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SOMERS, Wis. – The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is set to host a Women’s History Month Speaker Series throughout the month of March titled Refusing to be Silenced, aligning with this year’s national theme.

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. The theme for 2021 is Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.  

For the speaker series, EDI invited three dynamic women to virtually join our campus and community and share how they achieved success both personally and professionally while refusing to be silent. The events are open to any and all and will take place on March 5 from 2-3:15 p.m., March 12 from 2-3:15 p.m., and March 19 (pre-recorded).

“I hope people will learn the value in allowing spaces for all voices to be heard and to be willing to really hear what others are saying,” Diversity and Inclusion Manager Trina Patterson said. “It’s important to learn how our families and communities benefit from the inclusion of women and people of color and I hope that people are inspired from the messages that will be shared by our three speakers.”   

The speaker series will highlight the careers of Jacqie McWilliams, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Commissioner; Ruth Buffalo, North Dakota House State Representative for District 27; and Deirdre Drake, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at US Cellular Corporation.

McWilliams, who will open the speaker series on March 5, is in her ninth season of serving as the CIAA Commissioner and Co-Founder/CEO of Sudden Change LLC. McWilliams is the first female to serve as commissioner for the CIAA and first appointed African American Commissioner representing NCAA Division I, II and III.

To register for Jacqie McWilliams’ presentation, click here.

Representative Buffalo, who will be featured on March 12, is the first Native American Democratic woman elected to the North Dakota Legislature, currently in her sophomore year. As a public health professional, community organizer, and politician, Buffalo has served in various capacities focused on building healthy and safe communities.

To register for Ruth Buffalo’s presentation, click here.

Drake, who completes the series on March 19, leads the Human Resources and Communications organizations and is responsible for delivering integrated human capital solutions that enable US Cellular to achieve its strategic objectives. Drake established and expanded resource groups that provide support and development opportunities to veterans, women, minorities, LGBTQ employees, people with disabilities and new-career professionals, holding this position since April 2014

This session will be pre-recorded, so please refer to the website on March 19 for more information on how to watch.

The Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion is excited to offer more opportunities to learn from others both inside and outside of our campus community, to foster growth individually and as an institution.

For more information on the Women’s Speaker Series, please visit the Women’s History Month website. To learn more about EDI and the EDI office, please visit their website


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