Assistant Vice Chancellor of the Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Nicole uses communications, storytelling and strategy to drive toward systems-level transformation. Her career has been spent working at scale on high-profile, unprecedented, highly complex and nationally relevant brands, initiatives and projects in industries ranging from Broadway to government. Nicole recently joined the administration at Washington University in St. Louis as assistant vice chancellor of the Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As the academy's inaugural leader, she is working on the design and launch of the academy, which is charged with being the primary forum for changing climate and culture on the university's campuses. Hudson is a graduate of Northwestern University.
The Benjamin Youngdahl Professor of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis
Sean Joe is a nationally recognized authority on suicidal behavior among African Americans. His research focuses on black adolescents’ mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in black suicidal behavior, salivary biomarkers for suicidal behavior, and development of father-focused, family-based interventions to prevent urban African American adolescent males from engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviors.
Working within the Center for Social Development, Joe has launched the Race and Opportunity Lab, which examines race, opportunity and social mobility in the St. Louis region, working to reduce inequality in adolescents’ transition into adulthood.
Chief Executive Officer, St. Louis Integrated Health Network; Former Managing Director, Ferguson Commission
As CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN), Ms. Johnson-Javois, MSW ‘02, leads a $1.5 million nonprofit that serves the region’s safety net health care providers and the local community to promote the mission of providing quality, affordable, accessible care to all with an emphasis on serving the underserved. Her leadership in the healthcare sector has garnered notable recognition including being selected by Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri as a 2016 Silver Bell Award recipient for her outstanding community service, leadership, vision and values, and being selected as St. Louis Children’s Hospital 2015 Community Advocate of the Year. She was also selected by the St. Louis Business Journal 2015 Class Diverse Business Leaders and received the Access to Equal Justice Award from the Washington University School of Law’s Clinical Education Program.
Attorney, Founding Partner, Khazaeli Wyrsch, LLC
Javad spent nine years with the Department of Justice and then the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, National Security Law Division. While with the federal government, Javad used his expertise in immigration law to prosecute terrorists, terrorist financiers and aliens engaged in espionage and other criminal acts.
In April 2014, Javad returned to St. Louis after living in D.C. and Chicago to open a small law firm focusing on immigration and the burgeoning start-up community. Four months later, Michael Brown was killed – changing the trajectory of St. Louis and Javad’s legal career. Javad, and his law partner Jim Wyrsch, started by helping protestors clear their municipal warrants so that the warrants could not be used to keep protestors in jail for days and weeks at a time. Most of the warrants were for minor, poverty-based violations.
Over the past five years, Javad’s practice has shifted toward civil rights work. His firm currently has over 20 lawsuits pending against the St. Louis Municipal Police Department (SLMPD) for excessive force. Their firm has sued Ferguson on at least three occasions. Currently, the firm represents an African American SLMPD officer who was shot while he was off-duty by a white SLMPD officer.
Javad lives in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis with his wife Mollie and their two daughters.
Co-Founder, Director of Community and Collaboration, We Stories
We Stories is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization that engages White families to change the conversation about and build momentum towards racial justice and health equity. In 4 short years they have directly engaged 900 families, helping them to start and strengthen conversations about race and racism and increase their capacity for civic engagement and advocacy. Their work has touched thousands more through innovative partnerships with schools, educator networks, libraries and other family serving organizations.
She has spent most of her professional life as a social entrepreneur, community builder, innovator and advocate. She was co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces, a first of its kind community and co-working space for women entrepreneurs in Manhattan, which opened in 2007. In Good Company served thousands of women entrepreneurs and has helped shape the shared workspace industry of today.
Adelaide’s focus on racial justice galvanized while earning her BA in educational studies and sociology from Colgate University. She went on to earn a MA in organizational psychology and a M Ed in Counseling Psychology from Teacher’s College at Columbia University, where she studied racial identity development and group dynamics.
Adelaide is an active parent in her school district, a proud supporter and active participant of many civic organizations and racial justice initiatives. She is particularly honored to serve as a founding board member for Forward Through Ferguson — the organizational outgrowth of the Ferguson Commission report.
Demond Meek Photography
Demond Meek is a commercial-advertising photographer and director. Aside from his time attending the University of Arkansas Fayetteville to study architecture, when he discovered a passion for photography, he has lived most of his life in St. Louis. Demond has collaborated with numerous corporations and has assisted in the creation of award-winning ad campaigns across the United States. Known for the stoical nature of his commercial portraiture, he gained international attention with his personal photo project, #SlumBeautiful, which began as a way to photographically document some of St. Louis’ oldest and most endangered architecture, and turned into a project that challenges the way people perceive, document and live within their urban environments. Demond’s work has been displayed in group gallery exhibitions and has been collected by private art collectors around the world.
Lecturer in American Culture Studies; Curator of Popular American Arts, Olin Library, Washington University In St. Louis
Mitchell is the curator of popular American art and culture at Washington University in St. Louis in the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections. Aside from his appointment in Washington University Libraries, he also teaches courses on race, media and social movements in the Program for American Culture Studies in Arts & Sciences. His courses employ an interdisciplinary perspective that reflect his varied interests in history, literature, music and art. Mitchell has lectured extensively outside the academy, from jazz clubs to community centers. His public lectures have focused on music and popular culture, covering everything from jazz icon, Max Roach’s classic album, "The Freedom Now Suite," to hip-hop legend Jay-Z’s more recent 2018 Grammy nominated "4:44."
Mitchell earned his PhD in American history (focused on African American political and religious thought) from Cornell University. Prior to his position at Washington University, he served as visiting affiliate fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. Currently, Mitchell is working on several projects, most notably his forthcoming book, Jazz Age Jesus: The Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and the Ministry of Black Empowerment, which is a culmination of his doctoral work. Mitchell argues that the Rev. Powell’s ministry was an important and understudied catalyst for the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance and played in integral role in the larger New Negro Movement of the early decades of the twentieth century.
Designer, Social Entrepreneur, Lecturer
De Nichols is a designer, social entrepreneur and keynote lecturer who mobilizes young creative change makers through the production of interactive experiences, digital media and social initiatives.
Based in St. Louis, Mo., De is the principal of design & social practice at Civic Creatives, a design and strategy collective she founded in 2015 to help cities more boldly develop creative solutions for the civic and social challenges residents face. As a national keynote presenter and lecturer, De champions the power of design and storytelling to inspire and equip audiences to spark creative social change across their communities.
Because of her leadership, Nichols has been deemed as a national Ideas that Matter recipient, a two-time Clinton Global Initiative innovator and a St. Louis Visionary for her community impact. She additionally is a 2017/18 Citizen Artist Fellow of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and a 2018 Artist Fellow with the Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis, Mo.
Associate Professor at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis; Director, Health Equity Works
Jason Purnell’s research focuses on how socioeconomic and sociocultural factors influence health behaviors and health outcomes and on mobilizing community action to address the social determinants of health. He currently leads Health Equity Works, the newly expanded and named mission of the Brown School initiative previously referred to as For the Sake of All. Health Equity Works is committed to St. Louis and to translating data and research into collaborative community action to advance health equity. Their work in St. Louis continues and will expand in school health, economic opportunity, early childhood, quality neighborhoods and housing.
Producer, Director, Writer
Chief Storyteller, Story First
Eric Ratinoff, AB ‘93, is the founder of Story First, a strategic storytelling firm that helps organizations get clear about their story and tell it to impact change. Story First works with a range of corporate and non-profit clients, including the City of St. Louis, Forward Through Ferguson, the St. Louis Integrated Health Network, and the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis. Eric is also a co-founder and principal in The Mouse and the Elephant, a diversity and inclusion training and consulting firm. He served as the executive editor for the Ferguson Commission report, and is a co-author of “A Seat at the Table,” an award-winning column on diversity and inclusion in the New Hampshire Business Review. He previously taught technical writing in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University.