Amy A. Hunter is currently the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the publicly traded Caleres. She recently joined the Caleres team after serving as the Senior Global Equity Diversity and Inclusion leader at Boeing . At Caleres she leads the global initiatives for diversity equity and inclusion. She has enjoyed a career in diversity working within the healthcare, agricultural, educational, and financial services industries.
Hunter is also the Principle of Lotus Roots Consulting LLC. She has spoken and presented diversity training, keynotes, seminars, and strategy sessions around the world. She is well respected globally and has received numerous awards for her achievements as a diversity resource.
Hunter has more than 20 years of experience in human resources, organizational development, project management and leadership within the corporate and nonprofit arenas. Her responsibilities have included creating and implementing return on investment strategies for recruitment, curriculums for training and development and measurable retention strategies.
Her community engagements have included serving on several boards for local organizations including Cultural Leadership, We Stories and the United Way. She has also led the Missouri Business Leaders Network’s Governor’s Council on Disability and been an active member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advisory.
Her popular speech “The Talk” was incorporated into a TEDx presentation called “Lucky Zip Codes.”
Hunter has an earned undergraduate degree and is currently pursuing a doctorate in critical race theory from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Ada Okafor, Esq. (she/hers) serves as the inaugural Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer for the American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for general surgeons. Ada also serves as General Counsel, making her the first person of color to hold this position in the organization’s 85-year history.
Ada has been hailed as a dynamic thought leader who is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She has received extensive DEI training and made meaningful contributions to a vast array of diversity initiatives throughout her career. As a DEI practitioner and strategist, Ada is curating an inclusive environment at ABS where everyone can authentically show up, safely do their best work, and have their individual skills and talents valued and utilized.
Ada is also a sought-after DEI consultant and helps a range of organizations develop a business-driven approach to DEI so that DEI becomes an integral part of an organization's culture, recruitment, business, and leadership strategy. She leverages keynote speeches, data analytics, coaching, facilitated discussions, workshops, education, training and more to encourage learning/unlearning/relearning, reflection, awareness, understanding, and empathy to create a culture of belonging that promotes employee wellness, innovation, productivity, performance and retention.
Ada is passionate about mentoring Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color and other Under-Represented Minorities and participating in organizations that promote social justice. She also enjoys traveling, cooking authentic Nigerian cuisine, photography, graphic design, listening to podcasts, and hosting virtual events.
She holds a J.D. from American University Law School, and a B.A. from Southern Methodist University. She is the recipient of numerous leadership awards and accolades.
Ada resides in Philadelphia with her husband Chris, and their two little girls.
A skilled advisor, negotiator, and advocate, attorney Erin Schaefer helps employers solve their labor-management relations workforce problems. Drawing her experience as a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Erin assists clients in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, managing union organizing and other labor relations issues, and resolving their labor disputes.
Janine is a Diversity Leader with over seventeen years of experience in the HR field working in Finance, Law, & Pharmaceuticals supporting business leaders. Her areas of expertise including Diversity, Talent, Recruitment, HR Strategy & Employee Engagement. She was recently featured as a contributing author for the book "Latinas Rising up In HR” and is the Global Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Lead at Organon Pharmaceuticals based out of Jersey City, NJ.
As the first in her family to pursue a college education she enjoys giving back by volunteering in her community. She actively assists others in advancing their careers and obtaining educational attainment. She frequently supports students and professionals through mentoring, coaching, and public speaking on this all-important topic. She has held several board positions, including, Inclusivity Chair – New York City SHRM, Prospanica New York (President), Latino U College Access (Board Advisor), ERG Leader at S&P Global for Adelante and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Alumni Association’s New York Chapter (Past President, Advisor & Elections Committee Member).
Her educational accomplishments include a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School, a Graduate Certificate from the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Communications and Political Science from Emmanuel College. She recently completed two certificates from Cornell on Diversity and Inclusion for HR and Strategic Human Resources Leadership.
Janine currently resides in Mahwah, New Jersey where she is raising her three children.
Danielle Jones is a Senior Diversity Equity & Inclusion Manager at 2U, who manages the DEI strategy and programming in an effort to create an inclusive and equitable culture. Danielle has played a critical and strategic role in strengthening, building, and executing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies and programming across multiple corporations.
In addition to managing the overall DEI strategy and programming, she utilizes her degree in Mass Communication to support her facilitation of DEI training. She prides herself in using her own personal stories to help leaders navigate uncomfortable conversations and begin to deconstruct their biases.
Prior to joining 2U, Danielle worked as a Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Senior Manager at CBRE, a global commercial real estate company. In that role Danielle created a Supplier Diversity Mentorship Program to create new opportunities for minority owned businesses.
Danielle holds a Bachelor of Art in Mass Communication, Broadcast Journalism from Virginia State University. She has completed the McKinsey Academy Black Executive Leadership Program (BLEP) in addition to receiving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certifications from the University of South Florida and Northwestern University. She also earned an Executive Education Women’s Leadership Certification from Yale University. She was recently identified as a “Power List 2021Wonder Woman: Talented, Empowered, and Headed for Corner Office” by Diversity Woman Magazine.
Natalie Edwards is the Chief Diversity Officer at National Grid, the multinational electricity and gas utility company headquartered in London, England, focused on transforming electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Before joining National Grid in 2021, Edwards served as Global Executive Director of Inclusion & Diversity for The Estee Lauder Companies, where she led inclusion strategy and operations for the Companies’ 45,000 employees and 25+ prestige cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, and haircare brands in the 150 countries their products are sold.
A recognized thought leader in inclusive workforce strategy, Edwards holds a dual concentration MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she made a Global Top MBA list for her work pioneering the diversification of higher business education, and is a proud alumna of Howard University, where holds a bachelors in finance and graduated as Female Graduate of the Year.
Joseph B. Cartafalsa represents management in all aspects of labor and employment law and related litigation. He frequently represents and advises employers on their rights and obligations under the myriad of federal, state and local employment related laws and regulations. He has worked closely with employers to provide counseling during particularly sensitive times such as during layoffs, mergers or corporate restructuring; when sexual harassment or discrimination is alleged; and when an employee requests a medical leave or job accommodation. Mr. Cartafalsa has also been called upon to draft and review employment contracts and non-compete agreements to protect his clients from unfair competition and the theft of trade secrets. He is a regular presenter at CLEs and industry conferences regarding labor and employment law issues.
Mrs. Arrington is a Managing Director and Global Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ("DEI") Officer in the Ares Human Resources Department, and partners with the firm's DEI Council to advance Ares' strategy to attract, develop, engage and advance diverse talent within an inclusive, welcoming environment, along with advance equity in the broader alternative asset management industry. Mrs. Arrington also serves as an advisor to support DEI initiatives at portfolio companies across Ares' investment strategies. Prior to joining Ares in 2021, Mrs. Arrington served as a Senior Vice President and Head of Targeted Sourcing at Wells Fargo & Company, where she provided leadership in the strategic planning and execution of diversity sourcing initiatives and programs for the firm. Previously, Mrs. Arrington held several senior roles at The Bank of America Corporation within the Global Diversity and Inclusion Organization. In addition, she was an Equity Derivatives Sales Trader at Morgan Stanley. Mrs. Arrington began her career as a Financial Analyst at CIT Group. She serves on the Board of Directors of Poly Prep, the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families and the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP). Mrs. Arrington holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from Rutgers University in Economics and an M.B.A. from the New York University Stern School of Business. Mrs. Arrington is a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow, a Toigo Fellow and an INROADS alum. She is a Cornell University Certified Diversity Professional/Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP) and a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, Phi Beta Kappa, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), PRIMER Network and the Council of Urban Professionals.
Nikki Lewis Simon, a commercial litigator with more than 21 years of experience, primarily serves as the firm’s Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. In this capacity, Nikki designs and guides strategic initiatives and programs to deepen firmwide diversity and inclusion efforts that further enrich client engagements and community investments.
Her role is indicative of, and integral to, Greenberg Traurig’s core values of collaboration and inclusion – principles that inform the firm’s operations and legal business in meaningful, positive ways.
Prior to assuming primary responsibilities on the business side of the firm, Nikki has represented her cross-industry clients’ business objectives by protecting their capital – human, intellectual, and financial – against claims of wrongdoing in complex commercial and class action litigation. Those matters have spanned the panoply of issues and claims businesses often face, from discrimination to wrongful death, defamation to fraud and misrepresentation, professional negligence and malpractice to breach of fiduciary duty and securities law violations.
Monique Jefferson is a results-oriented, proven human resources executive with over 20 years of diverse, global experience in the financial services, legal, Insurance, media, non-profit and professional services industries. She has led regional and global teams to deliver value-add human capital solutions to c-suite executives. Her primary areas of expertise include talent and performance management, compensation, leadership development, succession management, talent acquisition, executive coaching, diversity, equity & inclusion, cultural change, employee engagement, training, employee and labor relations.
She currently works for Community Preservation Corporation, where she is the Chief People Officer. Prior to this role, Monique was Chief Human Resources Officer at New York Public Radio. She was also Head of HR for Business Services across the Americas region and head of the global HR business partner function for Hogan Lovells, an AmLaw 25 international law firm. Additionally, Monique was Vice President of Human Resources and senior HR business partner at New York Life Insurance Company. As a Senior HR Business Partner, she led a team that provided HR client support to all corporate functions and was the strategic HR advisor to 5 executive management committee members including the enterprise CFO, General Counsel, Chief Risk officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Actuary.
Prior to joining New York Life Insurance in 2009, Ms. Jefferson spent over seven years with Merrill Lynch in the Global Markets & Investment Banking division. In 2008, Ms. Jefferson was promoted to Director of human resources where she was the senior HR relationship manager for Investment Banking covering the domestic offices, Latin America, Canada and the Financial Institutions group globally.
Before going to Merrill Lynch, Monique worked at Bristol Myers Squibb pharmaceuticals as a sales staffing specialist and manager of leadership development. In 1998, Ms. Jefferson also worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a resource manager where she handled the internal mobility and career development of associates and interns within the assurance practice. Ms. Jefferson began her career as a financial auditor in the New York office of Ernst & Young LLP.
Ms. Jefferson is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR & SHRM-SCP) and was an instructor at the New York Institute of Technology, where she taught the SHRM learning system course for the PHR/SPHR exam. She is also an executive coach and is certified in The Leadership Circle Profile.
Ms. Jefferson graduated from Bentley University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and holds a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from the New School University. Ms. Jefferson is a recipient of the Harlem YMCA Black Achievers in Industry recognition, The Network Journal’s 40 under 40 and 25 Influential Black Women in Business awards, Get5 HR Hero award for outstanding volunteerism and EMpower
Ethnic Minority top 100 executives. She is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Brooklyn chapter of The Links, Incorporated, board member and past President of the CALIBR Global Leadership Network, past board member of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR)- greater NY chapter and is a member of the New School alumni advisory council.
Additionally, Ms. Jefferson has served on the board of trustees for the Lefferts Gardens Charter School, where she was board chair from 2011 - 2013.
Ruchita has a proven track record of successfully working in multicultural environment; leading and managing teams across the globe. She has led various capacity and capability building projects, often in an extremely dynamic set-up. While balancing between business priorities and people priorities, Ruchita calls herself a change and technology evangelist in the HR landscape.
Prior to her current role, Ruchita was the CHRO for Guardian in India. She was instrumental in securing Great Place to Work certification for the India office as well as achieved recognition as Best Workplaces for Women (Top 100) and Best Workplaces in IT & IT-BPM (Top 75) sector in India from GPTW Institute.
In the past she was associated with Fidelity International and General Electric in India where she served in several leadership roles including HR Head for GE’s Credit Card Business in India.
Ruchita was also a research associate at IIM Bangalore, one of India’s premier management schools. Her research project focused on OB and HR and have been published as working papers for the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India.
Ruchita holds MBA with major in HR from MDI, Gurgaon. She is an avid reader, enjoys exploring new technologies and passionate about mentoring leaders of tomorrow.
Jennifer Goez, Ed.D., is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley leading firmwide D&I Leadership Programs in North America for Morgan Stanley. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Jennifer was the Senior Director of Faculty Recruitment and Communication Strategy at Columbia University School of Professional Studies overseeing full-time and part-time faculty recruitment and was the founding co-chair of the Columbia SPS Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee. At Columbia Business School, Jennifer was the Director of Learning Solutions where she managed the flagship program for the development of current and future CEOs for global organizations and the Women in Leadership program. In this role Jennifer led business development, marketing, communications, and curriculum development in collaboration with faculty and industry leaders.
Currently, Jennifer is also an adjunct lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University, teaching "Developing a Proposal: The Beginning of the Dissertation Process." Jennifer earned her doctoral degree in August 2021 from Teachers College Columbia University. Her research focused on "Exploring How an Academic Institution Implements a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative in a Non-Tenure Track Environment." Past research includes Activating the Perceived Effectiveness of Leadership Development programs, Critical Reflection in Executive Education, and the learning transfer system inventory (2019), Bridging Theory to Practice Model (2018), and Developing Authenticity in Women's Leadership Development (2017). She has also presented at the Academy of Human Resources Development Conference (February 2018) and the International Conference for Leadership (October 2018).
Jennifer is currently developing a D&I learning framework founded on adult learning and leadership theories to improve organizational learning and professional development strategies to foster inclusive and diverse workplace environments.
In his current role, Cliff is leading international DEI initiatives for Universal Studios Group (USG) to address both Corporate and Production populations. His main functions include (1) creating and encouraging inclusive cultures and diverse representation, (2) proactive and responsive training and education on sensitive topics and story lines, (3) partnering with internal investigators on pertinent cases, and (4) fostering cross-functional relationships to ensure managers and employees are properly connected with appropriate resources.
His passion for DEIB began in his role on the Dyson Advisory Council, part of Cornell University’s School of Business, his alma mater. Having been engaged in this space for over 10 years, Cliff continues to learn and grow in the developing issues, strategies, and opportunities for change. His background in Law, Business, Education and HR provides a unique perspective to approach the various DEI challenges and initiatives.
Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Cliff practiced law for over 15 years. He started as an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County, NY, then was an Associate Attorney at Ingerman Smith, LLP, a boutique law firm that focused on Labor, Employment & Education Law. Most recently he served as General Counsel for the Mt. Vernon City School District, where he better understood the sometimes-delicate balance of business needs with the law. His DEIB background proved effective in managing staff and recruiting when he fulfilled an interim role as Head for HR.
Marco is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at SiriusXM the leading audio entertainment company in the US. Marco joined SiriusXM in 2021 and his role is the development of their external partner strategy. He also works as the diversity business partner to the business groups.
Prior to SiriusXM, Marco was at Akamai Technologies as the Global Manager of Diversity & Inclusion where he led the development and execution of Akamai’s global D&I and ERG strategy. Marco spent time in Singapore and India for Akamai, working on their local D&I strategies. He previously worked at Travelers Insurance working on the development of their ERGs. Marco began his career at State Farm Insurance where he held positions in claims, executive support and financial compliance. For over 10 years Marco volunteered as an arbitrator for Arbitration Forums handling insurance company disputes.
Marco has presented at diversity conferences and corporations on the value of ERG Leadership as a development opportunity for future senior leaders. He is certified to facilitate the Appreciating Differences program by Korn Ferry and Growth Mindset by the NeuroLeadership Institute. Marco is the past President of Prospanica Connecticut (formerly National Society of Hispanic MBAs) and is a lifetime member of the organization.
Marco earned a BA Degree from Brooklyn College-City University of New York, an MBA from Dowling College, and a MS from the University of Hartford. Originally from Brookly, NY, Marco currently lives in Marlborough, CT with his wife Kim and son Cameron.
Kimya (Keem-yah) leads Jackson Lewis’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts as the firm’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, in the Philadelphia office. She also provides advice and counsel to clients as a principal in the Corporate Diversity Counseling practice group. With her career-long passion for and experience in organizational DEI, Kimya leads the implementation of Jackson Lewis’ firm wide DEI efforts in alignment with the firm’s strategic plan and in realization of DEI as a core firm value. Leading a team of fullydedicated DEI professionals and collaborating with leadership, key stakeholders, multiple departments, and communities across Jackson Lewis’ 63 offices, Kimya works to ensure DEI’s core pillars of focus – culture, colleagues, clients and communities – translate. She seeks to promote the firm’s positive work culture and ensure those who join the firm’s workplace – regardless of background or identity - can be successful and experience inclusion and belonging throughout the arc of their career.
Kimya has extensive DEI experience, both as an employment attorney and in various diversity and inclusion leadership roles where she led efforts to recruit, develop, retain, promote and advance attorneys with diverse identities and provide training and resource for all committed to advancing fair and inclusive work opportunities. In her almost 20 years practicing as an employment lawyer, Kimya supports a wide range of employers in developing and implementing strategies to provide legally compliant, impactful, and organizationally integrative DEI action plans that reflect varied DEI assessment, planning, programming, training and learning approaches.
Over 15 years experience in retail & leadership and a graduate degree from NYU in industrial/organizational psychology; Marie has worked for several years within the full suite of human resources. Marie has worked for companies, both large and small, private and public, scaling the business to grow with a focus on people and culture.
Derek McDonald practices in the areas of environmental law and litigation, concentrating on matters relating to the permitting of high-profile projects and infrastructure. His experience includes counseling and litigation in air quality, municipal, hazardous, or radioactive waste, and NEPA matters and representation of clients in contested administrative proceedings in federal and state courts.
Kamau Coar is a member of Nixon Peabody LLP’s Labor & Employment practice group and a co-leader of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Services industry group. His practice is a hybrid of employment counseling, people strategies execution, and litigation and risk mitigation efforts on the full range of employment and people matters. He also advises DEI matters, including DEI commitments, program design and implementation, data analysis, and DEI policies and practices.
A sociologist with a Ph.D. focused in Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Karumanchery has 30+ years of experience in the field; he is widely published and is an internationally sought-after speaker and facilitator. Leeno combined his education, research and expertise as a facilitator and consultant to co-found MESH/diversity. MESH is a scalable DEI solution that combines science-based insights and personalized metrics with live-online, interactive training and consultation.
MESH’s proprietary algorithms provide the safety, belonging and inclusion data necessary to drive organizational change that is systemic, scalable and sustainable
Elise M. Bloom is widely hailed as one of the nation’s top employment lawyers and one of the most creative and effective wage and hour, class/collective action and trial lawyers. She is particularly well-known for handling high profile, bet-the-company matters on behalf of significant national employers.
Elise is the former co-chair of Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Department, co-head of the Class & Collective Actions Group and previously served as a member of Proskauer’s Executive Committee for two terms.
With 30+ years in practice, Elise possesses extensive pre-trial and jury trial experience as well as conducting high-profile investigations. She has represented more companies in class actions challenging interns, trainees and volunteers than most others; this includes her precedent-setting win for Fox Searchlight Pictures in the “Black Swan” case. She also addresses a wider range of general employment issues through counseling and employer training programs.
A noted author and speaker on employment-related topics, Elise spearheads Proskauer’s annual Value Insights: Delivering Value in Labor and Employment Law survey. Elise has been recognized as one of the leading employment lawyers by several leading publications such as Chambers USA, Legal 500, New York Law Journal and Employment Law360, to name a few. She was recently recognized as “Labor & Employment Management Attorney of the Year” at Benchmark Litigation’s 2020 US Awards EAST. She has also been named "Best in Labor & Employment" at Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Awards Americas in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2014. A client recently told Chambers USA, “She's incredible. She has an intensity about her work and she knows how corporations work. To watch her in litigation is magic."