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Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and Elecia Smith, executive director of the U of A’s IDEALS Institute, presented the workshop “In Too Deep: Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout” at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Nov. 13 in New Orleans.
The summit took place as part of the AACSB’s International Associate Deans Conference held Nov. 13-15. The AACSB is the international accrediting organization for collegiate business schools.
The presentation focused on the causes of stress for diversity professionals and resources and tactics available to lessen the stress.
“Stress and burnout are all too common for diversity professionals,” Lofton said. “I want to support other professionals by providing resources to them and advocating for them. I believe in paying it forward.”
Lofton also presented “To Have or Not to Have an Office of Diversity Within a College” to the Diversity and Inclusion Network Affinity Group meeting held at the conclusion of the summit. She discussed best practices, missions and strategies employed by collegiate diversity programs. Lofton served as the session moderator.
“Diversity helps teams think differently and create smarter products and programs,” Lofton said. “It is the right thing to do, but it is also a smart and profitable thing to implement in business or academia, whether referring to diverse hires, diverse thought, or products and programs that speak to diverse audiences. It all matters.”
Walton College boasts the oldest diversity and inclusion office at any Southeastern Conference business school. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. Lofton has served as its director for 24 years.
Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, received the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award from the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation Nov. 20, 2019, to acknowledge her work to support and promote diversity and inclusion in Northwest Arkansas, the U of A and Walton College.
Lofton was recognized at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville during the 40th anniversary tour of Con-Real, a real estate, construction and development company in Arlington, Texas, which is touring the regions in which it serves.
Gerald Alley, president and chief executive officer of Con-Real, presented Lofton with the award.
“I was so surprised and humbled by this recognition. I do things because it’s the right thing to do,” Lofton said. “If I want to leave the world better than I found it, I have to do my part.”
Lofton and her team provide support services for undergraduate and graduate students at the Walton College. In addition, the office hosts summer camps for high school students to attract minorities and women to business programs. Her team also serves as advisers to several registered student organizations that promote diversity in business.
Alley is a member of the Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board. His brother Troy Alley Jr., executive vice president and real estate leader at Con-Real, serves on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering Advisory Council. Both are graduates of the U of A. The Alleys support several outreach programs at Walton College through the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation and Alley Scholars, a nonprofit organization founded by Troy and his wife Unnice, which promotes and supports education through scholarships, networking events and business competitions.
Lofton has served as the director of diversity and inclusion at Walton College for 24 years. She also teaches diversity classes at Walton College. Previously, Lofton worked as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Grambling State University. She received an Ed.D. in higher education from Grambling State University, M.A. from the University of Iowa and a B.S.E.D. from Jackson State University. She is a member of the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education.
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