Dr. Geneace Williams talks diversity, equity, and inclusion in Naperville

Donate Today Buy This Video

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager for the City of Naperville, Dr. Geneace Williams, chatted with 630 Naperville Host Paige Ronchetti about DEI, equality versus equity, and how Naperville models DEI. 

How do diversity, equity, and inclusion play a part for everyone in Naperville? 

“Diversity, equity and inclusion, if you look at it holistically, it’s really about how an organization or a community applies its practices and policies such that everyone feels as if they have the opportunity to thrive and grow to their full potential,” says Williams. 

The city of Naperville has defined DEI:

  1. Diversity – Inviting others and respecting the value in our uniqueness, while appreciating many perspectives offer greater opportunities for success.
  2. Equity – Access to opportunity and resources with a clear understanding of the current equity gap and the negative impact on not only the most vulnerable populations, but also all persons.
  3. Inclusion – Creating an (authentic and transparent) environment wherein people feel/are valued and welcomed.
  4. Belonging – The feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusive of one’s identity.

Dr. Williams explains the difference between equality and equity

“Equity is one of those things that many people confuse with equality,” says Williams. “Equality says that everybody gets the same thing. Equity, on the other hand, looks at people individually and looks to meet the needs of individual people in terms of how you can thrive based upon where you are in your life.”

How the city of Naperville has incorporated DEI into its mission and values

The city of Naperville’s mission statement is “to provide services that ensure a high quality of life, sound fiscal management, and a dynamic business environment, while creating an inclusive community that values diversity.” 

For Dr. Williams, all of her work focuses on the final part of the mission statement. “We have four values that were created by employees of the city,” says Williams. “And those are people, respect, trust, and pride. Those things together provide the foundation upon which we build. So we’re looking to build an inclusive community. So we partner with organizations within the community and do events and initiatives that are conducive to all persons within the Naperville community.”