Deputy Director of Health EquityCompany: BCT Partners, LLC
Role: Session Presenter
2022 Conference Session:
Imagine Belonging—an Organization Without White Supremacy Culture
Ms. Riikka Salonen is the Deputy Director of Health Equity at BCT Partners and specializes in the health equity strategic planning and clinical process improvements for culturally responsive and affirming care. She supports various organizations in their journey of building psychologically safe and inclusive workplace culture that enhances employees’ capacity to thrive, feel sense of belonging and serve community in culturally responsive ways. Ms. Salonen has offered her services in 20 countries since 1994.
Ms. Salonen is one of the 112 global expert panelists who developed the 2021 Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Benchmarks. She serves in leadership roles at the Centre for Global Inclusion, the only global professional association for the DEI practitioners and Southwest Washington Equity Coalition, a non-profit advocating for racial justice in Clark and Cowlitz counties.
Ms. Salonen speaks regularly in national and international conferences, most recently at The Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 5.0 Summit, Forum on Workplace Inclusion, Belonging at Work Summit and Northwest Regional Equity Conference. Ms. Salonen was recognized as a Top 21 DEI Influencer by HonestCulture Inc. in 2021. Glaser & Associates Inc. named her to be a Leadership Communication Thought Leader in 2022.
Her anti-racist learning journey started in Finland by volunteering for the “All Different – All Equal” campaign and completing a graduate degree in intercultural communication and intercultural relations at the University of Jyväskylä, the first one of its kind in Europe. She launched her American career at the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, OR in 1999. She offered services to the global clients using the Intercultural Development Inventory and participants attending the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication. Ms. Salonen was a part of a global start-up team creating an ocean-going university, The Scholar Ship. She co-led the intercultural residential life and taught intercultural communication, while circum-navigating the world with students and peers from 50 different nations. This journey took her to 17 countries.
For the following 14 years, Ms. Salonen served as a DEI leader at Oregon Health & Science University and PeaceHealth, an academic and faith-based healthcare organizations in the Pacific Northwest. During that time, she also offered her DEI and health equity strategic planning consulting services to Tuality Healthcare and University of Vermont Medical Center.
During the pandemic she has partnered with various culture-specific organizations in advancing health justice, offering testing, vaccinations, PPE, food distributions and community-based health services. Her skillset is particularly strong within diversity talent acquisitions, that includes programs for diversity scholarships, equity internships, mentoring, BIPOC workforce development, job carving and Veterans’ employment programs. Ms. Salonen has been a catalyst for programs that advance economic prosperity of diverse communities, including supplier diversity and development of BIPOC healthcare workforce.