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20NTC Session Proposal

Beyond Policy: How Bringing One’s Whole Self to Work Can Drive Meaningful Change


While your organization may have crafted policies and procedures to promote diversity, have you really created an inclusive, equitable environment in which all people can bring their authentic selves into the workplace to truly thrive? An all people of color panel will highlight how organizational norms and structures limit who can or cannot bring their whole selves to work.

Have you ever found yourself getting settled into your “work self” as you head into the office? Your “work self” might be the version of you that is less controversial or easier for folks to handle. What would it look like to bring your whole self to work? The same you who goes to happy hour, hosts dinner parties or volunteers on the weekends– the real you. What if the thing that some might consider your greatest workplace liability became your greatest strength?

In this session, you will hear stories from individuals who have had to navigate the complex landscape of organizational norms and culture in order to evaluate which parts of their whole selves they can safely bring into the workplace. Hearing directly from people who have navigated these challenges can set up your organization to implement better policies and practices that address the systemic barriers that limit the ease with which people of color can bring their whole selves to work.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn about what it means for marginalized folks to interact with the notion of bringing one’s whole self to work and be able to see why it matters for an organization when people of color feel they can’t be fully themselves at work
  • Understand the transformative power of authenticity in the workplace, for your organization’s culture and its mission
  • Learn about strategies that have been leveraged to dismantle barriers and encourage authenticity within your organization. Our focus will be on subtle but powerful changes you can make


Vanice Dunn

Director of Equity


Vanice hails from years of experience working directly with members of various non-profits, so she’s all about participation and collaboration. Vanice began to hone her skills in social justice advocacy in an organic way — as a young girl of color in a small southern town, her existence itself became a political statement. Those experiences gave Vanice practice in being critical of assumptions, dissecting polarizing arguments, and ultimately standing strong in her convictions. Her passion led her to the Provoc team, where she strives to make an impact by building partnerships with visionary clients and serving as lead strategist for brand and communications projects. By rooting her work in a womanist lens, Vanice has a particular passion for projects that combat the ‘isms’ — including racism, classism, and sexism.

Rajneesh Aggarwal

President, Lead Strategist


Raj founded Provoc in 1999 and serves as President and Lead Strategist. Over twenty years of experience as a communications and technology strategist, he has worked with more than 400 nonprofits and socially responsible businesses on a variety of projects including internal and external branding, marketing and customer engagement. Raj keeps Provoc rooted in empathy-driven work by forging partnerships with values-aligned, visionary leaders and has led workshops and talks at dozens of national conferences. He serves on the boards of Think Local First, DC and Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation, and recently shared his personal story on NPR.

Lindsey Watchman

Umatilla/Walla Walla Tribal Member Health Educator

Oregon Community Health Workers Association

Lindsey is a Persian Gulf War Veteran, an educator, father, enrolled Native American tribal member, and Cultural Acclimation trainer. He comes from a family of healthcare professionals, including his Native American grandmother (a CHR) who sat on the CTUIR Health Commission; which self-compacted federal Indian Health Services to local community control in 1996. Yellowhawk serves over 4,000 American Indian/Alaska Native people who reside on or near the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeastern Oregon.

After seven years in the US Air Force, Lindsey served 17 years in Oregon Indian Education. Later migrating into the Health Education field…in order to holistically empower tribal members towards individual self-sufficiency. As Yellowhawk’s Workforce Development Manager, his aim is to support ‘community members, serving community members’ by integrating Traditional Health Workers into healthcare delivery systems. He sits on the OHA, OEI THW Commission, and ORCHWA Board.

Ambar Mentor-Truppa

Vice President of Communications

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Ambar Mentor-Truppa is the Shriver Center’s first-ever Vice President of Communications, providing strategic direction and oversight to the organization’s public relations, brand management, and marketing activities. She has 15 years of private sector experience in strategic communications, previously working as a consultant for several boutique public affairs agencies. She has directed communications and community outreach projects to support policy work on behalf of major public interest organizations, including foundations and government entities. An active civic volunteer, she supports causes connected to feminism, education, race equity and public media. Ambar holds a B.S. in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Chicago.

Cheryl Contee



Cheryl Contee is the award-winning CEO of the digital agency Do Big Things, a diverse team that is using new narrative and new tech to create global change in a new era. Previously, Cheryl was CEO of Fission Strategy, which brought Silicon Valley startup culture to the world’s leading causes and campaigns. She’s the co-founder of, the first tech startup with a black female founder to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, the National Board Chair for Netroots Nation, an affiliate of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and a proud co-founder of #YesWeCode. Learn more:





March 13, 2019


3:15pm – 4:30pm

CFRE Credits

NFR - 1.25

Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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