Brooke Berry, the Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion at Marymount University, has been named as an impactful leader in the 2021 Northern Virginia “40 Under 40” list by the Leadership Center for Excellence and Leadership Fairfax.
Since 1992, the Leadership Center for Excellence has been the region’s trusted resource for leadership development and civic engagement. The nonprofit has partnered with Leadership Fairfax, an organization equally committed to developing community leadership in Fairfax County. Together, the organizations are recognizing 40 individuals who demonstrate exceptional and impactful leadership in their professional and personal spheres.
Berry was appointed as Dean of Students, Equity and Inclusion in May 2020. In this position, she provides leadership and direction on all student conduct matters, serves as the primary administrative advocate for all undergraduate and graduate students and helps develop campus-wide principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. She joined the Marymount community in August 2019 as the University’s Title IX Coordinator and became Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
“It is an honor to be nominated by my colleagues and recognized by the Leadership Center for Excellence for impactful leadership in the Northern Virginia area,” Berry said. “I am humbled by this recognition because I am simply doing the work that I believe is necessary to create a transformative experience that college students deserve.”
At the beginning of 2021, Berry presided over the opening of the University’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center, a physical space for students, staff and faculty to achieve unity through diversity. Berry spearheaded the effort after hearing from Black, NBPoC, Queer and students with multicultural backgrounds about the need for a space to discuss social issues and explore identities.
“Most people don’t know, but my great-grandfather was born into slavery and later became the Dean of what is now known as South Carolina State University,” Berry explained. “I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am also a Dean and committed to the social justice work of educating and empowering student communities.”
Prior to her appointment as Dean, Berry’s leadership as Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee led to the formation of the University’s official Inclusion Statement and creation of an Inclusion Network with more than 100 students, staff and faculty committed to building a stronger community.
The Marymount campus also welcomed the “You Belong Here” initiative, implemented in part by Berry, that seeks to promote an inclusive community by improving diversity and inclusion-related communications, policies and procedures on campus.
Within every position that Berry has served, her priority has always been to foster an atmosphere of belonging, respect and positive change on campus.
“Creating a welcoming, equitable and inclusive campus environment is the responsibility of each Marymount community member, and I am happy to be leading the way in these efforts.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Virginia 40 Under 40 event will take place virtually on Friday, March 26 from 10:45 am-12:00 pm.
“Working together with Leadership Fairfax, we look forward to celebrating the diverse accomplishments of these 40 young professionals,” said Lisa Fikes, Acting President and CEO of the Leadership Center for Excellence. “While the event will look different this year, it is important to continue lifting up those whose leadership and care for others inspire us.”