My Catawba County

5Q: Avery Staley

5Q: Avery Staley

This month’s 5Q features Avery Staley, J.D., M.A., who joined Lenoir-Rhyne University last year as the university’s inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Developing an open, diverse, inclusive and supportive learning environment is a top priority for Staley, whose collaborative approach invests not only in LR but also in our community. Here’s what Staley had to say when we asked him our Five Questions.

What are the chief responsibilities of your role?
Manage all directors in related offices [Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Office of Human Resources, Office Multicultural Affairs, Office of Title IX, Office of Disability Services] and oversee DEI Council. Work with president and vice presidents to oversee all operations of the university. Set DEI initiatives and work with administration, faculty, staff and students to execute DEI strategy and implementation.

What is your vision for the community, and how are you working to achieve it?
My vision for the community involves creating a mantra where equity a is a part of the business model and is a consideration in decisions that impact our citizens. I am working to achieve this goal by working with my colleagues at LR and serving on several boards and committees, such as the United Way Board of Directors, the Western Piedmont Symphony Board, and the Catawba County Public Health Equity Council.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do, and why?
It is highly rewarding to me when I am able to work with others to provide clarity, resolution and impact on matters related to our staff and students.  My focus is to be a resource to improve our campus experience from an equity and an inclusion perspective.

On a personal note, what do you love about living in Catawba County?
I am not a resident yet, however, I absolutely love the friendliness of the residents here. It has been a very pleasant welcome, and I hope the community can treat each other the way I’ve been treated.

What is the best advice you've been given, and how has it made a difference for you?
Be big time where you are. In other words, do your best in everything you do and don’t worry about others. It has worked, because when you do good work, you are noticed regardless of where you are, and opportunities to do more will surface.


Favorite hobby?
Playing golf.

A little bit country or a little bit rock and roll?

Favorite place in Catawba County?
Lenoir Rhyne University (love the job and great colleagues) and Backstreets (the Bang Bang Shrimp is phenomenal!)

Eastern or Western BBQ?
(Eastern with a straight face)

What are you currently reading? 
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin