Bellevue University and Inclusive Communities are aiming to build leaders with diverse perspectives.

Transformational Leadership: Tools for Divergent Thinking for Tomorrow’s Workforce is a five-course program that will shape those in leadership positions to gain more insight and knowledge in the importance of diversity and inclusion.

BU and Inclusive Communities, a nonprofit dedicated to educating on diversity, equity and inclusion located on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, will hold the courses in May through September at the BU Lozier Professional Center in northwest Omaha.

Tena Hahn Rodriguez, senior program partner with Inclusive Communities, and Jon Titus, BU’s director of continuing education, will co-teach the courses.

The five courses will be four hours long and will be located at the Lozier Professional Center, 2810 N. 118th St.

The courses in the series are as follows: May 28 – Identity of a Leader, June 25 – Intentional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, July 23 – Coaching for Performance, Aug. 27 – Succession Planning and Sept. 24 – Operationalizing the Value of Diversity.

After completing the courses, graduates of Transformational Leadership will receive a certificate of completion in leadership and diversity.

One aspect the courses will cover is retention in the workforce.

“Usually, that’s what we see people struggle with the most — they can get the folks in the room, but they can’t keep them there, and then they don’t know why,” Hahn Rodriguez said.

“We’re helping them identify what are those holes that people of color, minorities and marginalized folks are experiencing when they are in particularly corporate settings.”

Titus said he hopes the program exemplifies the importance of diversity and inclusion.

“The way I do that is I go back to a lot of the research that’s well-done on this that shows there are so many benefits to focusing on making sure your diversity in your workforce is really robust,” he said. “It should just be something everyone agrees is important just for the bottom line.”

Hahn Rodriguez said Inclusive Communities saw a great opportunity to partner with BU.

“BU makes themselves accessible, particularly to non-traditional students and people in the workforce that are still trying to get more education,” she said. “There aren’t many college courses or certificates that center around this type of work, and the conversation needs to happen.”

Titus said he’s looking forward to the continuing education and professional development aspect of the program.

“I’m so excited because I’m taking notes about what resonates between the facilitator and the participants, when people light up,” he said “You don’t know exactly what your audience is going to value the most until you give them what they have and then they help shape where it goes from there.”

Hahn Rodriguez said the Transformational Leadership program will benefit all who attend.

“The people who participate are going to get those tools,” she said. “They’re going to really learn how to create more inclusive work environments, which then helps retain people, which then helps retain that diverse talent that you have going in.”

The cost is $799 for employees of nonprofits and members of Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity Omaha, and $1,199 for employees in for profit organizations and non-members.

There are scholarships available depending on financial need. To register before May 22, visit

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.