Published: March 29, 2024
Category: News | Essays
An illustration of diverse group of people

By Lyneisha Brooks, Chairperson, DEI-B Taskforce, USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Lyneisha Brooks is a Financial Analyst at ICT, and the Chairperson for the institute’s DEI-B Taskforce, working closely with the Office of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives at Viterbi School of Engineering. Here she explains how the DEI-B Taskforce came about at ICT, its initiatives and her hopes for its future.

After the gruesome death of George Floyd on May 25th 2020, staff at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies gathered together to form The DEIB (Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging) Taskforce. It is made up of volunteers across all levels of the institute, who meet, usually remotely, at least once a month. 

Being among this diverse group of people has allowed me to work with staff members I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to engage with otherwise. I feel it has also allowed us to get to know one another beyond our job titles, as human beings with interests and concerns, beyond numbers and research.

DEI in the workplace allows new perspectives while encouraging innovation and creativity. An inclusive environment broadens the recruitment pool, increases retention rates, and decreases turnover. Being in an inclusive environment encourages staff to share thoughts and ideas because they know they will be heard. We are more than just numbers and our collaborations should reflect that ideal. Every voice in every room should be heard and valued.

I also meet regularly with representatives from the Office of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives at Viterbi School of Engineering on a bi-weekly basis, to stay connected to best practices and keep current with USC and VSOE initiatives. This has given me a broader perspective, and one which I welcome as part of my own growth.  

DEI-B Initiatives

To date, the task force has focused our efforts more on the I – “inclusion” – in DEIB. We want to create a culture at ICT: “Where a sense of balance and belonging is not just an initiative, but an embedded instinct.”

In 2021, the task force distributed a survey to the staff at ICT to get an idea of where we should focus our efforts. Inclusion & Belonging were the areas of most concern for the respondents. 

Based on that feedback, the DEIB Taskforce has hosted several events to encourage others at ICT to broaden their perspectives. These include salons on Neurodiversity and Affirmative Action; book/media discussions on American history, Racism, Cancel Culture, and Women’s Empowerment, and let’s not forget our Paint & Snack enrichment activity. 

During the first two heritage months of 2024, we’ve also highlighted various staff members in order to allow the ICT community to learn more about each other, while shining a light on the contributions each individual has made to the institute so far.

To overcome the stereotypes promoted about marginalized groups and create a culture of inclusivity we have to get to know people from those groups. Living and working in a bubble stifles our creativity and decreases our ability to best serve our customers and sponsors. 

Diversity of thought comes from diverse lived experiences not only educational institutions or career experience. No single person can live out every possible experience, we need to be more inclusive to expand our overall views if we truly want to be successful.


I’ve been at ICT for 12 years now. I first joined the institute in 2012 as a temp worker in the Business Office supporting Post Award and HR, later transitioning to Administrative Assistant for Cheryl Birch, CFO and the Business Services team. 

Throughout my time as an Admin, I planned and assisted with the creation and execution of many events like holiday parties, birthday celebrations, Halloween potlucks, family days, and the ICT Bake Off. I also began coordinating our Adopt a Family program annually which is close to my heart.

In 2024, I am now the Financial Analyst for the Business office. Time has flown by so fast that I didn’t realize I had been here 12 years until I saw a notification from Linkedin.

As Chairperson for the DEI-B Taskforce, I have begun to educate myself on DEI through certificate programs and various course offerings. Education allows me to be open to more than just experiences similar to my lived experience. It also allows me to grow past some of my previous assumptions and biases. 

Looking to the Future

It is my desire that ICT will be a place where all who enter feel seen, heard, and valued. 

ICT is an industry leader at the forefront of creativity and innovation. Staff at all levels should feel safe to stretch and reach for excellence. The differences in our upbringing, gender, sexual orientation, education, and career paths are an added value to the work we do. Every single person here should feel and believe that their presence adds to the success of the institute.


Lyneisha Brooks is a Financial Analyst at ICT, and the Chairperson for the institute’s DEI-B Taskforce, working closely with the Office of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives at Viterbi School of Engineering. She joined ICT in 2012 as an Administrative Assistant, within the CFO’s office, and was promoted to her current role in 2022. Lyneisha has been a Notary Public for 16 years and holds a BA, Communications Studies (Minor: Human Resources) from California State University, alongside multiple accreditations, including a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate, from the University of South Florida, Corporate Training and Professional Education.