The 2016 spring semester LEAD Series will kick off with Terri Houston, diversity expert from the Center for Leadership Development, Inc.
Houston will speak at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center. Refreshments and door prizes will be provided by the Campus Activities Board. The event is free.
Houston, who will be speaking specifically about diversity issues at Newman University, was booked for the LEAD series at the beginning of last summer.
Lauren Susong, director of student activities, said she and Dean of Students Levi Esses decided to book Houston for the first LEAD Series slot of the year because she brought exactly what they were looking for to the table.
“We wanted a nationally renowned speaker and someone who was an expert on this topic,” Susong said.
After reaching out to Houston and solidifying a date for her talk, Susong said Houston began asking how they could get the conversation about diversity started before she came to campus.
“I told her about the student leadership retreat we have before the fall semester and she asked if she could Skype or, in some way, get in front of our students and talk to them and get them thinking about diversity so that they’d be prepared for her to come in February,” Susong said.
After Skyping with Newman students at the leadership retreat, Houston selected three students to share their stories and experiences during her talk. Susong said this was Houston’s way of connecting the talk to the university.
“She wants to talk specifically about Newman. She’s not coming in to preach or say nationally this is what’s happening. What she really wants to talk about is what’s going on at Newman and what’s going on within our community that we could be enlightened to,” Susong said. “She wants us, after contemplating these issues, to be able to approach our life at Newman and the people we interact with a little bit differently than we did the day before.”