Leading Through an Equity Lens

A Circle of Sisterhood Foundation Program

The mission of Circle of Sisterhood is to leverage the collective influence of sorority women to raise financial resources for entities around the world that are removing educational barriers for girls and women facing poverty and oppression. Coinciding with an increased national dialogue in the United States aimed at combatting racism and removing structural inequalities, the Circle of Sisterhood is investing in a program to further promote its pursuit of equity, justice, and opportunities for girls and women. The Circle of Sisterhood is offering an online, three-course training program aimed at equity leadership and equipping participants with the skills and opportunities to function as active leaders in allyship—at the individual and organizational levels. This online program includes real-world application of equity concepts to problems and issues that the Circle of Sisterhood wishes to address in advancing equity practices. Learn more about the program’s three synchronous virtual courses below!

Courses & Educational Objectives

Expand or close full course descriptions by clicking the plus (“+”) sign to the right of the course name.

June 1, 2021, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Advancing equity practices requires an ongoing examination of language, symbolism, nonverbal cues, and behaviors. This online research-informed course explores unconscious bias as the basis for understanding personal behaviors. It also explores the history, foundational goals, and common norms of sororities in the context of social norms of the mid-1800s to early 1900s when most were formed. Social norms have changed dramatically over the decades, including advancements in what allyship means within and across sororities today. 

Educational Objectives: 

1. To define and explore examples of unconscious bias, microaggressions, and stereotype threat, with a focus on how these manifest across multiple social identity points. 

2. To explore the history, foundational goals, and common norms of sororities. 

3. To lay the groundwork for exploring how to move beyond performative allyship to active allyship (Course 2). 

June 8, 2021, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm

This synchronous virtual research-informed course outlines best practices in leading and networking through an equity lens—with a specific focus on supporting women leaders in functioning as active (versus performative) allies to promote the pursuit of equity, justice and opportunities for girls and women. 

Educational Objectives: 

1. To define, explore and discuss what it means to be an active ally versus a performative ally—at the individual and organizational levels—including shifting power. 

2. To explore specific leadership challenges commonly faced by women in navigating the space of performative versus active allyship. 

3. To explore community building and networking. 

June 22, 2021, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The goal of the “Translating Equity into Practice” course is to build upon the concepts learned in the equity leadership program through the exploration of equity improvement change ideas locally and to outline a framework and schedule for learning through each other on successes, barriers and lessons learned. The Translating Equity into Practice course uses the Model for Improvement,1 which asks teams/participants to reflect upon three questions: 1) what are we trying to accomplish (desired outcomes); 2) how will we know that a change is an improvement (teams/participants identify appropriate measures to track their success), and 3) what changes can be made to result in improvement (teams/participants identify key changes they can test). Changes are implemented in a cyclical fashion, using the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle. The session will discuss real-world application of equity concepts to problems and issues that the Circle of Sisterhood wishes to address in advancing equity practices. 


Dr. Amy Bonomi

Dr. Amy Bonomi is Professor of Human Development, co-founder and founding director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, and former chair (from 2013-18) of the Human Development department at Michigan State University. The goals of the Women’s Leadership Institute are to create equity for women worldwide by igniting women leaders. Dr. Bonomi co-edited the award-winning book, Women Leading Change in Academia: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Cliff and Slipper (Cognella Publishing). Endorsed by the American Psychological Association, it convenes the perspectives of diverse female leaders on issues of leadership and the challenges of structural racism, bias, and discrimination. Dr. Bonomi has presented on equity and inclusion to thousands of individuals and teams across the U.S. and Canada.

Dr. Dionne Stephens

Dr. Dionne Stephens is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Florida International University. Dr. Stephens is widely recognized for her professional development workshops that center inclusion and equity across diverse contexts. A multiple-award-winning mentor and teacher, Dr. Stephens has been an invited presenter on inclusion and equity at the National Institutes for Health, American Psychological Association, University of Houston, Affirming Youth Foundation, Miami-Dade Economic Trust, and numerous other organizations. Dr. Stephens has won multiple awards for mentorship at the undergraduate and graduate levels.