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Get to Know the SGO Facilitators: Dr. Victoria Verlezza
Moving from Autism Awareness to Acceptance in the Workplace

Get to Know the SGO Facilitators – Kia Rivera

We’re excited to introduce you to some of the incredible DEI training facilitators that are part of the SGO team. We asked them to share what sparked their passion for this work, what DEI means to them, and why they do what they do. Meet Kia Rivera (Sher/her), DEI Facilitator!

What does DEI mean to you?
It’s tough for me to put into words what DEI means to me because there are so many layers to it. Overall DEI means disrupting the systems and barriers that have been in place for those on the margins. DEI is doing the work in order to better understand ourselves and the world around us. We do this work for a more equitable tomorrow. 

How did you come to this work? How did you learn it was necessary, and how did you get involved? 
I love community and storytelling, and that’s what I think this work is really about. This work is hard and can feel overwhelming, and I think that the power of community really moves the needle forward when it comes to this work. I like many, came into this work out of necessity in many ways. Overall I would say my love for this work really sparked in college as a History major. I wanted to hear different stories and perspectives than we are usually taught. From there, I would say my masters program/graduate assistantship really cultivated my love for this work. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge for teams when beginning DEI work, and how can they overcome it? 
I think the fear of not knowing what to say, or of saying something wrong. That can really stall conversations and stops teams from starting this work because they can feel overwhelmed and/or afraid. This is where I think community plays a big role because we can learn from one another whether it be personal stories or overall foundational knowledge.

What’s the most fulfilling experience you’ve had while doing this work? 
The lightbulb moments that happen during facilitation, either for participants or myself as a facilitator (they still happen for me)! It truly makes the hard stuff worth it, and continues to show me that there is so much more to learn. 

What have you learned through your experiences in facilitating?
I have learned so much about myself and my own positionality through facilitating, and I owe that to participants. I love hearing about others’ stories and how they relate to this work and it truly allows for me to reflect on my own experiences and identities. 

What is one of your favorite resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and why? 
So many! Audre Lorde has been a huge part of my journey, so I will have to say Sister Outsider. It is a piece I always come back to. It should be required reading. 


Learn more about the SGO team and our diversity, equity, and inclusion training offerings.

Now that you know more about our facilitators, learn more about working with us!