Fenimore Fisher named chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins University

Fisher has been chief diversity officer, equal employment opportunity officer for City of New York since 2012

Fenimore Fisher, who leads diversity efforts across more than 80 agencies for the City of New York, will join Johns Hopkins University this month as its first vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer.

Fenimore Fisher

Image caption: Fenimore Fisher

Since 2012, Fisher has been appointed deputy commissioner, chief diversity officer, and equal employment opportunity officer by two mayors of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. In that role, he creates workplace, workforce, and community strategies that affect more than 300,000 municipal employees and are designed to position the city as a leader in diversity and inclusion.

At Johns Hopkins University, Fisher will lead diversity and inclusion initiatives and act as the primary steward of the Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, a comprehensive plan released in November 2016 that gives an overview of ongoing diversity efforts and outlines next steps.

He will also work closely with a team of individuals leading diversity and inclusion initiatives at JHU's schools and divisions and serve as ex officio co-chair of the university's Diversity Leadership Council.

Fisher will join Johns Hopkins on Oct. 23.

"During my nearly 20 years as a diversity and inclusion practitioner, I've sought out employers who were not just committed but also transparent about challenges," Fisher said. "The Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion presents a detailed strategy, along with candid vulnerabilities, under a theme of accountability. I'm always engaged when there is focus and transparency."

Fisher succeeds James Page, who filled the role of vice provost and chief diversity officer at the university on an interim basis beginning in August 2016 while also serving in a similar role at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

"Fenimore's proven achievements in highly decentralized environments, his collaborative spirit, and his focus on performance metrics and transparency make him ideally suited for this critical position for the university," said Sunil Kumar, Johns Hopkins University's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Diversity and inclusion roadmap

The Johns Hopkins University Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, released in November 2016, lays out specific actions to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity across the Hopkins community

Fisher previously worked as vice president of diversity initiatives and analysis for Walmart, leading the company's diversity goals program for more than 50,000 members of management. In that role, he was responsible for employment analysis and diversity metrics for the company's entire U.S.-based workforce.

Fisher also worked for Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project, where he started as an intern and rose to become executive director, meeting with the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and advocating for the implementation of consistent, accountable diversity and inclusion strategies.

"I'm excited for the fresh perspective that Mr. Fisher will bring to our work around diversity and inclusion at Hopkins given his wealth of experience," said Ashley Llorens, chief of the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, chair of JHU's Diversity Leadership Council, and co-leader of the search committee that identified Fisher as a finalist. "It doesn't get much more diverse than New York City.

"I look forward to working with him on the Diversity Leadership Council," he added, "to continue promoting progressive change and building community here at Hopkins."

Valerie Suslow, vice dean for faculty and research at JHU's Carey Business School, also co-chaired the search committee.

Fisher, a native of Louisiana, earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Louisiana State University, a JD from Ohio Northern University, and a labor mediation certification from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. He currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at New York University's School of Professional Studies, where he teaches advanced labor relations and employment law.

Fisher has earned several awards in recognition of his work, including the Winds of Change award from the Forum on Workplace Inclusion and the Multicultural Leadership Award from the National Diversity Council. He is a member of the Multicultural Women's National Conference Advisory Board and a past member of the National Leadership Council for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network and the Corporate Advisory Council for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Fisher said he looks forward to joining Johns Hopkins and becoming a trusted source of support, advocacy, and collaboration.

"Johns Hopkins is one of the best universities in the world," he said. "I want our current students, faculty, and staff to view our commitment to diversity and inclusion as responsive, sustainable, and ingrained in our culture. I want future students, faculty, and staff to be drawn to Hopkins for both its excellence and its values, and I want the communities that we serve to view us as a partner and a valued neighbor."

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