Meet Toni Gray, the new director of Title IX and disability services at Baylor College of Medicine. In this Q&A, she discusses her role at Baylor, what drew her to this career path, and starting in her new role during a pandemic.
What does your job at Baylor entail?
As the director of Title IX & Disability Services, it is my job to coordinate and oversee disability services for all learners. Also, to increase awareness and compliance pertaining to Title IX, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking in accordance with both federal and state laws and governances.
What are your goals for the Title IX and student disability programs at Baylor?
How will you build on the platform established by your predecessor?
My predecessor did an excellent job in building a sturdy foundation for me to follow. The partnerships she established across the BCM community allows the Title IX and Student Disability programs to grow and be able to reach all learners and employees.
What challenges does starting in this role during a pandemic present?
Part of my job is building relationships within our community. This presents a challenge in a global pandemic. I enjoy face-to-face interaction, especially when addressing and confronting such difficult topics. So one thing I am focused on is still being able to build a rapport with the community. I am embracing our new normal, which is a virtual environment.
How will you work to overcome those?
Although we are not face-to- face, there are alternative ways to serve the BCM community. I am more than happy to pick up the phone or schedule a Zoom meeting to connect. In this difficult time, it is important for all us of to know that we are not alone, and my office is here and ready to support the BCM community.
What is your professional background?
I started my career working for the Texas Attorney General as a Child Support Officer. That position required me to investigate paternities and establish child support. I realized very quickly that I really enjoyed investigations. After being in that position for a few years, I became interested in human resources and decided to switch my focus. I would later enter the higher education sector. Within higher education, I have worked for several institutions, including Texas Southern University, UTHealth, Houston Community College and Prairie View A&M University. My educational background includes an Associate of Science degree in Law Enforcement from Southern University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, and a Master of Science degree in Law, Human Relations & Organizational Development from Champlain College.
What drew you to this career?
I knew very early on that I wanted a career in criminal justice. As a freshman at Willowridge High School in Houston, we were asked to pick a possible profession. The choices were Health Profession, Business, or a new program offered in the Career and Technical Education department called Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice. Ever since that introduction, I have been drawn to the different elements of criminal justice, specifically investigations and helping people. Being in Title IX and Disability Services is just a natural fit for me. I consider it to be the best of both worlds, and it allows me the opportunity to help and create a safe educational and work environment for the community.
Are you from Houston originally?
Yes, I am originally from Houston. Fun fact: I was born at St. Luke’s Hospital. I am a graduate of Willowridge High School in Fort Bend ISD.
What are your interests away from work?
I have three children that keep me busy outside of work. However, when I can I enjoy baking and reading.