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Alethia O’Hara Stephenson: “This program was perfect as it provided knowledge that can help if you are an executive, a leader in the DEI space or simply an individual who wants to learn more.”

Published On: January 24, 2023

We love catching up with our graduates to hear about their experiences and successes! We recently had the pleasure of connecting with Alethia O'Hara Stephenson, who completed our Diversity and Inclusion Certificate course. Read on to learn how this course has empowered her and undersized communities, her experience with the instructor Sharon, and why this course is not an easy course but a beneficial course. 

Can you tell us a little about your career experience and how you ended up at Ashton College?

I am passionate about creating opportunities for undersized communities, in particular, our black community and lead several conversations with leaders in my community to take about anti-black racism and creating access and opportunities.   This led to establishing a non-profit organization called the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association.  I also made several delegations to our Municipal Councils with the recommendation that we establish a DEI committee. These recommendations were approved and adopted. Finally, I was appointed chair of my town's Anti-Black racism and discrimination task force and wanted to expand my knowledge to better serve our diverse and growing community.  Ashton provided the depth, challenge and flexibility I was looking for and so I enrolled.

What made you decide to take the Diversity and Inclusion course? 

The need to enhance my knowledge to better serve my growing and diverse community.

How has the course helped you in your role? 

Gave me the tools, skills and confidence requires to lead diversity conversations, make recommendations and implement changes.

How was your experience with the instructor?
Sharon Sneider was my instructor and she was incredible. She was passionate about her work and provided valuable insights tools and knowledge that was tangible for us. She had research material that was current and relevant and she was able to use the current environment i.e. movies, news, and research to supplement and reinforce our knowledge.

What were some things that challenged you in the course?

The exercises in the course challenged me in the sense that they forced me to go deep and think critically. It wasn't about simply reading and regurgitating information it required you to do some deep thinking.

How has your career progressed since taking the course? 

I have spoken on several platforms including speaking and moderating panel discussions at the World Diversity in Leadership Conference in Edmonton.

Did the course help to improve your confidence to speak on this important topic? 

Yes, since then I have spoken on several platforms not just on diversity but also with the respect to Black History and Black History Month.

What advice would you offer to someone who is considering taking this course?

Please be open to new learnings. Be uncomfortable unlearning some of our own incorrect and false narratives, challenge our perceptions and biases, and walk away feeling a bit more empowered with knowledge and tools to help you on your path. This program was perfect as it provided knowledge that can help if you are an executive, a leader in the DEI space or simply an individual who wants to learn more.


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