Equity Conversations Podcast

Join Partners in Diversity on this monthly Equity Conversation podcast featuring real conversations on issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and race. The podcast focuses on ideas, tools and solutions to help make our workplace more equitable and inclusive. It is also a place to celebrate the unique experiences of our diverse communities.

Episode 1: Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie What advancing immigrants and refugees means for us all

From changing an outdated model to ensuring that basic services are provided, the new director of Oregon’s Office of Immigrants and Refugee Advancement has big dreams.

In this episode of Equity Conversations: The Podcast, hear from Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie and learn about the value her office brings to the state and how you can help support our state’s newest residents.

Episode 2: Alexis Braly James Constructing a more inclusive work environment

Over the past few years, many organizations have adopted a diversity, equity and inclusion plan. In this episode of Equity Conversations: The Podcast, we chat with local DEI consultant, Alexis Braly James, about how racial interactions have changed over the years and what companies need to understand before embarking on their DEI journey. We also hear about how she felt “othered” as a kid and what she does to avoid burn out.

Episode 3 Building an effective DEI council

Over the past two years, many organizations established a diversity, equity and inclusion council to focus on DEI priorities, while others are considering one. In this special edition of Equity Conversations, we learn from a panel of DEI influencers from a variety of industries on ways to structure and engage your council to move your organization’s DEI strategy forward.

The panelists include:

  • Barbi Alexander, Shared Prosperity Program Specialist at the Port of Portland.
  • Ale Gallegos, the Policy Leadership Council Organizer at the Oregon Food Bank.
  • Parna Mehrbani, a partner at Tonkon Torp LLP.
  • Morgan White, the Talent Initiatives & Special Projects Coordinator at the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce in New York.

Episode 4: Dr. Tae-Sun Kim Gaslighting and its impact on DEI

Gaslighting — it’s the most looked-up word of 2022, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In this episode of Equity Conversations, we take a closer look at what gaslighting means in the workplace and how it affects DEI efforts – everything from retention to performance to mental health. Our guest, Dr. Tae-Sun Kim, vice president and chief diversity officer at Legacy Health, shares common examples, how to fight it and what people with past traumas need to be careful of.

Episode 5: Afrita Davis The need to support DEI practitioners

Working as a diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner brings both heaviness and joy. Overtime, it can take a toll. In this episode of Equity Conversations Podcast, we speak to Afrita Davis, a personal development coach, to explore the challenges of leading DEI work and her advice on how to overcome something many DEI practitioners feel — a sense of isolation. We also discuss what trauma-informed workplaces look like – and how workplace systems and leadership are often the barriers to full inclusion.



Episode 6: Jetamio Kennedy & Jonathan Cresson Intersections between racism and ableism

If disability is something that anyone can acquire in their lifetime, then why is there so much division? That’s the question posed by our guests in this month’s Equity Conversations podcast. In honor of Disability Awareness Month, we explore the intersection of systemic racism and ableism – and their impact on the lives of people of color with disabilities.

Our guests, Jetamio Kennedy and Jonathan Cresson from Relay Resources, share what individuals and managers can do to change the systems that continue to oppress people of color with disabilities.


Episode 7: Michael Tom The role of DEI in workplace investigations

Workplace investigations have serious consequences for the people and companies involved. Following the murder of George Floyd and the COVID pandemic, the kinds of claims and investigations have shifted as employees become more aware of social and racial issues. In this episode of Equity Conversations, we speak with Michael Tom, founder of Northwest Workplace Investigations, to discuss these changes. He also shares one case study and how diversity, equity and inclusion played a role and what employers can learn from it.

Episode 8: Jocelyn Rice Using fashion and design to change the future

Everyone is a designer – from artists who create masterpieces for the senses to lawmakers who develop policies that help people. In this episode of Equity Conversations, we talk to a Portland fashion designer who is using her art to heal racial trauma. We will also explore the concept of Black Quantum Futurism and how it can create new possibilities and futures for Black people.


Episode 9: Joseph Nguyen Built to fit: Designing an inclusive space

For most companies, the office or workspace is a big investment. Everyone who enters this space perceives and accesses it differently. In this episode of Partners in Diversity’s Equity Conversations Podcast, we explore the idea of sharing design power with those not typically involved in the process of creating buildings and offices. Joseph Nguyen, an expert in commercial design, discusses the steps that designers, architects and organizations should take to develop an inclusive space.


Episode 10: Crystal Meneses Racial healing through music: Creating a new state song

Sometimes important changes require multiple tries. Oregon’s state song was adopted in 1927. The original lyrics contained racist and exclusionary language. In 2021, lawmakers voted on new lyrics written by one woman who removed the racist language. One arts activist says that’s not enough, so she launched a new effort – one that includes poetry, melodies and voices from across the state and from all backgrounds. She’s also taking it one step further.

In this episode of Partners in Diversity’s Equity Conversations Podcast, learn how Crystal Meneses is leading the Oregon State Song contest and how she responds to people who push back against these changes.