Assistant Professor Dr. Diana “Lee” Heron has spent the past decade instructing SUNY Broome’s business students. On Friday, April 30, 2021, she will expand her instruction to fellow SUNY professors and administrators, when she presents on the topic of “Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Business School Classes” at the inaugural SUNY System Business Deans conference. The College is delighted to have Dr. Heron represent the initiative of integrating critical “DEI” content into classroom curriculum.
Dr. Heron teaches several courses within the Business and Professional Studies division, but she has a genuine love of teaching Business 215 – Managing Diversity in Organizations. She will be discussing this course, designed by fellow SUNY Broome professor, Stephen Ohl, specifically when she presents at the SUNY conference. “This class is such a pleasure to teach. We create a safe space for students to engage in meaningful conversations about gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, age, and more. The class is really a broadening experience and definitely has it’s tear jerking moments throughout the semester,” Dr. Heron reflects.
Incorporating “DEI” often comes organically in business courses. “As an example, a marketing class will focus heavily on market segmentation. Studying demographics, needs, and interests is definitely an extension of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Dr. Heron explains.
While many instructors may shy away from digging into the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Heron doesn’t hesitate to discuss her personal life experiences in relation to “DEI.” “When I was working for Marriott International, I would attend general manager’s meetings where I was one of five women in a group of a hundred men. Women were so underrepresented and I felt it immediately,” Heron reflects.
Dr. Heron proudly began her collegiate education as a community college student. While working full-time at a bank, she completed her associate degree in business administration by taking classes in the evening. She decided to leave her position at the bank to focus her efforts fully on earning her bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University.
Heron then began a very successful career with Marriott International. After managing the openings of eight hotels across Georgia and Florida, Heron began to feel the fatigue of the constant travel and relocation. She needed a change. When faced with the question, “what should I do next,” Dr. Heron did what most people grappling with major life decisions do – she asked her mom.
Dr. Heron’s mother, father, and siblings all work in education, so her mother kindly suggested that it might be time for her to join the family business. Dr. Heron followed her mother’s advice and began working as an adjunct instructor at her alma mater, Lorain County Community College, while she earned her M.B.A. from Tiffin University.
Dr. Heron has been a faculty member at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and SUNY Delhi. She holds a doctoral degree in business administration – organizational leadership from Northcentral University.
When asked what she hopes to impart to her fellow colleagues during her presentation on diversity, equity, and inclusion in business curriculum, Dr. Heron had an encouraging response. “People tend to focus on the negative aspects of the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion that plague our world today, but there are some really positive things that are coming out of these conversations. Changes are being made due to these discussions and we, as professors, can help to foster those conversations in our respective classrooms.”