The city announces Kimberly Holley as our new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, starting Jan. 23, 2023.
Holley is the director of the Sojourner Truth Center for Liberation and Justice, and is co-coordinator of the Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation. She is a Battle Creek native, and her father is community activist Bobby Holley.
Holley has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University, and completed graduate coursework at Columbia College. She served for 15 years as a nonprofit executive before transitioning to independent consulting in 2014. She also has served as a spokesperson and public relations strategist for several organizations.
The DEI Officer position was a recommendation from our consultant, MGT. They guided us in conducting an Equity Audit of the city organization. This involved evaluating our Human Resources Department, including hiring practices and policies, as well as our Police Department, including community relations. MGT took community feedback, particularly on police issues, and created a report, with recommendations on how to improve our DEI work.
We initially presented our two top candidates for this position in early August, and received valuable community feedback. Top concerns included the desire for the person to live in Battle Creek – though we cannot require this due to state law; the belief that the candidate be a person of color; and that they have a high level of DEI experience.
After the community event, we did not have a clear candidate choice. We paused the hiring process for this position in late August, so city leaders could reflect on the position and its responsibilities before moving forward.
“I realized the ideal candidate may already be in our community, working in the DEI space,” said City Manager Rebecca Fleury. “Kimberly was on my mind from the beginning, and I strongly felt I needed to reach out and have a conversation with her, to see if she was interested. Fortunately, she was.”
Holley first will guide our efforts as a city organization. Once we have a set strategy, she will champion engagement of the Battle Creek community in this work.
The replay from the Aug. 11 community event is available on our YouTube channel, at youtube.com/cityofbattlecreekmichigan. We recommend headphones for the best audio. Please also check out battlecreekmi.gov/dei for more information, and our full Equity Audit report.