Diversity Consultant, Educator, and Sociologist
Dr. Samuel Betances has decades of experience inspiring teams of people to aim high, appreciate their differences and work together toward a better future. His passion is to increase the cultural competencies of mission-driven teams so they can more effectively help urban students move from poverty to graduation.
Diversity and Literacy
Betances is best known for his workshops, keynotes and consulting on educating and graduating first-generation students from “book-poor” backgrounds. His own life experience includes growing up in poverty, dropping out of school and then earning two degrees from Harvard University. Betances worked at the U.S. Department of Education and as a Professor of Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago for 25 years. He and his wife, Dr. Laura M. Torres Souder, have provided staff development training to more than 1,000 schools, and provided diversity training and advocacy for literacy throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and Micronesia.
His latest book, Ten Steps to the Head of the Class: A Handbook for Middle School Students, is a step-by-step guide to help middle school students develop good study skills that will give them an edge in school and life. Betances also is the author of six other books.
He regularly speaks to audiences about women’s issues, African-American historical month activities, Hispanic events and celebrations, and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He challenges audiences everywhere with his powerful message: “It matters less where we are from; what really matters is where we are going. Accept our diversity. Embrace it. Make it work for you. Harness the rainbow.”
Samuel Betances credits where he is today with taking the hard lessons he learned from the streets and reshaping them into a personal vision. His love of reading is one of the main things that propelled him forward to eventually earn a Ph.D. from Harvard, be honored as Professor Emeritus, and become a consultant to U.S. presidents, CEOs, community groups, educators and young people.
The Benefits and Values of Diversity
In this dynamic presentation Dr. Samuel Betances uses humor to unlock your mind and open it to new ideas and new perceptions. You will learn how demographic changes are likely to impact the way organizations must do business today and in the future, by focusing on diversity as a bottom-line issue and mission-driven initiative. Personal stories and anecdotes from Dr. Betances′ amazing journey from Harlem to Harvard add insight to his important message. Come prepared to laugh and learn!
Ensuring the Success of All Students Through Multicultural Education
This keynote address is a passionate, entertaining, and motivational journey that provides insight into why diversity is a plus, not a minus, in education. We′ll examine the quest to sensitize ourselves to diversity in our schools and glean the positives of multiculturalism while pursuing academic excellence. Dr. Betances also discusses the "10 Habits of Highly Ineffective Students and teachers" from his acclaimed book and audio series, Ten Steps to the Head of the Class.
Eliminating Prejudice: From Destructive Contact to Constructive Cooperation
From Harlem to Harvard: Lessons from the Journey
"We could not be more pleased with the diversity message that you so eloquently conveyed. The feedback of those that had the privilege of experiencing your viewpoint has been overwhelmingly positive; folks haven′t stopped talking about you yet!"
- | Ford Motor Company
"Stimulating!!! Thought Provoking!!! Even your most skeptical executive will see the bottom line benefits of diversity as a business strategy. Dr. Betances makes a compelling argument as to how organizations can reap the benefits of implementing a diversity strategy."
- Director of Diversity | Hyatt Hotels Corporation
"I have personally been involved in numerous learning opportunities at Meijer Inc. over the years. By far, Dr. Samuel Betances has been the most significant person we have had work with us. His presentations and mere presence has changed lives!"
- Director of Learning Services | Meijer, Inc.
"Your speech on diversity was very dynamic and well received. We may set aside one week during the year to celebrate diversity, but we must practice diversity every day as a way of life."
- | The Walt Disney Company