Dnika J. Travis, Ph.D., is a researcher, educator and expert in leadership and communication effectiveness, organizational change and workplace inclusion. She leads Catalyst’s research on organizational effectiveness and gender, race and ethnicity in the workplace. In both areas, she is responsible for developing and delivering recognized research agendas, serves as a primary investigator on selected Catalyst studies and leads large, multi-year research projects.
Travis’ most recent research examines the “emotional tax” that is levied on women and men of color as they try to navigate their careers; she has found that the experience of being different affects an employee’s sense of well-being and productivity. She is widely published, and her research is funded by several foundations and government entities. Travis maintains an affiliation with the University of Texas at Austin as a research fellow. She is also a consulting editor for several publications.
Her career is devoted to equipping organizations, communities and individuals with tools for building inclusive environments and communicating across differences. This commitment was ignited during her college years, when she served as a volunteer in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, and energized during her time as a social work professor. In her current role at Catalyst, Travis developed and teaches an online course, CatalystX: Leading With Effective Communication, which to date has been completed by more than 20,000 learners across the world.
Most importantly, Travis is committed to modeling the change she wishes to see in the world. She embraces opportunities to learn, listen and have conversations that help build inclusive teams and organizations.
“I am quite proud of my ability to launch a long-term, strengths-focused research agenda concentrated on honoring, documenting and creating solutions for women across intersections of gender, race and ethnicity in the workplace,” explains Travis. “A critical component of this work focuses on unpacking and overcoming roadblocks to communicating across difference.”
Travis shares these thoughts with other career women: “I appreciate the saying, ‘change is the only constant.’ Discover and build on your strengths, and appreciate your unique contributions. Even when you feel unsettled, take a risk and challenge yourself.”