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Dr. Mary J. McConner, CDE
Founder & Chief Executive Officer


International Keynote Speaker | Thought Leader | Consultant | Educator | Coach

Dr. Mary “MJ” McConner is the Founder and CEO 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 fifteen years.


Experiencing the workforce as a Black dyslexic woman and member of the Hard of Hearing community (single-sided deafness) 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), executive director of inclusive excellence, multicultural student services director, social justice committee chair, international education advisor, and university instructor.​


Dr. McConner’s thought leadership has been featured in AfroTech, Roland Martin Unfiltered, MSN, FOX, Medium Magazine, Living Corporate, and more. In 2023, she was honored as a Super Woman in Business by the Memphis Business Journal and recognized as an honoree for the inaugural Memphis Business Journal Expand: Diversity in Business Awards.


MJ actively participates as a community leadership volunteer and is part of various organizations including the GiVE 365 Memphis Advisory Team and Friends of the Pink Palace-MoSH. She holds board positions with the Junior League of Memphis, Crosstown High School, SHRM-Memphis, STS Enterprise Corporation, University of Memphis Fogelman Women in Leadership, and Grand Valley State University Alumni Association. Dr. MJ’s advocacy, research, and community engagement work has been instrumental in her commitment to promoting DEI locally and nationally.


  • 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

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Awards & Recognition

  • 2023 Shelby County Board of Commissioners “Resolution Honoring Dr. Mary McConner”

  • 2023 Memphis Business Journal Expand: Diversity in Business Awards Honoree

  • 2023 Memphis Business Journal Super Woman in Business Honoree 

  • 2023 OPM Servant Awards Honoree

  • 2023 American Heart Association Mid-South Women of Impact Honoree

  • 2022 Top 40 Under 40 Urban Elite Professionals Honoree

  • 2022 AFP LEAD Blackbaud Diversity Scholar

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