SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Secretary of State’s office has hired its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer.

In a release, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced his office has hired Dr. Margie Lawler for the role.

Lawler previously worked at several higher education institutions between Illinois Central College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and most recently Blackburn College.

“I want to ensure the Secretary of State’s office implements equitable hiring strategies and promotes an inclusive culture that will improve interactions with customers and the public,” Giannoulias said. “This is a top priority of my administration and filling the new DEI Officer position with someone like Dr. Lawler – a leader in the field who brings both passion and outstanding credentials to the role – is a strong first step.”

“I’m excited to join the Secretary of State’s office and serve as the office’s first-ever DEI Officer,” Lawler said. “I look forward to using my years of experience as a DEI Officer in higher education to bring about robust and inclusive strategies that infuse the Secretary of State’s office with top talent that diversifies the office. I appreciate the confidence Secretary Giannoulias has placed in me, and I share his passion for fairness and equity.”

Along with her position, Lawler will also work to revive and refresh office trainings for all Secretary of State employees.