How Professionals of Color Navigate the Workplace, May 22

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
May 1, 2019

Seattle University's Department of Communication presents How Professionals of Color Navigate the Workplace on May 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Chardin Hall, Rm 142. RSVP online here.

Kimberly HardenKimberly Harden, EdD, moderates this panel discussion. American workplaces continue to grapple with diversity, equity, and inclusion. What are the unique experiences of professionals of color at work today? What are some challenges and opportunities people face when they are the only, or one of very few, in an organization? Learn from this distinguished panel of professionals on what it takes to succeed in your career. Walk away with actionable advice for professionals of all backgrounds – and also what organizations can do to be more inclusive and equitable.


Images of the panelists for the event

Lu Jiang, JD, Program Manager, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Lu Jiang is a Program Manager at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Lu has 10 years of experience managing complex multi-stakeholder initiatives. In her current role, Lu focuses on providing strategic direction for the collective U.S. Program progression towards a more student-centric mindset trough investments in priority communities.  Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lu was an award-winning civil litigator in private practice. Her areas of practice included sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, wage and hour fraud, and policy advocacy. She also clerked for the Honorable Zulema Hinojos-Fall at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, worked as a Legal Complaint Counselor at the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as a Clinic Attorney with the King County Housing Justice Project.  A relentless champion for students and minorities, Lu founded the Equal Justice Endowment at the University of North Dakota and the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship Endowment at Seattle Central Community College, both aimed at providing financial support to the most underserved student populations. Additionally, Lu is a guest lecturer at the Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College.  Lu holds a B.A. in business management from the University of Washington; a J.D. from the University of North Dakota School of Law; and she is working toward a graduate certificate from the Harvard Extension School at Harvard University. 

Aiko Bethea, JD, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Aiko is the head of diversity and inclusion at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In this role, she developed and implemented the first enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion strategic plan. She formerly served as a Deputy Director of Grants & Contracts Management at the Gates Foundation, where she led the team responsible for the due diligence review of investments.  She also partnered to develop and implement efficient workflow processes, facilitated change management throughout the organization, and ensure dthe strategic goals of the organization were supported by solid thought partnership, tools, and process.  One of the highlights for her was leading the Black Philanthropic Partnership and co-leading Gates Asians in Philanthropy – two employee resource groups at Gates. Prior to joining Gates, Aiko was employed at the City of Atlanta.  At the COA she served as Director of Compliance of in the Department of Finance and led the legislative counsel group of the Law Department.  Before her tenure at the City of Atlanta, Aiko was a litigation associate at Kilpatrick & Townsend (formerly Kilpatrick & Stockton LLP) and an auditor at Bank of America. Aiko earned her BA from Smith College in Northampton, MA and her Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studied the civil rights of indigenous people at the University of Sydney.

Dua Abudiab, JD, King County Department of Public Defense

Dua is a Public Defender at the King County Department of Public Defense – The Defender Association (TDA). Prior to her joining TDA, she worked as a public defender at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office. Ms. Abudiab serves on the Lawyer’s Helping Hungry Children (LHHC) board to help fight against child hunger. She is the president of the Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington (MELAW), the co-vice president of Diversity on the Washington Women’s Lawyers’ Board and serves on the University of Washington Heart Health Campaign. She is a 2016 Washington Leadership Institute (WLI) fellow.  She volunteers at Seattle Children’s Hospital in their Child Life division where she gets to play with patients and siblings to minimize the impact of hospitalization. She also volunteers with North East Seattle Together (NEST) to help community members stay independent, active, and connected.  She holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi in and received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law. 

Ashant'e Cheatom, Zillow Group

Ashant'e is a Connection Specialist at Zillow Group, where she  facilitates thousands of connections between agents and buyers/sellers across the US. Ashant'e holds a spot in leadership in the community impact role on the Seattle WIN committees being the first African American in leadership in Seattle WIN committees. She also involved in several other Affinity networks.  Outside of work, Ashant'e is devoted to raising her four children and helping them manifest their dreams.

Jeanea Proctor-Mills, Owner, MRSJDesigns, LLC

Jeanea has worked with at-risk youth and young adults, families, and children in various settings for over 11 years serving in various capacities. Jeanea is educated with a Bachelor of Arts in Community Psychology and a Master of Applied Psychology in Community Psychology. Currently, Jeanea serves as Program Coordinator for the Parent-Child Home Program at Southeast Youth and Family Services overseeing the educational advancement of low-income families, and manages her company. In addition to Jeanea's passion in Social Services, Jeanea owns MRSJDESIGNS, LLC, a graphic and brand design company that she founded. Jeanea has been a freelance graphic designer for over 10 years, and got her niche when she was a little girl. She values creating designs for her clients, and assisting small business owners with organized and aesthetically pleasing brands in order to maximize clientele and value. In Jeanea's free time, she likes to watch TED talks and Youtube videos, and enjoy time with her husband (JB) and her family.