LEADING FOR DEI is a first-of-its-kind cohort-based program offered by Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility and Loyola’s Institute for Racial Justice. The cohort experience equips executives with the values, knowledge, and tools to design and implement enterprise-wide DEI strategies.

Leading for DEI marries the Institute for Racial Justice’s research and deep understanding of systemic inequity, racism, and xenophobia with Baumhart's expertise in change management and higher-purpose business leadership. The program engages leaders to explore how DEI can enhance each business function—from human resources to supply chain to executive governance—and add social, financial, and societal value.

Meet the current cohort

Read about the experience

New Tools for Driving Impact

Leveraging Loyola’s leadership in DEI, governance, human resources, and responsible business, Leading for DEI offers:

  • Immersive learning: Cohort members participate in an immersive two-day opening retreat followed by five facilitated cohort sessions that cover topics including understanding systemic inequity, the role of companies in advancing equity and inclusion for society, DEI as a business imperative, inclusive leadership, building inclusive cultures and teams, and change management.
  • Individualized coaching: Cohort members work with a strategy coach to unpack their own understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion and how to harness their own leadership to advance DEI. Cohort members also work with their coach to develop and deepen a tailored approach to their company’s DEI strategy.
  • Peer networking: Cohort members build community throughout the program, sharing best practices, strategic efforts and challenges, and additional resources. 
  • A nationally recognized certificate: Cohort members graduate with a certificate in DEI leadership from Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.

Structured for Continuous Learning

Leading for DEI provides executives from companies and large nonprofits with the tools to develop enterprise-wide DEI strategies that are tailored to the company’s unique purpose and positioning.

Learning objectives

DEI and Our Systems

  • DEI - Words and What They Mean (and Not Mean)
  • Understanding Equity: Power and Oppression in our Systems
  • DEI and the Business Context - Snapshot & Taking a Pulse

DEI Embodied

  • Developing a deeper understanding of DEI as a business imperative
  • Inclusion Beyond Compliance
  • Bias, Privilege, and Power Dynamics
  • Transparency & Communication During the DEI Journey

Business Strategy

  • Inclusion Pitfalls: Identifying and Involving Stakeholders
  • Aligning DEI strategy with Enterprise Strategy
  • Supplier Diversity
  • Building Purposeful Networks: Pipelines, Collaborators, and Thought Partnership

Program structure

Leading for DEI will open with an immersive two-day retreat taking place August 3 and 4. Following the opening retreat, the cohort will meet five times (in-person and online) from August 2023 to November 2023, with a celebratory dinner taking place in late 2023. Each learning session will have a specific learning objective and will be structured to promote a high level of open peer exchange and feature facilitated strategy workshops. Alongside cohort meetings, cohort members will participate in three individualized coaching sessions and will be invited to attend gatherings at the Baumhart Center.

Throughout the program, cohort members are encouraged to invite up to three leaders within their companies to participate in select guest speaker visits and workshops.

Our Lead Facilitator

Carla Kupe Carla Kupe
Managing Partner and Co-Founder, CZL P.C.
Learn more about Carla

Guest Speakers

Greg Christian Greg Christian
Founder and CEO
Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners
Malik Henfield
Founding Dean, Institute for Racial Justice
Loyola University Chicago
Robert Johnson Robert Johnson
Chief Equity Officer
Bezos Academy
Marquis Miller
VP, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Obama Foundation 
Candace Moore Candace Moore
Chief Equity Officer
City of Chicago
Laura Ortega Lamela Laura Ortega Lamela
Executive Director, International Business Council
Illinois Chamber of Commerce 
AJ Patton AJ Patton
548 Capital
Teri Ross Teri Ross
Executive Director
Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO)
Marcia K Thompson Marcia K. Thompson, Esq.
Director of Community Innovation

Join Leading for DEI

The application window for the 2023 cohort is now closed. 

Submit an Interest Form

Meet the 2021 Cohort

Meet the 2020 Cohort


We are seeking the foremost leaders for inclusion to join Leading for DEI and to be our partners in moving the needle for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging our workplaces.

We seek professionals who:

  • Have proven experience in engaging teams to solve complex problems
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of their company’s current diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy and can clearly identify areas of opportunity to move the needle
  • Have the power to engage internal stakeholders and executive leadership in cohort learning sessions
  • Are passionate about and committed to moving the needle for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across sectors and industries


Leading for DEI costs $5,000 for the year.

The cost includes:

  • An immersive two-day opening retreat
  • Five facilitated cohort sessions
  • Three individualized coaching sessions
  • All food and drink
  • All materials

Note: The Baumhart Center may offer partial or full cost assistance in rare cases where a candidate's participation ensures a more diverse, inclusive, and successful program for all participants.


Session 1: Thursday, August 3 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (in person)
Session 2: Friday, August 4 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (in person)
Session 3: Thursday, August 24 - 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. (virtually)
Session 4: Thursday, September 14 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (virtually)
Session 5: Thursday, October 5 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (in person)
Session 6: Thursday, November 2 - 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. (virtually)
Session 7: Thursday, November 16 - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (in person)


For questions about Leading for DEI please email us at baumhartcenter@luc.edu.