Emily Allen Williams | Higher Ed Jobs
This interview with Gwendolyn VanSant and John Bissell is part two of my continuing interview series on the growing emphasis of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) best practices in higher education institutions. VanSant speaks from the vantage of her leadership as chief executive officer and founding director of BRIDGE. Bissell speaks from the vantage of his leadership as president and chief executive officer of Greylock Federal Credit Union. Both CEOs are award-winning regional and national leaders in DEI work.
Emily Allen Williams (EW): Gwendolyn and John, over the years, both of you have emerged as leaders in this ever-evolving and necessary work across all sectors -- community, corporate, government, and higher education. I would like to start with some background on your organizations and how you both came to be recognized as two of the leading DEI voices toward positive change in the region.
Gwendolyn VanSant (GV): BRIDGE has been around for 11 years. Greylock Federal Credit Union was actually one of the first companies to support BRIDGE’s early work through grants.
EW: John, I am very interested in your corporation and how diversity, equity, and inclusion work has become central in your corporate structure. I also am interested in how you and Gwendolyn [through BRIDGE and Greylock] came to work closely together toward increased awareness of DEI best practices and the implementation of such best practices.
John Bissell (JB): In my leadership role as president and chief executive officer [of Greylock Federal Credit Union], we are constantly trying to remake a much older organization to stay relevant. Gwendolyn has been a great partner for us in achieving ever-evolving outcomes from the DEI goals that we have set for ourselves as a corporation and as a part of a larger community, which includes higher education institutions.