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Black History Month is a time for recognition, reflection and celebration of the achievements and contributions by African Americans throughout history. The theme for Olivet College’s Black History Month observation is “Struggle Comes Strength: Celebrating Activism in Black History.” Events include a presentation by Tonya C. Bailey, an inspirational conference speaker, workshop presenter and personal development coach/trainer, on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 1:30 p.m. Dr. Bailey will present “Brave Enough! Getting into Good, Necessary Trouble.”

Tonya C. Bailey

Dr. Tonya Bailey is a corporate consultant and executive educational adviser with over two decades of experience working in the nonprofit sector and higher education. She combines heartfelt inspiration, laugh-out-loud humor and practical strategies to drive change and success for numerous organizations and teams around the globe. As an inspirational speaker who provides an unforgettable experience for all ages, organizations and groups, Dr. Bailey’s style reaches audiences with her expertise, her passion for inspiring others to succeed and her own leadership secrets, which she candidly shares to lift and inspire others to their personal best.

Dr. Bailey currently serves as the chief diversity officer at Lansing Community College. She holds over 20 years of experience in higher education, administering student success initiatives, providing instruction and inspiring audiences and organizations. Dr. Bailey lives by the motto, “You don’t become great until you make someone else greater!” Her passion is assisting individuals from diverse backgrounds that they excel beyond their potential. In a recent television interview, Dr. Bailey stated, “I see myself as a ‘lid-lifter’ wherein I help uncap the true value, skills and dreams within others.”

In addition to her career in postsecondary education, she is the co-founder of Pick a Place and Start (P.A.P.A.S.), a community development corporation dedicated to youth development, cultural awareness and community economic revitalization. Dr. Bailey is also the creator of the Women in Power “I Am the WIP” Summit, a women’s empowerment conference and support network. Further, she is an accomplished licensed realtor, a recording artist and the host of a weekly inspirational radio broadcast called “It’s Yours!” that aims to empower and educate listeners to have daily success. “Change your Mind, You Change Your Moment,” is one of her upcoming books to help audiences gain a winning mindset in life.

Dr. Bailey finds time to volunteer in her community. She serves on numerous boards and committees in her community and across the nation, including serving as first vice chair for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Flint. Other boards she sits on include the in Higher Education, National Association of Diversity Officers (NADOHE), the Michigan Governor’s Coronavirus Taskforce on Racial Disparities and Community Action Team, Michigan’s Centering Equity Work Group, Michigan Health Council (MHC) and the Community Based Organization Partners – Community Ethics Review Board. Additionally, Dr. Bailey is the lead adviser for a nonprofit organization that aims to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Bailey is a native of Flint, Michigan, where she attended Luke M. Powers Catholic High School and graduated from Flint Northwestern High School. She is a graduate of the University of Evansville , Indiana, where she received her Bachelor of Science in mass communication; she earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, Ann Arbor. Dr. Bailey completed her Ph.D. studies in educational leadership at Central Michigan University. The focus of her research was measuring the sense of belonging among first-generation African American students at predominately white institutions and the role high impact practices play in their belongingness and retention. In addition, Dr. Baily is a KCP Future Faculty Fellow and has taught in higher education for over 10 years, including within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint. She has served on numerous faculty committees, administrative task force groups and higher education initiatives.

Dr. Bailey is happily married to her husband, Le, and is the proud mother of eight children: daughters Lekeisha, 30, and Leah, 23, and sons Le III, 20, Levi Priest, 16, and Leland Daniel, 13. In addition to her natural children, Dr. Bailey and her loving husband, Le, have adopted three children.

Learn more about Black History Month events by contacting Jason Meadows ’03, associate dean for student engagement, at jmeadows@olivetcollege.edu.

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