Making a positive difference in the world takes real guts, a thick skin, and a strong backbone. But you also need the heart for it.
In the fourth grade, Denise found her heart for this work when she was asked by her teacher what she wanted to be when she grew up. She answered without hesitation, "The President of the United States."
The whole class - all Black students from Chicago's south side - burst out laughing, including her White male teacher. "Now, now, Denise," he said, "you know you can't be President."
Nothing else that happened that year in school stuck with her more than that one jarring lesson: It's absolutely okay and accepted to keep certain people out of certain spaces.
Denise grew up. But that little girl has stayed with her - motivating her to lead wholehearted change within the institutions and systems that fought to keep her and others out.
After 30 years of working "in the trenches" of EDI, Denise O'Neil Green, Ph.D. now helps other leaders find their own personal motivation for bringing equity, diversity, and inclusion to their organizations.
She gives leaders a compassionate, honest, and judgement-free space where they will discover practical tools for creating and putting to work EDI strategies and initiatives. But she also gives them the space needed to dig deeper and go beyond the performative.
Denise guides leaders to look inward so they can define for themselves how the equity, diversity, and inclusion of all people aligns with their values and why it is personally important to them. Because bridging personal connections to this work - discovering and strengthening the heart behind why leaders do this work, gives change the chance it needs to last.