories and ideas; and engage with others for whom these matters are compelling, challenging and/or thought-provoking. And, snacks will be provided!

Speaker: Prof. Alex Diesl


Tools for Leaning into Cross-Cultural Interactions - December 12th

If you were asked to recall at least one occasion when you were interacting with one or more colleagues in either a work or social situation and you felt some tension or discomfort not directly related to actual work content, what might come up for you? When reflecting on the incident(s), are you pleased with the outcome(s) or do you wish you could have handled it better?  If the latter, you are not alone. This excellent presentation by Dr. Duncan Spelman will provide a set of excellent tools (some surprising) for managing such situations with skill and grace. Some pre-work is required.

Benefits-eligible employees can earn points towards the Whole You incentive by attending this program.

Location: Library Lecture Room
Date: December 12, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Duncan Spelman


Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am - February 3rd

In partnership with the Office of Intercultural Education, we bring the critically acclaimed documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am to campus. Though in the theaters for a surprisingly short time, one reviewer wrote, “Within minutes of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ new documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, it’s obvious that the distinguished author is a born storyteller. Her words are precious, perfectly placed in her melodic speech. Even her childhood memories come off as tiny epics, revealing some part of her, and by extension, some part of us in the process. Her reverence and awe at the power of the written word are as strong as ever. With a knowing smile, she revisits her memories in one-on-one style interviews, looking directly at the camera—at us—to tell her story. A chorus of scholars, critics and friends join her to sing praises for her work that she’s too modest to bring up herself." The screening will be followed by facilitated talk back.

Benefits-eligible employees can earn points towards the Whole You incentive by attending this program.

Location: Collins Cinema
Date: February 3, 2020
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Speaker: Akua Sarr - Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs at Boston College


Power & Privilege - June 18th

While there seems to be a greater awareness of the use and abuse of privilege and power, many are still left wondering how, on an individual level, these two concepts impact day-to-day life and interactions, especially in the workplace, and how they relate to the broader issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  This virtual workshop will discuss the relationship of privilege, power, and oppression and how we can increase awareness of behaviors to decrease abuse of privilege in the workplace.
This program is limited to 40 participants to foster stronger and thoughtful conversation. We will be offering additional sessions of this program based upon demand.
Date: Thursday, June 18th
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Virtual Workshop - limit 40 participants
Speaker: Robert Amelio


About the speaker: Robert has worked in the areas of diversity and inclusion, human resources, and organizational development for many years. Most recently he was the Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence at Emerson College in Boston. Prior to his work at Emerson, he was the Vice President of Diversity and Talent Development at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and Human Resources Representative and Director of Diversity and Development at Harvard Medical School. Robert has written articles on team-building, management, and diversity-related topics for COLOR Magazine and the Boston Business Journal.