The Big Ten Conference Hires Two Powerhouse Diversity Suits

    The problem with diversity initiatives is, ultimately, very few of them are given the necessary teeth to get anything done. Thus, what begins with lots of bluster and effort in the beginning eventually fades with time as people lose interest and institutions lose the will and resources.  

    However, the Big Ten Conference, long celebrated as a powerhouse of athletics, recently made two hires that some hope will make the storied conference a powerhouse of diversity and inclusion as well.  

    Erica McKinley was hired as first chief legal officer and general counsel of the Big Ten Conference while Omar Brown was named vice president, people & culture officer.  McKinley will be overseeing all legal, corporate governance, enterprise risk management, litigation, regulatory and NCAA matters. She will also provide outside counsel management. McKinley will report to Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren.

    Brown, who also fills a newly created pole, will “drive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives throughout the conference.” He will also reportedly lead all human resources efforts for conference staff. Such as talent acquisition, professional development and performance management.  

    “Omar is a talented, strategic and insightful business leader who is gifted in building organizational culture while empowering people,” said Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren. “I look forward to working collaboratively with Omar to create a best-in-class environment within the Big Ten Conference office.”