Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

The Institute for Diversity Certification conferred diversity credentials to 29 new designees, the largest group yet

About 60% of Fortune 500 companies currently have a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) or executive role designated for diversity, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.  Many of these employers expect real business benefits and bottom-line results. Therefore, they are going beyond traditional compliance efforts toward strategic culture change and innovation with specialized Diversity and Inclusion education.

The Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC) leads the way with a robust credentialing program for diversity and inclusion (D&I) professionals. IDC offers two tracks, the Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) program, which focuses on global D&I efforts, and the Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) program which addresses the day-to-day administration of D&I interventions. Both programs allow corporate, nonprofit, government and education leaders to hone their skills in leveraging differences for better business performance and capturing diverse demographics for enhanced bottom-line impact.

IDC recently conferred credentials to 29 new designees during its November/December 2013 exam window. The twelve (12) new CDE designees are: Leslie Anderson, Ph.D., Missouri State University; Gloria Chiantella, NPR; Lyle Foster, Missouri State University; Eric Guthrie, JD, BetterMEBetterWE; LaTricia Hill-Chandler, Veolia Water NA; Kimel Hodges, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Carol Hogard, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; Cheryl Lindsay, HanesBrands Inc.; Jeannine McMillan, Rolls-Royce North America; Jo-Elle Mogerman, Ph.D., Chicago Zoological Society; Michelle Taylor, Cummins Inc.; and Rita Taylor-Nash, Health Care Service Corporation.

The seventeen (17) new CDP designees include: Regina Atkins, Indiana State University; Laura Bird, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona; Tonia Buxton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Paul Crylen, Health Care Service Corporation; Craig Enyeart, Indiana State University; Idella Glenn, Ph.D., Furman University; Melissa Hurm, Lee Distributors; David Kagan, Teach for America; Tradara McLaurine, Indiana State University; Lucie Nelson, Heartland Family Service; Tanya O’Neill, Humana Inc.; Brian Pauling, NV Energy Inc.; Marcia Reina, Teach for America; Jennifer Rivera, Aon; Lilla Turner, Health Care Service Corporation; Debra Vance, Ivy Tech Community College; and Elsa Velasquez-Ward, Midland Memorial Hospital.

Performance Assessment Network (pan) provides state-of-the-art, secure internet-based testing, and proctored administration for IDC candidates at over 600 testing centers throughout the world. Previous exam administrations netted up to 15 candidates per testing window. But this year, a total of 40 exams were administered by pan during the November/December testing window alone.  DiversityInc noticed a similar trend. In 2005, it only had 201 companies participate in the DiversityInc Top 50 process. Last year they had 535 companies participate. Some employers have begun inquiring about how to link their credentials from IDC to their DiversityInc Top 50 application. Additionally, many have decided to enroll entire departments in the IDC credentialing program.

Rita Taylor-Nash, Vice President at Health Care Service Corporation says, “I was initially torn between completing the certification process before committing my team or having us complete the process concurrently.  I chose the latter based on my high-level review and resulting comfort with the course content and format.”

The IDC diversity and inclusion certification exam is a uniform test that assesses a candidate’s knowledge of 16 broad competencies. IDC also assesses a professional work through the Candidate Project evaluation. All IDC designees must pass the exam with an 80% or better. The 2014 exam competencies include The Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion, Emerging Markets, Generational Intelligence, Empowering Women in the Workplace, LGBTA Employment Issues, and Harassment Around the World, to name a few. Much of the content addresses management expectations, linking diversity and inclusion goals to organizational objectives, and getting quantitative results.

Leslie Anderson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counseling at Missouri State University, says, “I have had other diversity professional training and this one was superior to the one I had previously completed.” Taylor-Nash adds, “The course content covers the nuts-and-bolts of D&I that all professionals should know. On a more strategic level, it also covers major demographic and global trends that have positioned D&I as a key component to organizational and business success.”

Leah Smiley, Founder of the Institute for Diversity Certification asserts, “In today’s competitive business environment, you definitely want people on-board who can execute diversity strategies well, and deliver anticipated results. This program helps organizations to purposefully move diversity and inclusion from one level to the next.”

Currently, there are nearly 200 IDC designees representing organizations such as Eli Lilly & Co., Cisco, Mercedes Benz, Wal-Mart, Goodwill Industries International, University of Miami, University of Alabama, NASA, WellPoint, US Air Force Academy, HealthSouth Corp., Wells Fargo, Belk Inc., Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, and more. Upon obtaining credentials, designees may volunteer to share best practices with new Candidates by instructing preparation courses, reviewing Candidate Projects, updating materials, and providing feedback on test questions. Designees demonstrate more confidence upon completing the program due to the level of peer interaction and the focus on excellence. For more information about IDC, call 1-800-983-6192 or log onto

By Leah Smiley

Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about diversity and inclusion certification, or the Society for Diversity, log onto


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