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Tiffany Williams is a Global Diversity and Economic Inclusion Lead at Verizon. She has built her career around developing equity for marginalized groups. She has a unique set of skills that allow her to support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives with a multi-dimensional perspective focusing on culture, career, customer and community. Tiffany is credited for developing Verizon’s 1st Diverse Supplier Executive Leadership & Capacity Building Program. Tiffany also played a critical role serving as a key collaborator on Verizon’s ERG transformation task force. The task force was responsible for transforming the ERG leadership selection process, strategically aligning the ERGs to Verizon's overall business strategy, and developing strategies that leverage the ERGs as a pipeline for diverse talent. Tiffany maintains strong relationships with diverse community-based groups such as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce (USBC). Her leadership resulted in Verizon being awarded NGLCC's Inaugural Advocacy Award in 2019. She is routinely invited to speak on panels covering DEI topics such as supplier diversity, mentoring, and DEI best practices. Tiffany is a proud HBCU graduate, holding a BS in Management from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (Aggie Pride!!!), an MS in Management Information Systems from George Washington University, and an Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management from Georgetown University. Tiffany is currently pursuing an MS in Organization Development from American University. Tiffany has recently been appointed to a National Steering Committee for DEI leaders that focuses on creating opportunities for young black talent in tech through strategic partnerships and mentoring. She currently, serves as an executive board member for DRUM Healthy Families serving communities in Baltimore, MD, an organization that addresses infant mortality. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where she chairs the HBCU Initiatives Committee.
Sophia Dozier is a data-driven professional, with a passion for social, economic and racial equality. Supporter of Diversity paired with Inclusion. At IBM she helps drive strategy around diversity retention, engagement, leadership development, strategic partnerships and hiring.
Sophia is passionate about advocating for mental health. She believes that conversations encompassing mental health, should be common place.
Kelley is an accomplished litigator, trial attorney and compliance adviser with two decades of experience in the areas of higher education, investigations, school safety, civil rights, labor and employment, criminal law and state and federal policymaking.
A legal trailblazer on multiple fronts, Kelley was the first African American woman to lead the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office in its 167-year history and spearheaded key initiatives addressing juvenile justice and school violence in roles with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
She is a tenacious advocate and a strategic ally for her clients, helping them proactively assess and mitigate risk using evidence-based legal strategies that ensure compliance with complex regulations and promote cultural competency in crisis planning and response.
Valerie's practice focus includes discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, reductions in force, wage and hour, whistleblowing, and restrictive covenants. She specializes in guiding international companies, including those in the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Italy and Germany. Valerie provides harassment, discrimination and diversity awareness training, drafts employee handbooks, social media, and other policies. She also represents management in connection with union elections, unfair labor practices, collective bargaining, grievances and arbitration and union avoidance counseling. She has guided numerous companies and executives through the most difficult employment situations, with sensitivity, intellectualism, and compassion.
Valerie mediates and arbitrates cases for private parties, and has mediated cases for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the United States District Court for Massachusetts. She is a member of the American Arbitration Association Arbitration Panel for Employment Disputes. Valerie was trained in civil mediation by the Community Dispute Settlement Center in 2001, and also received advanced mediation training. She is certified as a harassment prevention and disability discrimination trainer by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Valerie conducts workplace investigations and fact-finding.
Valerie also has substantial expertise in executive advocacy and transition, representing executives and professionals in complex employment issues, including contract negotiation, non-competition and non-solicitation covenants, severance, change of control, deferred compensation, and equity interests
Valerie routinely appears before federal and state courts and agencies, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. Valerie was previously a Partner at Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP.
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.
Nereida (Neddy) Perez, is head of Global Diversity & Inclusion at McCormick & Company a global manufacturer of Spices and Flavors. Neddy has been in the Human Resources and D&I space for over 25+ years and is recognized globally for her work in advancing women in manufacturing, closing talent acquisition gaps of diverse talent, and building global initiatives in the STEM space. She has worked in various industries such as Manufacturing, Oil & Chemicals, Electric Utilities, Financial Services and Logistics.
She is one of the original founders of the STEMConnector.org and has served on a number of nonprofit and for profit advisory boards like the American Red Cross, Society of Human Resources Management, Ingersoll Rand Foundation, Asia Society Diversity Council, etc. Currently, she chairs the Diversity MBA board directors and serves on the Global Summit of Women’s Advisory Board. She doesn’t like to mention all of the awards received in the past but is proud to have been named the Hispanic Corporate Executive in the U.S. back in 2016…More recently she was named as one of the top 50 diversity leaders in the U.S.
She is an internationally recognized speaker and advocate for leveling the playing field for under represented groups. Born in Havana, Cuba she considers herself bi-cultural having lived and worked in a number of locations in the U.S. and worked around the globe.
Valoria (pronounced like the traditional spelling of Valerie – “Val –er – ee”) Armstrong is Chief Inclusion Officer and Vice President, External Affairs, for American Water, the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, providing high-quality and reliable water services to more than 14 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. In her role, Mrs. Armstrong is responsible for strengthening the company’s inclusion & diversity strategy by creating a comprehensive and integrated focus on driving diversity, equity, mutual respect, and inclusiveness across the organization. Armstrong is also responsible for leading government and regulatory affairs across American Water’s regulated and market-based businesses. She engages with key external stakeholders like the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Utilities Diversity Council by serving on their board of directors, among others, to elevate awareness of our culture and values. She previously served as president of Tennessee American Water, where she was responsible for overall operating and financial performance, including leading a dynamic team of professionals who delivered on business targets related to safety and employee engagement, field customer service, distribution, water quality, environmental excellence, and growth. As the principal external contact for the company, she reinforced customer, regulatory, and governmental relationships. Armstrong joined American Water in 2011 as a human resources business partner, supporting Tennessee and Kentucky. In 2013, she was promoted to director of human resources for American Water’s Central Division, leading a team of human resources professionals in seven states. Her responsibilities included employee and labor relations, workforce planning and staffing, performance management, and organizational development. Prior to joining American Water, Mrs. Armstrong was employed by Food Lion as human resources manager among several other key positions over 15 years. Mrs. Armstrong was the first woman and youngest president elected to lead the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 2005 to 2012. She currently serves as chair of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Hamilton County Partnership Advisory Board. She is a committed board trustee of the Tennessee Aquarium, Benwood Foundation, River City Company, and Orange Grove Center. Mrs. Armstrong was elected as a director of the National Utility Diversity Council (NUDC) in 2019. Mrs. Armstrong is an alumna of Leadership Tennessee and a graduate of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce Diversity Initiative Fellows Program. She previously served as chair of the Chattanooga chapter of the American Cancer Society and was actively involved in the Chattanooga chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellors' Diversity Advisory Council, and the Volkswagen Diversity Council. Mrs. Armstrong has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgia Southern University and a master’s degree in human resource development from Villanova University. A top priority for Mrs. Armstrong is challenging the community and leaders to be intentional when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Motivating and encouraging young girls to know their value and to exceed any glass ceilings in their paths are also among her passions, reflected in much of her community involvement. Mrs. Armstrong resides with her husband Lawrence in Ooltewah, Tennessee. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Davida Redmond joined Mobile Mini as the Marketing Communications Manager of Creative Services in April 2018. Prior to her current role, Davida served as the Senior Manager of Marketing from October 2019 through October 2020. In her current role with WillScot | Mobile Mini, she is responsible for the strategy and execution of global inclusion & diversity and community efforts.
Previously, Mrs. Redmond spent nine years serving in various marketing and sales roles for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Caterpillar, Inc. She also spent four years outside of Corporate America focusing on her growing family. She is a proven leader that has both domestic and international experience across diverse business units and multiple industries with Fortune 100 organizations.
Mrs. Redmond holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Marketing) and an MBA from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. She was born in Georgetown, Guyana, South America and raised in Miami, FL.
Gina Stuart is the Senior Director of Diversity Strategy and Development at Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). With over 20 years of leadership experience in human resources, including regulatory compliance, HR strategic business partner relations, and diversity & inclusion, she understands how HR serves as a strategic business partner with the ability to accelerate business results. In her current role she is responsible for the development and deployment of enterprise-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategies focused on talent acquisition, career and leadership development and advancement, employee engagement and culture transformation. Her role serves as a thought partner regarding all aspects of diversity and inclusion and works closely with senior leadership and cross functional business partners to integrate diversity and inclusion strategies into business operations.
Prior to joining Walgreens more than 5 years ago, Gina spent 9.5 years at W.W. Grainger, Inc. in Lake Forest, IL, and 9+ years at Sears Holdings in Hoffman Estates, IL. She earned a JD from Loyola University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Colgate University.
Detroit Native, Jazmine Williams is the Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Rocket Companies, (NYSE: RKT), a Detroit-based holding company consisting of tech-driven real estate, mortgage and financial services businesses – including Rocket Mortgage, Rocket Homes and Rocket Auto. Jazmine leads all DEI engagement efforts. She also shaped the framework for Team Member Resource Network (TMRN) Program, Rocket Companies’ version of Employee Resource Group. Jazmine’s professional experience includes Higher Education, Leadership Development, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Her enthusiasm for diversity and inclusion drives her to continuously educate team members as well as the Detroit population.
Mrs. Qiara Suggs currently serves as the Director, Human Resources Business Partners at Memorial Hermann Health System- Southwest and Sugar Land campuses. She began her career over 17 years ago. She quickly recognized that the Human Resources profession was her passion. With well over a decade of HR expertise, directly with the Memorial Hermann Health System, she has supported multiple campuses including the Texas Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, Ambulatory Services, and the Memorial Hermann Medical Group. Qiara played a key role in Sugar Land’s achievement of the Texas Award for Performance Excellence and the 2016 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In addition, she has been a key partner in supporting multiple hospital expansions through various workforce planning efforts, retention and engagement initiatives. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University and undergraduate Bachelor’s degree from University of Houston. She holds multiple leadership certifications such as Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Emotional Intelligence, PROSCI Change Management, Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) and Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications. Qiara is active in various community organizations and graduated in 2019 Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership forum.
Dawnita Wilson currently serves as the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for JBG SMITH, an S&P 400 company that owns, operates, invests in, and develops a dynamic portfolio of high-quality mixed-use properties in and around the Washington, DC metro area.
Dawnita joined JBG SMITH in late 2019, bringing 15 years of strategic Diversity and Inclusion experience, having led Diversity and Inclusion efforts at Sodexo, one of the world’s largest food service and facilities management companies, as well as for regional enterprises such as Highmark and The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Since joining JBG SMITH, Dawnita has successfully developed and executed a comprehensive, multi-year Diversity and Inclusion strategy, focused on sustainable, cultural and behavioral change. With a focus on 5 strategic pillars, the transformational framework has been a catalyst for advancing Diversity and Inclusion at JBG SMITH. From building competency and driving accountability, to implementing more inclusive systems, practices and processes, Dawnita is committed to breaking down exclusive structural barriers, creating equity, and changing the narrative around Diversity and Inclusion in the Real Estate industry.
In just one year under Dawnita’s leadership, Diversity and Inclusion became one of the top drivers of overall employee engagement at JBG SMITH, increasing favorable employee perceptions by 12%. In less than 18 months, she developed and executed a formal Employee Mentorship Program called “The Lion’s Guild”, formed the JBG SMITH Inclusion Community and launched a monthly D&I newsletter, the JBG SMITH “Community Connection”, just to name a few.
As a thought leader and strategic business partner, Dawnita also serves as a trusted advisor to c-suite executives, operational leaders and board members. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from La Roche University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice from the University of Pittsburgh. She has maintained her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification since June of 2006.
Dawnita was the individual recipient of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) 2020 “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Recognition Award” and was recently recognized as one of the 2021 “Top 100 Diversity Officers” by the National Diversity Council. She is a 2021 Washington Business Journal “Diversity in Business Award” honoree.
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.
Mary Stutts has championed DEI at companies including Genentech, Comcast NBCUniversal, Bristol Myers Squibb, Bayer, UnitedHealth Group and Kaiser Permanente. Currently she is the SVP of Corporate Relations at Sumitovant Biopharma. Previously she was the first Chief Inclusion, Diversity and Health Equity Officer for Stanford Health Care.
Stutts excels at advancing simultaneous leadership and grassroots frontline approaches to maximize inclusion and diversity as key corporate growth levers and brand enhancers. At Stanford she worked directly with the Board and executive committee to curate programs that developed executives and board members capable of leading and growing organizations while transforming to address injustice and inequity amongst all stakeholders including employees, patients, customers, partners and communities.
At Genentech Stutts led the $5million Diversity in Clinical Trials initiative to increase the representation of people of color and women in clinical trials. She provided vision, thought leadership and strategic direction for organization-wide efforts to enhance a culture of workplace DEI as Bristol Myers Squibb transformed its business model. Stutts oversaw the fulfillment of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) DEI conditions required for approval of the acquisition of NBC Universal for Comcast NBCU’s California Region.
Stutts is an accomplished author whose new book Recurring Themes of Exclusion in the Workplaceprovides an in depth analysis of ongoing exclusionary practices in the workplace and details the path needed to achieve true “inclusive diversity”. She championed women in leadership with her book, The Missing Mentor: Women Advising Women on Power, Progress and Priorities, which has been dubbed a surrogate mentor for career women. Her non-profit The Center for Excellence in Life was the first to launch a national Virtual Internship Program for underrepresented youth during the pandemic, garnering widespread corporate engagement. Her journey from a 5-year old foster child to becoming one of the leading voices today on the mandate for inclusive leadership, the path to health equity and the imperative to ensure the future workforce is diverse and prepared has made her a thought-provoking speaker, corporate advisor and board director.
Stutts serves on the Board of Zogenix (ZGNX: NASDAQ) and on the Advisory Boards of private companies Wellist, Slone Partners and RealChemistry.
Stutts earned an undergraduate degree in Broadcast Communications at the University of Louisiana, a Master’s degree in Health Administration at the University of Southern California and is also a graduate of the Executive Program on Strategy and Organization at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
LaNelle Alexander is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at L+M Development Partners, where she leads diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives with our staff and in our communities, informed by her almost 15 years of leadership in these areas. Most recently, LaNelle was on the executive leadership team of buildOn, an international nonprofit based in Stamford, CT, where she was the first Vice President of Human Resources and inaugural Global Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.
LaNelle holds a BA in Organizational Behavior and Change Management, with a minor in Diversity and Inclusion from New York University. She maintains certifications from both the Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional [SHRM-CP] and Society for Diversity, Certified Diversity Professional [CDP]. LaNelle is also on the board of buildOn New York, a nonprofit focused on youth development in the South Bronx, and HOPE Worldwide’s CT Chapter, which delivers sustainable, high-impact community-based services to vulnerable international communities.
Marsha Ellis Jones is the executive vice president and chief diversity officer for The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. In this role, Jones leads the development and implementation of strategies and programs that help further build and sustain a talented, diverse workforce and a culture of inclusion. Jones is a frequent national guest speaker, panelist and lecturer on the business case for diversity and the impact that inclusive cultures have on corporate innovation. Her accomplishments in the field of diversity were a feature story in Diversity Executive magazine. Jones joined PNC after a distinguished career of more than 25 years at Merrill Lynch. Over the course of her tenure, each of the sales management executive positions she held marked a milestone for African American women in the financial services industry. Jones is the recipient of numerous awards and citations for her professional achievement. She has been recognized by Savoy magazine as a Top Influential Woman in Corporate America and one of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity by Black Enterprise magazine. In addition, Jones has been recognized by the New Pittsburgh Courier as one of 50 Women of Excellence and named one of the 25 Influential Women in Business by the Network Journal. Jones is the current treasurer of the national board of the American Heart Association and is chair of the operating committee. She is also a current member of the board of directors of the FISA Foundation, the Executive Leadership Academy and serves on the advisory board of the Imani Christian Academy. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree from Lehman College, a master’s degree from Columbia University and is a graduate of The Executive Leadership Development Program of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Janine is currently a Senior Director of Inclusion & Diversity at Teva Pharmaceuticals. She has over fifteen years of experience in the HR field working in Finance, Law, & Pharmaceuticals supporting business leaders. Her areas of expertise including Diversity, Talent, Recruitment, Strategy & Data storytelling. She was recently featured as a contributing author for the book "Latinas Rising up In HR."
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 with 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). She also coaches both baseball and softball for her young children.
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 and is a native New Yorker. She is actively involved in the local community supporting her three school aged children.
Gianna Driver is the Chief People Officer of BlueVine, a fin-tech company empowering small businesses with innovative banking and financing solutions. She has a passion for helping organizations scale by creating diverse ecosystems that enable employees to unlock their full potential. Responsible for leading global human capital strategies, Gianna brings over 15 years of executive management experience in small, large, private, and public global companies.
Prior to BlueVine, Gianna led HR and People functions in high-growth technology, gaming, consumer, and SaaS organizations. A graduate of the Wharton School and an active member of the HR technology community, she believes leadership has roots in mentorship, women’s causes, diversity, and crafting growth-mindset cultures.
When not working, Gianna enjoys spending time with her daughter, traveling, collecting art, and drinking a perfectly brewed cup of green tea.
Lara is an experienced trial lawyer and client advocate. Her extensive career has involved representing companies of all sizes, across many industries, in all aspects of employment law. Lara has successfully defended clients in the courtroom, before administrative agencies, and on appeal.
In addition to litigation, Lara has spent her two-plus decades of experience partnering with clients to counsel them through complex issues involving discrimination, retaliation, accommodation, and wage and hour compliance. Lara has also developed a passion for guiding clients through high-stakes matters involving pay equity, harassment, leave of absence and accommodations. Lara has had the distinct experience of working as in-house counsel for two large, multi-national corporations, which gives her a unique perspective on how to address the intricate issues facing organizations and their employees.
Lara is an accomplished speaker and presenter, having presented on cutting edge employment law topics at local and national events, as well as many online forums. Lara is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Holly R. Lake is an employment litigator, recently recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of 2020's "Top Minority Attorneys" and the Century City Bar Association as 2020 "Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year."
She has a breadth of experience defending clients across industries not only in single/multiple plaintiff cases but also defending employers in wage-and-hour class, collective and private attorney general representative actions under California laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. She also advises clients on all matters related to employment, including OFCCP compliance and affirmative action program development. She acts as a partner to her clients, making it her business to understand their needs and goals, and then developing a legal strategy that's unique to the case at hand. Her approach has resulted in success before the Court of Appeal, trial victories and summary judgment wins.
Emerging Growth and Venture Capital
Global Governance and Compliance
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.
Crystal Andrews Banks is the Diversity and Inclusion Director at Ulta Beauty. As a proven cultural transformation change agent with over ten years of experience, she furthers Ulta’s D&I efforts by identifying and formulating viable solutions to drive innovation. She drives the organization’s D&I strategy, serves as the enterprise D&I consultant, and provides oversight for a myriad of diversity initiatives. Crystal’s background includes stints in Marketing and Internal Communications which assist in her big picture ideology and creative approaches. She studied at St. John’s University and received her MA in Sociology and BS in Communication with a business minor. A sought after thought leader and speaker, she was recently recognized by Essence Magazine as a revolutionary beauty industry executive and serves as the Co-Chair of the Retail Industry Leaders Association D&I Leadership Council. Previously, Crystal worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, KPMG, Baxalta and Johnson Controls where she added value to develop and strengthen their D&I agendas.
Lara McLeod - the Head of Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) at Axon - has always been passionate about equity, inclusion, civil rights, and social justice. A writer by trade, Lara spent her first professional years as a political journalist and UX writer before completely pivoting her career to focus on workplace culture, DEI, and social justice within the tech industry. Since then, Lara has had the pleasure of doing work that she absolutely loves in the JEDI realm at Microsoft, Zillow, and now Axon.
Along with her full-time role, Lara regularly works with civil rights non-profit organizations to influence social change, and she serves on the boards of City Year Seattle, VECTRE VR, and Seed&Spark.
Raquel Alvarenga focuses her practice on counseling corporate clients on critical workplace issues such as hiring and firing decisions; non-competition agreements; wage-and-hour laws; whistleblower matters; discrimination, harassment and retaliation issues; employee complaints and discipline; workplace safety issues; and reasonable accommodation and leave requests.
Raquel has extensive experience litigating all manner of labor and employment disputes, including cases involving alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, misappropriation of trade secrets, wage-and-hour claims and breach of contract.
Raquel regularly advises corporate clients on labor and employment issues in the context of major corporate transactions.
Raquel also has first-chair experience conducting internal investigations for corporate clients, non-profit organizations, and higher education institutions concerning allegations of employee misconduct and sexual assault.