St. Louis Diversity Leader Returns to the Community for WashU

DeCou has been a leading figure in diversity awareness and anti-bias efforts in the nonprofit sector of the St. Louis community for more than 25 years. At Washington University, she has conducted highly popular diversity training sessions with more than 8,500 employees and supports efforts to improve the university’s workforce diversity. Today, DeCou is taking on a new role as diversity community outreach manager in Human Resources to help the university find and foster diverse talent. 

DeCou has dedicated her professional life to healing divides as an effective administrator and anti-bias educator. She was executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis, ran the largest education program of the Anti-Defamation League–St. Louis for 10 years, and held positions with the United Way and East-West Gateway Coordinating Council. She founded and still runs the consulting firm Loretta’s Work, aimed at developing young leaders.

DeCou came to Washington University to facilitate training, build awareness and foster a culture that embraces a diverse and inclusive community. As a nationally certified diversity trainer, DeCou has facilitated anti-bias/anti-oppression training for children, youth, community-based organizations, community leaders, the workplace, law enforcement and institutions of higher education here in the United States and abroad. Her work at WashU focused on training staff on fundamentals in diversity, including addressing unconscious bias, finding common ground and taking action to hire and foster diverse talent. DeCou started training at the School of Medicine, working with department chairs and leaders to train medical professionals. She brought the training universitywide and trained staff, faculty and management on the Danforth Campuses. 

DeCou’s work in diversity and inclusion training, as well as on the Ferguson Commission at WashU, helped  set a foundation for diversity and inclusion at the university. Now, DeCou is bringing her talent and experience to the recruitment team in Human Resources. She is returning to her roots in the community to help the university recruit and foster diverse talent. As diversity and community outreach manager, DeCou is working with partners in the St. Louis area to build relationships and bring strong, diverse professionals to the talent pool at WashU. DeCou is also working with managers across campus to help departments conduct effective searches that include diverse candidates.