Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; Age 29
When asked why there are now so many colleges, municipalities, and businesses that employ administrators focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Alaina Macaulay gave a quick but direct answer.
“To be quite honest, many of the ways in which society operates are designed to promote some and exclude others,” she explained. “We need these positions so that we have advocacy for people, but then we’re also dismantling systems that have been oppressive and have kept people out.”
And among area DEI professionals, Macaulay has become a true leader. Formerly the director of DEI at Elms College, she has served for three years now as executive director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, and is the first person to hold that title.
A graduate of Western Illinois University, where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees while playing on the volleyball team, Macaulay said each day is different, which is what she likes most about her work. But overall, she works with the Admissions team on encouraging ways to attract and connect with students from all backgrounds “so they see Isenberg is a destination that they want to be a part of and that they feel they can belong in.”
For students already enrolled, she works on programming and creating curriculum that centers the experiences of students that have historically come from the most marginalized backgrounds.
“I advise student groups; work with students, faculty, and staff closely on DEI initiatives; and I also help with training to make sure we’re all operating from an inclusive and equitable practice,” she explained.
Since arriving at Isenberg, Macaulay has many accomplishments and new initiatives to her credit, including:
• Creating and chairing Isenberg’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee;
• Launching Isenberg’s first Diversity and Inclusion Education Week;
• Creation of Isenberg’s “Many Minds” workshop series dedicated to discussions on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; and
• Building and maintaining relationships with K-12 organizations to create a pipeline of students from the most marginalized backgrounds.
In addition to her work at Isenberg, Macaulay is also very involved in the community. She serves on the board of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield and the Chester Theater. She’s also an active volunteer with Sisters of St. Joseph, specifically serving on its peace and justice committee, which is committed to centering racial justice and equity in the congregation.
— George O’Brien