VP and CHRO Diversity Council

photo: spectrum of colorful leaves

The HR community plays an important role in supporting a culture of inclusion in our workplace and at Cornell, which enables each and every one of us to flourish.

The HR Diversity Council develops, implements, and evaluates initiatives that lead to greater diversity and inclusion throughout our division and HR community. Our charge is to:

  • Align HR’s Toward New Destinations efforts with the university’s overall goals;
  • Advise the division’s senior leadership on diversity issues;
  • Drive a diversity communication strategy; and
  • Reinforce a workplace that values diversity and inclusiveness within the division, and in turn influences culture throughout the university.

Contact: hr-dvrsty-cncl@cornell.edu


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HR Diversity Council "Diversity Brief" Newsletter

Diversity News & Notes for Cornell's Human Resources Community


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HR Community Conversations

Diversity programming designed specifically for Cornell's HR community.

Past programs:

This is Us: Exploring Invisible Disabilities in Our HR Community

September 26, 2018

Did you know that in a recent survey, 30% of us in the Division of Human Resources identified as individuals with disabilities – with the majority of these being invisible disabilities? Many indicated we had not disclosed these disabilities to our co-workers, because we were concerned about how we would be perceived and/or treated.

This program will challenge us to re-examine what we think we know about the experiences of our colleagues with invisible disabilities. With greater understanding, we as HR professionals will be better positioned to lead by example to help foster a genuine sense of belonging and create a more inclusive workplace -- for both our colleagues in the HR Community and the greater Cornell community.

Lunch will be provided and participants are encouraged to join us for a lunchtime guided conversation immediately following the program.

Download Powerpoint Presentation Slides


Maria T. Timberlake, PhD is an Associate Professor at SUNY Cortland whose research focuses on the impact of disability policies and the unintended consequences of good intentions. She studies the perspectives of those expected to implement policy, and those impacted by it, especially individuals whose communication, sensory needs, and perceived ability make them vulnerable to being misunderstood and underestimated. 

Patti Riddle, LMSW, is currently the Associate Director for Medical Leaves Administration (MLA) at Cornell. She has been employed with Cornell since 1995 and has spent her entire professional career in medical leaves and disability accommodations. MLA is responsible for handling workers’ compensation, short term and long term disability, FMLA and NY Paid Family Leaves, the ergonomics program, and ADA employment related requests.

Reginald H. White, MBA is a Sr. Director, HR Strategy at Cornell University. Most of his career has been focused on helping individuals and organizations set and achieve their goals. He has specialized in Leadership Development and Diversity and Inclusion. His current focus is on how to create a culture and structure that supports university goals and allows individuals to thrive.


Blending Human Systems: Embracing Generational Diversity in the 21st Century

April 11, 2018

Presenter: Donna Lynn Haeger, PhD

Donna L. Haeger is a Professor of Practice in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. Her research interests are at the intersection of organizational behavior and digitization. She explores technology in the workplace, leadership, teams, and management. Her contributions relate to influence and intergenerational exchanges in an effort to blend human systems.

Exposure to technology has changed the way people approach work and relationships. With three generations making up the majority of the workforce, relationships with colleagues of different ages can often be challenging. As we move away from the traditional paradigm of work-life balance and enter the era of the fused work environment, there are often misunderstandings between managers, direct reports and coworkers. 

This workshop will explore how people can better understand each other so they experience successful interactions at work in order to improve relationships, productivity, job satisfaction and quality of work life. Insights into developing policies and strategies as well as simply reaching a shared understanding are the goals of this workshop.



TND Goals FY2018


HR Diversity Council Poster 2018

Download a poster!

As part of Toward New Destinations, the HR Diversity Council has adopted three initiatives that we will work toward during the 2018 fiscal year. Progress on these initiatives will be reported to the HR Community via the monthly Diversity Brief email. Our 2018 initiatives are:

  • HIRING: (Year 2 of ongoing initiative) Cultivate successful partnerships with identified organizations; implementation of tool for translating military occupational specialty codes; development of a process map and designated audit points for the search process; pilot of tool to write more inclusive position descriptions; an increase in the number of postings sent to organizations for advertising; an increase in the number of applicants from these populations; an increase in hires made from these populations.
  • INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAM: (Year 2 of ongoing initiative) The pilot programs launched in 2016-17 received mixed reviews. While participants favored the opportunity to discuss generational differences with colleagues, they found the content presented to be less applicable and not specific to their roles. Using the feedback and the lessons learned from the pilot programs, we will revise both programs to shift the focus to understanding the business case for hiring and retaining millennials, reviewing workforce trends both nationally and at Cornell, and identifying specific actions that HR professionals should take in order to ensure they are creating a welcoming workplace environment for millennials.
  • DISABILITY PROGRAMS: (Year 2 of ongoing initiative) Thirty percent of respondents to the HR staff survey self-identified as individuals with disabilities, and 85% of these indicated their disabilities were invisible. Participants who indicated they were apprehensive about disclosing their disabilities in the workplace cited concerns that co-workers would perceive them as lazy or unable to do the work required of them. Using the firsthand experience of our colleagues with disabilities, we will design a training program for all HR staff focused on understanding invisible disabilities and creating a more welcoming workplace. Additionally, we will develop and implement a set of standard procedures to be followed for all division-wide or large meetings within HR to proactively ensure we are creating an inclusive environment for IWDs.

HR TND 2016-17 Outcomes and 2017-18 Proposed Initiatives
University-wide TND goals and reporting