Messages of confidence, perseverance take center stage at BBC’s Diversity Day Sept. 30

The 13th Annual Diversity Day will take place at Biscayne Bay Campus on Tuesday, Sept. 30, with five inspirational speakers from all walks of live. Hosted at the Wolfe University Center, the diverse lineup includes a young woman who overcame depression, a national expert on eating disorders, a dyslexic Vermont dancer, a triple amputee war veteran and sexologist. Their presentations explore overcoming the odds, feeling different from others and knowing oneself.

“The committee is proud to consistently invite engaging speakers whose messages raises awareness and understanding of differences,” said Diann Newman, co-chair of the diversity committee and assistant dean of student services, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. “Our goal is to enhance the appreciation of diversity and to help make the university a welcoming environment for all students, staff and faculty.”

The diversity committee is made up of students, faculty and staff from Student Affairs, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Undergraduate Education at BBC, and Student Government Association at BBC.


9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.: Alexa Chavarry, Metamorphasis from Self-Harm to Self-Help

WUC Theater

Alexa Chavarry is the creator of, an anonymous blog that has helped thousands, including herself, recover from self-injury, eating disorders, addiction and suicide. Chavarry was also a TEDxFIU speaker in 2013.

10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Gayle Brooks, Eating Disorders and Cultural Diversity

WUC Theater

Gayle Brooks is vice president and chief clinical officer of The Renfrew Center. For the past 25 years, she has treated patients from diverse backgrounds who suffer from eating disorders. Dr. Brooks served as the eating disorder specialist in the HBO film Thin, has appeared on Good Morning America and featured in The New York Times, People Magazine, Essence Magazine and Perspectives (The Renfrew Center Foundation’s journal for professionals).

11 a.m. – noon: Lida Winfield, In Search of Air: Growing up Dyslexic (click here to watch live stream)

WUC Theater

In this dance and theater performance based on her experience growing up with a learning disability, Vermont dancer, choreographer and spoken word artist Lida Winfield shares the gifts and heartache that accompanied her struggle to learn to read – which did not occur until her early 20s.

This show is a mixture of funny, sad and ironic moments strung together in a creative and captivating format. Winfield’s presence on stage expresses her life so clearly that it brings us closer to our own.

12:15 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Lunch will be provided to attendees

1:15 p.m. – 2 p.m.: Tony Porter TED Talk & Panel Discussion “The Man Box”

WUC Ballrooms, 244

Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don’t “act like a man.” Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect and abuse women. His solution: break free of “the man box.”

Porter’s message of self-examination has connected powerfully with numerous domestic violence and sexual violence programs for such high-profile groups as the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA).

Panel discussion speakers include Jeffrey McNamee, Multicultural Programs and Services; Janol Vinson, graduate assistant, Multicultural Programs and Services; Scott Jones, director of Wolfe University Center; and Steven James, guest relations and reservations, Wolfe University Center.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Bryan Anderson, No Turning Back

WUC Ballrooms, 244

Bryan Anderson was injured in 2005 by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that resulted in the loss of both legs and his left hand. As a result of his injuries, he was awarded a Purple Heart. Anderson is one of the few triple amputees to have survived his injuries in Iraq. He is the National Spokesman for Quantum Rehab, a division of Pride Mobility Corp. He travels the country making numerous personal appearances while delivering his message of perseverance and determination.

3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Book signing with Bryan Anderson and dessert

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Marilyn K. Volker, Transgender Panel Moderator

WUC 223

Dr. Marilyn K. Volker, sexologist for almost 40 years, helped establish Miami-Dade Pridelines, Miami’s first LGBT teen group; Health Crisis Network, Miami’s first HIV-AIDS community-based AIDS project; and the first Women’s History Project in Miami-Dade. She currently trains counselors and teachers to become sex therapists. Panel discussion speakers include Dr. Joe Ippolito and Ms. Tori Bertran.

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