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Jacqueline "Jackie" DiBella

Application For


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility

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Here's who I am & what I do

My first entrance into the world of diversity was when I entered the travel industry as this opened the windows of my world to cultural diversity. This enabled me to develop an open-mindedness to new ideas and philosophies. I have had the destiny – good fortune to spend extended time in foreign countries on five of the seven continents. This gave me a perspective on how people speak – live - eat – work - socialize and allowed me to escape the insulation of my comfort zone. I encountered new people and new situations. It strengthened my ability to empathize with an expansive range of people from all walks of life.

In 2007, I transitioned from owning my travel organization to teaching communications at SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC) in Batavia, New York. If you have ever been to Batavia, you will know that there is very little diversity in the GLOW communities. What truly astonished me was the significant number of international students that were attending GCC. In the classrooms, the U.S. students sat on one side of the room and the international students sat on the other side. I quickly changed that arrangement. Each international student sat next to a U.S. student.

This is when I recognized that I had to switch from teaching to work under the banner of the Student Activities Department and founded the Multicultural Communications Club where we could focus on having a diverse student body that felt included and a sense of belonging within the college. This also provided new opportunities for these young international students to understand different ways of thinking and living.


I once read on the internet the following quotation that walks hand in hand with my passion for DEIA and musical theatre:

“Diversity is being invited to the party: inclusion is being asked to dance;

and belonging is when they play your song.”

This is my pledge to Empire Justice Center:

I will constantly work towards a shared understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by reinforcing positive habits that foster an inclusive, diverse culture. I have now been an employee of Empire Justice Center for five months and truly know its culture and am so impressed with the leadership of this not-for-profit organization as they exhibit authenticity and decisiveness, are great communicators, are empathetic, and constantly move Empire Justice Center forward.

I recognize, as the Director of DEIA, I must work with Human Resources to strengthen our ability to recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain diverse talent while removing any barriers that may exist to do so. We must constantly seek to understand, recognize, and appreciate our diverse perspectives of fostering equality for everyone at Empire Justice Center.   

We must embrace open dialog on the importance of fostering equality for all with a bias towards action. We must strive to be the change we want to see in the workplace, fighting injustice and bias wherever it exists. Everyone at Empire Justice Center must put themselves in the shoes of others, showing empathy to create more awareness. We also must understand that we all have unconscious biases from our upbringing and experiences that impact our ability to promote belonging, inclusion, and equality. We must constantly challenge this behavior counter to a culture of inclusion.

My promise is to foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the breadth and depth of Empire Justice Center, and will be my moral imperative and critical to my building a culture of excellence. If we get this right – working together as a team – we will have cultivated a profound sense of belonging all across the Empire Justice Center organization. We will be champions where individual and cultural differences are a defining strength – one where all Empire Justice Center Teammates feel not just safe and welcome but truly celebrated and cherished for who we are. My core principle as Director of DEIA – “PEOPLE FIRST” is recognizing that our people are our most important and valuable and cherished asset. 

Jacqueline “Jackie” DiBella

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