Race + Equity + Wellbeing Series

A catalyst for equitable change so all people can thrive.


Jump to a section:
About the Series
Fall Webinar Schedule
Fall Connections Discussion Sessions
Meet the Series Moderator
Meet Our Facilitators
Previous Sessions


We leverage the collective knowledge of faculty, staff, and students to advance our community’s understanding of, and ability to speak with each other about race, equity, and well-being.


We use our collective power and positionality to ensure that lived experiences at the intersection of race, equity, and wellbeing are central to any conversation about culture at USC.


We commit to leveraging our power and positionality to call for and engage in processes of assessment and change of policy and culture to advance equity and wellbeing.

About the Series

More than two thousand USC staff and faculty participated in the series that provided space to learn, connect, heal, and take action to support themselves and others. The fall 2021 series will include community members working together to create a more inclusive and equitable USC.

Every other Tuesday from 12:00-12:50pm, expert panelists will gather to engage in discourse regarding topics of Race, Equity, and Wellbeing. Recordings of each webinar will be available in the days following each session.

The Tuesday following each webinar, the conversation will continue with Discussion Groups, also from 12:00-12:50pm. Led by trained facilitators, these important dialogues allow participants to engage with other staff and faculty. Reactions, stories, plans for action, and honest reflection are encouraged. Webinar attendance is NOT required for the discussion groups.

This series is a collaboration between the USC office of Campus Wellbeing and Education, and University HR, Equity, and Compliance. If you have any questions, please contact tlntdev@usc.edu.

Fall Webinar Schedule

Psychological Safety as an Issue of Equity

September 28, 12:00pm

A person’s sense that they can show up to work as their full authentic selves, share, contribute, and belong without fear of retaliation or jeopardy to their status, standing, or career, is elemental. Join our expert panelists as they discuss barriers to psychological safety, the impact of its absence to our wellbeing, and how to fight for it in the workplace.


Jody Tolan, EdD, MBA

Assistant Professor of Clinical Management and Organization and the Academic Director of the Robert J. Coury Applied Leadership Program

Shanéa Thomas, Ed.D, LICSW

Senior Lecturer for USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Virtual Academic Center

Chandra Montgomery

Former Director of Health Sciences Prospect Development and DEI Council Co-Chair in the USC Office of University Advancement

Register for the September 28th webinar

Feelings…. Moving from “Ugh!” to “Oh!”

October 12, 12:00pm

Every one of us has feelings.  Many of us are socialized to view them as getting in the way and making us look weak; particularly in the workplace. We are taught to compartmentalize, yet in conversations about equity, justice, wellbeing, and discrimination, emotions dominate our experiences.

Feelings and emotions will make or break your conversations related to race, equity, and wellbeing.  Successful conversations that inspire change and growth do not happen despite our emotions, but happen when we understand them, learn from them, and use them. We achieve even more when we recognize and attend to the emotions of those around us.  

Join our expert panelists as they unpack and critique the socialization of emotions in the workplace, the emotions of dialogue related to race, equity, and wellbeing, and how to understand, validate, and use your emotions to your advantage in your pursuit of change.



Mark Miller, PsyD, MPH

Clinical Psychologist at Mindful USC, Office of Campus Wellbeing and Education

Edden Agonafer, PsyD, MA

Multicultural Coordinator, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC

JaBari Brown, MA

Senior Associate Director of Advisement and Civic Engagement

Register for the October 12th webinar

Lead from any seat: How to navigate and manage difficult dialogues

October 26, 12:00pm

Neither title nor rank are required to be an effective communicator, guide dialogue, frame critical ideas in understandable ways, or support the conversation in crucial moments. Our expert panelists will name barriers to speaking up and how to move through them. The panel will identify strategies for opening space for all to speak, how to encourage good vulnerability, and explore the power of modeling the behaviors we want to see in the dogged pursuit of equity and wellbeing for all.



Katherine Greenwood, JD, PhD

USC University Ombuds, University Park Campus

Shalonda Martin, MSML

Senior Director of Data Integrity and DEI Council Co-Chair in the USC Office of University Advancement

Jonathan Wang, EdD

Center Director for USC Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS)

Register for the October 26th webinar


Levers of Justice: Rights and Recourse as a Member of the Trojan Family

November 9, 12:00pm

There will be times when we experience injustice as we help move the needles of justice. Learn more about your rights and pathways for recourse at USC if you feel you have experienced discrimination, microaggressions, slights, bullying, or are even unsure what label fits but you simply have been made to feel less than. Using deidentified real examples, our expert panelists will explore situations, options, pathways, potential outcomes, and considerations to weigh should you seek support via formal channels of reporting.




Catherine Spear, JD

USC Vice President for Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX

Ilene Rosenstein, PhD

Associate Vice Provost, Office of Campus Wellbeing and Education

Chris Manning, Phd

USC Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer

Register for the November 9th webinar


What is a “Trojan?” Brand Loyalty and The Community

November 23, 12:00pm

Cultural shifts are not new, and neither are the difficulties that come with understanding and adapting to them. Generational and social differences may lead us to feel at odds, but the reality is that there is more common ground than we allow ourselves to see.

Join our expert panelists as they reconceptualize what it means to be a Trojan in 2021, explore contradictions and alignments between the Six Core Values and the Five Traits of a Trojan, and offer a path forward that redefines what it means to “Fight On.”


Winston Crisp, JD

USC Vice President for Student Affairs

Dulce Acosta, MSW

Senior Principle Director in the USC Office of Community and Local Government Partnerships

Dr. Kedra Ishop

Vice President for Enrollment Management, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Rossier School of Education

Register for the November 23rd webinar

Fall Connections Discussion Sessions

Led by skilled facilitators, the Connections Discussion Sessions allow participants to engage in a safe, confidential space with other staff and faculty to:

  • Come together in solidarity around participants’ lived experiences at the intersections of race, equity, and wellbeing.
  • Actively connect the content of the panel discussions with their own experiences and sense of culture at USC.
  • Work together to turn ideas into action in their departments and communities.
  • Explore available resources at USC to support an anti-racist community.
  • Webinar attendance is NOT required for the discussion groups.

Importantly, the discussion groups are not:

  • Recorded in any way.
  • A place where BIPOC and other marginalized folks are expected to relive trauma for the educational benefit of others.
  • A substitute for therapy or counseling.
  • A formal investigatory body.
Register for the fall discussion sessions

Meet the Series Moderator

Quade French, Ph.D.
USC Campus Wellbeing and Education
Dr. Quade French is a licensed clinical psychologist in the USC Provost’s Office of Campus Wellbeing and Education. His work and research focus on intersections between culture and individual wellbeing, as well as on interpersonal relationships in diverse groups and large systems.

He currently serves as a consultant to staff, faculty, students, and administrators, working collaboratively to identify and address systemic, and interpersonal dynamics that impact individual and group wellbeing, and affect experiences of inclusion and belonging at USC. Dr. French is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Rossier School of Education where he teaches on topics of counseling theory, practice, and ethics.

Meet the Facilitators

Shanéa Thomas, Ed.D, LICSW

Dr. Shanéa Thomas, LICSW, LCSW-C (he/she/Dr.) is a bold lecturer and seasoned scholar-practitioner with more than 15 years of professional social work experience in the Washington D.C. metro area. For the past ten years, Dr. Thomas has dedicated her time as a Senior Lecturer for the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work’s Virtual Academic Center. In the past, Dr. Thomas has also committed time as a Youth Psychotherapist supporting local LGBTQIA+ youth and those affected by HIV/AIDS through various organizations. Whether through trainings, workshops, or supervision, Dr. Thomas is humbled to be using her gifts to serve the community.

LaVonna Lewis, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. LaVonna Lewis is a Teaching Professor and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Dr. Lewis’ areas of research consistently focus on cultural competency and the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups. She is currently involved in addressing racial disparities cardiovascular disease and diabetes through the Community Health Councils, Inc., African American Building a Legacy of Health Project.

Anita Dashiell-Sparks

Anita Dashiell-Sparks is the Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Associate Professor of Theatre Practice in Acting. She has directed numerous productions at USC, as well as directed Letters from Zora at the Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre and two critically acclaimed engagements at the Pasadena Playhouse, among others. Dashiell-Sparks serves as the artistic director of EDI at the Stella Adler Center of the Arts; and, at USC, is the founder and director of Building Bridges: Communication, Expression, Empowerment Theatre Arts Program, which teaches self-presentation and self-expression to at-risk youth.

Darline Robles, Ph.D.

Dr. Darline Robles, the former superintendent of Los Angeles County Office of Education, is a Professor of Clinical Education here at the USC Rossier School of Education. In addition to guiding the School Leadership Academy, Dr. Robles teaches in the school’s doctoral program. In her role as Faculty Director, Dr. Robles leads the program development effort in conjunction with faculty, external organizations and experts. She is also an expert in the areas of urban education, program development and school leadership.

Jonathan Wang, Ed.D.

Dr. Jonathan Wang serves as the Center Director for USC Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS). In 2012, Jonathan joined the USC Division of Student Affairs as the Assistant Director for APASS and since 2016 serves as the Center Director. Jonathan has served in leadership positions within USC, NASPA, conducted various research projects, published articles focused on marginalized student populations and international higher education, and has continued to present at both regional and national conferences. Jonathan now teaches for Rossier’s M.Ed. PASA program.

Janice Littlejohn, MA

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn is a career journalist whose work focuses on women’s issues, race, culture, and advocacy. She has been a columnist for the Associated Press, and currently contributes to Ms. Magazine, Shondaland Digital Media among other media outlets. She is co-author of Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed (Atria | Simon & Schuster), and is currently writing a series of self-authored works. She currently also serves as the Associate Director for the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC.

Melissa Durham, Pharm.D., MACM, APh

Melissa J. Durham is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy. Dr. Durham has taught topics related to DEI such as cultural competence/humility and health equity/justice for the School of Pharmacy since 2012. She oversees and facilitates all Wellness and DEI initiatives within the school of pharmacy as well as in partnership with other health professions and external partners.

Renee Almassizadeh, MA

Renee Almassizadeh is passionate about culture transformation, change management, and DE&I. She is the administrator for the University of Southern California’s Department of Middle East Studies. There Renee manages curriculum and faculty affairs, provides student academic and professional mentoring, markets the academic programs, and oversees departmental alumni outreach. In addition to her departmental responsibilities, Renee serves as a member of the Working Group on University Culture and is a USC Culture Facilitator.

JaBari Brown, MA

As the Senior Associate Director of Advisement and Civic Engagement, JaBari and his team are responsible for the academic success of 1,900 undergraduate students. He is committed to serving the greater USC community which has led him to serve on the executive board of the USC Staff Assembly, as staff manager to student clubs including the Annenberg Black Student Association, the Special Olympics Club at USC, and the Trojan Transfer Organization. In 2018, JaBari was tapped to serve as the inaugural chair of the Annenberg Staff Council and as a culture facilitator for the USC Culture Journey.

REW Project Team

The REW Project is led by USC University HR Talent and Organization Development and Campus Wellbeing.


Diane Yaris
Senior Organizational Development Partner, HR Talent and Organizational Development

Nicole Saulnier
Organizational Development Partner, HR Talent and Organizational Development

Quade French
Senior Wellness Project Manager, Campus Wellbeing

Ilene Rosenstein
Associate Vice Provost, Campus Wellbeing

Previous Sessions

Spring 2021

March 2, 12:00pm         Making Sense of the Chaos of 2020 and Envisioning the Road Ahead

March 16, 12:00pm       The Importance of Cultivating Self-Awareness

March 30, 12:00pm       Was I Just Racist?

April 13, 12:00pm          Recognizing and Responding to Racism

April 27, 12:00pm          Language Matters

May 11, 12:00pm           How to Create Environments Where All Employees can be Their Full, Authentic Selves

Summer 2021

July 13, 12:00pm         Energy and Restoration: Finding Strength from Ourselves and Our Community

July 27, 12:00pm         We Are the Movement: Strengthening Our Inclusive Community

Fall 2021

September 14, 12:00pm         Moving the Needle and Seismic Shifts: The Frustrating Pace of Cultural Change

Please see also: diversity.usc.edu/events/