Webster Speaks

As part of ongoing efforts to underscore our commitment to social justice issues, Vincent C. Flewellen, chief diversity officer at Webster University, hosts a virtual speaker series, “Webster Speaks: Dialogues on RACE, EQUITY and INCLUSION.” The series features live discussions with thought leaders within the University and in the wider community, confronting systemic racism issues.

Listeners can get involved via Twitter by submitting any questions (in advance or during the event) using #WebsterSpeaks.

Following the livestream, each episode is listed in our archive below, and added to the Webster Speaks playlist on YouTube.

The opinions expressed by any speaker, panelist or participant in Webster Speaks represent the individual views of the person expressing such opinions and do not represent statements made by or on behalf of Webster University. The University presents this program for educational purposes and to encourage academic discourse.

Webster Speaks Episode Archive

Special Guests: Tyrone Dennis and Sgt. Donnell Walters

Policing in the Black community is a highly charged, fast-changing landscape. What are the solutions to ongoing friction? What does justice look like? And what are the challenges facing Black law enforcement officers? Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster’s chief diversity officer, gets to the heart of the matter with Tyrone Dennis, director of School Safety and Security, School District and a retired Atlanta Police Gang and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms detective; and Sgt. Donnell Walters of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Community Engagement and Recruiting Unit, who is also president of the Ethical Society of Police (ESOP).

Originally Broadcast: May 26, 2021


Special Guests: Dewitt Campbell III, MSW; Mary Preuss, Ph.D.; and Yin Lam “Nicole” Lee-Johnson, Ph.D.

Discrimination against Asian-Americans has always been a problem in the United States but hate crimes have spiked since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. How can we as a community come together and stand up against this new wave of discrimination? Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster’s chief diversity officer, sits down with Dewitt Campbell III, MSW, Program Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis (NCCJ St. Louis); Mary Lai Preuss, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of Webster University’s Biological Sciences Department; and Yin Lam “Nicole” Lee-Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of Webster’s Graduate Department of Education, Director of its Ed.D. Program, co-director of NPD Grant, and chair of the University Senate’s Multicultural Studies Committee.

Originally Broadcast: April 28, 2021

Special Guests: Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, Dr. Corey S. Bradford, and Dr. Belinda S. Miles

Where is higher education for Black students headed in 2021? How are HBCUs positioned to address the issues of racial reckoning on campuses in ways that are different from predominantly white institutions (PWIs)? Why are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) receiving visible attention from the new administration and from several major donors? What pathways enlarge opportunities for Blacks to serve as college/university administrators?

Originally Broadcast: March 24, 2021

Video coming soon.

Special Guests: Gabrielle Souza and Jordan Braxton

What is it like to be Black and transgender today? The racial reckoning of 2020 served to amplify the Black Lives Matter movement, but trans people of color feel their voices are still not being heard. Join Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster's chief diversity officer, for a heartfelt sit-down with Gabrielle Souza, a BIPOC trans activist and diversity educator, and Jordan Braxton, a trans activist, diversity educator and popular St. Louis drag performer known as Dieta Pepsi.

Special Guests: Donald M. Suggs, Michael McMillan, Dr. Jameca Woody Cooper, Carol Daniel, Brennae Jackson, Alisha Sonnier, Cbabi Bayoc, Hannah Verity and Valerie Patton

Twenty-twenty has been tumultuous on many fronts. Racial inequalities reached multiple flashpoints amidst a pandemic and political upheaval. How can we come together when so much still divides us? In the final Webster Speaks episode of 2020, we asked some previous guests to reflect on the year and look ahead to 2021 with host Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster’s Chief Diversity Officer.

Read episode recap.


Special Guests: Angela Cody, Desiree S. Coleman, Clinton Normore, and Valerie Patton

How can workplaces build diversity at a time of shrinking workforces and racial divisions? The role of the chief diversity officer (CDO) and diversity and inclusion (DEI) has never been more important.

In this episode, Vincent C. Flewellen talks with three professional colleagues: Angela Cody, CDE, director at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and leader of the St. Louis Diversity & Inclusion Consortium; Desiree S. Coleman, MPA, diversity and inclusion executive at a Fortune 50 company and founder of the women’s empowerment group, The Queen Within; Clinton Normore, MBA, vice president of diversity and inclusion at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Ariz.; and Valerie Patton, MA, MSW, senior vice president of inclusion and workforce development strategies; executive director, St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative.

Read a recap of this episode.

Originally Broadcast: Dec. 2, 2020

Special Guests: Rev. Wendy Bruner, Rob Good, Jackson Hotaling, and Hannah Verity

What role should white people take in advocating for racial and social justice? How does one go from being nonracist to antiracist? Vincent C. Flewellen discussed this with four white St. Louis social justice activists: The Rev. Wendy Bruner, pastor of Peace United Church of Christ in Webster Groves; Rob Good, a UMSL adjunct assistant professor and member of the Witnessing Whiteness facilitation team; Jackson Hotaling, a volunteer with Faith for the Sake of All; and Hannah Verity, a Witnessing Whiteness 2019 participant and director of Webster’s Global Program Development office.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Special Guests: Dail Chambers and Cbabi Bayoc

Activism and the arts have long been interwoven into the fabric of the Black experience in America. Artists continue harnessing their talents as a form of activism as well as self-expression during this time of racial reflection. Join Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster’s chief diversity officer, as he sits down with two St. Louis artists: Cbabi Bayoc, an internationally known visual artist and illustrator who celebrates family, children, music and more in signature bold, joyful colors; and Dail Chambers, an award-winning multimedia artist, Reiki master and community educator.

Episode recap

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Special Guests: Marvin Anderson, Mark Darrell, Jovita Foster, Sumit Verma, and Atul Sharma

How do companies make diversity a meaningful core value? What is the best way to recruit and retain diverse talent? Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster’s chief diversity officer, discussed these topics with corporate leaders and Webster trustees Marvin Anderson, senior vice president and private client advisor at Bank of America; Mark Darrell, senior vice president and chief legal and compliance officer at Spire Inc.; Jovita Foster, vice president and general counsel at Drury Hotels; Atul Sharma, chief human resources officer at EthosEnergy; and Sumit Verma, senior vice president, Commercial Manufacturing, at Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Episode recap

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Resources related to this episode:

Special Guests: Alexis Templeton, Tory Russell, and Alisha Sonnier

The 2014 Ferguson protests united bodies and voices against racism and ignited a movement that continues across the world. Join Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster University Chief Diversity Officer and host, for “The Power of Street Activism,” the seventh episode of Webster Speaks. Hear from key local organizers Alexis Templeton, co-founder of Millennial Activists United; Tory Russell, mission director of the International Black Freedom Alliance; and Alisha Sonnier, president of the activist group Tribe X.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Special Guests: Webster University Suggs Scholars - Student Panel

What is it like to grow up in an age of racial reckoning? Host Vincent C. Flewellen sits down with a panel of Webster University Suggs Scholars. These academically talented undergraduates of color are recipients of a scholarship named after Donald M. Suggs, publisher of the St. Louis American newspaper. They talk about what it’s like to be a Black collegian today, the many avenues to activism, and their plans for the future.

Episode recap

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Special Guest: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, six-time Olympic medalist and founder, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time and one of the greatest philanthropists in the St. Louis metro region. The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation creates a haven and learning-rich environment for young people in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois. Listen as she discusses Black athletes and different paths of activism with Vincent C. Flewellen, Webster’s chief diversity officer.

Read the episode recap.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Special Guest: Carol Daniel and Eric Deggans

Are the media portraying protests against police brutality fairly? Are Black voices being amplified in news and entertainment? Carol Daniel, KMOX news anchor, columnist and author will discuss this important topic along with Eric Deggans, NPR TV critic and author of “Race Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.”

Read the episode recap.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Special Guest: Jameca Woody Cooper, PhD, psychologist

From racial profiling to police brutality and lack of opportunities, institutional racism is impacting the mental health of African Americans. Join counseling psychologist and Webster faculty member Jameca Woody Cooper, PhD, MA, as she sits down with Webster Chief Diversity Officer Vincent C. Flewellen to discuss "Racism and Mental Health."

Read the episode recap.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, August 5, 2020


Resources related to this episode:

  • Mental Health Resources in Metro St. Louis
  • Dr. Jameca Woody Cooper – 1-833-8CALLDR or www.drjameca.com
  • Dr. Jameca’s Facebook Page
  • Provident Counseling & Mental Health – 314-533-8200
  • Affinia – 314-898-1700 (Nonprofit health and counseling services)
  • Ayana Therapy – https://www.ayanatherapy.com (focusing on diverse, underserved populations nationwide)
  • Psychology Today verified therapists – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255


Special Guests: Hon. Ella Jones and Michael P. McMillan

The Hon. Ella Jones, the first Black and first female mayor of Ferguson, discussed her city as a symbol of both injustice and hope. Michael McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, talked about the Urban League’s local programs and progress in bridging St. Louis’ racial divide.

Read the episode recap.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Special Guest: Dr. Donald M. Suggs

The first episode, “What is the Meaning of Freedom Right Now?”, followed the Fourth of July holiday. Flewellen interviewed Dr. Donald M. Suggs, publisher and executive editor of The St. Louis American, Missouri’s largest weekly newspaper and a leading voice of the region’s African American community since 1928.

Read the episode recap.

Originally Broadcast: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Guest spotlight quote
Guest Spotlight

“Empower yourself with knowledge and understand how we got into this position and why we’re still fighting.”

Guest spotlight quote
Jackie Joyner-Kersee


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