TOLEDO, Ohio, March 14, 2022 — SSOE Group (www.ssoe.com), an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, is excited to announce the hiring of Candice Harrison as SSOE’s first Corporate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This strategic hire reinforces the firm’s commitment to DEI and creating a culture that encourages growth at all levels. Harrison will be based out of SSOE’s Toledo, Ohio office and report directly to the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Vince DiPofi, PE.
Harrison comes to SSOE from Toledo Public Schools where she served as External Communications Manager. In her former role, she was responsible for sharing the school district’s story with over 23,000 families across 54 schools and more than 4,000 employees as well as the community at large. Prior to her work with Toledo Public Schools, Harrison served as Director of Communications at the Toledo Museum of Art and Senior Communications Manager for the Toledo Zoo. She built valuable relationships at both a local and national level as Director of the Schools as Hubs initiative at Scott High School—a strategy for organizing the resources of the community around student success in partnership with Lutheran Social Services and the United Way of Greater Toledo—with responsibilities that included mobilizing programs, resources, and services that supported stronger, healthier communities in a way that aligned with the school district’s objectives.
In her new role, Harrison will be responsible for developing programs and solutions that further foster an inclusive work environment at SSOE. She will lead the implementation of the firm’s DEI vision, develop compelling and inclusive messaging, and create aspirational goals, plans for change, and an in-depth assessment of SSOE’s DEI initiatives. She will also work to implement the firm’s DEI strategy across all of its business processes—including talent management and acquisition, performance management, procurement, leadership development, and more.
DiPofi commented, “We’re extremely excited to have Candice join SSOE. Her role will be instrumental in helping us continue our DEI journey by working with the management team to put specific, actionable strategies in place to engage and retain employees from groups traditionally underrepresented in the AEC industry. In 2021, we publicly announced our DEI Statement and the intent to hire a DEI leader. Candice’s previous experience, which includes successful expansions of DEI initiatives in a variety of environments where DEI efforts had not previously been successful, sets her up for success in this integral role.”
Harrison holds a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership from Spring Arbor University and a Bachelor of Art in Communication and Public Relations from the University of Toledo. Her accolades include the 20 Under 40 in Leadership Award, which showcases young, dynamic leaders in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, and the Top Community Voices Award from the United Way. In February, she became the first Black President elected to the Press Club of Toledo Board and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Rotary Club of Toledo and The Arts Commission. Additionally, she is a member of the Toledo Chapter of Links Inc., the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Toledo Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, where she serves as Vice President.
When asked about her new position, Harrison shared, “I am very excited to join a firm that is truly dedicated to the progress and growth of DEI internally and externally. As Director of DEI, I look forward to working with SSOE’s Culture Committee, Management Team, and Board of Directors to discuss their journey thus far and leading the next steps in our DEI journey. Differences in perspectives, ideas, and experiences all help to create an organization that is representative of the world we live in. I am honored to work alongside the team at SSOE to do our part in providing further opportunities to underrepresented groups within the AEC industry.”