Director, Office of Diversity and
Equal Opportunity at NASA
Deborah Henshaw Urbanski is the Director of the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (ODEO) at NASA, Johnson Space Center (JSC). Deborah has made significant contributions to JSC’s efforts to attract and retain a diverse, highly-qualified workforce. She is a continuing member of the JSC Inclusion & Innovation (I&I) Council, and led efforts to pilot a disability advisory group. The success of this effort led to JSC’s I & I Council agreeing to charter grassroots Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in 2011. She continued to champion the DifferentlyAbled Advisory Group until they were officially chartered as the No Boundaries ERG (NoBo) whose mission is to support and strengthen recruitment, on-boarding, retention, and workplace satisfaction of Individuals with Disabilities. She chairs the Unity Network, a forum for all nine JSC ERGs, their Executive Sponsors and Management Mentors to meet, collaborate, network, build relationships and leverage inclusion and unity initiatives.
Deborah currently sits on numerous selection boards as an advocate for diversity and to perform just in time training on bias, including in her ongoing advisory role to the Astronaut Selection Panel. She is most proud of sitting on the 2013 selection panel when for the first time in history half of the selected astronauts were female. Included in Deborah’s many roles is the JSC Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Coordinator, to promote and assist with the early resolution of workplace conflict. Under her leadership the program has experienced numerous accolades and milestones. She also chairs the Shared Neutrals Program in partnership with the Houston Federal Executive Board ADR Consortium and other federal agencies in the Houston area. Ms. Urbanski coordinated and taught many forty-hour mediation courses, most recently attended by employees throughout NASA and other federal agencies. As a mediator since 1991, she has conducted well over 1200 mediations.
Prior to coming to NASA she was the Supervisory Attorney-ADR Coordinator who developed and implemented the Mediation Program at the Houston District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Before her extensive work at the EEOC, Ms.Urbanski founded the Fort Bend County Dispute Resolution Center and her own successful, private dispute resolution corporation in Houston, Texas. On a personal note, Deborah graduated from the University of Texas and South Texas.