City Club of Boise: The Confluence of Race and Gender for Women of Color

From the City Club:

This important discussion explores the experience Women of Color. Our panelists and moderator represent successful women in our community with diverse backgrounds. The discussion will explore the experiences of our panelists and moderator– both as women and as members of diverse racial and ethnic groups– and how those experiences may intersect and diverge from the experiences of others.


Irene Ruiz (she/her) is an organizer at the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils where her goal is to connect with the Latinx community in Idaho to increase a diverse membership base as well as identify leaders. She is also Co Founder of PODER of Idaho and serves on the ACLU Idaho board of directors. Daughter of Mexican Immigrants, Irene grew up in Hazelton, Id where she also worked in the fields with her family. She received her Master of Arts in Hispanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Boise State University. Irene currently lives in Boise, Id. She enjoys spending time reading, traveling, running, and with family and friends.

Gayla Thomas-Dabney is the Regional Director, Diversity and Inclusion – Western Region at Saint Alphonsus Health System. Thomas-Dabney served as Director of Equity and Inclusion for the past two years at Boise State University. Thomas-Dabney served 24 years in the United States Navy, earning an honorable discharge as a Senior Chief Petty Officer. After her Naval career, she worked for the Department of Defense and the City of Gainesville, Florida. She is a member of the National Association for Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the Association for Access, Equity and Diversity. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education Training and Development from Southern Illinois University, a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster University and is completing a Doctorate in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.


Professor Shaakirrah R. Sanders, University of Idaho College of Law.

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