Diversity Series

Advancing DEI In a Hybrid Work Environment

Lonnie Walker, Jr., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

Post-pandemic, our working environment has shifted. There is more of a demand for flexible work opportunities. Not only that, there has been an increase in calls for organizations to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But, how can an organization advance DEI effectively while some staff work in the office, others from home, and some doing both? How do you ensure that employees, no matter their location, stay engaged with the culture? Advancing DEI In a Hybrid Work Environment will address these concerns and more.   Learning objectives: Participants will…
  • Gain insights and discuss the change in the labor landscape and the current “war on talent.”
  • Learn various ways to initiate a DEI program.
  • Be provided tools and tips to advance DEI and keep employees engaged from wherever they work.

Lonnie Walker, Jr.

Lonnie Walker, Jr. (He/him/his) is a Topeka native who has a passion for leadership, serving and people. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing/Finance from The Florida State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Washburn University, and an Executive Certificate in Strategic D&I Management through the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

In keeping with his zeal for serving and people, he began his journey as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practitioner over five years ago at Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka as its Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Program Manager. Joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas in March 2021, he currently serves as its Director of DEI.

When he is away from work, his focus is on spending time with his wife, Alicia; and, their two sons, Aries who’s nine, and Lonnie Walker, III, aka Trey, who’s one.

The Do’s and Don’ts of creating, building, and maintaining a DIY DEI program

Ashlyn Lindskog, Martin Pringle Law Firm

The idea of creating an internal diversity, equity, and inclusion program can be daunting.  You know it is critical work and you want to do it the right way.  As someone who has both created and managed an internal DEI program and advised clients who are doing the same, Ashlyn has learned a few things along the way.  The aim of this discussion is to provide a useful and practical starting point for those interested in creating authentic, active, and healthy DEI programs and policies in their businesses or workplaces.  

Learning objectives:

  1. Practical suggestions for starting DEI programs
  2. How to implement companywide participation
  3. Learn what should be measured to show success

Ashlyn Lindskog

Ashlyn has always wanted to make a difference. Little did she know that her aspirations of being a lobbyist would develop into a passion for veteran’s issues. A self-starter with a heart of gold, Ashlyn met her husband just as he was returning from his first tour of duty in Iraq. Quickly realizing there was a lack of services for families of veterans who had returned from war, she and her husband learned through trial and error how to manage the number of issues veterans and their families face. After graduating from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, Ashlyn worked for local non-profits with the goal of learning how to identify, establish, and fill the needs of veterans and their families who were struggling with some of the same issues her family had faced.

Through her work with the non-profit entities, Ashlyn learned that there is a constant need for legal expertise to address the issues that matter in people’s lives. Ashlyn went on to complete her law degree at the University of Kansas School of Law and put her year off between schools to good use. She served as co-founder and President of the Military Law Society at KU Law School, an organization established to create a Veterans Legal Aid Clinic and connecting law students with an opportunity to use their developing skills to give back to local veterans.

Ashlyn joined Martin Pringle in 2015 after spending two years clerking for the firm. She focuses her practice on employment law, municipal law, business law, real estate law, and civil and commercial litigation matters. Ashlyn is a member of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, the Wichita Women Attorneys Association, and the Kansas and Wichita Bar Associations.

Let's Talk About Pronouns

Mona Martin, SPHR, SHRM-SCP with HM Dunn AeroSystems, Inc

An inclusive workplace recognizes and celebrates the many ways that we are all different. This presentation will explore gender pronouns and provide information to help us better understand what they are and why they matter.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn what gender is and isn’t
  2. Discover the history of non-binary pronouns
  3. Explore forms of bias
  4. Understand common pronouns and why they matter
  5. Talk about how to ask for and offer pronouns
  6. Things to think about when drafting a pronoun policy

Mona Martin

Mona Martin is the Corporate Director of Human Resources for HM Dunn Aerosystems, Inc., an aerospace and defense manufacturing company. She teaches the SHRM GP/SCP exam prep class and the SHRM Essentials of Human Resources class for the BETA division of Butler Community College. Ms. Martin earned SH RM-SCP and SPHR certifications and is a member of national SHRM and the Wichita SHRM chapter. She is active as a community volunteer and non-profit board member, a past nominee for both the Wichita SHRM HR Professional of the Year and the Kansas SHRM Trombold Award and is a member of the Wichita Business Journal’s 2022 Class of HR Professionals. In 2019 she was a member of a Senior Leadership Roundtable led by lvanka Trump on Child Care and Paid Family Leave. She also participated in the December 2019 White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Family Leave.

Check Out the 2021 Series

Intro to Diversity & Inclusion Concepts

Lambers Fisher is a licensed marriage and family therapist who will introduce basic concepts and try to get everyone on a similar sheet of music. Click here for more information on Lambers.

Fair Chance Hiring

Cindy Villarreal, Kansas Department of Corrections, is an Offender Workforce Development and Employment Retention Specialist and certified trainer, with over 20 years’ experience in the field. She graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, and after a time in banking and in early childhood education, found her passion in workforce development. As part of the KDOC Reentry team, she prepares justice-involved individuals to become productive and valued employees and responsible citizens. She has presented at many levels, including local, regional, and national offender employment conferences, where her workshop was reviewed as being one of the best on the subject due to the practical advice and techniques given towards success in Second Chance and Fair Chance Employment.

Safe Zone – Safe Space for LGBTQIA+

Clinton Shane Bradley has been a minister, horse wrangler, soldier, international fashion model, journalist, franchise owner, tenured HR professional, corporate leader – a world traveler. These unconventional paths have become lessons forged from opportunity, and failure. These lessons are the cornerstone of my philosophical approach to our connected diversities. We are humans – not numbers. We place policy and “professional etiquette” before transparency and openness. My 20-years spent in the trenches of HR have provided truths beyond the complex navigation of ego and comfort. It is possible to include those we consciously, or unconsciously, marginalize through purposeful listening and sharing. It is possible to have an uncomfortable conversation with a colleague and leader – while remaining respectful. My truth is to be your guide down a hopeful path with kindness, empathy, advocacy, and belonging. Click here for more information about Clinton and here for LinkedIn.

Unbias: Moving Beyond Talk

We’ve defined the concepts; we’ve talked about what diversity is, what inclusion is and how the concepts relate to the workplace. We’ve told everyone why diversity matters, why inclusion matters, and explained with charts, graphs and statistics about return on investment and the business case for inclusion. But we are beyond talk and data. It’s time for action. If you’ve found yourself asking “how”?