In a press conference, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner announced Michael Hughes as the new chief equity and inclusion officer for Frederick County.
In July, County Executive Gardner announced her office would add a Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, which would assist in ensuring racial equity and social justice countywide. Responsibilities include racial equity and implicit bias training, internal policy, legislation drafting, improving diversity of the workforce, and supporting minority businesses.
After stating that the position requires someone compassionate about the work and helping those who do not have a voice in the community, Gardner announced Michael Hughes will fill the role as Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. Hughes will begin on November 30.
From the press release:
“I have placed a high priority on advancing equity and inclusion, both within county government and throughout our community, so that everyone has equitable opportunity to prosper,” Executive Gardner said. “I am confident Michael can move us forward. He is passionate, strategic, thoughtful, and brings a fresh perspective.”
Through his work, Mr. Hughes has fostered organizational change in areas involving race and social justice. As an administrator in higher education in North Carolina, most recently as Executive Director of Student Success and College Civility, he instituted trainings and procedures that improved student outcomes in higher education. He created more inclusive and welcoming workplaces for racially underrepresented employees, and has designed professional development courses for conferences and colleges. Courses include Talking about Race: Yes We Can and Yes We Should; Developing Awareness of Your Implicit Biases; and Courageous Conversations about Race: Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable Through Dialogue with Difference.
Continuing on the topic of addressing implicit bias as well as combating racism and injustice, Gardner announced the formation of an Equity Leadership team of community members and stakeholders to help set goals and priorities in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion. The Equity Leadership Team will engage in a public process as it identifies priorities. Recommendations from the team will provide a framework for change and will serve as the foundation for an action plan.
This is a growing trend as other Maryland counties such as Charles, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery counties have similar positions.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.