Hillside has announced the appointment of Latesha Fussell as Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), effective Monday, June 12. In this position, Fussell will lead the coordinated efforts of Hillside’s internal and external DE&I activities, in keeping with the agency’s commitment to create and maintain an inclusive environment where the agency leverages its diversity to build a strong, equitable community.

Fussell comes to Hillside from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, where she has served since 2021 in the role of Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Prior to that experience, she held leadership roles in the areas of intercultural affairs and DE&I at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts; at Wells College in Aurora, New York; and at SUNY Potsdam.

She holds two master’s degrees from SUNY Potsdam, for special education and childhood education, and also earned a bachelor of arts in sociology degree at that school. Fussell is currently pursuing a doctor of philosophy in higher education at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Hillside’s commitment to DE&I takes many forms, including participating in and sponsoring of community-led conferences, forums and events; and bringing visiting speakers to present on a variety of relevant topics that align with organizational priorities. Staff-led regional committees meet monthly to discuss issues of the moment and the agency’s ongoing progress, and substantive recommendations are shared with an executive council that creates and enforces policies related to DE&I.

Other initiatives include Hillside Men of Color and Hillside Women of Color affinity groups, in which staff in the BIPOC community meet regularly to share experiences; and a leadership diversity program that supports the advancement goals of interested BIPOC staff.

“As both one of the region’s largest employers and a deeply committed community partner, Hillside embraces our responsibility in the critical area of DE&I,” said Maria Cristalli, Hillside President & Chief Executive Officer. “Latesha Fussell is an excellent choice for our next Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. With her skills and experience, she will play a vital role in this evolving work that is integral to our mission of service.”

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