Kimberly Otchere: Social justice, inclusion & activism grounded in faith

Epsiode 6 Kimberly Otchere


This week, I’m talking with Kimberly Otchere, the Director for Inclusion and Talent Development for University Housing at the University of Illinois.

We discuss one of her life’s passions: reforming and promoting diversity and inclusion in organizations and leadership.

Kimberly shares insightful personal experiences from her childhood raised in the Baptist Church and the classroom and out-of-classroom education that formed her faith. We talk about the importance of creating a greater capacity for compassion through dialogue and listening. Doing this allows us to find and feel God’s love and connection with humanity, even amid the grief and pain we face.

We also talk about marriage, being a mom, and what true friendship looks like.


A 2008 Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame alum who majored in Social Work and minored in Business, Kimberly obtained her MSW from the University of Michigan and her MBA from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. For the last eight years, she has served as a social justice educator for University Housing at the University of Illinois. In her current role as Director of Inclusion and Talent Development, she provides strategic DEI oversight for the eight operations units and more than 600 employees in University Housing.

Kim’s passion to serve was nurtured by her Christian faith and family’s unwavering commitment to serve underserved vulnerable populations in the Chicagoland area. Raised Baptist, Kim grew up in a religious household with a father who served as a volunteer prison chaplain for more than 30 years. She sang in the church choir and taught Sunday school and Bible study. While attending a Catholic single-sex high school she was introduced to the spirituality of faith through a Kairos retreat, where she served as Rector. Her undergraduate and graduate life yielded a merging of her faith, academic and social passion.

Experiences of campus community organizing, diversity recruitment, and inclusion programming grounded her commitment to social justice work. Each experience has inspired scholarship and practice centered around creating equitable and inclusive spaces for underrepresented and underserved communities.

Connect with Kim on Instagram at linkedin.com/in/kimberly-otchere.



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