The 2021 NIXLA Accelerator Series Implemented Evidence-based DEI Strategies to Educate Corporate America’s Top Leaders on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The National Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy (NIXLA), an acclaimed online leadership and professional development organization led by award-winning diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expert Dr. Damon A. Williams, recently worked with several hundred leaders from more than 70 organizations providing professional development programs and services.

From July through September 2021, NIXLA hosted an exclusive Accelerator Series consisting of ten unique online training sessions designed to help leaders advance DEI within their institutions, schools, and organizations. Featured topics included: 

  • DEI Strategic Planning and Implementation 
  • Conducting Climate and Inclusion Research
  • Enhancing Chief Diversity Officer Roles
  • Mitigating Unconscious Bias
  • Responding to Microaggressions
  • Becoming an Anti-Racist Ally and much more  

Participants of the 2021 Accelerator Series included individuals and institutional teams from Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Maryland-Baltimore, Motlow State Community College, Western Washington University, and the University of Northern Iowa, among others.

“Back in March 2020, we decided that we needed to develop a program that would help leaders tackle key DEI topics with greater urgency,” said Damon A. Williams, Ph.D., Chief Catalyst for the NIXLA and the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation as well as a Senior Scholar and Innovation Fellow with Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Michael L. Torrence, Ph.D., President of Motlow State Community College, enrolled a team to complete the series to help advance their overall strategic planning efforts. “The collective response from our team to the content, program design, and scholarship of the series was overwhelmingly positive.” 

Carolyn Yoon, Ph.D., Associate Dean for DEI and Wilbur K. Pierpont Collegiate Professor of Management at the University of Michigan, shared that, “As a diversity officer and faculty member, participating in the series this summer allowed me to explore many different, important topics in a truncated amount of time, yet still in a meaningful, purposeful way. At times those serving as diversity officers can be thrust into these roles with little to no space, time, or resources available to do the work. It was great to have this dedicated time to think creatively, and thought-partner with others around DEI strategies and initiatives.” 

Mark Nook, Ph.D., President of the University of Northern Iowa, said, “I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about what other institutions have done to achieve positive outcomes. Hearing from other presidents and administrators allowed me to think outside the box when it comes to my approach to strategic diversity leadership. I found the content relevant, timely, and applicable to my work and role.”

The NIXLA continues to expand this year with the launch of a new internship program to help expose more Gen Z youth to strategic DEI management. The recipient of this past summer’s NIXLA internship was Raven Heyward, a current high school senior enrolled at Enloe Magnet High School in Raleigh, NC.

When asked about her experience, Raven said, “the NIXLA summer internship was eye-opening. I enjoyed learning about DEI tools and resources used by companies or on campuses such as climate studies, surveys, and strategic planning. I also enjoyed how the NIXLA team kept all the participants engaged during the series.” 

“We believe in offering programs and experiences that are game-changing and equip leaders of all experience levels with the knowledge, strategies, tools, and resources to transform their current realities as it relates to DEI,” also said Dr. Williams. 

Through proof of concept, dedication to diversity, and unwavering commitment to helping modern leaders thrive through DEI, Dr. Damon A Williams’ purpose-driven vision has come to fruition with the conclusion of the NIXLA Accelerator Series. 

To learn more about The National Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy, please visit:

About The National Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy

The NIXLA program is dedicated to helping participants boost their strategic diversity leadership skills, disrupt the status quo at their institutions, and become innovators around issues of DEI. Dr. Damon A. Williams, Chief Catalyst, National Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy (NIXLA), and author of Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education and The Chief Diversity Officer, Strategy, Structure and Change Management. He is a sought-after keynote speaker, strategist, educator, and social impact leader. For more information, visit