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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 15 years.


Experiencing the workforce as a Black dyslexic woman and a member of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community has given her a firsthand understanding of how crucial it is to prioritize equity, accessibility, and inclusion within 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. MJ's DEI thought leadership has been featured in AfroTech, Medium Magazine, Living Corporate, Fox 13 Memphis, Roland Martin Unfiltered, and more. Her advocacy work and community engagement has been instrumental in her commitment to promoting equity and inclusive diversity locally and nationally.

Community Leadership: 

  • Alzheimer's Association Tennessee Chapter, Board Director

  • American Heart Association Woman of Impact, 2023 Honoree & Program Mentor

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

  • Crosstown High School, Board Director

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

  • Grand Valley State University Alumni Association, Executive Board Director

  • Junior League of Memphis, Volunteer & Member

  • NASPA Center for Women, Board Director

  • SHRM-Memphis 2023 DEI Conference, Programs Committee Chair

  • STS Enterprise Corporation, Board Director

  • University of Memphis Fogelman Women in Leadership, Advisory Board Member


  • Forbes BLK, 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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