An educator, executive, author, and thought leader on implementing broad-based diversity strategies, Dr. Mary J. Wardell (she/her) understands the unique duty of leaders to advance social justice and inclusivity in their organizations. Dr. Wardell has served as the inaugural vice provost and chief diversity officer at the University of San Francisco (USF) since 2011 and is a leadership, organizations, and diversity studies lecturer in the USF School of Education and School of Management. She was the USF Dean of Students from 2008-2011 and co-founded with student activists the on-campus Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center. Mary is the author of Amazon best-seller: Twice as Good: Leadership and Power for Women of Color.
Dr.Wardell received the Most Influential Woman award by the San Francisco Business Times in 2017 and won the 2018 Human Rights award by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 2015 San Francisco Human Rights Commission Hero Award. Dr. Wardell is the Founder of the Latinas in Leadership Forum, an annual empowerment and leadership conference for emerging Chicanx-Latinx leaders based in San Francisco.
She serves as the President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission stewarding $160M budget for a system of 28 city libraries. Through her leadership, the San Francisco Public Library won the coveted National Public Library of the Year in 2018. She is a trustee for the National Urban Libraries Council, Washington, D.C, the Ignatian Solidarity Network, Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Interfaith Council. A past dean of student affairs at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Mary is the Founder and Principal of The DEI Leadership Group, a diversity solutions and crisis management firm based in San Francisco.
Mary received a doctorate from Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology; a master’s degree in cross cultural counseling and social justice education from San Diego State University, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of the Pacific. During the Great Migration, her parents journeyed from Jim Crow Arkansas and Texas to the south side of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Stockton, California where she was born and reared. She resides in San Francisco with her husband. Contact Mary.