President | CEO
Pronouns: She | Her | Hers
“I am a passionate advocate for justice and equity; a provocateur not afraid to have the difficult conversations; someone with over three decades of experience working with corporate leaders in support of enhancing their understanding of what it is like to be the “other.” I #LiveInclusively by building relationships across difference— thinking about what I say, do and think and questioning whether it fosters inclusion. I say hello to strangers, assume positive intent and believe my purpose on earth is to break down barriers and build bridges across difference.”
Mary-Frances Winters, founder and CEO of The Winters Group, Inc., a 37-year-old global organization development and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice consulting firm, truly believes that diversity and inclusion work is her “passion and calling.” Dubbed a thought leader in the field, for the past three decades she has impacted over hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals with her thought provoking message, and her approach to diversity and inclusion. Ms. Winters is a master strategist with experience in strategic planning, change management, diversity, organization development, training and facilitation, systems thinking and qualitative and quantitative research methods. She has extensive experience in working with senior leadership teams to drive organizational change.
Among her many awards and distinctions, she was named a diversity pioneer by Profiles in Diversity Journal in August 2007 and received the Winds of Change award from the Forum on Workplace Inclusion in 2016. Ms. Winters was also featured in Forbes’ June 2016 publication, which honored some of the DC Metro area’s most powerful women. In November 2019, she was named by Forbes as one of 10 trailblazers in diversity and inclusion.
She has served as a torch bearer for the Olympics and has previously been recognized as an Athena Award winner from the Chamber of Commerce for her contributions to women and the community.
Ms. Winters is the author of six books: Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit (September 2020), Inclusive Conversations: Fostering Equity, Empathy, and Belonging Across Differences (August 2020), We Can’t Talk about That at Work!: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics (2017), Only Wet Babies Like Change: Workplace Wisdom for Baby Boomers, and Inclusion Starts With “I” and CEO’s Who Get It: Diversity Leadership from the Heart and Soul. Ms. Winters also authored a chapter in the book Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion (2013) and numerous articles.
She is a graduate of the University of Rochester with undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology, and a master’s degree in business administration from the William E. Simon Executive Development Program. She received an honorary doctorate from Roberts Wesleyan College.
She serves on the board of Trustees of The University of Rochester, The board of Visitors for Johnson C. Smith University and The Council on Black Health.
Mary-Frances is a certified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®).
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The Winters Group, Inc. is a certified Minority / Women-Owned Business Enterprise.