Valda Boyd Ford, MPH, MS, RN
Valda Boyd Ford is the CEO of the Center for Human Diversity, a non-profit agency dedicated to improving communication between and across diverse groups. Over the past thirty years, she has worked in more than 50 countries with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, tribal chiefs, Afghani teachers and Buddhist monks, health care professionals and law enforcers to improve health, decrease negative outcomes, enhance leadership skills, and decrease vulnerability.
From her early days in Saudi Arabia where she worked with multi-lingual and multi-national staff from 33 nations to deliver one standard of care to her appointment to the Council of Public Representatives of the National Institutes of Health Valda has been intimately involved with education and policy development. Her knowledge allows her to work with the smallest of community groups to the most complex global agencies. Over the years she has gone from a staff nurse to Assistant Director of Nursing, from an Assistant Professor to Director of Community and Multicultural Affairs and from a contractor to a CEO.
Her career has taken Valda to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Netherlands and eventually the Caribbean, where she developed her own cardiac, stroke and physical rehabilitation center. The first facility of its kind in the region, Valda realized the financial and social hardships of patients sent 1000 miles to the mainland for care and capitalized on the value of having exceptional care rooted in cultural and linguistic diversity near at hand.
Inspired by her experiences over nearly a decade in the Caribbean and the Middle East and because of a high demand for her advice and training she created the Center for Human Diversity. Because of her leadership and innovative approach to problems she has received many honors and awards for her work in leadership and diversity and inclusion – from innovative and effective workforce assessments to community based programs for vulnerable populations to HIV and STD prevention strategies for teens and adults.
Valda created a program to get the most disenfranchised women together with women who were successful. The program was called the Heart and Soul Red Dress Dinner and Seminar and it brought women out for a night of learning about their health in a relaxed and culturally appropriate setting. Over four years the Heart and Soul Red Dress event went from a beginning attendance of a few hundred to over 800 women representing 33 cultures and 18 languages. From that program the Living, Laughing and Loving series was born and, because of the constant questions and concerns from women about their sexual health and the alarming trends and shifts in the demographics of newly acquired HIV/AIDS, the natural next step in the series became Sex is Not for Sissies!
Building on the Center’s mission to reduce vulnerability Valda works to provide sexual literacy and relationship information to women with the hope that the knowledge will be passed on to daughters and granddaughters and the community. The intended outcome is to decrease or eliminate the increasing numbers of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and infections. She provides a wealth of information at www.SexisNotforSissies.com and via many magazine articles, videos and blog posts.
Valda recently released SINS: Secrets and Lies and she is one of the featured writers in the recently released book The Speaker Anthology: 101 Stories that have Inspired and Motivated Audiences from Coast to Coast. Additionally Valda has contributed chapters to two medical textbooks on diversity and ethics, Cultural Proficiency in Eliminating Health Disparities and Health Care Services, Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Underserved Populations: Patient and Provider Perspectives and she is the author of Don’t Touch the Monk: and Other Stories of Global Faux Pas due to be released December 2018. She has written many articles, stories, and columns for local and national media outlets.
Valda has a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Nursing Administration from Creighton University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winston Salem State University.
Valda engaged the audience in innovative ways that captivated everyone’s attention and made the time fly by. She was humorous, informative, inquisitive and heartfelt!
Director of Community Health Services
Annual Training, Appalachian District Health Department
Ms. Ford had the entire group mesmerized in short order with her commanding presence, her authoritative presentation of the substance of the issues, and her mix of styles—humor, stories, solid use of data … They loved her humour, her charisma, and the content of what she presented. Valda was a huge hit! She is outstanding!
Mary R. Hamilton, Ph.D., CAE
Director of Professional Programs
University of Nebraska at Omaha School of Public Administration