GREEN BAY (NBC26) — From dropping out of high school his senior year, to becoming Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Chief Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Mohammed Bey inspires students, colleagues and community members of all backgrounds.
“Be the light," he said. "It’s so easy to go the opposite way, and it’s so doggone hard to be the light and to believe that you have the ability and the skills to impact people.”
When he started working at a factory in Chilton after leaving high school, Bey never had the intention of completing his education, he said.
“The people who I was working with saw something in me and really pushed and motivated me," said Bey.
Bey turned his life around, he said. He pursued undergraduate and graduate degrees at Marion University, then worked at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut before returning to his home state and accepting the leadership role at NWTC in 2014. Now, he shares his story with everyone.
“I do a lot of public speaking," said Bey. "I call it 'Inspirational speaking.'”
Last December, Bey was recognized as one of Wisconsin’s most influential black leaders by Madison 365.
“What motivates me is really helping others and impacting the communities that we all belong to," said Bey. "I don’t do it for the accolades. I do it to make a difference, and to have that level of recognition was overwhelmingly beautiful.“
His colleagues admire the work Bey is doing to make NWTC a more inclusive and diverse place.
“It’s certainly a good feeling to walk through the halls of our college and see people who look like you, or see diverse people in general," said Wayne Walker, Academic Coach.
This Febraury, Bey wants people to appreciate each other.
“Black History Month is a time for the country to recognize that we are a multicultural society," he said. "Like many other heritage months, it’s a time to recognize and infuse and be intentional with folks who have impacted the American culture.”
He believes the community is moving in the right direction, with cities like Green Bay adopting declarations that racism is a public health crisis and local CEOs implementing action plans for inclusivity.
“I think the road is going to be long," said Bey. "But it’s being traveled, and that’s a win for me.”
In an effort to create more leaders like him, Bey leads the RISE, or Racial Inclusion for Student Equity, certificate series, which students can take for free.