In spring 2009, Shayla Herndon-Edmunds made a recommendation to campus leadership to offer training and workshops to staff on the Reynolda Campus to support the University’s commitment to making Wake Forest a more diverse and inclusive community, emphasizing the importance of staff in achieving that goal. Provost Jill Tiefenthaler supported the idea and commissioned Ms. Herndon-Edmunds and Assistant Provost Barbee Myers Oakes to develop and implement the Gatekeepers Workshop Series. In recognition that diversity and inclusiveness go beyond matters of race, religion, age, gender, and other visible traits, a “gatekeeper” is defined as any member of the Wake Forest community who represents the University through his or her interaction with students, faculty, staff, and other constituents.
The first Gatekeepers Workshop (GKI) entitled, “Enhancing Our Community Through Inclusion” was launched in partnership with the Professional Development Center in August 2009. This workshop, led by Donna Stringer and Andy Reynolds of Executive Diversity Services, introduces gatekeepers to the meaning and value of diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion; enhances participants’ knowledge and understanding of cultural differences, similarities, and perceptions; and provides tools that help participants effectively engage in building and maintaining a more diverse and inclusive community.
As a result of the incredible response to the first Gatekeepers Workshop, leadership agreed that all Reynolda Campus staff should have an opportunity to receive diversity training through Gatekeepers Workshops. In order to do so, additional workshops and diversity trainers would be required. Dr. Oakes secured support for implementing a Train-the-Trainers program through which fourteen (14) staff members would become certified internal diversity trainers and facilitators of ongoing GKI Workshops. In June 2010, Nitya Anand, Laurel Banks, Jane Caldwell, Kriss Dinkins, Tomma Guastaferro, Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Beth Hoagland, Matt Imboden, Alta Mauro, Barbee Oakes, Nicole Rodriguez-Pastor, Sasha Suzuki, Tiffany Waddell and Kim Wieters became certified internal trainers after completing an intensive training program led by Executive Diversity Services, Inc. Starting that fall, this team of trainers became responsible for facilitating Gatekeepers I Workshops.