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Dr. Mary J. McConner, CDE
Founder & Principal Consultant


Keynote Speaker | Facilitator | Educator | Inclusive Leadership Coach

Dr. Mary “MJ” McConner is the owner and founder of Inclusive Excellence Consulting. She is a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) who has worked in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and international education sectors for over 14 years.


Navigating the workforce as a Black dyslexic woman who is hard of hearing has allowed her to experience firsthand the importance of centering equity, accessibility, and inclusion in organizational systems, cultures, and practices. She has dedicated much of her professional career to understanding the evolving challenges impacting different organizational cultures and how to best foster environments committed to equity and inclusive excellence. Her past professional roles include serving as vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion (chief diversity officer), chief of staff, executive director of inclusive excellence, multicultural student services director, social justice committee chair, international education advisor, and university instructor.​


Dr. McConner's involvement in her community has been instrumental in her commitment to promoting DEI, community engagement, and social justice locally and nationally. It is servant leadership and her dedication to transforming community through education, collaboration, and inclusion that motivates Mary most.

Community Leadership: 

  • AFP Global Nominating Committee, 2022-2023 District E Representative

  • Alzheimer's Association Tennessee Chapter, Board Member

  • Community Foundation of Greater Memphis GiVE 365 Memphis Advisory Team, Member

  • Crosstown High School, Board Member

  • Friends of the Pink Palace-MoSH (Museum of Science & History), Member 

  • Grand Valley State University Alumni Association, Board Member

  • Junior League of Memphis, Member

    • ​2022-2023 JLM APEX Committee Chair

  • NASPA Center for Women, Board Member

  • SHRM-Memphis 2023 DEI Conference Committee Co-Chair

  • STS Enterprise Corporation, Board Member


  • Black Speakers Collection, Member

  • Greater Memphis Chamber Small Business Council, Member

  • Memphis Urban League Young Professionals, Member

  • STAR Scholars Network, Leadership Series Host & Member

  • The Society for Diversity, Member

  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Member


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Higher Education Administration, Auburn University, 2017

  • Master of Arts (M.A.), Educational Leadership, Central Michigan University, 2010

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Psychology, Grand Valley State University, 2008

Executive Education:

  • University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, Oxford Executive Leadership Programme, 2021

  • Harvard University, Management Development Program, 2019

Certifications, Memberships, & Professional Education

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NCRM Unpacking Racism for Action Certificate

Awards & Recognition

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Woman of Impact
Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professional Awardee
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