Mario Burton, Ph.D. is a 2024 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Mario Burton at his Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Philomena Essed, Committee Chair, Dr. Lemual Watson, Committee Member, Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond, Committee Member.

Dissertation Committee

  • Philomena Essed, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Lemuel Watson, EdD, Committee Member
  • Kia Darling-Hammond, PhD, Committee Member


African Americans, Ethnic Studies, LGBT Studies, Hispanic Americans, Management, Minority and Ethnic Groups, Organizational behavior, DEIB, Critical HRD, Black, Latino, Latinx, Queer, workplace, organizational leadership, workplace movements, social justice movements, critical consciousness, equity, IPA, Phenomenology

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This dissertation connects the recent DEIB movement within organizations to larger social justice movements, specifically those that impact workers and the workplace. Critical human resource development (CHRD) professionals, who serve as “insider activists”, are highlighted due to their work to continue movement objectives within organizations. Through testimonios and critical platicas, this study explores how Black and Latino/x LGBTQ+ CHRD professionals, in particular, are experiencing the workplace, especially as it relates to their engagement with how DEIB is practiced within organizations. Through this study, these professionals provide insights into the ways that workplaces can be redesigned and reimagined to be more critically conscious and equitable spaces, especially for those from marginalized backgrounds. Their reflections can work to enhance the ways that DEIB is practiced within organizations. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Mario Burton

ORCID: #0000-0002-4920-5862

Mario is a scholar-practitioner who has spent the last 12 years focusing his research and work on social change and transformation within organizations and communities. While his Master’s thesis focused on eliminating barriers to entering the workforce, his dissertation focuses on exploring what lessons organizational leaders can learn from Black and Latino/x LGBTQ+ men about developing equitable and critically conscious organizations. Professionally, Mario has spent the last 17 years working with senior citizens, low-income families, adjudicated youth and families, homeless persons, LGBTQ+ persons, refugees, deaf persons, visually impaired persons and those with various physical and developmental disabilities. With these populations, Mario has organized community roundtables, participated in Board development, developed curriculum, organized and facilitated training and workshops and served as a guest speaker on various intersections of diversity.

In 2016, he founded The SEMANCO Team as an avenue to centralize this work through consultation with organizational leaders interested in developing and growing social enterprises and non-profits. Through The SEMANCO Team, he has had the privilege of leading a human rights camp for youth that centers the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that connected youth to Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, serving as an Executive Director of a multi-state LGBT anti-violence organization, serving as a committee member for an organization that exposed Muslim youth to leadership and global travel, and providing strategic Diversity and Inclusion implementation and evaluation consulting for a grassroots collective of leaders working within the field of developmental disabilities. In 2023, he was selected as an United Nations OHCHR Minorities Fellow and spent a month at UN headquarters learning about human rights mechanisms and how human rights and organizational operations can be more aligned.