Deborah S. Willis

Senior Program Lead, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Certificate program, Program Manager for Professional and Academic Development, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan
Inclusive Leadership Learning Cohort Speaker

Deborah S. WIllis, PhD, is Senior Program Lead for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Certificate program and Program Manager for professional and academic development at the Rackham Graduate School of the University of Michigan.

Her LinkedIn Profile reads as follows:

The many hats I wear in both my professional roles and my daily life allow me to use my experience to empower people in ways that allow them to grow. Throughout my career, I have had the unique privilege to not only provide people with the tools they need to thrive, but position them to use those tools and more importantly, to use them well.

With diversity, equity, and inclusion at the core of my work, I strive to create an environment in which everyone has an opportunity to thrive. My time in higher education has taught me the importance of approaching professional development in a nuanced and personalized way. I am energized by others’ success, which has led me down the path of coaching and consulting, in addition to workshops focused on specific areas of skill growth.

While my formal education has laid a foundation for my career as a lifelong learner, I use my everyday interactions to fuel and better my practice. My specialties include:
• Developing programs for diverse teams, especially in the higher education environment
• Strategic project management
• Outlining and measuring realistic objectives
• Active and innovative problem solving
• Organizational, analytical, and interpersonal communication
• Developing strong partnerships within and between organizational hierarchy
• Promoting and creating a supportive and inclusive community for all that embraces change and new ideas
• Developing programming and service to support personal, academic, and professional goals

Recent publications include the following articles for Inside Higher Ed:
• The Benefits of Coaching Conversations
• Getting Up to Speed on Diversity
• On the Road to Champion