‘Pathways to PennDOT’ Conference

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it will host a one-day conference, Pathways to PennDOT, designed to connect small, minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) with potential contracting opportunities at the department.

The conference will be held at the Best Western Premier Hotel and Conference Center Union Deposit at 800 East Park Drive in Harrisburg on Tuesday, October 18. Doors open at 7:30 AM, and the conference will be held from 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Registration is free.

“Small and diverse business are central to our communities, and our economy,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “I’m thrilled to host this conference and to help facilitate connecting these critical businesses to opportunities with PennDOT.”

The conference is open to DBE firms, primes, contractors and industry leaders, and will cover such topics as DBE certification, the PennDOT prequalification process, branding strategies, and a panel discussion on best practices from current DBE’s, among other sessions. Additionally, firms can learn how to participate in PennDOT’s Mentor-Protégé program, which connects DBEs with prime contractors to gain and expand experience in the industry.

To learn more about Pathways to PennDOT or to register for the conference, visit PennDOT’s website. Pre-registration closes on October 7.

Nominate Local Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leaders

For Diversity month, our chamber, in partnership with our regional chambers, are highlighting leaders locally who are involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion causes and initiatives in our community.

We are currently accepting nominations for individuals to be a part of this campaign, which will include a blog post highlighting the individual, as well as a graphic piece of the individual to be shared across our social media platforms throughout the month of April.

This campaign will begin on April 4th and run M-F until April 31st.

Nominations will be open until March 29th. 

Kim Drumgo – EMPOWER Conference Speaker

Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Geisinger Health System

Presentation: Inclusive Companies and Communities

The last two years has caused significant shifts in the workplace, demographically and interpersonally. Now more than ever, organizations are grappling with the effects of the “Great Resignation” and are competing for talent locally and nationally. In this session, Kim will provide insight into how companies and the communities they serve can increase resilience and aptitude for change, attract talent, grow engagement, and allow for better relationships between people from different perspectives and experiences.  


Kim Drumgo, MBA, is the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for Geisinger, an integrated health services organization that serves more than 3 million residents through 45 counties in central, south-central, and northeast Pennsylvania with over 24,000 employees. 

In her role at Geisinger, Kim provides strategic leadership and support of DEI programs across the health system.  Her current focus areas include fostering inclusive cultures, talent attraction and growth, community health equity, and supplier diversity. 

With over 25 years of experience, Kim is recognized as a thought leader with demonstrated experience leading change initiatives in large matrixed organizations such as Anthem, AICPA, and BCBS.  In the last 15 years, Kim has established multiple inaugural DEI offices and revitalized a fortune 30 DEI program to align the accountability of DEI with its 70,000 employees strategically.

As an expert in the field of diversity management, Kim has been cited or featured in Becker’s Hospital Review, Chief Healthcare Executive, Profiles in Diversity Journal, Diversity Network Journal, Diversity Manager, The Journal of Accountancy, and many other publications and conferences.

Kim is the past chairman of the PhD Project board and member of the Conference Board Diversity Council. She continues to serve as an advisor to many other entities focused on diversity and inclusion. Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in public health from UNC Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forum, Call for Speakers

We’re looking for passionate speakers to join us as presenters for our third annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forum, presented by the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and in partnership with our regional chambers! This year, we will be taking what used to be our webinar series and offering a full day of DEI-focused sessions. We are looking for diverse-owned businesses owners or entrepreneurs and individuals who have dedicated themselves to building diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in their workplaces and in the communities.

Presentations will take place over Zoom on April 12th and will be 30 minutes in length. Selections will be determined at the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council meeting in March and speakers will be notified of their selection soon after applications close. Complete the RFP form before the close of business on February 10th. For any questions, please email Everal at everal@wyomingvalleychamber.org.

Kim Drumgo Named Geisinger’s First Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

Furthering Geisinger’s commitment to promote an inclusive and welcoming organization and community to all, Kim Drumgo has been named the health system’s first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

In this new role, Drumgo will champion and guide the organization to better understand the importance and value of a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment, as well as serve as a catalyst for change at Geisinger. She will provide systemwide thought leadership, strategic direction and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion-related programs and initiatives.

“Our patients, members, employees and community deserve a safe environment that welcomes people of every race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, ability, veteran status and faith,” said Amy Brayford, Geisinger executive vice president and chief of staff. “With Kim in this new role, I’m confident that we’ll move to new heights, prioritizing and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across all aspects of our organization — ultimately improving the health and well-being of our Geisinger family, patients, members and communities. We’re incredibly fortunate to have gained such an accomplished and committed leader to help us make better health easier for everyone.”

Studies have shown that each community of people may have different health needs. These include the black community having a higher rate of diabetes; lower rates of cervical and breast cancer screenings in transgender men; and a higher rate of suicide among military veterans and active members than that of the general public. Creating an inclusive health care setting that connects with patients and their specific situation can help better address and serve the health needs of the community.

“I’m thrilled to join Geisinger in this new role. The communities and patients we serve each have unique situations and needs. We know the best way to serve our diverse communities is to ensure we maintain a welcoming environment that seeks out and values different views and perspectives. We can all benefit and excel in environments where our voices are heard and our needs are met. The preservation of dignity and respect will be critical to our success.” said Drumgo. “I look forward to partnering with our Geisinger family and community leaders on these important topics. Geisinger and the communities we serve are infinitely stronger when we can harness the talents and backgrounds from each of us for the betterment of us all.”

Drumgo brings over 15 years of experience in the diversity and inclusion field and has a strong track record setting DEI strategies, engaging stakeholders and driving results. She has held leadership roles in several organizations, including most recently serving as chief diversity officer for Anthem Inc., where she led more than 63,000 leaders and employees in having authentic, compassionate conversations about race, social justice and health equity. She has also held leadership roles at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. She was named to Network Business Journal’s Top 25 Women in Business and recognized for her leadership in Diversity by Profiles in Diversity Journal.

Drumgo earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

Penn State Scranton sees influx in out-of-state and international students

As Penn State Scranton’s student population has gotten more diverse, so have the events hosted by the campus. At left, students take part in the Cultural Cuisine Tour, in which students go to various ethnic restaurants in the Scranton area to experience the foods of other cultures. Students here enjoyed a traditional Indian meal at the Mayuri Indian restaurant in Scranton. At right, dancers performed at the campus during a past Hispanic History celebration. Other events such as Diwali, Chinese Lunar New Year and Holi are also celebrated.

Penn State Scranton’s student population continues to evolve in new and exciting ways, with recent growth coming among undergraduates from outside of Pennsylvania and the United States.

This fall’s incoming campus class includes 69 out-of-state and eight international students out of nearly 300 students. The increase reflects Chancellor Marwan Wafa’s ongoing mission to further diversify the campus, said Director of Enrollment Management Sandra Feather.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been taking baby steps. But we’ve also been growing in line with how our community is growing,” Feather said. “About 22 percent of our incoming admitted students are out-of-state, where typically our population is about 95 to 97 percent local. That is a huge game changer. And, as far as the number of international students, that is phenomenal for us, considering historically we’ve had one or two annually. Penn State has a strong international reputation, which makes a huge difference. And, as Dr. Wafa has put it, having that reputation globally helps us as a community to appreciate other cultures. That makes a big difference when fostering inclusion and diversity. That’s the future, and with the means of technology at our disposal now, we’re talking to people all over the world. So, why not have that experience with them?”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Admission staff had to pivot to virtual appointments and eventually small in-person tours with prospective students and their families. The change, though, has proved highly beneficial in terms of recruiting both out-of-state and international students, Feather noted.

“With the virtual appointments and small campus tours, you’re able to connect with the student and parent together. It’s much more personalized,” Feather said. “We can talk about the things parents care about. You can’t do that during the day when you travel to New York and talk to a group of students in a high school. And we can customize the need now too, instead of just doing the same old PowerPoint.”

This year’s out-of-state student enrollees include residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and Colorado. Incentive-wise, students from seven nearby states — Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia – and Washington, D.C., are eligible to receive the Discover Penn State Award if they attend one of the Commonwealth Campuses. For baccalaureate students, the award carries a $26,000 value over a four-year period.

Feather recently gave a campus tour to Carlos Salazar Paz, a 36-year-old adult learner who moved from Denver, Colorado, to Scranton to attend the campus and major in project and supply chain management.

Paz was attracted to Penn State Scranton for several reasons, among them the opportunity to earn a high-quality degree from an internationally renowned university in a small-campus setting.

“I applied to 15 schools all throughout the U.S. Penn State was the first school to send a letter of acceptance,” Paz said. “And at the same time, for my major Penn State is ranked very high, so it was a no-brainer. And I chose Scranton because of the family feeling that the campus has and the people.”

So far, the cross-country move has been a wise choice, said Paz, noting he’s thoroughly impressed with the campus and the faculty and staff members he’s met, including Feather.

“It’s been amazing so far, and I like that the small campus gives you the opportunity to meet people,” Paz said. “Every single person that I’ve come across has been very helpful, but most importantly very welcoming. It is hard to be away from home, but everyone here has made sure that I do not feel that way, at least when I am around them. I’m looking forward to meeting great people and making great connections.”

In 2019, Brooklyn, New York, native Melick Lubin transferred to the campus from State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, attracted by the chance to play on the men’s basketball team and to “attend a Penn State school and earn a Penn State degree.”

At first, he found the transition to the new environment a bit difficult. After about two months, though, things started to click into place, said Lubin, now a senior corporate communication major.

“I began to go to different events on campus to familiarize myself with the staff, faculty and other students,” he said. “The faculty and staff here love meeting new faces, so they are always willing to help you and provide you with the proper needs. And the campus provides many resources to help you get comfortable and acclimated to the new environment. Penn State Scranton has a ton to offer to out-of-state students, including many scholarships.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made the campus a significantly quieter place during the past year and a half, Lubin still finds it to be “very open and welcoming.”

“All the athletes here have built a bond, where we support and push each other regardless of the sport or activity. We also share the love with non-athletes. And the same goes for faculty and staff, who are open and loving and always have time to adhere to your needs,” Lubin said. “I would recommend Penn State Scranton to other out-of-state students and to any students looking to fulfill their dreams and goals while also enjoying the small-college experience.”

On the international student side, the virtual outreach has also been extremely helpful, although sometimes a bit trickier to coordinate due to significant time differences, Feather said.

This fall, incoming students from India, South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria and China will add to the campus’ increasingly diverse population. Feather attributes a lot of this recent success to the efforts of Ryan Geiger, the international student adviser and global education coordinator for the University’s Northeast campuses.

Given the cultural differences they encounter upon their arrival, many international students struggle to adjust to American collegiate life. Luckily, Feather said, the campus’ Student Services and Engagement staff have gone out of their way in recent years to ease the transition for students, from helping them move into their apartments to inviting them to their homes for holiday dinners to hosting a wide variety of diversity-themed campus events like Diwali and Chinese Lunar New Year.

“At first, there’s going to be some hand holding, but the staff and faculty are so passionate and do such a good job of making our international students feel comfortable,” Feather said.

“The international students don’t have that family support system when they come here, so it’s up to the campus community to become their family in a way,” added Interim Director of Student Services and Engagement Matt Nied. “It just goes back to Dr. Wafa’s goal of us being a welcoming campus. And as much as we try to do for them, the students do a lot for us, too, in terms of educating the campus community about their culture.”

Xinyi Chen recently completed her first two years at the campus and will now finish her bachelor’s degree in actuarial science and mathematics at University Park. She moved to the U.S. two-and-a-half years ago from China, deciding to attend Penn State based on its global reputation for first-rate academics and the fact that it offered her intended majors.

“When I first came to Penn State Scranton, I found that many things were quite different. Fortunately, the campus held many introductory activities such as the open house to provide us with the resources and assistance needed to ease my introduction to American higher education,” Chen said. “My adviser, Corinne Nulton, and my professors were very patient and gave me many suggestions on the course schedule. I am also very grateful to my professor, Dr. Taoye Zhang, for helping me get familiar with many things on campus. He also helped me with my undergraduate research and gave me lots of advice on my academics.”

Outside the classroom, Chen found her niche as a Learning Center math tutor. And she was an avid attendee of the campus’ diversity events.

“The campus did a great job promoting diversity, inclusion and equity,” Chen said. “The activity that impressed me most was the Lunar New Year, which gave us the opportunity to promote Chinese traditional culture and let us feel the festive atmosphere. Diversity at a university helps us build new perspectives on different

cultures. We can learn more things from people instead of just from the online resources that may make us misunderstand.”

“Penn State Scranton is a very welcoming place for international students,” Chen continued. “The students and faculty are great and always willing to help.”

An Introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workshop

The University of Scranton’s new Center for Ethics and Excellence in Public Service will offer its inaugural workshop “An Introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for NEPA Government Official” on Tuesday, Aug. 31. The workshop, offered free of charge to county and city officials of Northeastern Pennsylvania via Zoom, will run from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be facilitated by DNG Consulting, an independent diversity, inclusion and equity consulting group (see attached flyer for facilitator bios). PNC is the exclusive sponsor of the event.

“Promoting and maintaining diversity, equity and inclusion is imperative in ensuring ethical and effective governance for all. We are glad to provide a workshop on these timely issues and we look forward to having the Center offer programs on a range of topics that can aid public officials and their staff in their important work,” said JoyAnna Hopper, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and co-director of the Center for Ethics and Excellence in Public Service.

The interactive workshop will address why attentiveness to diversity, equity and inclusion is important for effective governance and articulate how implicit bias and systemic racism are defined and identified. The workshop will also cover best practices in how government bodies and officials can take matters of racism and bias into consideration in evaluating institutions and policy effectiveness.

Three experienced consultants with DNG will facilitate in the workshop. Principal at DNG Consulting, Danielle N. Gadson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of public administration at Villanova University and chairs their Public Administration Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. As a professor and a trained Intergroup Dialogue facilitator focusing on race, Dr. Gadson teaches courses in public administration theory, data analysis, health services planning, and intergroup relations.

Senior consultant at DNG, Stephen A. Sheridan, Jr. works as the director for accountability, accreditation and assessment services at Villanova University, providing leadership and expertise in the design, implementation, and analysis of assessment activities related to student development and learning outcomes. He is a trained Intergroup Dialogue facilitator with experience facilitating on the topics of disability, race and socioeconomic status.

Senior consultant at DNG, Terri Boyer, Ed.D., is the founding director of the Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership and an associate professor of education and counseling at Villanova University. Dr. Boyer has published widely on educational and workforce equity, institutional reform for equity, women’s education and leadership, the effectiveness of equity programs, and assessment and teacher training.

The workshop is convened by the University’s Center for Excellence in Ethics and Public Service with its Office of Community and Government Relations in collaboration with DNG Consulting. Registration is required to participate in the event and can be completed online or by e-mailing ceeps@scranton.edu.

Pennsylvania American Water Supplier Diversity Webinar

Please join us on Tuesday, May 25 at 1 p.m. EDT as we discuss the importance of Supplier Diversity and building an Inclusive culture across American Water. Click the link below to register and please share with your colleagues that are interested in this important topic.

Date: Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Time: 1 p.m. EDT

Click here to register: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=-Yw3NcDa8EWExxv7mCB7Wd8MlsmsqzRDq7n-OEFMYw9URVVJMjlOQUhXT0RLRFcyNVBXN1lLQVVWRy4u

Marywood University Offers Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program

Marywood University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion (OEI) recently announced that it will offer a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Certificate Program for staff and faculty members. The DEI Certificate Program is a cohort model designed to increase the level of awareness, understanding, and action for equity by creating an inclusive community that reinforces the University’s core values and mission.

Attendees of the DEI Certificate Program will attend at least five DEI workshops and/or events, submit a diversity statement, present a reflective portfolio/e-portfolio; and participate in an Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment. The program will be offered in the fall and spring semesters beginning the week of January 18, 2021, with competition of the certificate to occur one calendar year from the chosen start. Continuing education and ACT 48 credits are available where applicable.

DEI represents a healthy campus climate at Marywood that proactively prepares students for the global marketplace and faculty and staff to be leaders for inclusive excellence. The overarching goal of this certificate is to foster active engagement of Marywood’s faculty and staff with its student body and to promote an environment of opportunity and success for all members on campus. Participants who obtain the certificate will gain the competencies necessary to enact systemic change at Marywood and in higher education.

For additional information about Marywood University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program, please contact Yerodin Lucas, Ph.D., director of the office of institutional equity and inclusion and Title IX coordinator, at ylucas@marywood.edu