Doyle Symposium 2012

Cultivating Empathy and Engaging Diversity Productively

The third annual Doyle Symposium on Engaging Difference began with a panel discussion among three distinguished Georgetown University alumni – Maria Gomez (N’77), president and CEO of Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care; Jamal Epps (C’01), Executive Director of OTC Derivatives for JPMorgan Chase; and Jess Rimington (SFS’09), Executive Director and founder of One World Youth Project. The dialogue for the panel centered on a discussion of education and diversity in the 21st century, and each panelist also shared his/her thoughts on engaging difference, building relationships, and cultivating empathy and understanding in the professional world.

Gomez discussed the general diversity of the staff and clientele of Mary’s Center and highlighted the importance of openness and honesty when creating and developing professional relationships. Her commitment to serving patients across backgrounds throughout the D.C. community, remarked Gomez, has helped build a network of trust around her organization. Epps spoke to a similar sentiment when he noted that his openness to collaborate and ability to build partnerships across his company has been a catalyst in his career. Epps also shared his belief that companies that do not attempt to build dialogues around the engagement of difference are likely to fall behind those which do. Rimington addressed the issue of diversity education when she discussed the need to think about global competency and cultural exchange in educating for and engaging with diversity. She stressed her belief that not all people are born with an innate sense of human connectivity and that the skills for engaging diversity productively can be teachable.

The panel was followed by a discussion session in which audience members, including students and former Doyle Program Faculty Fellows, voiced their thoughts on the techniques that might be developed to create a “toolbox” of hard skills for diversity education.

After the Symposium, the endowment celebration continued with a reception which included remarks from Dean of the College Chet Gillis, Faculty Fellow representative Ricardo Ortíz, Student Fellow representative Colin Steele, and President of Georgetown University, Jack DeGioia. A special video presentation also contributed to honoring the Doyles and their permanent endowment of the Doyle Engaging Difference Program.

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