Walton Family Foundation Names Global Coach and Expert to Strengthen DEI Focus
BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 20, 2021 – The Walton Family Foundation announced today that global coach and expert Tanya M. Odom will serve as the foundation’s equity and inclusion program director. In this newly created position, Odom will provide leadership and knowledge to embed a strong diversity, equity and inclusion focus in the organization’s programmatic work. She will guide the development of an overarching vision – in partnership with the foundation leadership team – to ensure grantmaking decisions, community engagement and strategic objectives reflect a commitment to DEI.
Odom is a global consultant, writer, coach and thought leader on civil rights and DEI issues with unique experiences across many sectors – public, nonprofit, academia and public service. Most recently, she was a consultant to many organizations, and one unique area of focus was working with several United Nations entities in their efforts to address racism and create anti-racist action plans and programs. She also served as a partner with the U.N. as part of their gender parity strategy. Odom has worked with 15 U.N. entities in nine different countries, focusing on inclusive leadership, unconscious bias and women in leadership.
“As we launch a new five-year strategy for the Walton Family Foundation, we renew our commitment to ensuring community voices are not only heard but that people have a seat at the table to create the solutions that will shape the trajectory of their lives. Tanya’s role will strengthen our practices and commitment,” said Executive Director Caryl M. Stern.
As a mindfulness practitioner, Odom weaves in mindfulness research and practice in her work with individuals and groups and connects it to leadership, teams, intentional inclusion and the mitigating of unconscious bias. She is a guest faculty member at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Over the last four years, Odom spent time globally facilitating sessions and moderating panels focused on "Challenging Conversations," where she created a space for honest and courageous dialogue focused on sharing, learning and connection. She is the co-author of "Evaluation in the Field of Education for Democracy, Human Rights and Tolerance.” In 2016, Diversity Best Practices named Odom as “A Diversity Thought Leader to Follow on Twitter,” and Entrepreneur Magazine featured Tanya in 2017 and again in 2019 as one of the "3 Women Entrepreneurs Who Unleash Their Energy for the Greater Good."
Odom will instill innovative racial equity and cultural literacy practices into the foundation’s work and broaden knowledge about other aspects of diversity and inclusion. She will serve as a close advisor and thought partner to the executive director.
Odom is a board member of the Institute for Mindful Leadership and the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation. She is also a national volunteer with the American Heart Association and a committee member of the Presidential Advisory on Structural Racism.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2019, the foundation awarded more than $525 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.