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Online Live

Eight Friday mornings
Dates: TBD
8:30 am – 10:30 am
**Video required**



Christa Sterling

Diversity & Inclusion Essentials Online Live Certificate Program

WIOA Eligible & 16 SHRM PDCs Earned

An inclusive organization is one that’s able to leverage diversity of skills, experience and perspectives in a way that enables everyone to give their best and delivers competitive advantage. Come learn in an inclusive online environment and meet people you would otherwise never know! 12 SHRM PDCs will be offered at the completion of the course.



An inclusive organization is one that’s able to leverage diversity of skills, experience and perspectives in a way that enables everyone to give their best and delivers competitive advantage. Using the web and interactive learning technologies, this D&I Essentials series focuses upon defining the elements of diversity and inclusion and building the framework for creating a robust D&I approach in the workplace.  Learning from multiple presenters, all leaders in the D&I field, participants will receive guidance on creating a diverse and inclusive working environment.

There are eight sessions, two hours each online.

Who Should Enroll

HR practitioners, D&I practitioners, Supervisors, Managers, Employees and/or anyone interested in creating an inclusive and supportive culture that promotes equal opportunities and treatment of employees.


Mr. Richard Spada

For more than 25 years, Richard Spada has helped global organizations and their people realize their greatest potential. He brings passion, purpose, and inspiration to his work with clients, who operate in some of the most complex, highly regulated industries in the world including biopharma, health care, government, finance, and retail.

As principal consultant of Aspire International, LLC, a global diversity, inclusion and leadership consulting firm based in Boston, Richard offers his unique blend of skills and empathetic approach to help others with training and performance management. He has particular expertise in executive coaching and improving diversity and inclusion among global multinational corporations. He is deeply versed in helping organizations discover their corporate competencies and with guiding professionals to recognize and overcome their unconscious biases.

His experience includes nearly 15 years at Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. He most recently served as Global Executive Director at the Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence for Novartis International, AG, based in Basel, Switzerland. In that role, he supported and enhanced an inclusive and productive culture for the organization, which has 120,000 employees working across 120 countries. While with Novartis, Richard developed tools and training to provide a consistent, ethical framework that allowed employees to achieve professional and personal success.

Richard is an expert facilitator and successful coach who has worked with more than 1,500 individuals at all levels, from front-line workers to C-Suite executives. His areas of specialty include leadership development coaching, transition coaching, peer coaching, and life coaching.

He is a sought-after lecturer and public speaker and has served as a faculty member at San Francisco State University and the University of California at Berkeley. His recent speaking engagements include the ICON Global Inclusion Seminar 2018 in Zurich, Switzerland, Forum for Workplace Inclusion 2018 in Minneapolis, and Central Connecticut State University’s 2nd Annual Diversity Conference. He is an active member of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee of The Conference Board.

Prior to joining Novartis, Richard led a successful consulting practice specializing in training, facilitation, and leadership development. He has also worked for Kaiser Permanente, a leading U.S. healthcare provider, as an internal learning and development consultant, and headed up their corporate training consulting practice.

Richard holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Central Connecticut State University (1982) and a master’s degree in adult education and office systems administration from The College of New Jersey (1984). He is certified as a professional and executive coach by the International Coach Federation.
Among his honors Richard has been awarded a distinguished alumni award from Central Connecticut State University for his work to advance LGBT inclusion. In 2014, Richard received the Diversity and Inclusion Humanitarian of the Year Award from Novartis Pharmaceuticals for his work to foster a more safe and inclusive environment for Novartis associates, worldwide.

Richard makes his home in Massachusetts and travels the globe to manage remote teams, conduct trainings, and provide coaching expertise.


This class is run as an online live class. Students will need a computer and webcam.  Because of the interactive nature of this class, you are required to share your video. If you cannot meet this requirement, you will not be able to attend the class.


Absolutely loved CCSU’s Diversity and Inclusion course. Richard Spada was extremely knowledgeable and the course was well balanced with instruction, collaboration and tools that can be used in general practice outside of the virtual classroom. I was pleased to be able to offer this class to my DEI Team as well so we can all better support our company initiatives and culture of belonging at CBIA. (Spring, 2023)

Richard Spada’s class on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging is more than a class, it is an experience. An experience that will have a positive impact.  Carolyn (Spring, 2022)

Richard is an amazing instructor who gave insightful information. He allowed us to discuss in large groups and breakouts. He is very knowledgeable in DE&I. Highly recommend this class. (Spring, 2022)

This class is everything and some. Anthony (Spring, 2022)

Conscientious content, highly recommended.  (Spring, 2022)

The Diversity & Inclusion class at CCSU was well thought out, put together and extremely helpful for any professional who is looking to learn more about this area, specifically in their individual career and to benefit their workplace – Isabela (Fall, 2021)

Richard Spada is an expert! He allows his students the opportunity to ask questions, and truly understand Diversity & Inclusion. I feel empowered because I have the tools and knowledge to explain, and encourage others to be open to the concept. Sandy (Fall, 2021)

This class motivated me to do more in my job for Diversity and Inclusion. Carol (Fall, 2021)

This course opened my eyes to things I was completely blind to the content was powerful and so needed during this time of social unrest. (Fall, 2021)

The class was incredible and engaging! Through a virtual setting it was great still having the opportunity to interact with others in the class. (Spring, 2021)

I found the class to be informative, helpful, and enjoyable. The women in the class were dynamic to listen to and Richard gave us interesting questions to ponder – we just never had enough time to chat because there is so much to talk about! Least useful was the last minute addition of the blackboard access. I wish we had that right off the bat so I could get to my materials more easily. (Spring, 2021)

Good conversation is the most useful aspect of the course. Given the subject matter, conversation is helpful in gaining different perspectives and understanding. The materials were excellent resources and the instructor gave good tips in making the topic less overwhelming. I don’t think there were any aspects that were not useful. (Spring, 2021)

I felt the entire class was useful a lot of information that could be applied in the workplace. (Spring, 2020)

Testimonials about our instructor, Richard Spada:

Richard was excellent!

Richard was an amazing facilitator who is extremely knowledgeable about D&I. I enjoyed the class and the engagement with other participants. Thank you for allowing me to participate in this course.

Loved this course!

Overall, great course. I have been in the D & I space for quite some time. And I still learned quite a bit from Richard. He provided some great resources that I plan incorporate as I continue my journey in D & I. A few more thoughts. I did want to comment further on class size. I think size worked because the participants were in different stage of D & I and 1 hour time frame. However, I would not go any larger if course stays an hour session. And I think some topics needed more time 1.5 to 2 hours. To dive further into the topic especially, with break out sessions. The break outs are just as valuable as the facilitated portions.

It was one of the most interesting workshops I’ve ever attended. I learned so much from Richard, that I believe this workshop should be mandatory for everyone! Nadia, Fall 2019

“So much to learn on this topic. Fantastic presentation and kudos for CCSU to have such an authority on the topic to present on this.” Elaine, Fall 2019

“Richard S. did a wonderful job! Looking forward to the next session!” Nasreen, Fall 2019

“I really enjoyed the wealth of knowledge that Richard had in Diversity & Inclusion. He was able to make the workshop fun and interactive. I walked away with practical knowledge that I could bring back to my organization to further improve how we incorporate Diversity & Inclusion into the business.” Chelsea, Fall 2019

“This event was very engaging and informative. As an HR professional, it taught me how to expand my “diversity lenses.” Javianna, Fall 2019