NAPD Welcomes S. Jai Simpson-Joseph as DEI Director
On January 24, 2022, the Natioanal Association for Public Defense (NAPD) will welcome its first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In this role S. Jai Simpson-Joseph will join NAPD's leadership team to collaboratively drive our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies, championing these core values that align with the foundation of NAPD. Jai will work to strengthen diversity, implement equity assessments, policy statements, trainings, and inclusive practices. She will serve as a vital resource to our member organizations, building upon the momentum and progress that is underway.
NAPD endeavors to model the equity we seek in the criminal legal system through a deliberative approach that more effectively supports our work for racial, social, and economic justice in oppressive systems.
S. Jai Simpson-Joseph is a graduate of Stanford Law School with over two decades of developed expertise as a national thought leader in transformation management and as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) specialist. Jai leverages her training as an attorney, strategic coach, and her years of service championing social justice causes and vulnerable populations, to emerge as an exceptional DEI expert.
“I am thrilled to join NAPD and embark upon the journey to further integrate the values and practices of DEI into the remarkable and vital work that is being accomplished,” stated Simpson-Joseph. “Throughout the course of my career, justice has been at the heart of my work. To join NAPD and add my expertise, lived experience, vision and voice, is an extraordinary opportunity.”
Jai’s career has spanned the political, justice, education, and business spheres. Jai designed a comprehensive DEI training curriculum that highlights her storied approach to inclusion, “DEI Heart Strides™.” She founded Wings UpRising: A Social Good Practice, where she utilizes a proven methodology of critical thinking and creative advocacy solutions, advising corporations, government, and nonprofits on their equity initiatives. She was recognized as the Winner of the 2021 D.E.I. Leader of the Year award with the global Association of Talent Development, Greater Atlanta Chapter.
Jai has taught at Georgia State University; served as past legal counsel to the Mayor of Los Angeles (including instrumental design of MBE/WBE initiatives); past professor of Constitutional Law and Advanced Marketing for Nonprofits at the University of Judaism; and served as legal representative for both employer and employee labor disputes in DOL matters. Jai was the Creative Campaign Director for the multisector collaborative with the Federal Partners for Bullying Prevention, “The Physicians campaign to End Bullying,” including appearances on CNN and international conferences; and served as the Executive Director of youthSpark, a pioneer in the anti-child sex trafficking movement. She is a Board Member of the InterNational Academy of Dispute Resolution (“INADR”) and the author of And How My Spirit Soars: Learning to Pack for an Extraordinary Journey.
NAPD Executive Director Lori James-Townes commented, “My vision for NAPD included the critical priority of bringing a DEI Director to the NAPD team. I am thrilled to announce that Jai Simpson-Joseph will serve in this role. She will lead us as we review our strategic initiatives, institutionalize approaches that align with our DEI goals, and provide responsive support to our national community of public defender advocates. Alongside our many member organizations who are similarly recognizing the need for this role, NAPD is so excited for her contributions to add value to our internal team, board of directors, members, member-organizations, and in the thousands of communities across the country where the increasing influence of public defenders is making a difference in improving community well-being.”