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An Introduction To The LEAD Program

An Introduction to the LEAD Program

Ziggy Blackwell, Illinois College
Mayra Lagunas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dave Marcial, Golden Apple

IACAC is proud to announce a new initiative underway: The Leadership, Equity, Accountability, and Diversity (LEAD) Program.

LEAD has been designed to provide personal and professional growth for counselors of color interested in building a career within higher education. This program was created in response to the IACAC conference session, “Cultural Taxation without Representation” delivered by Jessica Taylor, Dave Marcial, and Mayra S. Lagunas. Following the presentation many attendees, who are predominately counselors of color, voiced their frustration at the systematic barriers that slowed their opportunities for upward mobility. As a result, the idea for LEAD was born. This program will provide the social and aspirational capital to help counselors of color aspire to achieve higher enrollment management positions.

After two LEAD meetings there is no doubt that we’ve created something special. We have twelve participants who have committed themselves to this professional development program along with full support from the IACAC Executive Board and enrollment managers around the country. We are grateful for IACAC’s support but now we make a call for action. Many individuals have asked how they can support our efforts. For now, we charge those in leadership positions to examine your organizational structures and determine:

  • Do professionals of color in your office have influence in the admissions operation?
  • Do they have budgetary responsibilities?
  • Are they involved in the student search process?
  • Are you nominating them for institution-wide committees?
  • Are you actively developing them as a leader at your institution?

Ultimately, diversity and inclusion should be represented not only in your desired enrollment but also among the individuals in position of power. Therefore, if your institution touts a commitment to “diversity” focused on removing barriers for historically underrepresented and marginalized students through Strategic Enrollment Plans, we want you to address these same barriers for professionals of color as they seek to advance in this field.

For more information on the LEAD Program please visit:

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