Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Award-Winning Author & Internationally Renowned Authority on Dignity
“It was so amazingly well-received, folks were raving about her after! It was super engaging and we were sharing up to the very last minute! She’s so relatable and personable and nothing about her talk seems scripted, it’s all so natural, it was wonderful!!!” -U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center
“As you probably know, Donna is an excellent speaker, who is passionate about her work, and makes her message very relatable to everyone in the room. The feedback from the attendees has been incredible” -US Department of Agriculture
“I really can’t thank you enough for sharing your ideas with us. The response since then has already been incredible. I can already see that something has sparked in many people and that discussions have started. People have told me that this was the best presentation that they have ever seen here….I think that something very special happened yesterday, and that it will lead to some cultural or organizational shift in the future. This is all simply amazing, and people seem to be activated” -US Department of Agriculture
Wellbeing has emerged as one of the most important priorities today. It’s usually discussed in terms of health in various forms: physical, mental, financial and social, to name a few. Those are critical areas, but Harvard’s Donna Hicks, Ph.D, the pioneering mind behind the Dignity Model—a signature approach she applied to the most divisive and deep-seated conflicts around the world—goes even deeper to the root of each of these. Read More >
The Meaning of Dignity
Building Trust Through Meaningful Work
If there were ever a time when leaders needed to understand the role dignity plays in the workplace, that time is now. The pandemic forced us to work from home, disrupting our traditional notion of what work looks like: where to work, how to work, and when to work. Now that employers are deciding to return to in-office work, the dignity issues surrounding this decision are coming to the fore. What are those dignity issues and how can leaders navigate our new workplace culture? Read More >
Drawing from more than 20 years in crisis situations that range from war zones to international conflict negotiations, Donna Hicks walks audiences through an approach to leadership that will do more than empower you during extraordinary times. Learn how to lead through actions and not just words, deescalate organization-wide anxiety and lead with empathy. The Dignity Model will strengthen you as a leader and continue to enrich your organizational culture long after a crisis has passed. Read Less ^
The consequences to the health and wellbeing of those who have had their dignity violated cannot be understated. The imprints of indignity can last for a lifetime, manifesting as crippling anxiety, depression, and feelings of low self-esteem and unworthiness and can create mental health challenges. When individuals do not have an intact sense of value and worth to challenge pervasive self-doubt, achieving psychological health is hard to imagine. Most people unaware of the role that dignity plays in our lives and relationships and Donna Hicks examines taking a dignity-centered approach to improve mental health practices and the wellbeing of individuals, employees and in our communities.
What is the motivating force behind all human interaction – in families, in communities, schools, in the business world, and in relationships from the personal level to the international level? DIGNITY. It is the desire to be treated well. It is an unspoken human yearning that is at the heart of all conflicts. When dignity is violated, the response is likely to involve aggression, even violence, hatred, and vengeance; the human connection is the first thing to go. On the other hand, when people treat each other with dignity, they feel their worth is recognized, creating lasting and meaningful relationships. Surprisingly, most people have little understanding of dignity, yet it is our highest common denominator. While a desire for dignity is universal, knowing how to honor it in ourselves and others is not—it needs to be learned. The talk will present a definition of dignity—what it is and what it is not; the basic elements of dignity; and how to put it into practice in everyday life.
Harm to one’s dignity hurts, just like a physical wound. In fact, research shows that when people experience a violation of dignity, it follows the same neural pathway as a physical injury. Both types of injuries can be viewed in the same area of the brain. According to dignity expert Donna Hicks, caring for and attending to people’s dignity must become a healthcare imperative. This commitment must go beyond how patients and their families are treated. It requires system-wide change to ensure that all members of the healthcare community feel confident that they are valued. Drawing upon many years of experience conducting dignity workshops with healthcare organizations, Hicks addresses dignity at both the systemic and individual levels, advocating that the oath, “first, do no harm,” must apply to violations of dignity.
The tone of discussion in our country is more polarized than ever before. How can we overcome barriers to foster productive dialog? A veteran of conflict resolutions involving Israelis & Palestinians, Turks and Armenians, and Catholics and Protestants reconciling after “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, Harvard’s Dr. Donna Hicks has found the key. Her internationally-acclaimed Dignity Model creates a new paradigm for constructive conversation—one that recognizes that every human being has the same basic need to be valued, appreciated, and have their own self-worth validated. In this game-changing presentation, Dr. Hicks shares the essential elements of dignity, how to honor it in others and maintain your own—even in contentious situations. By understanding the Dignity Model you will not only be able to influence more civil and productive conversations—you will learn essential skills for improving and enhancing relationships everywhere in your life.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) has become the mainstream approach to creating more inclusive environments. But there’s a newer approach, BDJ (Belonging Dignity and Justice) that asserts that dignity, rather than diversity, should be the foundation for building cultures and environments that acknowledge and value the humanity of each person. In this illuminating talk, Harvard University’s Donna Hicks, the pioneering mind behind the Dignity Model, explores why dignity is the foundation for creating thriving, inclusive equitable workplaces where everyone belongs. She also details how assaults on dignity, which she calls “dignity violations” causes serious harm, especially to those in minority groups. Inspiring us to re-examine our approaches, Hicks provides an actionable framework for transforming our workplaces and classrooms by affirming the dignity of all.
"I felt that message that Dr. Hicks gave was perfect. I had several people at sign in share that they have been waiting for this and were really excited to be there. From my observation and what people were saying after the event, the way Dr. Hicks delivered her content and engaged the audience was very well received. I personally liked, how she asked, how certain topics felt or are there any comments. It allowed people to process out loud, and understand deeper. Any time you can get people to talk with each other at the tables was great as well because let’s face it, educators like to talk and learn together and in some cases have limited time to do so. I wouldn’t change anything for next time. I think it went very well, and feedback was all positive. Thank you!"
"It was great! Thank you for helping us bring Donna to Alexion! The event was both well attended and very well received. It was truly a pleasure to have her join and we’ve had very positive feedback from attendees."
"We cannot adequately express our gratitude for your participation. Our 10th year was our best ever with over 4,900 attendees from 45 countries and an exceptional program made all the better by your role in it. Thank you!!"
"Wow, she was awesome! It was a great day and her Dignity Model fit right in with our Day of Human Understanding. She was friendly, made everyone she met feel at ease and had some great conversations with our faculty and staff. Donna was also wonderful with the students at the Meet & Greet. She had great interactions with them and was super engaging."
"Donna’s personal and professional focus on the topic of dignity resonated with the audience, and her stories and lessons were directly targeted to Landmark’s unique population. In a poignant and simple message, Donna spoke to the core issues facing students with learning disabilities, which are their rights and needs to be seen, taught, and respected for who they are as they battle to believe in their own self-worth.
Donna’s message is both universal and personal, and creates thought and change immediately. Her relaxed presence places everyone at ease, her sincerity fosters credibility, and her passion evokes emotions."
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