More than 60 members of the community attended Niagara University’s inaugural community lecture at NU@822 on Nov. 30, 2022, featuring guest speaker Laura Morgan Roberts, Ph.D., professor of practice at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and CEO and founder of the Alignment Quest Enterprise. Dr. Roberts discussed ways to create positive community transformation by affirming differences and investing in practices that harness the power of equity and inclusion rather than those that debate history, invoke stereotypes, air frustrations, and create confusion.

That afternoon, Dr. Roberts spoke to members of the Niagara University community to suggest ways to create an environment in which conversations on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice can be held. Using the metaphor of a meal, she recommended considering what makes a successful "recipe" for talks like these, what everyone brings to the table, and how we welcome guests and address their particular needs. She urged those in attendance to consider these discussions as the "main course, rather than condiments."

Dr. Roberts is an organizational psychologist who cultivates strength-based practices with current and aspiring leaders seeking extraordinary performance and personal fulfillment in diverse organizations. She has published more than 50 research articles, teaching cases, and practitioner-oriented tools for strategically activating best selves through strength-based development, and edited three books. Her influential publications on diversity, authenticity, and leadership development have been featured in Harvard Business Review and several other global media outlets.

Dr. Roberts earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan. She has served on the faculties of Harvard Business School, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, and Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change, and also taught organizational behavior, psychology, negotiations, group dynamics, diversity, leadership and career development at the University of Michigan, the Wharton School of Finance, Tuck, Georgia State University, UCLA Anderson, Simmons School of Management, and AVT (Copenhagen).

The next speaker, Keith Caldwell, executive director of place-based initiatives at the University of Pittsburgh, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at 6 p.m.

The speaker series is sponsored by Niagara University’s Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement and the John R. Oishei Foundation in collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NU.

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