You are here: American University Kogod School of Business About Diversity and Inclusion

An Inclusive Global Community

At the Kogod School of Business, we welcome and celebrate individuals from all backgrounds. Together, we strive to create an inclusive enviornment that encourages, supports, and celebrates our diverse voices. Our differences in cultures, ideas, and beliefs deepen our understanding of each other, making us stronger business professionals and global citizens. At Kogod, we don’t just believe in diversity and inclusion—we live it. 

Caroline Bruckner, Executive in Residence, Accounting and Taxation
Meredith Burnett, Professional Lecturer, Management (Committee Chair)
Neelum Buttar, Assistant Director of Financial Operations
Derrick Cogburn, Professor, Information Technology and Analytics
Alberto Espinosa, Professor, Information Technology and Analytics
Sonya Grier, Professor, Marketing
Kecia Hansard, Associate Director of Career and Professional Development
Emily Lindsay, Executive in Residence, Accounting and Taxation
Sarah Mady, Assistant Professor, International Business
Ghiyath Nakshbendi, Executive in Residence, International Business
Shenandoah Sowash, Assistant Director of Kogod Center for Business Communications
John Swasy, Associate Professor, Marketing
Andrew Toczydlowski, Director of Student Development and Services
Rene Thomas, Associate Director of Graduate Studies

We are currently looking for student representatives to serve on the committee. Interested? Contact Andrew Toczydlowski at

Grier, S. A. (2019). Marketing Inclusion: A Social Justice Project for Diversity Education. Journal of Marketing Education. doi: 10.1177/0273475319878829

Jackson, A. E. (2019, October 22). New Study: 3 in 5 U.S. Employees Have Witnessed or Experienced Discrimination. Retrieved from

Newkirk, P. (2019, October 21). The Diversity Business Is Booming, But What Are the Results? Retrieved from

Gray, A., & Gray, A. (2019, June 4). The Bias of 'Professionalism' Standards (SSIR). Retrieved from

Kogod School of Business Inclusive Leadership Awards

A core value, a pillar that is both aspirational and descriptive of the Kogod School of Business, is a commitment to fostering a learning environment that recognizes and respects our individual difference, i.e., it is both diverse and inclusive.

The concepts of diversity and inclusion embrace a myriad of dimensions, including, but not limited to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, or an individual’s genetic information.

The Kogod School of Business Inclusive Leadership Award intentionally considers diversity and inclusion very broadly to reflect the many ways that Kogod students, faculty, and staff make important contributions in this area. This award is given to those who exemplify the spirit of inclusion, champion diverse practices, and strive to be activists, educators, and leaders. Awardees also demonstrate action toward, promotion or encouragement of at least one of the goals in AU’s Plan for Inclusive Excellence which include:

  • Training, Learning, and Development
  • Campus Climate, Culture, and Community
  • Systems, Policies, and Procedures
  • Access and Equity
  • Curriculum and Instructions

More information on each goal can be found on the Inclusive Excellence website.

Up to four total awards (two faculty/staff, two student) may be given in a year based on the merit of applications received. This award is only available to Kogod-affiliated students, faculty, and staff. The same person is eligible for the award once every two years.

Nominations and self-nominations will be accepted from through March 31 of each Academic Year. A subgroup of the Kogod Diversity and Inclusion team will review all nominations and present recommendations to the Kogod Dean for final selection. Awardees will be announced prior to the end of the academic year and recognized at a Kogod reception. Awardees will receive a certificate of appreciation and be named on a plaque on display at the KSB building. Student awardees will also receive a taxable, monetary award of $1,000.

Click here to submit a nomination.

Past Award Winners

Sarah Mady (Assistant Professor, Marketing Department)
Andrew Toczydlowski (Director, Student Development and Services)
Sarah Teixeira (BS Business Administration, 2020)
Brianna Huggins (BS Business Administration, 2021)

Sonya Grier (Professor, Marketing Department)
Geneva Dampare (Instructional Technology Coordinator)
Rachel Fogg (BS Accounting, 2018)
Taylor Bookter (BS Business Administration, 2018)

Diversity & Inclusion Programming grants

The purpose of this fund is to support business-focused diversity and inclusion programming facilitated by Kogod students. Funding is available to student organizations and individuals. Up to $200 is available per event with preference given for new applicants. Funding cannot be used towards stipends, payroll, honoraria, or physical inventory. Applications are required to be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the proposed event date.

For guidance on planning inclusive events, see the guide on this page.

Click here to apply.

After submitting the application, make an appointment with Andrew Toczydlowski, Kogod's Director of Student Development and Services.

Inclusive Event Planning

This guide provides questions and recommendations for event coordinators to plan, execute, and evaluate inclusive events. It's not an exhaustive guide but should serve you on your way to becoming a more inslusive leader.

  • Who is the target audience for your event? Are the folks planning the event representative of our attendees?
  • If there is a fee for an event, do you have the resources to offer fee waivers to allow those not able to afford the event to still attend?
  • Looking at the target date for the event, what religious or cultural events or holidays are happening around that time that could impact who is able to attend? Think about other high-profile events (elections, sporting events, etc.) that could impact attendance.
  • Consider collaborating with other departments/organizations
  • Ensure that your budget earmarks funds for disability-related accommodations.
    • AU requires live-streamed events to be captioned.
    • The Academic Support and Access Center will cover the costs for students who have registered accommodations on file with their office.
    • Print items in large font (20+) or have braille copies on hand.
  • Your Venue
    • Is it accessible for people with disabilities (not just your event location but also the restrooms nearest your venue)?
    • Are there fragrance dispensers in the restrooms or around your event location? If so, consider asking that they be removed or disabled for your event for folks who may be sensitive to smells.
    • When students are included, consider a metro-accessible location given that most students have UPass.
    • Consider finding venues at institutions that have a history of being inclusive and welcoming.
    • Visit the venue before committing.
    • Plan and share with attendees a route of travel to your building from various landmarks or parking areas to assist people in finding your venue.
  • Collecting RSVPs: Not just beneficial for projected attendance
    • Is your RSVP method accessible?
    • Collecting information about accommodations for those with disabilities.
    • Collecting dietary needs or restrictions (those who don’t drink alcohol, Halal, Kosher, vegans/vegetarians, food allergies, etc.).
    • Requesting attendees don't wear heavy scents to accomodate those who might be sensitive (have baking soda on-hand the day of to help neutralize heavy smells)
    • Use language outside the gender binary: Instead of “he/she”, say “they” or in addition to options like “Mr., Mrs., Ms.”, offer gender-neutral options like “Mx.”.
    • Consider asking for attendees pronouns and including those on name badges (if provided).
  • What is the identity make up of your slate of speakers or presenters? If they’re all one identity, what message is it sending your attendees? How do you prevent tokenizing when it comes to inclusion?
  • If your event includes films, video clips, slideshows, or other digital components, are they accessible?
  • If transportation is part of your event, is it accessible?
  • Consider child care options for caregivers.
  • Include information about requesting accommodations.  For example: “If you would like to request a disability-related accommodation or accessibility information, please contact (PERSON) at (EMAIL ADDRESS).  Request should be made by (AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE START OF THE EVENT)”
    • Email addresses are preferable over phone numbers due to attendees who may not be able to use a telephone
    • The Academic Support and Access Center can consult in effectively providing accommodations on campus
  • Any information that is shared digitally should be in an accessible format (CTRL can help)
    • Use the alt-text feature to allow those not able to see images to receive an audible description
  • Consider color-coded name badges at social/networking events to indicate a participant’s intentions: Red means please don’t interact with me, yellow means only those I already know should interact with me, green means please talk to me, blue means please interact with me, but I may have trouble interacting with you so please be patient, etc.
  • Identify pronouns (on name tags, as people introduce themselves, etc.)
  • Share information about restrooms with your attendees, identifying a single-stall private restroom if nearby 
  • Consider lighting and sound
    • Consider folks who are sensitive to fluorescent lights and those with low vision
    • Will the lighting in your space allow for interpreters to be seen?
    • Discourage or forbid flash photography
  • Ensure food and beverage options are labeled clearly and include ingredients 
  • If music is a part of your event, consider how or why it is being included and what message the song selection might convey to your audience.  Or is it a necessary component to the presentation or is it an add-on?
  • Videos/Clips should (and in some cases, must) be captioned
  • If your event involves a Q&A or audience participation, ensure there are microphones for both presenters and the audience.  If a microphone is not available for the audience, be sure presenters repeat questions or statements into their microphones before responding
  • Check in with the audience frequently: Is everyone able to understand and follow what is happening?
  • Seating
    • If you have interpreters at the event, be sure to reserve seats at the best vantage point for the people who need their services
    • Ensure open space in rows and walkways to accommodate wheelchairs
  • Have paper copies of presentations available for folks to follow along and take notes
  • At events where speakers are asking attendees to donate or contribute money towards something, think of non-monetary ways folks can give back for those that want to participate but may not have the resources to do so
  • Have recordings or materials available to attendees after the event (in an accessible format)
  • Academic Support and Access Center or CTRL can consult on captioning videos but there are some free online services like YouTube or Amara
  • When soliciting feedback about your event, think of your methodology or how the evaluation is distributed and whether that’s inclusive.  Do you want to collect feedback on how inclusive participants thought the event was?

Questions about this guide? Contact Andrew Toczydlowski, Kogod's Director of Student Development and Services, at

Kogod Diversity & Inclusion Spotlight

Emily Lindsay is an accounting professor at Kogod. She was the inaugural chair of the Kogod Diversity & Inclusion Team and stayed in the role for two years. Under her leadership, she raised awareness about changes that needed to be implemented in Kogod and at AU to increase diversity and promote inclusion. To quote a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team, Professor Lindsay “does this work both outside and inside the classroom because she understands its vital importance to promoting the next generation of successful business leaders. She is an example that Kogod Faculty should follow."