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Meet Brandon Bell: Diversity Abroad Community Highlight

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Monday, November 27, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

Brandon Bell photoBrandon Bell
Assistant Director, The Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education
Elon University

Level of Experience: 4 - 10 years

What does diversity & inclusive excellence mean to you in the context of your work?

Diversity & inclusive excellence is an ideology that guides my work as a student affairs practitioner. It requires a systems approach that negotiates and collaborates with policy to impact the day to day lived experiences of our non-hetero-normative and racially and ethically diverse students. It's a commitment, charge and campaign to continually interrogate the systems in place so that we can become a truly more inclusive body of people. 

Please describe the factors that led you to pursue your current career track?

My own experiences during my undergraduate career, paired with my passions for helping people tap and actualize their potential seemed to prime me for a career in higher education.  

With specific regard to my work in equity, diversity and inclusion my lived experience as a person of color inspire me to work to create more inclusive and conducive systems and support for racially and ethnically diverse students in higher education contexts.  

What aspects of your work are you most excited about?

I enjoy helping students plan for the future and navigate their current experiences to foster meaning making. Every time I witness a student realize their own potential I am both inspired and energize to engage the work that much more. 

Please describe any challenges you've encountered in relationship to your current role? What strategies have you employed to overcome them?

When doing diversity and inclusion work, I have found that a team of friends, mentors and support systems are key in not only moving towards the goal of greater social justice in our communities but in enacting work life balance and ensuring that I create time to reflect and reconnect with things that energize me. 

As you reflect on different aspects of your career, what are you most proud of?

The support and mentorship I am afforded to provide to students is an honor and privilege that I am most proud to engage daily. 

What do you work toward in your free time?

In my free time I work towards sharpening my singing abilities and reconnecting with friends and extended family.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Mahogany Alabaster - because my work is to help students shape and mold themselves into the person they envision themselves to be. Alabaster is the wood commonly used for carving and various wooden figurines. Mahogany is added because I am black and proud of it!

Do you have a mentor? If so, please describe this mentorship relationship and how it has benefitted your work. 

I actually have a team of mentors throughout various functional areas of higher education, corporate and non-profit settings. My relationships with them provide different perspectives to utilize in my work towards equity, diversity and inclusion, in addition to providing intellectual balance and nuanced professional development. My mentors have helped me developed the analytical, strategic and empathetic skills needed to be a effective practitioner in the realm of social justice and  advocate, coach and educator to the faculty, staff and students I encounter.  

Recent Engagement with Diversity Abroad

Co-Chair: 2017-2018 Racially & Ethnically Diverse Students Task Force
Member: 2016-2017 Racially & Ethnically Diverse Students Task Force 
Presenter: 2017 Annual Diversity Abroad Conference

 

 

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