Building Inclusive Teams: From Mitigating Structural Bias in Hiring to Accountability in Practice

As the demographics of our communities continue to change, employees at every level need the skillset to manage difference. Drawing from experiences and case studies in higher education, this session focuses on how implicit attitudes, behaviors, and stereotypes reinforce structures that inhibit certain individuals from advancing in the workforce. The session provides an introductory exploration of the intersection of privilege, cognitive and structural bias, and micro and macroaggressions. As teams become more diverse, accountability measures become central to living up to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals. The session reinforces the importance of having cultural agility and empathy, and provides tangible tools for interrupting microaggressions, mitigating bias, and taking proactive steps towards accountability.


Gerardo Ochoa (He, Him, Él) is Director of Community Relations and Special Assistant to the President at Linfield College in McMinnville and Portland, OR. He has served Linfield in multiple capacities since 2004. Mr. Ochoa holds formal appointments to the President’s Diversity Advisory Committee (chair) and the College’s strategic planning and budget councils.  

In addition to being a college administrator, Mr. Ochoa is a co-author and independent consultant of Path to Scholarships®, a college readiness curriculum. Since 2006, he has worked with thousands of diverse students from urban and rural high schools, community colleges, private colleges, and state universities on college access and affordability. He consults with higher education institutions on the inclusion of Latinx students, best practices to engage and serve undocumented students, and teaching strategies that draw on talents and address the needs of first generation students. He believes in the power of personal stories to build empathy, create opportunities, and influence change. As keynote speaker, his story of perseverance has reached audiences convened by organizations such as the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Ford Family Foundation, Portland State University, and most recently a TED Talk.

Mr. Ochoa carries out his life purpose of service as a board member of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He has been an active member of the Beaverton School District’s Budget Advisory Committee, scholarship chair of the César Chávez Leadership Conference, and Scholarship Toolkit contributor with the National Scholarship Providers Association. He is co-founder of the Mente Summit, a Latino male higher education conference. He is a member of Harvard Alumni Association and Toastmasters International. He was honored as Administrator of the Year by Linfield College in 2010 and received the OrCAN Superstar award in 2013.  

Mr. Ochoa holds an Education Masters from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minor in Latin American History from the University of Oregon. He is an American Leadership Forum Fellow and an alumni of the Senior Leadership Academy sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and the American Academic Leadership Institute. He is a contributing author for Latinx/a/os in Higher Education and a regular education writer for the Somos Timbers Magazine. Gerardo is a proud father of a recent college graduate, and lives with his wife and their five-pound yorkie named Mambo.