We are ISR: DACD Co-Chairs Lekisha Maxwell and Jessica Faul

ISR strives to incorporate diversity into all facets of its work. The Director’s Advisory Committee on Diversity (DACD), a group consisting of staff members and researchers from each of the five ISR centers and the Center for Institute Services, exemplifies these efforts. In monthly meetings, DACD focuses on proposing ISR policies and activities that promote the value of diversity, changing workplace practices that fail to maintain a diverse work experience and setting practical timelines for achieving goals. DACD is broken into seven subcommittees—Perspectives, Membership, Accessibility, Communications, Social Justice, Budget, and Community Guides—which, together, cover most of the larger committee’s work. The ISR director appoints all DACD members, with consultation from the rest of the committee.

In this Q&A, Lekisha Maxwell and Jessica Faul, the DACD co-chairs, discuss their involvement in DACD and their future plans.

Q: Why did you choose to join DACD?

Lekisha: I have worked at U-M since 2008, and have sat on the following committees: Voices of the Staff (work climate), M-Healthy Stress Management Task Force, and SRC Professional Advisory Committee. I have an MBA in strategic leadership, and felt that my key strengths – communication and organizational skills, ability to work collaboratively and dedication – would allow me to support the goals of DACD.
Jessica: I volunteered to be on DACD because I feel strongly about the importance of community service and pitching in to be a part of positive change. DACD supports a lot of the great events and programs that happen at ISR, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being part of DACD?

Lekisha: When working on change, you always expect some obstacles. With this group, however, we are also building great working relationships and creating some friendships along the way. I’m a results-driven person, so working on diversity initiatives and being a voice to help foster positive changes for ISR has been very rewarding to me.
Jessica: It is rewarding to be part of something you believe in, but I’ve been the happiest meeting so many people outside of my project and center.

Q: What do you see as some of ISR’s greatest opportunities in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Lekisha: To move past challenges and create some positive changes with a great team of dedicated staff and faculty members.
Jessica: I think ISR has an opportunity to get this right and implement a very successful DE&I plan. Many of us do research about the importance of things like social connections and job satisfaction on health and well-being. On the flip side, we also research the social, economic, and health disparities that arise from discrimination. We know that DE&I issues matter, and ISR should be leading the way forward. We have a team of dedicated staff and faculty who are guiding the process, but it will take the commitment of all of us to make it happen.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?

Lekisha: I look forward to celebrating my birthday (July 13) with family and friends. I also take a vacation every year in July with my best friends and family.
Jessica: I love camping and gardening in the summer, as well as spending time with my kids, playing soccer and swimming.

If you are an ISR staff member or researcher and would like to be considered for DACD membership, or as a Friend of the Committee, please email the DACD Membership Committee at dacdmembership@umich.edu.