BW chief diversity officer named president of ODOC

Highly esteemed leader C. J. Harkness named president of Ohio Diversity Officers Collaboration (ODOC).

BW's dynamic diversity leader named president of statewide ODOC

October 10, 2017

CJ Harkness speaking to an audienceAn exceptional leader exudes passion, professionalism and a spirit of genuine altruism. BW’s Chief Diversity Officer C. J. Harkness embodies these characteristics, making him a well sought-after example both on and off campus.

Leading the Way

As the newly named president of the Ohio Diversity Officers Collaboration (ODOC), Harkness will lead the organization for the next two years. The ODOC is comprised of diversity officers across the state of Ohio. Its collaborative effort offers members a platform for networking, resources and professional development.

"Leadership is the ability to get key stakeholders to find common ground and common value in work that transcends individual identities," Harkness explained of his new role.

Passing the Gavel

Dr. Shanda Gore, recent past ODOC President and current State Coordinator for the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity, passed the gavel to Harkness on June 23 at the 2017 ODOC annual meeting held at BW's Center for Innovation & Growth. "Mr. Harkness will be a fantastic leader of the ODOC organization. He has a strong vision for ODOC and an understanding of the challenges many face in building awareness and appreciation for diversity," Gore stated.

Setting the Agenda

Harkness hopes to accomplish two key goals during his two-year term. The first is strengthening the collaboration between all professional organizations throughout Ohio. He plans to unify the consortium of multi-cultural centers in order to advance diversity and inclusion. Secondly, he will aim to increase membership engagement. 

Synergistic Teamwork

The main avenue Harkness will take toward building engagement is enhancing the synergy across ODOC. This will be accomplished by developing relevant and engaging content on the ODOC website, posting pertinent opportunities on the job bulletin and creating connections by drawing attendance to the ODOC annual conferences. His two-year plan also includes sprouting and encouraging regional meetings outside of the annual conference.

Natural-Born Leader

Harkness earned his master's degree in practical theology from Ashland Theological Seminary and his Bachelor of Arts in physical education from Mount Union College. In the Greater Cleveland community, he serves as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a member of the pastoral staff at Mount Zion Church of Oakwood Village. In 2013, Harkness was named to Kaleidoscope Magazine's 40/40 Club, recognizing exceptional leadership.