Co-founder Dr. Kira Hudson Banks has worked with schools, communities, institutions of higher education, and national and international firms to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and engage people in productive dialogue and action. Her specialty is working in predominantly White settings to help all community members develop skills and competencies for effective intergroup interactions. She incorporates interactive games, reflective exercises, and small and large group discussions into her sessions.
Currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Saint Louis University with a research focus on race, racial identity, and the effects of discrimination on mental health, Dr. Banks has been described as making the complex and controversial topic of race accessible and intergroup interactions more understandable.
Her courses have ranged from Abnormal Psychology to the Psychology of Racism. She has published in American Psychological Association journals such as American Psychologist, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and her work has also been published in the Harvard Business Review and The Atlantic.
She is a co-founder of the The Institute for Healing Justice and Equity at St. Louis University, an initiative whose mission is to eliminate disparities in individual and community health and well-being caused by systemic oppression, through research, training, community engagement, and policy change.
Dr. Banks is also the creator of Raising Equity, a video podcast series that helps parents teach their children about issues of equity. She served as the racial equity consultant for the Ferguson Commission and Forward Through Ferguson, and delivered a talk entitled, “Applying the lessons of #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter” at TEDxAmoskeagMillyard in Southern New Hampshire.
Dr. Banks earned a B.A. in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Follow Dr. Banks on Twitter at @kirabanks.
Co-Founder Eric Ratinoff brings more than two decades of experience in teaching, coaching, facilitating, and organizational development, in both corporate and not-for-profit settings, to the Mouse and the Elephant’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work. He served as the Executive Editor for the Ferguson Commission report, Forward Through Ferguson, and is a co-author of A Seat at the Table, an award-winning column on diversity and inclusion in the New Hampshire Business Review.
Eric is also the founder and Chief Storyteller of Story First, a strategic storytelling firm that helps companies and organizations get clear about their story and tell it more effectively. Much of his work is focused on helping organizations focused on racial equity tell their stories. Story First’s recent project for Forward Through Ferguson, Still Separate, Still Unequal, which examines education inequity in St. Louis, received a 2021 Gold Telly Award. The In St. Louis Project: Five Years Later, an interactive, multimedia documentary project that looked at what it means to be in St. Louis five years after the uprisings in Ferguson, produced for the Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis, received a 2020 Silver Telly Award.
Eric has also taught Technical Writing in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis; trained and advised leaders as a facilitator, presenter, and organizational consultant; and served as assistant track and field coach at Washington University. In addition, Eric is an organizer and speaker coach for TEDxAmoskeagMillyard in Southern New Hampshire. He delivered a talk on storytelling and organizational culture, titled “Once Upon a Time At The Office: How Stories Shape Culture At Work,” at TEDxCapeMay in New Jersey.
Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts in English at Washington University.
Follow Eric on Twitter at @eric_ratinoff.