Spring 2013: Dr. Kathleen Sellers and Mr. Fred Schmitt

O'Connor Chair Lecture series Spring 2013, March 20-21, presented a collaborative presentation of "Creating Inclusive Work Environment and Teams"; featuring Dr. Kathleen Sellers and Mr. Fred Schmitt.

Dr. Sellers is Professor and Chair of Alfred State College Department of Nursing. She has over 30 years' experience in promoting professional nursing practice in healthcare organizations as a clinical specialist, healthcare administrator, academic and researcher. Her current scholarly work is focused on describing and determining successful interventions to deter horizontal violence in the nursing workplace.

Mr. Schmitt is Managing Director of the Executive Development Group, LLC., established in 1992. He has over 20 years of experience leading and consulting on Governance, Organizational, Teamwork and Management Development initiatives in a wide variety of multinational, corporate, healthcare, and academic organizations.

An inclusive work environment depends on a culture which welcomes and values the individual diversity of all employees. Successful organizations seek to hire and utilize individuals who can contribute to achieving their mission and goals as effective members of a team. By enabling employees to define themselves, an organization can best facilitate understanding among colleagues helping them to learn to value and work with the richness of the unique diversity among them. Essentially this helps answer the question of: ‘What do we need to know about each other so we can maximize our collective efforts to achieve results?'

We are well served by the many awareness programs about diversity. These enlighten us about the challenges and opportunities of overcoming the stereotypes and barriers to creating effective diverse work environments. However, though we are now becoming more aware, how do we apply this awareness to building successful collaborative work relationships? This program teaches skills and processes for managers and colleagues about how to create inclusive work environments. This training helps redefine stereotypes that threaten inclusion and empower dialogue and discovery among colleagues. In this way an inclusive work environment with high performing teams is proactively created.