News & Stories
February 8, 2023

Berry and GHD Foundation Embark on a new Partnership on Diversity Initiatives  


Berry College students, faculty and staff joined with employees from global professional services company GHD Feb. 1, in a powerful workshop dedicated to challenging biases. 

The “Bias Challenge” led by cultural consultant Vonnetta West, who is also a senior trainer with The King Center, is the first of several events this year developed by the Berry Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The GHD Foundation is partnering with Berry to focus on diversity initiatives and internship/employment development that also includes future events with The King Center.   

Established by GHD in 2020 and constituted as separate charitable companies, the GHD Foundation works to help build resilient communities globally by tackling the foundational issue of access to education for all. It funds impactful, outcome-driven Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education and employment programs to widen participation to those who are underrepresented in these vital fields. 

The “Bias Challenge” called on the Berry community to identify biases they carry, investigate their origins, and amend their thinking accordingly. West explained that the bias is grounded in the belief that others are “less than” and shared her personal experiences of being both a victim and a perpetrator of intolerance. Anyone is capable of having bias, West shared, and it is vital to counteract the grouping of people as the same, based on experiences with individuals.  

“My goal in these sessions is to attack issues and not people,” said West, who gave a warm and poignant presentation.  

West noted that many organizations have reduced or stopped similar efforts around diversity and applauded the fact that Berry is still doing this work.   

According to Steven Davie, GHD general manager, Southeast region, “Dr. West challenged our biases to help find better ways to engage with and love our neighbors. Our partnership with Berry College and the King Center is an important part of expanding and strengthening our Diversity & Inclusion strategy. We want to demonstrate our core values, serve our clients, and represent the communities we live in.”  

Joel Howell, GHD Inclusion & Diversity Leader for North America and EMEA region, who attended the event said, “Our vision at GHD is to build lasting community benefit together with our clients. We can’t just do it internally, it also has to be something we do externally to reach into our communities. In this partnership with Berry and the King Center our values align and I believe that we can make a greater impact by having this conversation through this partnership.” 

Berry alum and GHD employee Justyn Patterson noted that the event gave him new perspectives on biases in the workplace and everyday life. He said it’s important to do this work at Berry. “The Berry Bubble is real and bringing that outside lens into a small community is vital,” Patterson said.  

Nigel Groce-Wright, also a Berry alum and GHD employee, said “Any attempt to increase diversity and equity at Berry is exceptional. Dr. West gave an incredible seminar on bettering our community through examining ourselves and our biases.”  

Berry students appreciated the event.  

“I believe the Bias Challenge was a great opportunity for the Berry community to continue to work towards a good neighbor community. It is essential for each of us, students, faculty, and staff to work together - even when it is difficult,” said José Reyes, a junior and member of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion student leadership team. 


Berry Public Relations Student Assistant Caroline Cleland contributed to this article.

About GHD 

GHD is a leading professional services company operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation. Committed to a vision to make water, energy and urbanization sustainable for generations to come, GHD delivers engineering, architecture, environmental and construction solutions to public and private sector clients. Established in 1928 and privately owned by its people, GHD’s network of 10,000+ specialists are connected across 200 offices located on five continents. Find a local office here

More information about the GHD Foundation can be found here 



Office of Public Relations

 Back to Top

Footer Menu