Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Conference Archive

Since 2016, the Webster University community has prioritized challenging misconceptions and developing positive and accurate stories for our students through in-depth discussions, dialogue sessions, and shared experiences at our annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference. 

Inclusion Pledge 

As a member of the University community,

  • I promise to consciously promote acceptance and demonstrate respect.
  • I will dedicate myself to actively listen to each other’s story.
  • I promise to learn from and embrace difference among identities.
  • I will practice inclusive language and be open to learning.
  • I promise to educate others to foster an inclusive community that treats every person with dignity and respect.

I will honor this commitment in my classes, workplace, personal life, and all other pursuits on and off campus. I pledge to make everyone feel safe, valued, and part of our global community #WeAreAllWebster.


2022 Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Feb. 28 - March 2, 2022
In person and Virtual 
Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri

Attendees include faculty, staff, students, alumni, corporate partners, and community members from around the St. Louis area. The 2022 DEI Conference will be open to both in-person sessions on the Webster University Webster Groves campus and virtual attendance. The conference is FREE to all attendees, thanks to the generous support of our conference sponsors. Topics at past conferences have included: hate speech, unconscious bias, gender in the media, how to be a transgender ally, multigenerational workforces, accessibility issues, and immigrant experiences.

Please check back for updates. 

Visit the 2022 conference page for updates on speaker details and registration.

diversity conference

Webster Speaks Virtual Series

Additionally, in 2020, we launched a virtual speaker series. The new “Webster Speaks: Dialogues on RACE, EQUITY and INCLUSION” speaker series has built an international audience for its frank conversation with local and national leaders advancing these issues.

All Webster Speaks Episodes

2021: Beyond Conversation: Driving Our Future

The sixth annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference was for the first time - held virtually - February 23, 24, & 25, 2021.

The powerful and insightful conference featured nationally renowned speakers, lectures and panel discussions designed to share experiences, research and emerging trends.

Charlotte Clymer Transgender Activist, Military Veteran 

Patrisse Cullors | Co-founded the global Black Lives Matter movement in 2013 

2020: From Conversation to Action

Our fifth annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference was free and open to the public on our Webster Groves campus, February 24, 25, 26 & 27, 2020.

Diversity and inclusion are not only critical to our success, they are what constitute a strong and loving community. A diverse and inclusive community fosters unprecedented innovation, and also cultivates a community of understanding, a community of compassion, a community that stays vigilant in dismantling bigotry, and a community that rages against the death of tolerance and justice.

This powerful and insightful conference featured a keynote address, lectures, film screenings, panel discussions and demonstrations designed to share experiences, research and emerging trends.

Sam White Civic Entrepreneur & Advocate | @samwhiteout

Michele NorrisPeabody Award-winning Journalist & Founder of The Race Card Project | @michele_norris

Aisha SultanSyndicated Columnist & Independent Filmmaker | @AishaS

Shelly TochlukWitnessing Whiteness | @shellytochluck

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2019: Expanding the Conversation

Our fourth annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference was free and open to the public on our Webster Groves campus, February 26, 27 & 28, 2019.

From Webster's inception, we have been an institution that opened worlds that were previously closed to students. Our student body has become increasingly diverse in every way. We are a microcosm of the world across the Webster campus network and within each campus. 

This powerful and insightful conference featured a keynote address, lectures, panel discussions and a theatrical performance designed to share experiences, research and emerging trends.

Marilyn F. Booker | Managing Director & Head of Urban Markets Group, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Jackie Joyner-Kersee | Olympian; Founder & CEO, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation

Neal Richardson |Head of Financial Education Strategy, U.S. Bank; Co-Founder & President, Dream Builders 4 Equity

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2018: Elevating the Conversation

Our third annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference was free and open to the public on our Webster Groves campus, February 28 - March 1, 2018.

In prior conferences, we have focused panels and speakers on populations who have struggled to be included with equity and dignity. While this conference does explore the role of women and media, current issues with immigration and our keynote which focuses on racism, we have elevated the discourse in other sessions across many demographics. We want to examine hate speech, activism, the criminal justice system – even diversity of thought. We are also varying the format – giving everyone an opportunity to participate in a variety of ways, awakening habits and thought patterns we may not even know we have.

Dr. Donald Suggs |Publisher & Executive Editor of St. Louis American

2017: Critical Conversations

Our second annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference was free and open to the public on our Webster Groves campus, March 1-2, 2017.

How can we make progress on this continuous path to equity? We can build on the knowledge we already hold, seeking to learn from and with each other. We can join with our neighbors to address the most pressing concerns from humanitarian and environmental perspectives.

We can learn from speakers at this forum what next steps are needed. We will maintain our focus—staying true to our core values—by continuing to learn, to create, to listen to each other, to seek the best in each other, and to want the best for each other.

Joan Lipkin Artistic Director, That Uppity Theatre Company

Art HollidayBroadcaster, KSDK NewsChannel 5

2016: Critical Conversations

Our first annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference was free and open to the public on our Webster Groves campus, February 29 - March 1, 2016.

Keynote addresses, student panel discussions, and facilitated dialogue sessions will be planned to create opportunities for those present to share their experiences, research, and emerging trends in creating communities that embrace diversity in ways that welcome and include. The intention during these two days is to explore ways to move forward on the continuous path of equity, valuing the strength that comes from the diversity of the community.

Lee A. Gill Chief Diversity Officer & Special Assistant to the President at Clemson University

Adis M. Vila Senior Fellow for the Institute for Cross Cultural Management at Florida Institute of Technology

Julia Serano Writer, Performer, Activist & Author

Tahil Sharma Youth Representative for the Parliament of the World’s Religions to the United Nations

Photo of Tory Russell
Webster Speaks

“What I found through Ferguson, what I found through Michael Brown, is that I liked speaking into people. I like speaking power to people. I like waking people up.”

Photo of Tory Russell
Tory Russell

Mission Director of The International Black Freedom Alliance

Listen on Webster Speaks