One of the most visible outcomes of the campus climate survey conducted at Meredith during the last academic year is the creation of a full-time diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) coordinator position.
Hired following an inclusive national search process, Liliana Madrid started in the newly-created role of Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President for DEI on Monday, January 24, 2022.
In this role, her responsibilities will include working with colleagues across campus and student groups to review organizational practices, processes, and structures, and recommend ways to make them more equitable.
“These efforts are key to strengthening our commitment to DEI at Meredith,” said President Jo Allen.
Madrid says her work toward these objectives will include a lot of listening at first and throughout her daily roles.
“I want to begin with a listening tour and spend the first few weeks understanding the historical context, reviewing data, and getting stakeholder insights to best serve in this role.”
Madrid says she learned from her research about the position and the students she met virtually during the interview process that “Meredith has a very engaged student community.”
Proximity to students and the Office of Human Resources is one of the reasons she’s excited that her office is located in the Cate Center. That centrality offers access but also a safe space for confidential conversations.
She also plans to “be accessible by sharing an open appointment calendar that allows all students and employees the opportunity to set up a meeting time.”
In her message to the community announcing Madrid’s appointment, President Allen said one of the qualities that stood out “is the joy with which she approaches DEI work.”
“She is a learner/educator who sees opportunities for celebrating our differences while ensuring belonging and equitable treatment,” Allen added.
Madrid said there are several reasons she is so passionate about DEI work, particularly on college campuses.
“One of the things I want the Meredith community to understand is my deep commitment to this work,” she said.
“DEI work is not always easy and has been in the spotlight a lot lately and not always in a positive way, but it is not just a job to me,” Madrid continued. “It’s part of my lived experience and because of that, I’ve found the strength to continue doing work” to make college campuses more equitable spaces.”
Madrid’s personal and professional experiences include growing up in Los Angeles, being fluent in Spanish, and supporting multicultural students at five colleges and universities across the country.
“One of the reasons I use ella, the Spanish word for she, in my pronouns is simply to signal to anyone who may want to engage in Spanish that it is an option”
Madrid, who previously worked at Bay Path University, said she’s excited to be back on a women’s college campus.
“Coming on Meredith’s campus for the first time I noted a sense of calm, it felt like home,” she said. “There’s just something about a women’s college.”
For more about Madrid, see the article announcing her appointment.