Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee

Destination Imagination is an equitable and inclusive organization, affirming our core values of respect, collaboration, stewardship, perseverance, and integrity. In January 2021, we formed an internal DEIB committee, including members of the DI staff and all major stakeholder groups (Board of Trustees, Affiliate Directors, Alumni, Operational Volunteers). Meet the members below and learn more about what they are working on our DEIB page

We are currently accepting applications for new members of our DEIB Committee. If you would like to learn more about joining our DEIB Committee, click here.

Renee Rainville

Renee Rainville

International Consultant, Destination Imagination
Pronouns: She/Her
Committee Role: Chair

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?
Opening awareness between people is a passion that drives me to bridge cultures and shine light on misconceptions, mine included. I am excited to be part of an organization that is on a path of increased awareness around DEIB.

Michelle-Talkington

Michelle Talkington

Co-Owner, M.A.K. Remodeling
Owner, A Ton of Fun Theater
Pronouns: She/Her
Committee Role: Co-Chair

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?
As a business owner in Performing Arts and Construction, I recognize the excellent real-world opportunities in the creative process and teamwork that Destination Imagination provides. As a Team Manager I have first-hand experience witnessing children thrive in this program. It is my goal as the Co-Chair of DEIB to ensure all students can see themselves as members of this wonderful community.

Michele-Tuck-Ponder

Michele Tuck-Ponder, Esq.

CEO (Chief Executive Officer), Destination Imagination
Pronouns: She/Her
Committee Role: Member

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?

It is DI’s organizational Mission to Ignite the power of ALL youth to be the creative and collaborative leaders of tomorrow. Our work in DEIB is directly related to the realization of that vision. I believe that ensuring that every young person who can benefit from participating in any DI program is able to do so is critical to the success of our organization. I know that diversity enhances every organization, and DI is no exception. The potential is enormous and very exciting!!

Kris Beisel

Kris Beisel

Director of Educational Alliances and Training, Destination Imagination
Pronouns: She/Her
Committee Role: Member

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?
I believe that all students should have access to student-led educational opportunities and I want to do everything we can to make those opportunities open to everyone.

Kelsey Celek

Kelsey Celek

Affiliate Relations Program Coordinator, Destination Imagination
Pronouns: She/Her
Committee Role: Secretary

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?
I am a DI alum and a teaching artist, so I have seen firsthand the positive impact that comes when young people get an outlet for creativity, problem solving, and teamwork. I’m thrilled that DI is focusing on ways to make that opportunity available to young people of all backgrounds and abilities. Increased opportunity benefits everyone!

Amber-Escobar

Amber Escobar

Youth Services Specialist, Missouri Division of Youth Services
Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Psychology of Diversity, Missouri State University
Pronouns: She/Her
Committee Role: Member

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?
My experience as a DI participant showed me how DI is incredibly transformative. This empowering opportunity should be available to anyone who is ready to take on the challenge. Work in DEIB not only ensures the accessibility of DI, but also celebrates how unique perspectives enhance our community.

Andrew Whitmire

Andrew Whitmire

Director of Strategic Partnerships & Advancement, Destination Imagination
Pronouns: He/Him
Committee Role: Member

Why are you excited about DEIB work at Destination Imagination?
To me, diversity is at the heart of Destination Imagination. Through different perspectives, backgrounds, skill sets and lived experiences, you can imagine and create new solutions to old problems. By inviting all kinds of communities to get involved with DI, the global community will be richer and better positioned to make a difference in the world.