Cocktails and Conversations: Unpacking Privilege

Wednesday, October 21 2020, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM [EST]

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Wednesday, October 21 2020, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM [EST]


Unpacking Privilege. At times, hearing feedback about privilege, race, and gender can sting. These important conversations can feel like attacks. Let’s unpack some different areas of privilege: White privilege, able-bodied privilege, civic privilege, and cisgender privilege.  Let’s learn how to receive feedback and be better allies. We’ll learn from the personal experiences of people doing work to help others understand the privilege they may not even know that they possess.


Moderated by: Eileen Kwesiga, Bryant University

Panelists Include:

Rachael Gavin, CEO, PR(iSM) Resistance Coalition

Gwendolyn Howard, Minister Emerita; St. Pauls' Universalist Church

Zoe Kupetz, Brown University student


This event is co-hosted by Bryant University and sponsored by IGT

Women's Fund of Rhode Island

The mission of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is to invest in women and girls through research, advocacy, grant-making and strategic partnerships designed to advance gender equity through systemic change.

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Eileen Kwesiga
Bryant University

Prof. Eileen N. Kwesiga had extensive experience in corporate America before going into Academia. She worked for Global Companies in North America such as Sherwin-Williams, Progressive Insurance, Lincoln Electric, and General Electric. In these organizations, she worked on multi-million dollar projects implementing and overseeing software installations. After many years of working in corporate America, she felt called to a higher purpose to be a change agent in higher education. She proceeded to get her doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at the University of Texas at Arlington and is currently a Professor in the Department of Management at Bryant University. Her passion both inside and outside the classroom is creating sustainable knowledge that has a meaningful impact. To date, she has partnered with 400+ local and international organizations through her classes and consulting as well with the objective of implementing sustainable long term solutions. Her consulting expertise is in helping organizations implement sustainable practices, expertise in people management, change, and sustainable development, and diversity inclusion. Her research appears in multiple management journals.

About Eileen

Bryant University
Rachael Gavin
CEO & Founder of PR(iSM) Resistance Coalition,

Rachael Gavin is the CEO & Founder of PR(iSM) Resistance Coalition, an organization specializing in the redesigning of systems, structures, and policies from a diverse, equitable, and inclusive lens. She is an impact strategist & consultant with experience working within the social justice and education sectors, both nationally and internationally. She has served as a researcher, facilitator, and educator for equitable practices in organizations across the globe. Rachael is a first-generation college graduate, holding a B.A. in Communication and International Studies from the University of Connecticut and an MSc in Social Research from Goldsmiths, University of London; the United Kingdom’s leading college for radical approaches to the social sciences. Her research has explored how interpersonal communication methods can influence the intersection of race, gender, and class in marginalized communities. Rachael took the plunge into entrepreneurship after unexpected deportation from London, back to the U.S. in 2019. This experience solidified her commitment to always question and challenge the systems and structures around us, leading to the founding of PR(iSM) Resistance Coalition.

About Rachael

CEO & Founder of PR(iSM) Resistance Coalition,
Gwendolyn Howard
Minister Emerita; St. Pauls' Universalist Church

Gwendolyn W. Howard was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1954, and she grew up in Western Iowa. Both of her parents were blind, as is her younger sister. She, herself, was born with a visual impairment. After graduating high school in Iowa, she eventually attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and in 1978, earned a BA in English. In 1982 she moved to Chicago, Illinois after a brief career in public broadcasting. While living there, she attended the University of Chicago, where she was awarded an MA (from the Divinity School) in 1985. She also attended Meadville/Lombard Theological School from which she graduated in 1986 with a Doctorate in Ministry. Rev. Dr. Howard was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister. In addition to working at the Cambridge Forum, at First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she served churches in Peoria, Illinois, and Little Falls, New York. Upon coming out as a trans woman, she was advised by her denomination that she ought to leave her church and find a new career. Her spouse was able to find work at Brown University. In 1999, while living in Providence, she was admitted to the School of Social Work at Boston University and, two years later, earned an MSW She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. As a clinician, she has been employed by a number of agencies (working with the chronic mentally ill, and with LGBTQ youth). As her vision continued to deteriorate, she became eligible for Social Security disability and has now chosen semi-retirement. Over the years, her involvement in community groups have included membership at various times on the boards of the following: New York Convention of Universalists, Little Falls Community Action, Equity Action (a fund of the RI Foundation), RI Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights, RI Pride, and TGI Network of RI.

About Gwendolyn

Minister Emerita; St. Pauls' Universalist Church
Zoe Kupetz
Brown Univeristy Student

Zoe Kupetz is a white, upper-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied woman from Los Angeles, California. While she was raised by two liberal parents and attended a “progressive” private school, in her early life, she was never asked to think critically about how her identity impacts the way she moves through the world. In seventh grade, Zoe started attending her school’s “Cultural Awareness Association.” It was in this group that she started to engage in meaningful discussions about race, class, and gender identity. After a transformative experience at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in her 10 th grade year, Zoe made a commitment to do the work of “unpacking her whiteness,” to continue to grapple with her privilege, and to do so in a way that is not paralyzing but motivating. Zoe is currently a second-year student at Brown University studying Environmental Studies with a focus in environmental justice. Zoe is also one of the student coordinators for the Community Dialogue Project, which seeks to “[h]elp students foster intentional community and navigate conflict in their everyday lives through facilitated dialogue, critical reflection, and educational programming.” Zoe believes that to implement large scale societal change, we must first do the work of deconstructing systems of power and privilege in our communities and interpersonal relationships. She views diversity and inclusion work as life’s work; she is constantly making mistakes, learning, and growing.

About Zoe

Brown Univeristy Student