Kanbar Diversity Action Committee

Diversity: The richness of human similarities and differences.

Inclusion: The valuation of diversity that allows people to bring their whole selves to work and school and allows those that we serve to share their whole selves.

At Thomas Jefferson University, we value an inclusive environment that embraces, cherishes, and celebrates the diversity of our people. We believe that a diverse and inclusive environment is key to achieving excellence in our missions of education, research, and patient care. 

Kanbar Diversity Action Committee (K-DAC)

Diversity is the richness in human differences, and inclusion is the valuation of diversity. We are committed to fostering an environment that is collaborative and welcoming to diverse viewpoints, where all of the members of our community are valued and heard. Kanbar College celebrates individual abilities, needs, identities and backgrounds as a valuable asset to create and ethical progress. 

Our mission is to achieve this in the following ways:

  • Create a welcoming and inclusive experience for students, faculty and staff.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion as an important consideration when developing activities, events and the curriculum.
  • Make recommendations to increase the diversity of the college's faculty.

Spring 2023

Madia Willis
The story behind Black Paper Party: Giftwrapping solutions for the culture.

Madia is a Liberian-American designer and entrepreneur hailing from Washington, DC. She received her BA from Columbia and fell in love with fashion and textiles while studying abroad in Ghana, where she later returned to launch a clothing line named Biribelle. She continued her studies of textile design at Central Sr. Martins School of Art and Design in London, Drexel University and Philadelphia University. She then worked as a textile designer at Target, while also serving as the creative director of Retention Strategy, informing solutions to create a diverse community in Minneapolis. She then transitioned to positions in product development and sourcing at Walmart, where she successfully launched a $1 billion children's brand and at Five Below, where she created trend and developed seasonal, home, and stationary products. Madia is now the founder of Black Paper Party, a gifting and stationary company celebrating the special occasions in your life. 

Fall/Spring 2021/2022

Richard Shell
The Wharton's School's Thomas Gerrity Professor of Legal Studies, Business Ethics and Management

How to Stand and Fight for Your Values at Work

Employees frequently face pressures from bosses and peers to compromise core values such as honesty, fairness, social justice, and personal dignity. When this happens, you may confront an anxiety-provoking choice: speak up and risk your job or be silent and stay safe. In this talk, Professor Shell will provide practical tools to help you craft a third way: become an effective advocate for your values and advance your career by committing to become what he calls a “Leader of Conscience.”

Fall/Spring 2020/2021

Lauren Guthrie
VP. Global Inclusion & Diversity VF Corporation

Lauren Guthrie is the Vice President of Global Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Action for VF Corporation.  

Lauren is responsible for developing and operationalizing the strategic framework, guardrails and program development that drive VF’s commitment to building a culture anchored in allyship, advocacy and belonging.  She works closely with key talent management and business leaders to amplify social impact initiatives within VF, in direct support of the diverse associates, communities and consumers served by the VF portfolio of brands.

Prior to joining VF, Lauren has held progressive merchandising and general management roles with global brands such as The North Face, Nike, Levi’s and Abercrombie & Fitch across a variety of businesses. She is a vibrant team leader and coach, who is passionate about developing powerful teams and fostering high integrity work environments where each player is celebrated for their unique contributions.

Reggie Miller
VP, Global Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer McDonald’s Corporation 

As McDonald’s Vice President, Global Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Reginald J. Miller oversees the company’s global I&D strategy with a focus on transformational change around the world.

Reggie began his career at McDonald’s in November 2020.  He joined McDonald’s from VF Corporation, where he served as Vice President, Global Inclusion and Diversity, where he built the company’s first I&D strategy and turned it into an award-winning program.

Reggie has worked in a variety of disciplines including supply chain, merchandising, international project management and multiple specialties within human resources.  Prior to joining VF, he was the Director, Diversity Strategy and Support, responsible for the D&I strategy, reporting, and consultation for all Walmart stores in the U.S. and was a recruiter and D&I leader at Tyson Foods.  He also was an instructor and faculty administrator for the University of Phoenix for several years. 

A US Army Veteran, he served as a Supply Sergeant with deployments to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education - HR Development and a Master of Science in Education - Workforce Development from the University of Arkansas.  He also received an MBA from Webster University. 

Reggie serves on the Executive Advisory Committee for the College of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T State University.  Additionally, he serves as the Co-President for the board of directors for Camber Outdoors.  Recently, he was named to the 2020 Top 50 Chief Diversity Officer list by the National Diversity Council.

Tia Brown McNair
VP, AAC&U Diversity & Inclusion & Director of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices, and student success. McNair directs AAC&U’s Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and TRHT Campus Centers and serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives. She is the lead author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020) and Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016). In March 2020, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education named McNair one of thirty-five outstanding women who have tackled some of higher education’s toughest challenges and made a positive difference in their communities.

To view Dr. McNair's presentation please email a committee member for a protected link and password.

David Dylan Thomas:

David Dylan Thomas serves as Content Strategy Advocate at Think Company and is the creator and host of the Cognitive Bias Podcast. He has developed digital strategies for major clients in entertainment, healthcare, publishing, finance, and retail. A co-organizer of Content Strategy Philly, he previously consulted at the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy and is the creator, director, and co-producer of Developing Philly, a web series about the rise of the Philadelphia tech community. He has given standing-room-only presentations at TEDNYC, SXSW Interactive, Confab, LavaCon, UX Copenhagen, Artifact, and the Wharton Web Conference on content strategy and emerging content trends.

Recording Password: QZ6%Px#y

The following resources are available to help further educate our campus community in order to better understand other people, perspectives, and cultures.

Student Organization Directory

Gutman Library Anti-Racism Resource Guide

Teaching Resources

Jason Crook (Co-chair) is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the School of Business. Crook is an entrepreneur and industry consultant with a background in marketing research, advertising, and corporate branding. Since 2003 he has been the proprietor of an award-winning retail and eCommerce business, PHAG (Philadelphia Home Art Garden). For more than two decades, he has also served as principal at his own marketing communications and research consultancy. He holds a US patent as the co-inventor of “Methods and Systems for Analyzing Marketing Effectiveness”. Crook has been a faculty member in Kanbar College of Design, Engineering & Commerce since 2001, and currently serves as Coordinator of the college’s DEC Core course in Finding & Shaping Opportunity as well as the Coordinator of External Programs for the School of Business. He developed Jefferson’s undergraduate minor in Entrepreneurship and currently serves as coordinator for the annual Matt Glass Awards for Entrepreneurship.

Farai Simoyi (Co-chair) is the Program Director and Assistant Professor for Fashion Design and International Fashion Design Management in the School of Design & Engineering. Behind her, Simoyi has 17 years of experience designing and consulting for some of the most globally recognized celebrities with fashion brands and industry staples such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Roy, Anne Klein, and Robert Rodriguez to name a few. Simoyi has also accumulated esteemed awards and toured the world speaking on diverse topics such as Global Fashion Development, Sustainability, Manufacturing in Africa, and Diversity & Inclusion at renowned institutions such as Tapestry Inc., U.S. Dept of State Educational & Cultural Affairs, US. Embassy of Zimbabwe, & Standard Bank Incubator of South Africa. Simoyi volunteers as an Equity Committee Member for the Fashion Scholarship Fund and Jefferson Consortium of African Partnerships Member for Thomas Jefferson University. 

Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel (Member) is an Assistant Provost, Associate Professor and founding director of the Master of Science in Health Communication Design program at Thomas Jefferson University. As assistant provost, she directs Jefferson’s Creativity Core Curriculum which serves students across the university. Kradel-Weitzel is an elected member of the national board of AIGA, the largest professional association for design in the world. She is a “Sappi Ideas That Matter” grant recipient, has lectured internationally and the work of her practice, Kradel Design, has been recognized with numerous awards. Kradel-Weitzel has a Certificate in Creative Leadership from the Yale School of Management, an MFA from Tyler School of Art and a BA from The Pennsylvania State University. 

Brian George PhD (Member) is an Associate Professor and Director of the engineering programs in the School of Design & Engineering, where he also oversees the composites and nonwovens laboratories. He has done research in the use of non-traditional materials in textiles applications, sustainability, hemp in textiles, and has produced fabric used in astronaut space suits. He can be seen on The Turkey episode of Modern Marvels and the Custom Chrome Made in Sturgis episode of Corbin’s Ride On. He received a BS in Textile Science and a PhD in Fiber & Polymer Science, both from NC State University. He is active as a merit badge counselor and a troop committee member for Scouts BSA, an executive board member of the Philadelphia Section of ASME, and as a board member of his local food pantry where he also volunteers.

Carly Kusy (Member) is an Associate Professor in Thomas Jefferson University’s Fashion Design program, teaching courses focused on fashion research, collection development and sustainable design. Carly comes from an entrepreneurial background and since 2007 has been the proprietor of a few small businesses. From 2007-2013 she had a line of sustainable women’s wear and was the co-owner of Sweet Jane, a vintage clothing boutique and gallery space for independent artists in Philadelphia, PA. Currently, she creates work under her eponymous line of sustainable, handwoven, zero wastes apparel and textiles. Since 2020 she has developed two courses for the fashion design program focused on sustainable design. Carly holds a BS in Fashion Design from Philadelphia University & an MS in Global Fashion Enterprise from Thomas Jefferson University.

Becky Flax (Member) is an Assistant Professor in the Textile Design Department at Thomas Jefferson University. As a self-described design enthusiast, Becky takes every opportunity to experience, learn, and share knowledge from the world of makers, pushing forward collaboration and innovation. Her collaborative research on invasive species for commercial natural dyes, with Dr. Anne Bower from the College of Life Sciences at Jefferson, has been published in the Journal of Natural Fibers. Their student research group presented the findings from their berry natural dye explorations to the Student Conference on Conservation Science at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC in 2022. Becky holds a BS in Textile Design from Philadelphia University & an MS in Textile Design, Weave from Philadelphia University. 

Amanda Bloomrose (Member) is Adjunct Instructor in the Fashion Merchandising & Management Master's program at Thomas Jefferson University. She brings over two decades of global fashion experience to her classrooms at TJU. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science with a BS in Fashion Design, Amanda began her early career in the Philadelphia fashion scene as a designer for Paula Hian in Manayunk. She then proceeded to hold positions at Mulberribush, Fishman & Tobin and LFUSA in Product Development, Merchandising, Production Management, Sourcing and Operations. She has traveled extensively to locations in Central America and China, leading process improvement projects and weaving cross-cultural teams together to successfully achieve business objectives. After receiving her MBA from La Salle University, she has taught the Capstones and PLM Supply Chain courses at Jefferson since 2015, while maintaining a toehold in the fashion industry as a Senior Director of Merchandising for Centric Brands, Inc. Centric is a $3Billion consumer goods company specializing in licensed products ranging from childrenswear to beauty, with brands such as Disney, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Hudson Jeans and Under Armour in their portfolio. 

Shubha Bennur, PhD (Member) is an Assistant Professor and director of MS in Fashion Merchandising & Management program in the School of Business, at Thomas Jefferson University. She obtained her PhD in Apparel Merchandising from The Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Her research focuses on Consumer Behavior and International Retailing which has appeared in several outlets, including the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, Journal of the Textile Institute, Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management. She has co-authored a book titled Retailing in Emerging Markets, 2nd Edition, which is used as a text book in several academic institutions. Apart from teaching, she enjoys traveling and has already been to 37 states in US. Her goal is to visit all 50 states. 

Dana Scott (Member) is a multi-disciplinary artist, Associate Professor, and the Program Director of the Core Curriculum in Kanbar College. Her pedagogy focusses on Design Foundations and Educational Assessment. She teaches Design Essentials in the School of Design and Engineering and Finding and Shaping Opportunity in the DEC Core. Dana’s creative practice ranges from photography to installation, and focuses on translations of natural form based in aesthetics, exploration, and composition. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, her MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and was an Adobe Creative Campus Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow in the Czech Republic.

Contact Kanbar Diversity Action Committee

To contact the Kanbar Diversity Action Committee email us at KCdiversitycommittee@jefferson.edu