Are you interested in starting a diversity and inclusion (D&I) career or taking your current D&I role to the next level? You’re in luck! The DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program is coming to 5 different cities across the nation in 2017. The program prepares professionals to create and implement highly successful D&I strategies for organizational excellence and a competitive edge in today’s global marketplace.

Still unsure? We interviewed a past participant to let her share firsthand how the course has helped propel her career. See below for the interview with Stefanie Smith, who is now Diversity Manager for The One Club — a global nonprofit for Advertising and Design.

Q:  Can you share how you applied what you learned from the DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program to your career?

A:  Immediately after attending the certification course, I not only felt that I knew the material and buzz words, but I learned how I was already doing diversity work. That realization allowed me to revamp my resume with the appropriate terms for the work I completed.

Within a matter of days of reformatting my resume, I began to receive interview requests for jobs. And, soon enough, I accepted the Diversity Manager role that I’m in today. I am constantly using the material learned from the program in my day-to-day role as I manage a workforce diversity program. And, I’m also in the middle of taking my knowledge a step further to develop a Diversity Council for Advertising professionals and CEOs. The program was an inspiration to me.

Q:  Can you describe your most memorable moment from the week-long course?

A:  The most memorable moment was listening to best practices from a Chief Diversity Officer. During the program I attended, we heard from the Chief Diversity Officer at Hilton. I learned the intricate details associated with corporate diversity from a professional doing the work — and that was very impactful for me.

The facilitators were also amazing. Through their presentations and with the hands-on practice provided, we were able to learn from one another in the room. I also enjoyed the guest speakers as they were able to speak upon what worked and what didn’t work from their experience. I guess I just enjoyed it all!

Q:  Long term, what are some of the benefits the certification brings to your career?

A:  Having this certification gave me the background and vision I needed for diversity. Long term, I can see myself continually using the acronym NDC-CDP on my resume and signature. Having the certification gives me the credit and network to stay abreast of industry knowledge, which in turn will assist me in developing professionally as a Chief Diversity Officer in the near future.

Personally, diversity is my passion. As a bi-racial individual who was raised in the south, I saw firsthand the factors of racism and how a lack of diversity knowledge can impact both social and professional circles. I am thankful for the opportunity that I had to become more educated through the program and excited for my ability to assist others in learning.

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