As Oklahoma City grows, city leaders felt it became necessary for the city to become more inclusive. For years, they searched for a chief diversity and inclusion officer. Now, she is excited to get started.
Oklahoma City’s first ever chief diversity and inclusion officer is Shalynne Jackson.
Jackson is a native Oklahoman. She grew up in Tulsa and earned degrees from the University of Oklahoma. She is really excited about coming back to this booming city.
"I was born and raised in Tulsa, but during my time in college and a little after college, I was in Oklahoma City and just the growth. I mean when I come into town and visit friends and family, I have some family there too in Oklahoma City, it seems something is different there every time," said Jackson.
As with many growing cities, having someone to assure diversity and inclusion became necessary.
"This is not about a handout or giving anyone the upper hand, it’s really about making sure everyone has a fair chance to then what they need to do to excel," Jackson said.
Jackson knows, however, this comes with challenges.
"The challenge is often just making sure that everyone understands this is about equity not equality, there is a difference. But equity is making sure everyone has a fair chance for advancement," she said.
Jackson will report directly to City Manager Craig Freeman, creating the city’s strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion, including providing training, coaching, guidance, and education.
For Oklahoma City to grow to its potential, Jackson said it will take everyone working together, and just making sure that Oklahoma City is a place where everyone can live, work and play.
Jackson will officially start in her new position on February 1 and is excited about the opportunity. She wants everyone to know she will be accessible and anticipates hearing from the citizens of Oklahoma City.