UNE alum is new director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Goodwill Industries International

Self-portrait of Samantha-Rae Dickenson
Samantha-Rae Dickenson, Ed.D. ’18, M.P.H., is the new director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Goodwill Industries International.

Goodwill Industries International’s recently hired director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has big plans for the company — and she’s a University of New England alum.

In her new role, Samantha-Rae Dickenson, Ed.D. ’18, M.P.H., oversees DEI operations for Goodwill Industries International and offers DEI support to Goodwill organizations across North America. Her goal as director of DEI, she said, is to develop a full DEI strategy that aligns with the overarching mission of Goodwill Industries International and is reflected internally across its employees.

Dickenson said many people are not aware of Goodwill’s work outside donated good and its many thrift shops; however, the company’s work, she said, serves the broader purpose of providing professional development resources to marginalized communities, a purpose that directly aligns itself with DEI principles.

“Goodwill is a leader in transforming the demographics of people who are marginalized and providing opportunities for those who don't have equitable access to professional development resources and career resources,” Dickenson said. “A big part of the mission is focusing on providing those resources to those who need it the most, and that is also a priority for us internally.”

Dickenson has previously worked for the National Institutes of Health as the principal strategist for the Black employee portfolio during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to her UNE doctorate, Dickenson holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.

Dickenson said the skills she learned in UNE’s online Doctor of Education program have prepared her well for her new role as director of DEI.

“The program taught us about organizational management, how to navigate an organization as a leader, and to create an environment that promotes trust and open and honest communication,” Dickenson said. “I actually did my dissertation on microaggressions that Black women face in the workplace and how to create inclusive work environments, so my journey through the Ed.D. program definitely propelled me to further my skillset as it relates to developing strategy and being more foundationally sound in that realm.”