Nathan Baptiste is founder of EDI Mindfulness Consulting LLC, supporting organizations to build a culture of equity and belonging in which employees of all different backgrounds thrive and diverse communities are represented and well-served. The greater purpose is to create a more equitable and peaceful society in which race and intersecting social identities do not predict disparate outcomes in life. Nathan is a specialist in personal and organizational change advancing racial equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. He is also a mindfulness meditation instructor certified by MNDFL. As a practitioner for over 20 years, mindfulness is an integral component in his approach to training, coaching, and advising.
Previously, Nathan served as the Diversity Program Manager at Oregon Metro, the regional government for 25 cities based in Portland, OR. In this role, he managed the agency-wide Diversity Action Plan and a number of agency-wide initiatives, in which he delivered the design and launch of a racial equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) professional development training plan reaching over 1,000 employees. Other highlights of his work include: advising departmental leaders in the roll-out of their customized racial equity strategic plans, leading development of an equity lens for the agency-wide employee engagement survey, launching and co-facilitating employee resource groups, and partnering with recruitment and procurement leadership to enhance equity protocols in decision-making.
In prior experience in the field of higher education, Nathan led diversity programming as a Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions & Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment, and later as the Director of Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement at Lewis & Clark College. In these capacities he drove initiatives to increase the diversity of enrollment at the college as well as retention through development of programs fostering a more inclusive environment. Nathan received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Occidental College and his master’s degree in Education Leadership from Columbia University. In his free time, Nathan enjoys meditation, outdoor family adventures, basketball, and dad-jokes with his 8- and 10-year-olds.
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for…
Learn more about Nathan in his interview with WorkWider.
A world that is equitable, peaceful, and free from systemic racism and all forms of oppression
Incredibly insightful is one way that I would describe Nathan, and his insight into the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion made the trainings he provided very effective. Nathan led my nonprofit team – staff and board of directors – through four workshops – each workshop was split into two part – that grounded us in the key concepts of racial equity, bias, and diversity and left us with the perfect jumping off point to start our work to be an anti-racist organization.
Nathan’s combination of professionalism and personal engagement put everyone at ease, while keeping us on track for each training. He was able to tune into the tone of each workshop and adjust as needed. I truly enjoyed Nathan’s partner-based approach to designing the trainings for us which adjusted as we went along.
Nathan demonstrates an incredible balance between being prepared and being present: doing the pre-work necessary yet being mindful enough to be flexible and pivot when necessary. He balances a necessary deep sense of urgency to end injustice while not losing a sense of awareness of what each moment may need. Partnering with Nathan has deepened my ability to collaborate as I attempt to emulate his example of discipline, caring and a strong commitment to moving us all forward.
“The staff vocalized their appreciation for Nathan’s trainings, the theoretical and practical frameworks they provided, and the collaborative space Nathan created for team members to vocalize concerns and opportunities. Throughout all of my interactions with Nathan, he was highly organized and flexible, he asked generative questions, and he met our team members where they were at while encouraging growth and learning. He sets the standard in meeting and training preparation, and he actively sought feedback and adapted his approach based on our organization’s unique context.” (More below)
Nathan Baptiste is second to none as a collaborating partner. Having worked with him during his tenure at Metro, the regional government of Portland, Oregon, I found him to be a deliberative and creative systems thinker who often thought beyond obvious inclusion practices to ensure the fullest embrace of the most diverse populations. He walks his talk.
As a Dean of Students at a large, diverse community college, I have worked with many equity consultants and trainers — Nathan Baptiste is among the best. He is gifted at meeting individuals and organizations where they are at, while nudging them along. He balances strong emotional intelligence with professional acumen, particularly on issues of intersectionality. His style is strategic, high engagement, outcomes-focused, and fun. Every person at your organization will love working with Nathan, and you will see results.
Nathan’s calm, focused attention to the topic and participants was invaluable for challenging conversations. Combined with his seamless integration of both data and personal experiences, participants in Nathan’s workshop will feel supported, challenged, and inspired. I left the workshop with new vocabulary, strategies, and actionable ideas for our recruitment and onboarding processes. Thanks, Nathan!
EDI in the workplace is a long journey that requires a strong start. Nathan’s advice is a great starting point to then together build the foundations to become more inclusive.
Nathan’s workshop “How to Build a Anti-Racist Workplace” resonated with me on many levels, with great content covered. Whilst D&I is now widely en-vouge, I now understand the importance to capture ‘Equity’ in my programme (EDI). I really loved his summary clearly distinguishing diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity. And the additional resources he provided will allow me to further educate myself on this important conversation. Thanks Nathan
I had the pleasure working with Nathan during his tenure at Oregon Metro. I found that Nathan’s intentional and thoughtful approach enhanced our collaboration and centered projects with clear next steps. Nathan’s positive and relationship focused approach acted as a catalyst in bringing groups with competing interests together even through tough conversations. His strategic thinking and practical application helps to foster actionable steps for any project he interacts with. Nathan is a delight to work with and would add value to any project he is associated with.
I’ve had the unique opportunity to partner directly with Nathan for Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) consultancy. In four short months, Nathan offered 12 hours of highly
interactive trainings to support staff members individually and collectively in building
awareness, knowledge and skills to identify, evaluate and create actionable shifts to personal, intrapersonal, organizational and overarching systems. He offered innovative exercises to support ongoing REDI work and also skillfully integrated mindfulness-based practices to support embodied learning and a felt sense of true REDI capacity building.
The positive staff response to and timely integration of Nathans’s suggested REDI activities and resource materials led to the interest of our Board of Directors in the same training series. Additionally, the staff and Board have plans to engage Nathan in a second REDI training series, as a full group later this year. Nathan is also scheduled to support one of HDC’s flagship programs with a two-part REDI training series geared for emerging leaders within the affordable housing sector. (more below)
Testimonials In Focus
The staff vocalized their appreciation for Nathan’s trainings, the theoretical and practical frameworks they provided, and the collaborative space Nathan created for team members to vocalize concerns and opportunities. Throughout all of my interactions with Nathan, he was highly organized and flexible, he asked generative questions, and he met our team members where they were at while encouraging growth and learning. He sets the standard in meeting and training preparation, and he actively sought feedback and adapted his approach based on our organization’s unique context.
I’ve worked with multiple DEI consultants while in leadership roles at nonprofits, and Nathan stands out in how he graciously balances patience, warmth, and understanding with not tip-toeing around tough conversations. He listens intently to and values everyone’s input, whether they are the seasoned CEO or the newest staff associate.
As a member of a team working in an all-virtual setting, even from many miles away it felt like Nathan was a part of our team. I appreciated Nathan’s incorporation of mindfulness (and great break music!) into our trainings, and I was inspired by his presence of mind, passion, and curiosity. He helped our organization grow immensely through his time with us, and that’s why we continued to explore additional ways to partner with Nathan beyond the trainings.
As a result of our work with Nathan, the team gained shared learning and experience from which to propel REDI forward at the organization, and we collaboratively created a strategic plan that will hold us accountable to equitable outcomes.
Now that I am Executive Director at a new nonprofit since working with Nathan, I am looking forward to partnering with him again in new capacities. His experience with small to very large organizations shines through the services and sage partnership he offers to anyone who hires him as a consultant. Nathan cares deeply about his work and the work of others. He is a valued ally to those pursing deeper commitment, more effective strategic planning, and more impactful action at their organizations to advance racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
Kelly Stevens | Nonprofit Executive Director
“I’ve had the unique opportunity to partner directly with Nathan for Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) consultancy. In four short months, Nathan offered 12 hours of highly interactive trainings to support staff members individually and collectively in building awareness, knowledge and skills to identify, evaluate and create actionable shifts to personal, intrapersonal, organizational and overarching systems. He offered innovative exercises to support ongoing REDI work and also skillfully integrated mindfulness-based practices to support embodied learning and a felt sense of true REDI capacity building.
The positive staff response to and timely integration of Nathans’s suggested REDI activities and resource materials led to the interest of our Board of Directors in the same training series.
Additionally, the staff and Board have plans to engage Nathan in a second REDI training series, as a full group later this year. Nathan is also scheduled to support one of HDC’s flagship
programs with a two-part REDI training series geared for emerging leaders within the affordable housing sector.
Throughout all areas of engagement, Nathan consistently shows up with grace, humility, integrity and compassion and has been instrumental as a thought partner and authentic champion of our organizational mission, staff and board. The Housing Development Consortium team is beyond fortunate to have such a committed and thoughtful partner and I personally look forward to our continued REDI journey with Nathan!
Dani Turk | Housing Development Consortium
EDI Professional Background
Diversity Program Manager:
As the the Diversity Program Manager at Metro, the regional government of the greater metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon, I served as an interdepartmental project manager and internal consultant for programs in recruitment, procurement, community engagement, communications, professional development, workplace conflict resolution and employee support, and EDI strategic planning. I directly managed the agency’s Diversity Action Plan and a number of agency-wide initiatives.
- Advising for the COO, senior level leaders and other members of Metro on equity, diversity, and inclusion program implementation priorities
- Design and launch of an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) professional development training plan, and intercultural core competencies framework
- Advisor integrating anti-bias policy measures in procurement evaluations, resulting in the largest public contract in Oregon state history to date ($27M) awarded to a People-of-Color-owned business
- Redesign of the EDI annual workplace climate survey
- Initiation and co-facilitation of employee resource groups (ERGs)
- Design of equity tools for the development of recruitment and employee professional development initiatives
- Bilingual community stakeholder engagement facilitation
- Created recommended protocol for agency to enhance job description design with considerations for engagements with community partners and recruitment for diversity
- Agency-wide racial equity, diversity, and inclusion strategic plan co-development
Lewis & Clark College:
At Lewis & Clark College I served as a Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions & Multicultural Recruitment, and later as the Director of Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement. In these capacities I helped drive initiatives to increase the diversity of enrollment at the college as well as retention through development of programs fostering a more inclusive environment. I also served on the college’s EDI institutional strategic planning committee.
- Delivery of needed educational and professional development resources for racial/ethnic minority members, LGBTQ, and first generation college students, including peer mentorship program, EDI educational workshops, and annual intercultural leadership retreats
- Chair of Student Life Diversity Committee, responsible for curricular planning and implementation of Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) educational cohort learning series, unconscious bias training series, and various professional development workshops well received by staff
- Articulation of new vision and strategic plan for equity, diversity, and inclusion programming, positioning department to work more closely in collaboration with student organizations, peer departments, and external partners, in alignment with foci of Student Life division
- Coordinated annual fall and spring multicultural recruitment fly-in programs, attracting increasingly large groups of prospective students via successful community outreach and engagement, resulting in high yield rates of underrepresented students attending the college, utilizing culturally sensitive practices
Theory of Change
The achievement of a racially equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization that thrives is dependent upon several key understandings grounded in mindfulness:
- 1) INTERSECTIONAL MINDFULNESS: We can’t change a problem that we can’t or won’t first recognize. Recognition that central to inequities and exclusion in an organization are the workings of systemic racism and other intersecting identity-oriented oppressions, including but not limited to sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, ageism, and nativism. Clearly identifying the structural and intersectional nature of inequities helps us develop a coordinated response.
2) RACIAL EQUITY PRINCIPLES: Racial equity, diversity, and inclusion work is not a one-and-done affair. It is based on a set of principles that embrace people’s humanity and must be embedded in organizational culture to achieve sustainable results. Centering racial equity principles in use of an intersectional decision-making lens is essential for culture change that dismantles institutional inequities and barriers for all identity groups.
3) ACCOUNTABILITY: Action can only be meaningful when we take personal, collective, and structural accountability for change. Coupling accountability for self-examination at the individual and interpersonal levels with accountability for equitable policy outcomes at the structural level is critical to dismantle institutional inequities for transformational change.