Published: April 25, 2023 | Updated: April 24, 2023

Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable lands on 'D' is for Diversity

Marilee Wallace

Marilee Wallace

The Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable meet for the final series of this session in April, and we landed on the “D” in our I.M.P.A.C.T.E.D year. Diversity. Hot topic. Big topic. A where should we start, Topic.

Diversity: the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

"Equality and diversity should be supported for their own sake."

Entire businesses, higher education degrees, nonprofit institutions, worldwide scientific research studies, governmental entities and religious organization, are all dedicated to the educating equity and inclusion of diversity. World wars and hate crimes have arisen from that lack of understanding and diversity exclusion; it is universally broad and historically complex.

So, let’s just start in our own back yard.

We are lucky in North Idaho to have visionary community leaders who fought back against hate and injustice in the past and established a nonprofit that embraces diversity by educating our citizens about biases, responses and acceptance. The Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene is our starting place. Jeanette Laster, executive director of HREI spoke to our group using real life examples of conflict management and offered sensible, non-biased solutions we can use by choosing words when we communicate. Word coaching can be a good thing, so we recommend you spend some time on the HREI website at and take a look around.

HREI's mission is to offer proactive, educational programs that teach human rights, acceptance, respect for diversity and cultural humility. Their programs, activities and events seek to reduce racial prejudice and increase understanding in our community. They are on a journey to promote human rights for every person in the Pacific Northwest by addressing a wide range of diversity issues including race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and job and life circumstances.

Good things happen at HREI and institutes like it all over the world. In a time where we are becoming more verbally aggressive, quick to judge and becoming more singular minded in our environments, we are on the verge of squeezing out inclusion. We are pushing away from equity and building more and more biases in regard to diversity. Let’s do a refresher course and start with the one thing we all have in common, each other. Humans. We all belong.

2023-2024 Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable next series begins in September

The Women of Impact Leadership Roundtable meets once a month for a nine-month series, and we base our monthly agenda on the word IMPACTED. We will begin our next series Sept. 28 and meet monthly through May. To see the lineup of our monthly topics and to get details or view additional programs, NIA is offering to Impact women in our region, please visit our Facebook page at

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Marilee Wallace, IOM, is president/CEO of the North Idaho Alliance Women of Impact.