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Women's Center Racial Equity Strategic Plan

Chimi Boyd-Keyes, CEO of CBK Enterprises, spent the past 15 months conducting an external review of our center and facilitating our strategic planning initiatives specifically related to intersectional and anti-oppressive approaches to achieving our mission. Our current mission is to promote a campus community that is safe, equitable, inclusive and support for women and that celebrates their experiences, achievements and diversity, and based on the findings and recommendations from Chimi's review, are in the process of reviewing and revising our mission in light of the specfic values we hold and espouse.

The Women's Center is grateful to have worked with Chimi and engaging our community to identify the best ways that we can serve the Virginia Tech community. 

You can find more information about Chimi and the review findings below.

As Founder and CEO of CBK Enterprises, Chimi focuses on equity by helping organizations incorporate intersectional approaches in their work. Her mission is to help people realize their highest potential by connecting to their Purpose. As a successful entrepreneur and much sought after consultant, speaker, trainer and grant writer, she is passionate about creating programs and initiatives that develop leaders and promote an equitable, inclusive environment. As a seasoned Higher Education professional for 18 years, Chimi has worked extensively on women’s and gender issues and topics relating to other marginalized populations.  She has directed two university Women’s Centers, one at a historically black university (HBCU) and one at a predominantly white university (PWI).  She also was at the helm of a volunteerism/social justice organization and has led a program designed to help at-risk youth pursue higher education.

Chimi Body-Keyes sitting on steps in a yellow top and jeans.

Chimi is a co-Principal Investigator of the only published study that exists on Sexual Assault at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and has been a consultant for the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, Research Triangle Institute, the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, several other state coalitions, the US Army, in addition to numerous colleges and non-profits all over the US. She also serves on both NC Domestic Violence Prevention and Sexual Assault Prevention taskforces.

She co-founded Helpers and Advocates for Violence Ending Now (HAVEN), an award-winning program which trains faculty, staff, and students to be allies for students who are survivors of sexual and relationship violence and stalking, and Circle of Sisters, an initiative dedicated to women’s leadership development. She has successfully applied for and has been awarded over $2.5 million in grants and sponsorships. Chimi is proud to have created a bystander intervention training specifically for HBCUs and students of color at all colleges and universities called “Bout That Life,” a leadership development program for high school girls and college women of color called “ShElect” and a spoken word tool for people of color to talk about gender-based violence “WOKE: Telling Our Stories. Healing Our Communities.”

A native of Durham, NC, Chimi is proud to have received both her BA and MA in psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University, respectively.

More information is available at http://www.chimi.biz.

The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech (VTWC) is a team of dedicated staff who wish to enhance their services to all members of the community by taking an intentional approach toward equity, inclusiveness, anti-oppression, and anti-racism.

An external racial and gender equity consultant was hired to facilitate the process. The process began with an anonymous organizational priorities survey sent to the full staff. To assess the campus and community’s feel for the mission and where it is going, we held key informant interviews with nine stakeholders, including former Women’s Center staff, students, community members, and current members of the faculty and staff at Virginia Tech who interact with the VTWC in some way. The consultant also administered an anonymous racial equity survey via Survey Monkey and held two virtual town halls on the Zoom platform to allow another opportunity for constituents to give feedback on how well the VTWC addresses racial equity.

To guide the racial equity strategic planning process, the consultant facilitated three weekly two-hour meetings of the Racial Equity Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, a group which consisted of representation from the VTWC staff and current faculty, staff and students at Virginia Tech who have partnered with the VTWC in the past.

We prioritized the following in our process:

  • Identifying the direction that stakeholders want to take.
  • Prioritizing organization strategies, connecting organization strengths to the needs of the campus and community.
  • Using the lens of anti-oppression work in order to identify what might disrupt cultural norms and/or institutional practices that are oppressive. We focused on helping the organization actively create explicitly anti-oppression-based norms or practices in the creation of its long-term strategy.
  • Creating flexible collateral that will guide the Women’s Center’s priorities and mapping for the next 3 years.

2021 – 2024 Strategic Priorities

Through this process and given the feedback the facilitator had received via the methodology described above (also, see appendices), three overarching strategic priorities and corresponding goals were identified by the Racial Equity Strategic planning committee:

1. External Communication
     Goal 1: Authentic engagement across all identity groups.
     Goal 2: Establish a deeper understanding of the WC’s mission to support and advocate for all members of the VT community.

2. Outreach to and representation of marginalized communities
     Goal 1: Increased transparency regarding individual roles and group diversity goal definitions
     Goal 2: Increase representation of client diversity by building trust and visibility with/of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities including but not limited to Black faculty and staff.
     Goal 3: Creating authentic and trust-based outreach and services in our community, making the most marginalized members of the community the center of our design.

3. Infrastructure and sustainability
     Goal 1: Revise the mission and vision with a particular emphasis on intersectional and anti-racist perspective
    Goal 2: Clear and consistent policies and practices to recruit, train, and retain staff that have the knowledge and skills that will help reach the VTWC goals.

The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech is a mission-driven and responsive campus organization that has a vast and deeply positive reputation both locally and in the national movement to end sexism, patriarchy and gender-based violence. They have been able to pivot and fulfill their mission over three decades even through much organizational leadership change and trauma. The staff and leadership are strong, talented, and aware of the changes that need to occur to create a healthier work environment. The staff are committed to achieving and aligning the strategic priorities outlined in this plan. With specific attention and effort, they will be able to realize their newly laid out 2021-2024 strategic priorities.

Submitted by Chimi Boyd-Keyes, CEO & Founder, CBK Enterprises, July 2021