Deborah Ashton, PhD

Senior Consultant
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Dr. Ashton is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategist with 30+ years of cross-industry experience. She headed DEI for Medtronic, Darden Restaurants, Harley-Davidson, Novant Health and Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Ashton advised Boards on DEI. She is the former Chief of Test Development and Validation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Dr. Ashton, a licensed psychologist, received her doctorate from Harvard University and studied with Dr. Chester ‘Chet’ Pierce, who coined the term “microaggression”.  Dr. Ashton was the Chief Psychologist & Learning Officer for Diversity Learning Solutions, Diversity MBA.  She is well versed in using the Hogan and retains a certification for that program.


Dr. Ashton has served on several Boards: Advisory Leadership Board Member, Diversity MBA; Director Board Of Directors, YWCA, Winston-Salem, NC; Board Member, Piedmont Opera; Member Of The Board Of Advisors - Central Florida, United Negro College Fund; Director Board Of Directors - Central Florida, Arthritis Foundation; Director Board Of Directors, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Director Board Of Directors, Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs; and Secretary, Medtronic Foundation Board.


Dr. Ashton created the 360o Inclusion Leadership Profile © TM (360o ILP), the Inclusive Culture Profile© ®(ICP) and the Six Pillars of Diversity and Inclusion TM strategical framework. The 360o ILP assesses individual skills for leading an inclusive and multicultural workforce and provides action plans to assist with leadership development. The ICP provides guidance to promote an inclusive culture. 


Dr. Ashton co-developed the Seven Stages of Inclusion Maturity Model (7SIMM). The 7SIMM maps organizational inclusion gaps and strengths.


DiversityInc, the Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, Diversity MBA, International Labor Organization, Global Summit of Women, The Business Journals, Inc, The Guardian, the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity--American Hospital Association and professional organizations recognize Dr. Ashton as a DEI thought leader. Savoy Magazine named her as one of 2014 Top Influential Women in Corporate America. She has presented at international conferences from Mexico to Australia.  


Dr. Ashton specializes in organizational psychology and developing an inclusive workplace. She provides coaching on how to mitigate unconscious bias in the workplace and in talent management. She has published in the Harvard Business Review, Diversity MBA, Diversity Executive, etc. Her Harvard Business Review articles are Does Race or Gender Matter More to Your Paycheck? and What HR Can Do to Fix the Gender Pay Gap. She chaired the peer review board for the Diversity Business Review, a DEI journal written by DEI practitioners for DEI practitioners, Human Resources, and line management.