Our Mission is to boldly go where no diversity training and consulting firm has gone before! We will do this by identifying, recognizing, supporting, and most of all, celebrating, all forms of diversity inside and outside the realm of Higher Education.
Creating All Inclusive Allies in All Spaces and Places.
We will try to positively influence and positively encourage all people. We will never judge any one on the basis of any condition, characteristic, or circumstance. We will always have an open mind and promote all types of diversity and unrepresentative or unrecognized groups, ideas, and concerns. We will always maintain good, positive, and honest relationships, and shall not have or create any enemies. And finally, we will challenge any ideas, or concerns that are not positive or constructive. Some of these conditions, characteristics, and circumstances include:
GENDER OR GENDER IDENTITY
MENTAL / PHYSICAL ABILITY AND CHARACTERISTICS
INCOME OR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS.
ORGANIZATIONAL ROLE AND LEVEL
SPIRITUALITY / RELIGION OR LACK OF RELIGION
HANDEDNESS (LEFT / RIGHT / AMBIDEXTROUS)
MARITAL OR PARENTAL STATUS
PUBLIC ASSISTANCE STATUS
Brian C. Steinberg
President and CEO of The Ally Group
Lead Diversity Trainer
R. Derrick Thomas
Diversity Trainer and Associate
Originally from Orlando, Florida Derrick Thomas began his involvement with student development issues as a Resident Assistant at the University of Central Florida. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science he continued his interest in higher education by completing a Master Degree in Student Personnel Services from Eastern Kentucky University. After graduation, he moved to Long Island, New York to work at SUNY Stony Brook. While there, Derrick served as the First Year Residential Experience Coordinator and taught classes on AIDS Peer Education and Student Leadership. As part of his life mission, Derrick works with social justice issues and AIDS education and risk reduction for underrepresented communities.
Derrick has also worked as an Assistant Director of Chapter Development for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He also continues to develop workshops and training seminars as a Diversity Education Specialist. In his spare time, Derrick enjoys spending time with loved ones and friends, playing racquetball and tennis, enjoying cultural activities, and observing the political events in DC.
Diversity Trainer and Associate
Gary Conner is a student affairs professional who has invested more than fifteen years in the research and study of cultural, racial and gender specific communication and education. Mr. Conner has taught courses on ethnocentricity, un-learning oppression and civility at prisons, civic organizations, houses of worship as well as presented workshops at universities, high schools and business institutions.
Utilizing methods gleaned from research, counseling and stand up comedy, as well as many years of experience teaching, Mr. Conner points a finger at our collective faults and lays blame clearly on the shoulders of those who fail to recognize and admit there is a problem and then act to correct that problem.
In 1992 Mr. Conner co-founded Cultural Racial Understanding and Exchange (CRUX), an interactive method of learning how to communicate across racial and ethnic lines while simultaneously putting the onus on the individual to both teach and learn. CRUX has proven to be an effective tool in business, civic and educational settings as well as at churches, synagogues and mosques. By removing the hierarchy of heredity, CRUX allows directed discussions to be facilitated in safe space environments, giving participants the freedom to ask candid questions and to give and receive frank, honest answers without fear of reprisal.
Mantra’s such as “I believe most people are basically good, but have learned how to mistrust, mistreat and fear each other for over 400 years” as well as “Never Doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”, are deeply rooted in Mr. Conner’s teaching. Mr. Conner espouses the belief that any method of teaching centered on any area of diversity (and there are many), should be viewed as a starting point and the goal needs to be introducing a different way to look at things and setting a commitment to act upon those new found beliefs. He cautions that any real and powerful change takes time and the real key is to remain steadily on the course of change.
Along with a protégé of his, Mr. Conner assisted in the design and writing of a book on college freshmen and the challenges they face; a sequel is in the works now. Mr. Conner has also written an on-line column entitled, “Building Bridges”, for student affairs journal on-line.
Possessing a M.S. from Eastern Kentucky University in Student Personnel and Counseling as well as post graduate work at NCSU, Mr. Conner has proven to be a life long learner as well as teacher, mentor and activist.