Heart and Soul Red Dress Dinner and Seminar

The Heart and Soul Red Dress Dinner and Seminar brings a majority of minority and low income women ages 18 and over out for a night of learning about heart health in a relaxed and culturally competent setting.  Through inspirational and educational presentations, attendees are motivated to make better lifestyle choices which will lead to the prevention of heart disease. Attendees were not required to wear a red dress, but instead were encouraged to wear something red – a scarf, a blouse, or anything red, but there was no barrier to admittance related to clothing. They all enter on a red carpet, and are invited to be pampered with complimentary hair and make-up consultations, chair-side massages and glamorous photos by professional photographers, a heart healthy gourmet meal and entertainment that includes an international fashion show in which the models wear traditional clothing representing their birth nations or ethnic heritage. The first ever Heart and Soul Red Dress Event at the Scott Conference Center in Omaha brought 400 women together.  In 2006, the 2nd Annual Heart and Soul Red Dress Event were held with 400 women, 600 in 2007 and in 2008, almost 700 women attended.

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International

Early in her career, Ford worked as a critical care registered nurse in Saudi Arabia. There she quickly rose through the ranks to in-service educator and nurse manager. While in the Middle East, Ford worked with staff from 33 different countries and realized the serious gap in cultural competency. Ford developed her own training module to include in new employee orientation in Saudi Arabia and later the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, she also developed the first cardiac, stroke and physical rehabilitation center in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Today she is a well-known professional presenter on leadership, public health and cultural competency and has presented or consulted in Saudi Arabia, United States Virgin Islands, China, the Netherlands, Poland, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Wales, Afghanistan, and Australia, and 25 states in the United States.

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Teaching & Training

Valda Boyd Ford averages at least 50 presentations a year to groups as diverse as chief executives of major global corporations, health care professionals and students, to international forums dedicated to policy formulation that improves the health of the most vulnerable groups on the planet. She is particularly known for combining business philosophy with an extensive repertoire of stories learned from case studies and work place faux pas. She has helped leaders in the insurance, law enforcement, education, health care and food service industries develop more inclusive and productive work force environments, as well as slow down the expensive and demoralizing revolving door of recruitment and retention.

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Consulting & Support

With more than twenty years of experience working to promote inclusion and to develop systems that promote cultural competency, Valda knows how to make diversity work for you. She goes beyond simple training and provides you with a tailored program to meet your needs. If your organization is at the very beginning stages of developing strategies on diversity and inclusion – we can help. If you have all of the fundamentals but you need to know the next steps, we can help. We develop programs to fit your organization and we start with where you are NOW.

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Community Service

The Center for Human Diversity has an exceptional history of providing badly needed free training for non-profit and public social service staff members who work under budgetary constraints for continuing education. That is because Valda Boyd Ford has always maintained that the best knowledge is achieved by doing. She is an accomplished thought leader and program designer because she constantly volunteers her time to assist the people that so many programs ultimately target for help. Her strength lies in knowing what underrepresented and at-risk people need from the bottom up, not the top down. Nobody needed more cultural competency and sensitivity development than staff members of the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association, which was unable to develop an effective outreach component for an African American community that was rapidly accounting for high percentage of new cases; or the staff members trained on “Customer Service for the Real World,” who work for Douglas County General Assistance Department and spend their day challenged by low-income and no-income citizens seeking everything from bus tickets to food stamps to emergency housing. Or showing trainers of more than 250 public housing residents, the majority of whom are Section 8 welfare recipients, how to help their clients mentally rewire life aspirations and break a generation of life in the “projects.” Valda rarely declines an opportunity to meet with community groups, however small, and mandates that the Center for Human Diversity never host a workshop without reserving scholarship seats for our society’s most beleaguered social service workers – paid or voluntary. Helping America’s least represented clients is the heart and soul of her mission.

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Life & Times

Valda Boyd Ford has always seen diversity – first and foremost – as an extraordinary opportunity to embrace and appreciate life. And she does just that. People constantly comment, after meeting and getting to know her, how down-to-earth, accessible and approachable she is, despite her global credentials. As the young people like to say today, “Valda keeps it real.” She can address major corporate executives, facilitate and counsel in her business attire and an hour later chat it up with a bunch of teenagers or crawling around on the floor with toddlers. Valda’s considers it a true life blessing to be at one with humanity and no matter who, where or what the circumstances, she is never “a stranger” and feels at home. Whenever reminded of this natural ability, she likes to remind people that even billionaire Oprah Winfrey said, “I haven’t changed. I still have my feet on the ground. I just wear better shoes now.” Enjoy this look at “just Valda.”

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