Bridge Partners Finds Chief Diversity Officer for Gallaudet University

Bridge Partners Chief Diversity Officer Elavie Ndura Gallaudet University

October 6, 2017 – Executive recruitment firm Bridge Partners LLC has helped to place the new chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Elavie Ndura comes to the renowned institution for the deaf and hard of hearing from George Mason University, where she led implementation of the school’s diversity and inclusion strategic goals and was a professor of education.

Tory Clarke, partner and co-founder of Bridge Partners, which focuses on diversity and inclusion, led the search. Ms. Clarke previously worked with the school’s search committee to recruit Gallaudet’s current president, Roberta J. Cordano. “We were honored to partner with such an incredible team and community for a second time,” she said.

“Dr. Ndura was one of three finalists selected by the search committee to meet with the bi-lingual Gallaudet community on campus,” said Ms. Clarke. “She was selected as the finalist candidate not only because she was an academic with practical experience of diversity-inclusion in an academic environment, but she also values and has deep experience with community-building and bilingual and multicultural education.”

A National Search

The search was national in scope, said Ms. Clarke. As with the presidential search, Bridge Partners worked in close partnership with the Gallaudet community and the school’s search committee. “Bridge Partners has a strong track-record of placing diversity-inclusion & equity leaders across the private sector, academia and nonprofits, so we were able to leverage our existing D&I networks, as well as our networks within the deaf community and academia,” said Ms. Clarke.

Ms. Cordano said she expects Dr. Ndura to be a tremendous asset to Gallaudet. “As a community, we have much to learn from Dr. Ndura,” she said. “She values and has deep experience with community-building, peace-making, including restorative justice and bilingual and multicultural education. Dr. Ndura has demonstrated experience both as an academic and practitioner, which is of value to us as an academic institution and a world-wide community leader.”

The diversity officer role is complex. Among Dr. Ndura’s first responsibilities will be to build a team, said Ms. Cordano. The first two team members must be fluent in American Sign Language and be deaf, she said, to assure a language immersion experience in her immediate office setting.

Here’s the Single Biggest Challenge Facing Diversity Leaders
Those who step into a new job as chief diversity officer tend to carry a heavy load. Theirs is an increasingly vital role. The challenges they face are complex and the demands of the position are many, with pressure coming from all sides.

A ‘Consequential Responsibility’

Dr. Ndura is also expected to collaborate with the school’s diversity strategy team to help further design Gallaudet’s strategic approach to equity and diversity and full civic engagement in the campus community.

“As an ally of the deaf community, a willing newcomer into deaf culture, and a social justice advocate, practitioner, and scholar, I welcome this consequential responsibility with time-tested understanding that advancing institutional equity, diversity, and inclusion is a people-to-people community undertaking,” said Dr. Ndura. “We must, therefore, broaden transdisciplinary collaboration and community partnerships across diversity, in order to position Gallaudet University to lead the search for solutions to enduring problems locally, nationally, and globally.”

“Hence, at the core of my vision and leadership will be an unwavering commitment to nurturing a positive and collaborative community that affirms diversity, enhances the well-being and self-actualization of all members, and engages in sustained and transformational courageous conversations around climate, equity, and diversity issues. In essence, my focus will be on helping to establish a culture that affirms shared responsibilities, human interdependence, and unity in diversity.”

Well Qualified

At George Mason, Dr. Ndura was a tenured, full professor in the division of advanced professional teacher development and international education. She holds a doctorate in education, curriculum and instruction, bilingual and multicultural education from Northern Arizona University and a graduate certificate in conflict resolution from George Mason.

Dr. Ndura has published many peer-reviewed books and articles. She also has teaching experience in K-12 and university classrooms, and is fluent in English, French, Swahili and Kirundi, her native language.

Key Activities to Drive Diversity and Inclusion Strategies
While diversity and inclusion initiatives have become a ‘must-have’ for 21st century employers, successful ones are often contingent upon having a clear plan and framework that resonates with diverse talent and aligns with overall business goals.

She has won numerous awards, including Peace Educator of the Year by the Peace and Justice Studies Association in 2011. She was awarded a fellowship by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2010-2011. In 2015-2016, Dr. Ndura was a presidential fellow at George Mason.

A Veteran Recruiter

Bridge Partners is a certified minority supplier and a minority business enterprise. Based in New York, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Boston, the firm has completed a number of other higher education/academia senior leadership searches for roles such as head of human resources, head of finance, head of audit and deans.

Its clients also include GE, TIAA-CREF, Colgate, YMCA, Novartis, Starbucks, Habitat for Humanity and the Federal Reserve System.

Ms. Clarke supports senior global search assignments for private sector, public sector and international non-profit/social venture clients, across all functions.

A 20-year veteran of the executive search industry, she has recruited diverse executives, including CEO/presidents and their leadership teams, at both head office and regional locations around the globe.

Before starting Bridge Partners in 2003, Ms. Clarke was a consultant in Whitehead Mann’s U.S. retail and diversity practices, joining the New York office in 2000. Prior to her move to the U.S., she spent several years with Whitehead Mann’s European consumer practice, headquartered in London. Earlier in her career, Ms. Clarke was with STCP, a boutique London-based search firm, working across a variety of sectors including consumer, pharmaceutical and industrial.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments