Biden Rescinds Diversity Training Restrictions: Shelley Willingham Explains

In September 2020, Donald Trump issued an executive order that banned the federal government – plus its contractors and subcontractors – from offering and participating in diversity training on racial and gender bias.  The next few months were filled with cancellations, stalled conversations, confusion, and lawsuits. But fortunately, on his first day as President, Joe Biden reversed the order. On today’s episode, The Diversity Movement VP of Business Strategy Shelley Willingham unpacks what happened and what it means to diversity training.

On the episode, Shelly mentions TDM’s new learning portal, which is available in beta – for free – at


Jason Gillikin: Welcome to Diversity Beyond the Checkbox brought to you by On this podcast, we share diverse perspectives from leaders in their industries; explore diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts, and challenge our own assumptions and perspectives to take diversity beyond the checkbox.

Let’s get right to our guest. She is the Vice President of Business Strategy at the Diversity Movement. You may have seen her on CNBC shows, Squawk on the Street, the Small Business Playbook, and the Worldwide Exchange.

She has been in the diversity, equity, inclusion space since 2003, when she founded the National Organization for Diversity in Sales and Marketing. And it is my absolute privilege to welcome Shelley Willingham to the show. Shelley, how are you?

Shelley Willingham: I’m great. Thanks, Jason. Thanks for having me.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah, of course. I, I really wanted to have somebody come on and talk about, you know, what’s going on with the country right now.

So, you know, last week you shared an article on LinkedIn that was about Joe Biden rescinding the diversity training restrictions that Donald Trump put in place last year. So that’s what we’re going to talk about in our conversation today. What does that mean for business of diversity and inclusion and diversity training?

Full Episode Transcript

This episode of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox is presented by The Diversity Movement and hosted by Jason Gillikin. For more information including the latest webinars and other DEI content, head over to Podcast production by Earfluence.

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