Michele D. Harper Named Chief Equity Officer
September 5, 2023 | Evident Change
Evident Change is pleased to announce that Michele D. Harper has been named the organization’s first Chief Equity Officer (CEqO). As Chief Equity Officer, Harper will occupy a key executive leadership role in the organization, supporting race equity capacity building, strategizing to further integrate equitable practices into Evident Change’s work, and measuring the effectiveness of these efforts.
Harper joined Evident Change in early 2022 as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As director, she has led the creation of Evident Change’s own equity training and coaching model to help organizations create cultures of equity and achieve more equitable outcomes. She has also worked with staff and external partners to develop strategies to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive; foster reflective and candid conversations; and develop capacity to do racial equity work.
In announcing Harper’s promotion, Chief Executive Officer Kathy Park said, “In her time with Evident Change, Michele has built impressively on our racial equity strategies and goals and advanced our analyses of the impacts of systemic racism. Her leadership has resulted in significant strides in infusing our race equity commitment into our decision making, practices, and policies. I am excited to expand our executive leadership team so that our organizational infrastructure better reflects our commitment to our race equity values. I know of no better person than Michele Harper to lead us in this new role.”
“I am excited to lead Evident Change’s racial equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies as Chief Equity Officer,” said Harper. “Since I joined the organization in 2022, Evident Change has continued to demonstrate its commitment to becoming an antiracist organization. The creation of this role further demonstrates that commitment. In the face of longstanding disparate and disproportionate overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) in our nation’s justice, child welfare, and human service systems, achieving our mission requires that we lead with a racial equity value in our workplace and our work with partners. In this role, I look forward to helping shape strategies, policies, and practices that will have internal and external impact on achieving equitable outcomes.”
Prior to joining Evident Change, Harper served as director of the Office of Race Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and as the state’s equity inclusion officer. She also acted as diversity, equity, and inclusion council co-officer and a leadership development division manager in the Office of Workforce Development and Training. Harper has been recognized with the Good Government Symbol of Leadership and Teamwork and the Great Lakes Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion Coin from the United States Coast Guard. She is a graduate of Michigan State University.