Vancouver’s equity and inclusion director honored with Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award  

November 9, 2023

The City of Vancouver’s Equity and Inclusion Director, Alicia Sojourner, has received the Robert Phillips Regional Diversity Award, an annual honor presented by the Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference to a municipal employee whose extraordinary work advances justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.  

“Alicia is an exceptional leader whose humble approach to this important work is creating a cultural shift in our organization,” said City Manager Eric Holmes. “Implementing equity and inclusion is a fundamental part of our work as a local government and is now embedded in our City’s strategic plan and the organizational values that guide our decision making.”   

Sojourner joined the City of Vancouver as its first Director of Equity and Inclusion in 2021. Since then, they have implemented an internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategic plan, including citywide training requirements to support cross-cultural communication and cultural and emotional intelligence development of all municipal employees. Sojourner has also championed expanded cultural/ethnic proclamations and LGBTQ+ advocacy communitywide, including the City’s first raising of the Transgender Visibility flag for Transgender Day of Visibility and the Pride flag for Pride Month in 2022. 

Beyond their role at the City, Sojourner also serves as a member of Governor Jay Inslee’s Washington State LGBTQ commission, the first member to serve on the commission from Clark County. 

The Robert Phillips Award is named in recognition of Robert Phillips, Multnomah County Affirmative Action Officer, who worked in public service and as a civil rights activist for more than 25 years. The award honors his legacy of working tirelessly in government to advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and equal opportunity. This honor is presented annually to one public employee, work group, team or department in the Pacific Northwest with demonstrated exemplary respect and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that goes beyond the requirements of their day-to-day job.  

Sojourner was presented with the award at the 30th Annual Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference held Oct. 10 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. 

Read Sojourner’s full bio on the conference website. 

Contact: Tim Becker, Strategic Communications Manager,