December 12, 2023
On Campus

Them, Us, And The Dream

Next Why Witt? welcomes distinguished alumni to the podcast stage for robust conversation on Dec. 13

Wittenberg graduates Shakeer Abdullah, class of 1999, Brad Jordan, class of 1999, and Chris Thompson, class of 1994, will join the Why Witt? conversation, Dec. 13, to discuss “Them, Us & The Dream” on the live podcast stage starting at 7 p.m. in Founders on the lower level of the Benham-Pence Student Center. The conversation will also be streamed live on the Why Witt YouTube channel.

A progressive diversity, equity, and inclusion belonging leader, Abdullah is the founder and lead consultant of Practical Diversity Consultants, created in November 2011. A nationally recognized presenter, consultant, and trainer, who supports student learning and success through quality programs, services, and initiatives, Abdullah has extensive experience studying the issues of diversity on college campuses and connecting the imperative of inclusion to the core enterprise of teaching and learning. His firm is a full service, relationship management consulting company founded on the goal of focusing on multicultural competence and the experiences of diversity professionals. His sought-after expertise is informed by his years of experience in higher education administration, including as a DEI leader at Clayton State University, Auburn University, and at the University of Minnesota.

Abdullah majored in business management at Wittenberg before earning his M.A. in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University, and his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Auburn University. In 2012, he authored the book Baptism by Fire: An Investigation of the Experiences and Multicultural Competence of Diversity Staff in Higher Education (Lambert Academic Publishing), which addresses a gap in the research about the preparation of diversity staff and their multicultural competency.

Originally from Canton, Ohio, Abdullah was the keynote speaker at Wittenberg’s 2019 Opening Convocation. He and wife, Alida, have two sons and two daughters. Alida serves as the President of Practical Diversity Associates.

Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Jordan also majored in business management at Wittenberg. He went on to earn his M.B.A. from the University of Northwestern Ohio. A general manager and recruiting manager for the United States at Crown Equipment Corporation in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Jordan brings more than 20 years of experience to his industry. In his role at Crown, Jordan accelerates the process of sourcing and hiring by using market research and value stream mapping while identifying trends and best practices to increase the talent pipeline. With a robust skill set that includes customer service, team building, account management, leadership, inventory management and more, Jordan contributes valuable insights to the industry. Since joining Crown in April 2016, Jordan has also helped to develop networking activities with local colleges, military bases, and professional organizations.

For more than two decades, Jordan has been a beacon of knowledge and motivation, conducting presentations and workshops across the United States as an experienced public speaker. Passionate about creating positive change and empowering individuals, Jordan has been discussed personal and professional development, 21st-century skills, and career preparation since 2002. His speeches cover such topics as leadership, empathy, self-awareness, perseverance, positive attitude, decisive action, wise counsel, maximizing your impact, emotional intelligence, and personal responsibility. An influencer impacting the lives of numerous individuals with his passion for education and personal development, Jordan is also a devoted husband to Lisa (Cook) Jordan, Wittenberg class of 1999 and wife of 23 years, and a loving father to their three children, DeLaney (class of 2025), Julian, and Landon.

Thompson graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in English and speech. A top executive management voice, he is currently executive director and head of talent engagement for Consumer and Community Banking (CCB) at JPMorgan Chase & Company in Columbus, Ohio. A talent and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leader, Thompson is responsible for partnering with business leaders across teams and the firm’s global markets to embed DEI practices and principles to transform behaviors. A well-seasoned professional with demonstrated recruitment, human resource, operations, and customer service experience, Thompson has been at JPMorgan since August 2017 driving business outcomes and behaviors by creating an ecosystem that centers around a diverse and inclusive workplace.

A sought-after speaker, master facilitator, certified Hogan and FIRO-B leadership coach, mentor, executive sponsor for a virtual ally network, member or sponsor for multiple BRGs, leader in the Ohio market on the Human Resources Leadership Team and Ohio DEI Council, Thompson has launched multiple leadership-driven forums to help facilitate engagement and exposure for underrepresented communities. From his first job in Wittenberg’s Office of Admission to his current role, he has focused on ensuring inclusion reaches all corners of an organization. He has also held several leadership roles within his church community and has worked tirelessly on helping people develop their ‘whole person’ mentality. Thompson and wife Melanie have three adult children, Kris, Kaleb, and Kennedy.

The brainchild of entrepreneurs Timmy McCarthy, class of 2002 and Wittenberg’s first-ever Professional in Residence, and John “HUD” Hudson, business owner, friend, and former classmate, Why Witt? debuted this summer and airs in front of a live studio audience every fourth Wednesday of the month. Featured guests are Wittenberg alumni from all walks of life, who are expected to mentor a current Wittenberg student following their participation in the program.

Why Witt? asks the following primary questions of all its guests: What led them to Wittenberg? What happened while they were here? How did they navigate the path after leaving Wittenberg? Each show is approximately one hour – 50 minutes for conversation and 10 minutes for audience questions, both from those in person and from those watching via the livestream. A link to listen will be posted on the program’s website closer to the event time. Contact information for connecting with the Why Witt? creators can also be found on the website.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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