RWA Engages DEI Expert Michelle Silverthorn

February 13, 2020

From RWA Interim Executive Director Leslie Scantlebury: 

We are pleased to announce that RWA has engaged diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expert Michelle Silverthorn of Inclusion Nation to help us make our organization into a more inclusive professional home for romance authors so that we can become a stronger, better advocate for all of our members. 

Michelle’s first priority will be helping RWA staff and membership in recruiting new board leadership.  She will work with candidates on their understanding of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, learn their strategic approach to inclusion, review the candidate pool for adequate representation, and check that eligible members receive consideration free of identity bias.  Michelle will also provide DEI training to current and incoming RWA staff and leadership.

From Michelle: "Inclusion cannot co-exist with racism and bigotry. I will work with RWA leadership to deliver equitable solutions to make inclusion a reality for the marginalized authors of RWA. If you wish to join me in this work, my (virtual) door is always open; if you have already moved on from this organization because of the pain and exclusion you have faced, my door is open to you as well if you ever want to talk. Your books have meant the world to me, they truly have, so thank you for entrusting me with the hard work of change.”

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School, Michelle consults on diversity, equity and inclusion with companies, schools, and nonprofits across the country. Prior to Inclusion Nation, Michelle worked with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism where she worked with the Commission's board and the 90,000 members of the Illinois bar on diversity programming and policies. Michelle is a TEDx speaker and the author of the forthcoming book, Change the Rules, Change the World: How to Recruit, Retain, and Lead a Diverse Workforce. If you'd like to learn more about Michelle, you can visit her website,

RWA staff will begin working with Michelle immediately to prepare for the new Board of Directors taking office on March 23rd. We are thankful to have her expert guidance as we work to create an organization centered on equity and inclusion.