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In the Spotlight: Diversity and Inclusion in Career Services
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In the Spotlight:



Espie Santiago, Assistant Dean & Associate Director BEAM,

Stanford Career Education at Stanford University 


Diversity and inclusion is on the minds of many. We see stories online and on TV or hear it on the radio daily. Many colleges and universities across the nation are taking action to change the landscape and promote diversity and inclusion among students through dialogue, awareness campaigns, and student recruitment strategies. Is Career Services keeping pace with the rest of campus? Espie Santiago, Assistant Dean & Associate Director BEAM, Stanford Career Education at Stanford University brought this topic to NACE 2016 and MPACE Denver. The following is a conversation with Espie about her findings, why she chose to bring this topic forward, and what you can do in your office today.


MPACE: Why did you decide to pursue this topic?


Espie: It grew out of a personal connection to the topic. Looking back to when I started in Career Services I never thought I would need to talk about diversity today. I expected colleges to evolve with the changes in enrollment, but they didn’t. I started seeing who was advancing and who wasn’t. I decided to submit a proposal for NACE 16 focusing on women in the profession and was accepted. After conducting research and presenting at NACE 2016, I realized the need to focus on leaders of color. Our profession is female dominant, representing 76% of NACE membership. However, only 20% are women of color. Also, of the women in leadership only 13% are women of color. I looked internally and asked myself “What do I need to do to lead and inspire women of color?” I submitted a proposal and presented a panel at MPACE Denver titled “Celebrating Leaders of Color in Career Services – Stories & Strategies for Success”.


MPACE: What was the structure and goals of presenting this topic?


Espie: The panel included 4 people of color at the director level or above in the MPACE region, 2 men and 2 women. I was surprised at the struggle it was to find women leaders of color at large four year institutions in our region.


There were three goals:

  • Create greater awareness of leadership development issues and challenges for people of color.
  • Gain strategies and resources to empower and advance people of color in career services.
  • Learn to create a more inclusive culture that supports people of color to achieve their career goals.

MPACE: What are the key takeaways from the discussions?


Espie: It was a great discussion. I’d say the most prominent were the following:

  • Find a mentor. This is essential for success.
  • Get involved outside of your office. Join a committee with a professional association or campus task force.
  • If you are in a leadership or management position plant the seed. Don't wait for someone to ask. Assign stretch tasks to challenge people.
  • Don’t assume that people of color want assignments related to diversity and inclusion.

MPACE: Are there specific actions readers can take to address this issue?


Espie: Know what imposter syndrome is and how to spot it. When you see it in yourself or someone else say something. Also, be in the brave space, not the safe space. Be willing to have conversations that, at times, may be uncomfortable.


MPACE: Thank you for being the brave one to start this conversation for us Espie. For resources related to this topic and to join the conversation follow MPACE on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook.


Espie Santiago is the Assistant Dean & Associate Director BEAM, Stanford Career Education at Stanford University and active MPACE member.  She can be reached at espie@stanford.edu, 650-723-2738, or @espie_s.  She will be presenting “Advancing People of Color: Inspiring Inclusion in Career Services” at NACE 2017 this June.


This Spotlight article was compiled by Michelle Aviles Foley Director of the MPACE Communications Committee. Michelle is Internship Advisor at the University of California, Irvine and can be reached at avilesm@uci.edu, or 949-824-6884.

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