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Lydia Smith, Director of D&I at Kohl’s, to lead panel on moving beyond diversity statements


We are proud to announce that Lydia Smith, the senior manager of diversity and inclusion at Kohl’s, has agreed to moderate the panel titled “Words to Live By: Moving Beyond D&I Statements” on October 5, the first day of the third annual Wisconsin Leadership Summit.

Holding an MBA and a bachelor’s in marketing from Florida A&M University, Lydia was selected to be part of a prestigious, fast-track leadership program at General Electric where she quickly rose to become a leader in the global organization. Due to her tenacity, Lydia was tapped to lead the diversity recruitment initiatives, not only for the IT department but also for the company’s African American Employee Resource Group.

As her drive for recruitment grew, so did her passion for diversity. She became co-owner of the professional organization Social X, which focuses on connecting, developing and retaining minority talent in the city of Milwaukee. As the director of business development, Lydia was able to help grow the organization from 50 to over 1000 people in just three years.

She took her first D&I role with Northwestern Mutual, quickly being promoted to assistant director of Diversity & Inclusion and obtained a coaching certification for managers and executives. With her drive and new credentials, she was able to launch A New Thing Coaching & Consulting LLC, a business where she helps clients address personal and professional challenges with clarity and direction. Lastly, her love for the community and developing professionals allowed her the opportunity to become a faculty member at Milwaukee Area Technical College where she teaches business administration part-time.

Today Lydia is the senior manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Kohl’s. She’s regarded as a subject-matter expert in the field and speaks nationally on diversity and inclusion topics. Residing in Milwaukee, WI, Lydia is a sought-after coach and a mother of three daughters who enjoys traveling and adventure.

The Summit this year is all online, so you can attend from the comfort of your home or office. It will feature 25 sessions over five days from October 5-9, all for just $79 (or less if you work for a nonprofit organization or government agency, or if you’re a student). Get more details and register now at WisconsinLeadershipSummit.com! Regular price is $79 for the entire week, with discounts for nonprofit and government employees, as well as students.