36th All Peoples Celebration Keynote Speaker


Dr. Alisa Warren, Ph.D., Executive Director, Missouri Commission on Human Rights. ​The advancement of equality in our society has been a career cornerstone for Dr. Alisa Warren.

Since January 2008, Dr. Warren has served as the Executive Director for the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR), a state agency with four offices statewide. Under her strategic leadership, MCHR works diligently to prevent and eliminate discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Her dedication to fighting racism and bias against women and other marginalized communities is in her DNA. Promoting inclusion manifests itself in her extensive efforts, through education and outreach initiatives, to bring greater understanding about anti-discrimination laws to the four corners of her home state of Missouri and the nation. Building networks between government, business, and advocacy groups is a main focus for Dr. Warren; she believes that vibrant community partnerships are key to advancing social justice — and she strives to foster and strengthen those vital connections as a means to broaden fundamental freedoms.

Throughout her 20-year career, Dr. Warren has worn many hats, all fashioned after a common theme of equal opportunity for all. She has appeared as a subject matter expert on human rights and social justice on numerous television and radio programs, virtual webinars and podcasts, trained many thousands of people on human rights, racial justice and women’s issues, diversity and inclusion, and served as a keynote speaker at local, state, and national events. As a change agent, her executive level experience also includes such distinguished roles as: Director of Diversity Initiatives for the University of Missouri-College of Engineering; Executive Director for the Missouri Community Service Commission; Missouri Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity; and Director of the State of Missouri Supplier Diversity Program.

Dr. Warren has been actively involved over the years with a number of organizations such as the: International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies Board of Directors as 1st Vice President; St. Louis-FOCUS Board of Directors; the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Race and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts- Public Engagement Co-Chair, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Fair Housing Task Force; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Missouri State Advisory Council; U.S. President’s Initiative on Race; Missouri Human Rights Conference Chair; Governing Board for Central Missouri United Way; Girls Scouts of the Missouri Heartland Board of Directors; Strategic Leadership for State Executives at the Duke University Governor’s Center; the State of Missouri Diversity Council Chair; the Ferguson Community Forward Initiative; and the Governor’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. 

A proponent of education for the advancement of civil rights, her own education uniquely establishes a strong basis for her expertise in the field. Dr. Warren holds a Ph.D. in Applied Social Sciences in the area of Community Development and Social Disparities; a Master of Public Administration; and a Bachelor of Science degree all from the University of Missouri- Columbia.

Dr. Warren said, “It is an honor to lead IAOHRA, the only national organization of professional human and civil rights directors in the United States, in a unified vision toward equity and justice. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”