ACE Honors Central Washington University’s Anderson Parks With 2023 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award
April 15, 2023

ACE announced today that Anderson Parks, Kuolt Distinguished Professor of Business, senior lecturer, and diversity, equity, and inclusion faculty fellow at Central Washington University (CWU), is the recipient of the 2023 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award.

Anderson Parks

​​Anderson Parks

The award is named in honor of Reginald Wilson, senior scholar emeritus at ACE and founding director of ACE’s Office of Minority Concerns, and is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions and demonstrated sustained commitment to diversity in higher education. This award, sponsored by Academic Partnerships, was presented today at ACE2023, ACE’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

“Throughout his career, Anderson Parks has shown a deep commitment for advancing equity and inclusion,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Fusing his vast professional experiences and passion for emotional intelligence, Anderson has led countless efforts to support his students and build a more inclusive campus. I’m glad he’s being recognized for his work.”

“Looking at the past recipients of this award, I am shocked to be included in such elite company,” said Parks, one of the few non-PhDs to have received the award. “It is such a tremendous honor to be recognized for the DEI work I have been involved in at CWU. This award is truly one of the highlights of my career.”

Parks began teaching after more than 30 years of leadership in the consumer package goods industry, including spending about two decades overseeing global management efforts with The Coca-Cola Company. During his career, Parks developed a passion for the study of emotional intelligence (EQ) and mindfulness. As his career progressed, he began to incorporate EQ in both his professional and personal life. The co-founder and instructor of “Emotional Intelligence for Professionals,” a course offered to CWU students and supervisors and emerging business leaders, he is a strong believer in the role that EQ, mindfulness, and organizational awareness play in personal, leadership, and career success.

Since joining CWU in 2017, Parks has led a variety of initiatives to support Black and Indigenous students and employees through a multitude of career avenues. Since 2021, he has helped lead CWU’s efforts to partner with other state universities in the Washington Employers for Racial Equity (WERE) initiative. WERE is a coalition of employers from across the state that are committed to supporting people of color and building an equitable future for all. He co-chairs a WERE subcommittee that builds and maintains pipelines for Black and Indigenous employees, and he has developed a training and mentorship program that will pair new Black and Indigenous employees with supervisors to build leadership capacity.

Parks has also led efforts to create a more inclusive campus through a variety of workshops and trainings. Following the nationwide racial justice protests in 2020, Parks was instrumental in creating and leading diversity trainings for faculty and staff. Building on this work, he has helped develop a university-wide anti-racism training that will be made available to all faculty and staff. In addition, Parks offers free quarterly workshops targeted for Black and Indigenous people that focus on a key EQ competency to build leadership capacity. He frequently conducts workshops with corporate employee resource groups, such as Boeing’s Black Employee Association, Blacks at Microsoft, Africans at Microsoft, and Amazon’s Black Employee Network.

Parks infuses his classes with his experiences leading strategic management, marketing, and planning for Coca-Cola’s largest corporate customers around the world. Prior to Coca-Cola, Parks worked at Pfizer and Diageo, and throughout his career, he led teams in the sales, field marketing, category management, and global customer development departments.

Parks is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, serves on the board of the Seattle National Pan-Hellenic Council, and is a co-chair of the Black Talent Development Task Force for WERE. He has served as the keynote speaker at several events, including the Kappa Alpha Psi Western Province C. Rodger Wilson Leadership Conference and the Washington State Student Senate Engagement Network. In 2022, he was a panel guest on a Harvard Business Review IdeaCast episode, where he discussed EQ and its importance in DEI work.

ACE is grateful to Academic Partnerships for their sponsorship of this award.​

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