Dr. Lisa M. Coleman is Harvard University’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer/Special Assistant to the President, where she is responsible for advancing strategic diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives across Harvard’s schools, museums, centers/institutes, and leadership and executive education programs. She earned her doctorate in Social and Cultural Analysis, American Studies from New York University and three master’s degrees from the Ohio State University in African and African American Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Communication Studies. Her undergraduate degrees were in sociology/anthropology, computer science and gender studies.
Dr. Coleman’s scholarly work in ethnic studies and leadership was sparked by early professional work with Merrill Lynch Inc., the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as working in the field of computer science as an independent consultant. Dr. Coleman has spent over 20 years teaching and working with numerous organizations including the Transportation Security Administration, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, the University of Leiden, Vassar College, Princeton, New Zealand Works, and MIT. Prior to Harvard, she directed the Africana program at Tufts University, and was appointed to serve as that institution’s first senior executive D&I officer. Dr. Coleman consults with boards and leaders globally, and sits on various national and international boards including the United States National Association for Tennis (USTA), Sustained Dialogue Board, and the Common Ground – International Diversity and Inclusion board. Dr. Coleman is the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards for teaching, leadership, and for her work on diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity.