Business and Ethics

WA Employers for Racial Equity Kicks Off Leadership Program at SU

Written by Lincoln Vander Veen

January 12, 2023

New initiative will promote leadership opportunities for Black employees. 

Washington Employers for Racial Equity (WERE) have launched at Seattle University a 12-week Leadership Development Training program to assist Black employees to advance into leadership roles.  

"I am delighted that Seattle University is hosting the WERE Leadership Program," says Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver. "Increasing the diversity in Pacific Northwest c-suites of the future is a goal that aligns perfectly with our mission to empower leaders for a just and humane world. We are excited to work with our region’s leading employers as well as our business school colleagues at other institutions to help achieve this important objective."

Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics is one of four business schools partnering to deliver the program, "Washington B-Schools for Racial Equity." The other schools are University of Washington, Washington State University and Central Washington University. 

Employee participants in the initiative are from Delta Dental, Microsoft, Lease Crutcher Lewis, Avista Corporation and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Overall, there will be 22 participants in the first cohort (11 early career professionals and 11 mentors.) 

"I couldn’t be more pleased about the launch of the leadership development training program this month," explains WERE Executive Director Shirline Wilson. "I can say with high confidence that I would have greatly benefited from a program like this in my early career. We are so appreciative of the commitment of the leadership at Seattle University, University of Washington, Washington State University and Central Washington University to racial equity and for making an investment in this coalition."

WERE launched in December 2020 as a coalition of employers and leaders committed to supporting Black Washingtonians and building a future rooted in equity. Soon after, 12 business schools in Washington came together to support the work of WERE under the Washington B-Schools for Racial Equity (WBRE) banner and started working on ways to collaborate with WERE and its membership in its steadfast commitment to empowering Black Washingtonians to find increased economic opportunity.

Read more about the WERE commitment to progress.