Dear Diversity Section Members:

It was not my intent to start a letter to the section this way, but this announcement does fit in with the theme. Barbee Oakes has retired from the AAA to concentrate on her health. I ask that you send healing thoughts/wishes/prayers her way. In an unretirement, she joined as Chief Diversity Officer at the AAA. In her short time at AAA, she has brought a welcome light along with tremendous experience and expertise.

The tool she developed in the DEIB Certificate places much of that expertise into a series of modules that I encourage you not to merely view passively and earn the certificate, but to embrace and use as a tool for starting conversations among your colleagues. You may ask (and I have already been asked/challenged), “Why do I need a DEIB certificate?” As Diversity Section members, we think about these issues more than most already. However, I am struck by the words of Billy Williams, KPMG Houston Partner and DEI Leader who spoke at the joint Diversty/TLC Midyear in October, when he said, “Nobody is a diversity expert.” So, while you may not need it, I guarantee you will learn something from it.

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