Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Mental Health Headline the Diversifying the HERD Virtual Summit

Just a portion of the richly diverse speaker line-up for the Diversifying the HERD Virtual Summit.

Increasing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the equestrian industry remains a focal point for many organizations as we head into this new year. Dr. Veronica Lac, PhD, LPC, founder of The HERD Institute, is excited to bring together some thought leaders in the realm of DEI with next month’s first ever Diversifying the HERD Virtual Summit, happening on Saturday, February 6. Registration can be found here.

The HERD Institute, founded in 2016 by Dr. Veronica Lac, is founded on the idea of creating a global community of students and practitioners for Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning.

In the mental health field, there is a distinct lack of diversity, Dr. Lac says. In an effort to pursue growth within her own field as well as the other facets of the far-reaching equine industry, the idea of the Diversifying the HERD Summit came to be.

“My motivation for creating this summit came from a desire to highlight BIPOC practitioners in the field who are doing some incredible work in their communities,” Dr. Lac explained. “My hope is that by increasing representation, we can encourage a new generation of BIPOC folks to enter into the field. I also want to support people in the equine industry who want to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in their barns and programs to find creative strategies to move forward.”

The Summit will feature a full day of live and recorded content, featuring Patricia Kelly of Ebony Horsewomen, Inc. as the keynote presenter. Here’s a look at the full list of live presenters booked for the Summit:

Also featuring on the content list are in-depth conversations with industry thought leaders on the topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Tune in for sessions such as “Cancel Culture and the Importance of Pausing”, “Unbaking the Cake of Systemic Racism” and “Racial Microaggression in the Equine Industry” – among many, many others.

Dr. Lac and her team at The HERD Institute have worked tirelessly to gather the presenters and pre-recorded content for this Summit, which promises to be rich with education and inspiration. Registration proceeds will benefit The Patricia Kelly Scholarship Fund, a fund for BIPOC individuals who are interested in entering the mental health field.

“Most importantly, I want to help challenge, change, and create organizations to be more welcoming of difference,” Dr. Lac said. “My hope is that by offering a space where people can come together to listen with curiosity about each other’s experiences, we can begin to dismantle systems of oppression and build a more diverse and equitable industry.”