Ron Sims headlines UW Bothell Equity and Inclusion Conference

Hundreds of people flocked to the University of Washington Bothell campus on Feb. 24 to participate in the college’s third annual Equity and Inclusion Conference.

Attendees were welcomed to the day-long event by UW Bothell Chancellor Bjong Wolf Yeigh and Director of Diversity Terryl Ross.

“You all had a lot of other things you could have done today, but you chose to be here,” Ross said.

“I’m sure we’re all going to have a lot of things to learn from each other,” Yeigh added. “The work that we get to do today is so important, within ourselves and with each other.”

The day included two workshop sessions, where attendees could choose from a variety of topics, including “Empowering Women in Tech,” “Building Transformational Diversity,” “Combatting Islamophobia” and “Indigenous Resistance.”

To get the event started, former King County Executive Ron Sims, who was the deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2011, delivered the keynote address.

Sims focused on the power of people working together to be successful.

“We all have been gifted different skills,” he said. “It’s the merger of those skills that brings us success. … None of us was the best. All of us are going to be great.”

Before he spoke, Ross gave an introduction, calling Sims someone he looks up to.

“Ron has been a model for servant leadership long before that term was coined,” Ross said. “He’s one of the few leaders who’s not afraid to be passionate or vulnerable.”

Sims’ speech featured many personal anecdotes, with stories of family, love, mountain climbing and football. His anecdotes all tied back into his themes of collaboration and being open to new experiences.

“You have no idea where you will be five years from now, 10 years from now,” he said. “I want you to say ‘I’m ready’ when that call comes in.”

Following the conference, Ross said he plans to build a virtual toolkit to promote equity and inclusion in collaboration with those in attendance. For more information, visit