Speakers - November 2021
Learn from the Experts!
This year’s lineup features industry disrupters, seasoned entrepreneurs, and the best and brightest business talent. New speakers are added weekly!
See Speakers for May 2022
National President & CEOUSPAACC
Susan Au Allen
National President & CEO
U.S. Senator (D-MD)Chairman, Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee
The Hon. Ben Cardin
U.S. Senator (D-MD)
Chairman, Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee
A third-generation Marylander, Ben Cardin has been a national leader on health care, retirement security, the environment and fiscal issues while representing the people of Maryland in the U.S. Senate, and before that in the House of Representatives. He has worked across party lines to further U.S. national security and to ensure that good governance, transparency and respect for human rights are integrated into American foreign policy efforts.
"He is a man of substance and integrity who understands complicated issues and the art of compromise."- The Baltimore Sun
First elected to the Senate in 2006, Senator Cardin currently serves as Chair of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, which is on the forefront of rebuilding our economy. He is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Finance, and Environment & Public Works committees.
Senator Cardin is a leading advocate for the Chesapeake Bay, which is the economic, historical and cultural heart of Maryland. Nationally, he is a champion of protecting our clean air and clean water. He has introduced legislation to restore the health of America's great water bodies and is the leading proponent of investing in improvements to America's aging water infrastructure system while preparing it for the impacts of climate change. His commitment to reduce pollution and protect our environment fuels his work to broaden investments in safe public transit, as well as walking and bike trails.
A member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee since arriving in the Senate, Senator Cardin helped write the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that has helped small businesses in Maryland and nationwide weather the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and he created the EIDL Advance Grant program to quickly get cash to small businesses in need. Senator Cardin was responsible for the extension of increased guarantees and reduced fees in the Small Business Administration's two largest loan programs. He has made it a priority to find better ways to provide access to credit for qualified small businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses. He consistently is urging federal agencies to take all steps possible to meet or exceed their modest small business contracting goals. He also has been a strong defender of the federal workforce.
Senator Cardin believes access to quality, affordable health care should be a right and not a privilege, especially during a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. He continues to be a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and has advocated for the addition of a public option for coverage. He led the fight for the Patients' Bill of Rights and, because of his efforts, the law ensures that individuals in private health insurance plans have the right to choose their primary care provider, women have direct access to an ob/gyn, and patients with medical emergencies are guaranteed coverage for necessary ER visits. He was responsible for the elevation of the National Institute for Minority Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health and has been a strong supporter of increases in funding for federally qualified health care centers and health information technology. Senator Cardin continues to be a leading champion for increased medical research funding for Maryland's world-class universities, NIH, and our State's cutting edge biotech industry.
One of Senator Cardin's proudest accomplishments was leading the fight to guarantee access to dental care for children in the Children's Health Insurance Program, following the tragic loss of a 12-year-old Prince George's County boy who died after complications that followed an untreated tooth infection. He continues to fight for dental coverage for adults and older Americans.
Senator Cardin has a deep interest in foreign affairs and has worked across party lines to further our national security and protect universal human rights. He has fought to ensure that anti-corruption, transparency and respect for human rights are integrated our foreign policy. He also has worked to ensure gender equity in national security programs and policies. He has been a Commissioner on the U.S. Helsinki Commission since 1993, serving as Chairman of the Commission in the current 117th, as well as the 113th and 111th Congresses. In 2015, he was named as the Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the 57-nation Organization Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly. Senator Cardin serves as a member of the Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues. He previously has served as the Ranking Member of the SFRC East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy Subcommittee, and he is the former Chairman of the International Development and Foreign Assistance Subcommittee.
Serving as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during his first four years in the Senate, Senator Cardin also has developed a reputation for defending civil rights at home and has sought to find a balance between protection of civil liberties and national security. He is the lead sponsors of legislation to prohibit racial and religious profiling by all levels of law enforcement, restore voting rights for former felons, and remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Right Amendment. He has been a proud cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
From 1987-2006, Ben Cardin represented Maryland's Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served for 17 years on the Ways & Means Committee. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967-1986. During his time as Speaker from 1979-1986, he reformed Maryland's property tax system, the school financing formula and the ethical standards for elected officials.
A 1967 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law (1st in his class), he earned his B.A. degree in 1964 from the University of Pittsburgh (cum laude). He is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors, the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies' National Advisory Board and the St. Mary's College Advisory Board, Center for Study of Democracy.
Senator Cardin is married to Myrna Edelman Cardin and his daughter Deborah and son-in-law Jonathan Willis have two daughters, Madeline and Julia.
U.S. Representative (CA-41)Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Member, Committee on Education and Labor
The Hon. Mark Takano
U.S. Representative (CA-41)
Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Member, Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. Representative (CA-27)Members, House Small Business Committee, and Ways & Means Committee
The Hon. Judy Chu
U.S. Representative (CA-27)
Members, House Small Business Committee, and Ways & Means Committee
U.S. Representative (CA-39)Members, House Small Business Committee, and Science, Space and Technology Committee
The Hon. Young Kim
U.S. Representative (CA-39)
Members, House Small Business Committee, and Science, Space and Technology Committee
Congresswoman Young Kim is proud to represent California’s 39th District, which includes parts of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
An immigrant, small business owner, community leader, and mother, Young is proud to be one of the first Korean-American women ever to serve in Congress and help all Americans have the chance to achieve their dream just like she did.
As an immigrant to the United States, Young has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. She started her public service as Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs for former Congressman Ed Royce (CA-39), where she was a key liaison to 39th District and advisor on issues pertaining to the Asian-American community and foreign policy.
Prior to serving in Congress, Young was the first ever Korean-American Republican woman to serve in the California State Assembly. As an Assemblywoman, Young fought to grow jobs , support small businesses, ensure public safety, promote educational opportunities, support veterans, and protect victims of domestic violence.
Young is a small business owner, a long-time community leader, and has been actively involved in numerous organizations throughout the 39th District. She and her husband Charles reside in La Habra and are the proud parents of four grown children – Christine, Kelly, Alvin, and Hannah.
AdministratorU.S. Small Business Administration
The Hon. Isabella Casillas Guzman
U.S. Small Business Administration
Isabella Casillas Guzman serves as the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and was sworn in on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Administrator Guzman represents the more than 30 million U.S. small businesses and is committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and be resilient.
A lifelong proponent of small businesses, Guzman grew up as the daughter of a small business owner and learned at a young age how important small businesses are to the communities they serve, the people they employ, and the economies they help power.
Administrator Guzman previously served as Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, a position she held after being appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in April 2019. In that role, she served as the voice of small businesses and innovative startups in the 5th largest economy in the world. She administered and advocated for programs and initiatives to help small businesses access capital, markets, and networks for stronger outcomes. She and her team helped connect entrepreneurs in every community with the resources needed. As the economic recovery support function coordinator for the state, she focused on resilience and most recently worked to help small businesses access relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In California, Administrator Guzman oversaw a network of small business centers focused on expanding assistance to underserved business groups. She launched new public private partnerships and collaborated to deliver cutting edge resources to small businesses, including through initiatives like Get Digital CA to increase technology and e-commerce adoption and Source Diverse Source Local to strengthen supply chain readiness. She advocated fiercely for financial relief for small businesses, leading to the expansion of state supported lending and the largest COVID-19 grant relief program in the nation at over $2.5 billion. Guzman's office launched the Entrepreneurship Task Force to serve as a bridge to small businesses and create content and programs to help strengthen the competitiveness of startup and small firms.
Administrator Guzman has previously served in leadership at the SBA as the agency’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor during the Obama-Biden Administration, where she oversaw policy and new program implementation. She was a small business entrepreneur herself, and an advisor to fellow founders including in accelerating technology commercialization and in helping small business contractors leverage the federal marketplace. Administrator Guzman earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Acting National DirectorMinority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of Commerce
Acting National Director
Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Department of Commerce
On September 27, 1999, Ms. McCloud became the first career Senior Executive Service manager to serve at MBDA in over 10 years. In her position as Associate Director for Management, Ms. McCloud serves as the principal advisor to the MBDA Director and Deputy Director on management policy and practices and as liaison and coordinator of the various administrative functions of the Agency. The programs and activities under her control have a major impact on the overall operations of the Agency and its mission of fostering the growth and development of the Nation's minority-owned businesses.
Ms. McCloud brings to her position an extensive background in management policy coordination, program planning, and evaluation, management analysis and review, budget, and fiscal management and information resources
management. She is responsible for developing the requirements for MBDA and for compliance under the Government Performance and Results Act; the Chief Financial Officers Act; the Information Technology Management Reform Act; the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
Ms. McCloud directs the daily operations of three offices at MBDA, including
(1) The Office of Administration and Financial Management, which performs activities relating to improving organization structure, productivity, and all personnel matters and correspondence management; (2) The Office of Information Technology Services, which develops policies and directs the design, procurement and implementation of information technology-related resources and (3) The Office of Program Support, which conducts both contract procurement for goods, services and supplies, as well as programmatic awards through grants and cooperative agreements for MBDA's nationwide network of funded organizations.
Prior to her MBDA appointment, Ms. McCloud served for nearly two years as Executive Director, Howard University Small Business Development Center in Washington, D.C., and as Interim General Manager at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center, where, for over 15 years, she held several senior management positions.
Ms. McCloud is a member of several professional boards, including the International Association of Assembly Managers, the American Society of Association Executives, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the National Black MBA Association. She has been published in The Black Convention, Dollars and Sense, and Facility Manager. Ms. McCloud is a BA and MBA graduate of Howard University and currently resides in Bowie, Maryland.
Chief Counsel, Federal Transit AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation
Chief Counsel, Federal Transit Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Subash Iyer is Chief Counsel of the Federal Transit Administration. Since January 2021, he has served as the FTA’s principal legal officer and advises the Deputy Administrator on all aspects of the FTA’s programs, functions, and activities.
Before joining the FTA, Mr. Iyer was Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk, and Compliance at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York, where he served as risk counsel to the largest public transit agency in North America. Mr. Iyer was previously an attorney in private practice, where he worked on trial and appellate litigation matters and provided legal and strategic advice to corporate and individual clients on a wide range of issues.
Mr. Iyer previously served as law clerk to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Iyer received his J.D., summa cum laude, from New York University School of Law and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University. Before law school, he served as policy adviser to Administrator Karen G. Mills of the U.S. Small Business Administration and worked at a large management consulting firm. He and his wife have a young son.
Head of Meta Prosper & Global Head of Social MarketingMeta
Head of Meta Prosper & Global Head of Social Marketing
Deputy Assistant to President Biden & Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior LiaisonThe White House
Deputy Assistant to President Biden & Asian American and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison
The White House
Erika L. Moritsugu was appointed by President Joe Biden in April 2021 to serve as Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison. With a distinguished career in the federal government and non-profit advocacy, she has spent her professional and personal life fighting for social justice and the empowerment of communities and individuals.
At the White House, Erika supports the Administration on a wide array of the President’s priorities and engages with AA and NHPI communities and leaders on important issues such as advancing safety, justice, inclusion, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through a whole-of-government approach to racial justice.
Her past government service includes serving as the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the leadership of Secretary Julián Castro in the Obama Administration and was the first-ever Senate Deputy Legislative Director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
On Capitol Hill, she was a senior representative of Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawai’i, and at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
In the non-profit sector, Erika led two teams the National Partnership for Women & Families for economic justice and congressional relations advancing workforce and health policies focused through a gender equity and race equity lens. Erika has also led the Government Relations, Advocacy and Community Engagement team at the Anti-Defamation League, a leading anti-hate organization.
Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick
Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick was appointed the seventeenth president of Howard University in 2014. He previously served as Provost and Chief Academic Officer. Most recently, the Howard University Board of Trustees selected Dr. Frederick to serve as the distinguished Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery.
A distinguished scholar and administrator, Dr. Frederick has advanced Howard University's commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, public service, and fiscal stability. Early in his tenure as president, Dr. Frederick pursued initiatives to streamline and strengthen university operations. He has overseen a series of reform efforts, including the expansion of academic offerings, establishing innovative programs to support student success and the modernization of university facilities.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Frederick was admitted to Howard University's B.S./M.D. dual degree program. He completed the requirements for both degrees in six years, allowing him to earn his Bachelor of Science degree and his medical degree by the age of 22. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from Howard University's School of Business in 2011.
Following his post-doctoral research and surgical oncology fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Frederick began his academic career as associate director of the Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut. Upon his return to Howard University, his academic positions included associate dean in the College of Medicine, division chief in the Department of Surgery, director of the Cancer Center and deputy provost for Health Sciences.
Dr. Frederick is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, abstracts, and editorials and is a widely recognized expert on disparities in healthcare and medical education. He continues to operate and also gives lectures to second-year medical students and surgical residents of Howard University's College of Medicine. His medical research focuses on narrowing racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in cancer-care outcomes, especially about gastrointestinal cancers. Dr. Frederick also devotes his time to writing and speaking on salient topics in higher education including the impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, campus intellectual diversity, the underrepresentation of African American men in medical school, and gender equity on college campuses.
Dr. Frederick has received various awards honoring his scholarship and service. In April 2020, Dr. Frederick was chosen as the first-ever recipient of the Educator Award by the Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation, Inc. Last year, Dr. Frederick was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for his contributions to the medical field. In January 2017, the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors elected Dr. Frederick to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He was presented with the Diaspora Public Diplomacy Leadership Award by the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for his contributions to strengthening Trinidad and Tobago-United States bilateral relations through excellence in global educational leadership. In 2015, Dr. Frederick was also recognized by the then president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for his appointment as President of Howard University. Most recently, Dr. Frederick was appointed to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Humana Inc. Dr. Frederick is a member of surgical and medical associations, including the American Surgical Association and the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Frederick has also been featured as one of "America's Best Physicians" by Black Enterprise magazine. He was named one of EBONY magazine's "Power 100," and recognized as a "Super Doctor" in The Washington Post Magazine. In 2017, he was named "Washingtonian of the Year" by Washingtonian magazine and in 2015 was named "Male President of the Year" by HBCU Digest and was inducted into the St. Mary's College, Port of Spain, Trinidad Hall of Fame.
Dr. Frederick resides in Washington D.C. with his wife, Simone, and their two children, Kirie and Wayne II. He is a true son of Howard University—a proud and loyal exemplar of its motto: Truth and Service.
Dean, School of BusinessHoward University
Anthony Wilbon, PhD, PMP
Dean, School of Business
Dr. Anthony Wilbon's expertise is in strategic technology management. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Particular areas of research include technology strategy, quantitative analysis, information technology, and technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Research in sustainable environmental engineering through the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into systems design methods has also been explored through funded NOAA research projects. Dr. Wilbon has previously held positions at organizations such as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Booz Allen and Hamilton. His professional experience and capabilities extend to business, management, and technology related topics including systems application and technology, production and operations management, project management, systems development life cycle, and research methodology (quantitative and qualitative).
SVP, IT Chief Financial Officer, Chief Procurement OfficerNationwide
SVP, IT Chief Financial Officer, Chief Procurement Officer
Kevin G. O’Brien was recently named the SVP, IT Chief Financial Officer, Chief Procurement Officer and the Business Transformation Office Leader. Kevin brings more than 30 years of financial experience and a proven track record of helping businesses achieve their strategic priorities. Kevin’s experience in activating business strategies, contract negotiations, identifying creative and financially sound growth and expansion opportunities, along with his leadership and talent development skills, make him ideally positioned for this role.
Kevin began his career with Nationwide in 1998 and has served in many different roles within Finance including Investor Relations, CFO for Individual Protection, Strategy & Capital Management, CFO for Retirement Plans and most recently leading the Mergers & Acquisitions team. .
Prior to joining Nationwide, Kevin worked at Hartford Life and attained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation while working at KPMG in Springfield, MA.
Kevin earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with an Accounting Concentration from Westfield State University. He has four daughters and lives in Westerville with his better half, Denise, where he serves on the Olentangy Local Schools’ Board of Education.
Vice President, Consumer Supply Chain & Global LogisticsAT&T Global Connections
Vice President, Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics
AT&T Global Connections
Rachel Kutz, VP – Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, is responsible for leading an organization of over 1100 diverse employees dedicated to innovative solutions that provide AT&T’s customers with connected products and services. In this role she assumes ownership for all AT&T’s logistics, supplier quality control, planning, and replenishment of AT&T’s consumer and business products and equipment such as mobile devices, tablets, video, and broadband gateways. Rachel also maintains ownership of two critical enterprise-wide programs: supplier diversity and sustainability, responsibilities from her previous role as VP – Strategic Initiatives.
As VP - Strategic Initiatives, Rachel set the overall supply chain strategy for purchasing operations and supply chain systems and tools to improve the efficiency of AT&T processes using data analytics and automation. She has prior experience in logistics support for consumer products from her prior role as AVP of Product Logistics and Quality where she led teams managing forward/reverse logistics and product quality. Rachel has also lead teams responsible for managing supplier and product selection, pricing, inventory and supply planning, procurement, and quality control for AT&T consumer products.
Rachel is an engaging, insightful and decisive leader who uses good communication skills to adapt to any situation. She joined AT&T as a wireless network radio frequency (RF) performance engineer and rapidly rose to Executive Director, Wireless Network of AT&T’s HQ market. In her progressive roles in AT&T’s wireless network organization, she successfully dealt with state and local governments resolving cell site zoning and RF spectrum issues. Rachel designed smarter cell site building plans that expanded networks and enabled local sales teams to more effectively market products and reduce customer churn.
Rachel has lived and worked in many markets and cities (Detroit, Chicago, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada and Georgia), and has invaluable local and regional perspective, as well as adaptive problem-solving experience.
Although she lives in Texas, Rachel calls Colorado home. She graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a degree in Astrophysics (obviously to create better ski jumps through math and science) but cooking and tennis are the only things she loves as much as work.
Vice President of ProcurementNationwide
Vice President of Procurement
Charles White leads the Procurement group at Nationwide covering all source to pay functions, corporate travel, supplier diversity and risk management. Charles has over two decades of experience in diverse sectors including, financial services, high tech, and consumer electronics manufacturing. He has covered a wide range of direct and indirect categories while working for some of the largest companies in the Technology and Financial Services. He recently joined Nationwide in December 2018 from Charles Schwab and prior to that was with Fidelity, Deutsche Bank and Microsoft. He is a US Navy Veteran and former aircraft carrier based jet pilot. He graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
Chief Procurement OfficerTIAA
Chief Procurement Officer
Vice President, Strategic Sourcing & ProcurementAflac
Wassel Lewis, Jr.
Vice President, Strategic Sourcing & Procurement
Wassel Lewis is vice president of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement and manages approximately $1.2 billion in spend. He is responsible for: Category Management, Strategic Sourcing, Procurement Ops, Procurement Administration, Supplier Relationship Management, Performance Management and Supplier Diversity.
Wassel joined Aflac in 2007 as senior project consultant in the Enterprise Project Office. During his career at Aflac he served in IT-PMO, and Strategic Partnerships before joining Strategic Sourcing and Procurement.
Wassel earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating OfficerAARP
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Scott Frisch is executive vice president and chief operating officer for AARP. He is responsible for all enterprise-wide operational and financial matters including human resources, information technology, real estate, and facilities management as well as data and analytics performance management. Scott has helped guide AARP through a period of dynamic change, reengineering the operational functions of the organization to maximize efficiencies and increase operating reserves. Scott also established a $40 million investment fund that spurs innovation in health and wellness as well as a $60 million investment vehicle to accelerate research into cures for all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
Executive VP, Head of External EngagementsWells Fargo
Executive VP, Head of External Engagements
VP of ProcurementCaesars Entertainment
Jessica Medei Rosman
VP of Procurement
Chief Procurement OfficerWindstream
Chief Procurement Officer
Mark has more than 20 years of procurement and operations experience in various industries, including telecommunications, retail and media and entertainment.
His responsibilities at Windstream include leadership of the procurement function, managing more than $1 billion in annual spend, the supply chain organization, corporate real estate, fleet and facilities. He joined Windstream from Alix Partners where he led large cost reduction and capability building engagements for publicly and privately-held companies.
Prior to working at Alix Partners, Mark served as AARP’s first Chief Procurement Officer where he transformed a purchasing organization into a true procurement function that leveraged category management, annual sourcing plans and common-sense policies and processes that balanced the need for speed and efficiency in business operations with appropriate competitive bid thresholds and controls.
Earlier in his career, Mark was VP of Procurement and Business Services at L Brands, owners of Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works, where he led a global procurement team managing over $1 billion in annual expenditures. He also served as a Director of Strategic Sourcing for C&S Wholesale Grocers, a $20 billion privately-held company, where he built the non-merchandise procurement department from the ground up.
Out of business school, Mark was a procurement and supply chain consultant at Accenture and Capgemini Ernst and Young, where he helped companies like Time Warner and 7-11 implement centralized procurement organizations, e-procurement technologies, sourcing processes and cost management programs.
Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Prior to graduate school, he served on active duty as a Naval Intelligence Officer.
Director, Supplier DiversityAT&T Services Global Connection & Supply Chain
Director, Supplier Diversity
AT&T Services Global Connection & Supply Chain
Jalayna Bolden is Director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability for AT&T. In this role, she provides oversight of the strategic vision and design of key initiatives, messaging, and supplier advocacy to maintain AT&T’s world class Supplier Diversity and Sustainability programs.
She leads a team of Diversity and Sustainability Professionals who are responsible for developing programs to stimulate diverse business growth through direct and subcontractor opportunities to make measurable contributions to the economic growth of diverse companies and communities and ensuring all suppliers engage in sustainable supply chain management solutions to reduce impact to the environment when providing goods and services.
Jalayna holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is also a Certified Purchasing Manager.
Program Manager, Supplier DiversityFacebook
Program Manager, Supplier Diversity
LaMecia’s mission is to help diverse-owned businesses do business with Facebook and with the people and communities it connects. She manages the team’s global supplier community efforts, in addition to marketing and communication. Prior to Facebook, she played roles sharing an economic opportunity lens across the philanthropic and supplier diversity spaces including Director of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, Director of Community Relations for Super Bowl LI in Houston, Community Relations Manager for Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Portfolio Manager at Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).
LaMecia began her career in the media and entertainment industry overseeing public relations efforts that ranged from diversity and inclusion for a mass media company, a cable-syndicated country music network and the San Antonio Spurs. LaMecia earned her MBA from Rice University and graduated magna com laude from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with an emphasis in Public Relations.
Senior Director, Procurement and P2P AdvisoryThe Hackett Group & O2P Advisory
Senior Director, Procurement and P2P Advisory
The Hackett Group & O2P Advisory
Mr. Puri has over 10 years of consulting experience with Fortune 500 clients around supply chain and procurement. He has implemented complex, global initiatives in the areas of strategic sourcing, spend analysis, contracts management, training design and delivery and procure-to-pay enablement.
Senior Research Director, Procurement and P2P AdvisoryThe Hackett Group
Senior Research Director, Procurement and P2P Advisory
The Hackett Group
Ms. Gibbons has 10 years of industry and consulting experience in areas such as procurement strategy, organizational and process design, digital transformation, strategic sourcing and category management. She previously worked in The Hackett Group’s Strategy and Operations consulting practice, specializing in sourcing, procurement and supply chain. Before joining The Hackett Group, she worked in product development and strategy and operations at Groupon.
Director, Global Inclusion & Supplier DiversityMerck
Director, Global Inclusion & Supplier Diversity
Raul Suarez-Rodriguez currently serves as Director, Global Economic Inclusion and Supplier Diversity at Merck. In this role, Raul is responsible to drive diverse supplier inclusion, innovation and economic growth through lens of the company mission by partnering with internal business leaders and external advocacy groups to grow mutual value, and create a lasting impact on the business and communities where we live and work.
Raul joined Merck in 2018 from CVS Health, where he led their Supplier Diversity Program to Best In Class by being inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable and winning several top awards including National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Corporation of the Year for Innovation, DiversityInc Top Companies (No.1) for Supplier Diversity, and Americas Top Corporation for Women Business Enterprises.
Raul is recognized for his creative and innovative thinking and transformation efforts in Supplier Diversity. Most recently, he was recognized as the Supply Chain Advocate of the Year by Disability: IN for his work around Disability Owned Business Enterprises where he serves as the Procurement Council Co-Chair. Also, the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) recognized Raul as Advocate of the Year and Shining Star. Raul co-led the Retail Industry Group (RIG) driving change and strategy while advocating for diverse businesses to become strategic partners in the global economy for major retail companies. Raul serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Diversity Alliance for Science.
Raul holds a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Nova Southeastern University
Senior Consultant Strategic Sourcing, SMSNationwide
Senior Consultant Strategic Sourcing, SMS
Supplier, Diversity & Inclusion ManagerNovant Health
Supplier, Diversity & Inclusion Manager
Jameson Knight is the Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Novant Health in Charlotte, NC. Jameson holds a BS in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an Associate of Arts degree as well as an Associate Degree in Criminal Science from Central Piedmont Community College.
Jameson began his tenure in the Officer of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity with Novant as a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and was promoted to the Supplier, Diversity and Inclusion Manager in 2020. He currently serves on the board of directors at Disability:IN-NC, Vet-Charlotte and serves on several Novant Health committees focusing on diversity, inclusion and equity.
In his role as Supplier, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Jameson leads organization-wide initiatives for Novant that benefit underrepresented populations and works with his team to streamline the process for supplier diversity opportunities with HUB and small business. He also focuses on developing and sustaining community partnerships with supplier diversity trade groups and community organizations that represent underrepresented populations.
Manager, Supplier DiversityState Farm
Manager, Supplier Diversity
Lisa has been in leadership for over 25 years, leading in the retail, healthcare and insurance industries. She has worked for State Farm Insurance for 21 years and has served in leadership roles most of her career.
Over the past 21 years, Lisa had led across several lines of business including P&C Claims, Learning & Development, Strategic Resources and Administrative Services. Within her leadership tenure in Administrative Services, she has led Facilities Management, Assets, Risk & Compliance, and now serves as the Manager over Supplier Diversity. She brings both experience and a passion for diversity and inclusion, and specifically supplier diversity, to this role.
Lisa is a member of State Farm’s Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion Council (EDIC), where she has served for the past four years, representing Administrative Services and driving enterprise D&I strategies. She also co-leads the Administrative Services D&I strategy, responsible for developing and executing on plans to increase belonging and equity across teams.
Lisa has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Organization, Leadership and Development and a Master of Science in Management. She has also earned several industry designations and is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation.
On a personal note, Lisa is active in her community, serving as a Central Illinois American Red Cross Board Member, where she works on both the Board Development & Engagement and Diversity & Inclusion Committees. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (500 hour, trauma informed) and owns her own virtual yoga studio, rise yoga & coaching.
Procurement Supplier Diversity Senior Program ManagerT-Mobile
Procurement Supplier Diversity Senior Program Manager
Throughout the last two years, Alan has supported T-Mobile on a variety of high visibility projects and impactful teams. Alan is a dedicated and focused individual who is an integral addition to the T-Mobile Supplier Diversity team. He helps the Un-carrier achieve excellent results through his collaborative work style, critical thinking skills and 25 years of experience in the telecom and procurement industries.
Before entering his current role with Supplier Diversity, Alan was a senior sourcing manager on the Un-carrier’s Technology Sourcing team, where he helped develop and deploy several high-profile projects. Prior to T-Mobile, Alan worked at Microsoft, AT&T, and USAA as a corporate negotiator, senior procurement manager, and sourcing manager. While at these national and global enterprises, he utilized his negotiation and interpersonal skills to strategically source various categories, including telecommunications, human resources, learning, technology, and legal.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Alan attended UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law. He currently lives in Kirkland, WA, with his fiancée, Zena, and their trusty Golden Retriever Zorro! Alan and Zena are volunteers for various causes and assist in local homeless and animal organizations; they also love to travel internationally.
Supplier Sustainability & Diversity Senior LeaderTrane Technologies
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis
Supplier Sustainability & Diversity Senior Leader
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis, Sr. Leader, Supplier Sustainability & Diversity for Trane Technologies beginning her new role in April 2021, is no stranger to the world of Supplier Diversity. Before deciding to accept her latest role at Trane Technologies, she worked in the automotive industry for thirteen years at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. where she was the Supplier Diversity Manager. Her accolades include an array of awards, acknowledgements, and recognitions including but not limited to 2017 Corporation of the Year and Corporate Representative of the Year for (TSMSDC) TriState Minority Supplier Development Council and she has been recognized for many years as one of the Top 30 Diversity Professionals on a national level as a leader in the Supplier Diversity community. KeeKee brings more has more than 26+ years within purchasing which includes supporting as a regional buyer, service buyer, supply chain support, key user for all the purchasing systems and continuous improvement such as (TPM) Total Planned Maintenance, QCDSM, and Lean Management. She is committed to mentor diverse suppliers but also to build strategic “partnerships” and “alliances” with diverse suppliers. Now also leading supplier sustainability within her organization her role is the integration of social, ethical, and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers. The goal is to build strong, long term relationships with suppliers as we “Boldly challenge what’s possible for a sustainable world.”
Diversity within Procurement: Providing the tools and the access necessary for minority/diverse suppliers to be successful within our organization. This is to match or mimic our supplier base to our customer base. Our products represent many different styles, sizes, and unique options just as our community, customers, and employees who support our products.”
Sustainability within Procurement: We are climate innovators with the courage to look at our world's challenges and see endless opportunity. We aren't afraid to make bold commitments that set new standards to enhance the health and well-being of our communities, customers, employees, and planet.
Quote: “I alone can not change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” - Mother Teresa
Director of Supplier DiversityTruist
Director of Supplier Diversity
Adam Moore is the Director of Supplier Diversity Manager for Truist bank, working to promote the inclusion of small and diverse business in the supplier mix at the Bank. He is considerably active in the supplier diversity space as it relates to technology and contingent labor in the financial vertical. Adam is often sought as a speaker and moderator on the topic of supplier diversity. Also he has written for blogs on the topic of supplier diversity, as well as co-hosting a podcast, Breaking Barriers, Building a Hirer Ground. Additionally, he is considered an expert in emerging technologies, Big Data analytics, and information technology sourcing and staffing. Along with his deep industry knowledge, Adam holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Brenau University and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from North Georgia College.
Adam is a member of the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity (FSRSD) and serves on the Supplier Development Committee, which helps promote and develop new diverse suppliers so that they are prepared to work the financial vertical. In 2018 Adam was named as Co-Chair of the FSRSD’s Marketing and Communication Committee and also serves on the Executive council. Adam has a great passion for mentoring and works with the Georgia Mentor Protégée Connection (GMPC) and has developed several MBE firms so that they have more than doubled their gross revenue and have experienced growth into new markets. In 2019, Adam was elected as the new Chair for the Technology Association of Georgia’s Diversity and Inclusion Society. In this role, Adam works to increase awareness of diverse and minority owned technology firms as well as promoting the use of diverse technology talent throughout the state of Georgia. Adam works closely with his society’s executive team to create programming that helps explore topics in the diversity and inclusion space that help set up Georgia technology firms to truly maximize the talent available to them. Because of his dedication to supplier diversity and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, he was asked to join TAG’s social justice task force in 2020. Additionally, Adam serves as a site visit volunteer for the National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA). In this capacity he works with the certification team with NaVOBA and performs the onsite visits needed to complete an applicant’s certification application. The site visit is the capstone part of the certification process and Adam has helped numerous Georgia Veteran business obtain their NaVOBA certifications.
SVP, Asian Segment Strategy LeaderWells Fargo
SVP, Asian Segment Strategy Leader
Joanna Zhong is Senior Vice President, Asian Segment Strategy Leader at Wells Fargo. In this role, Joanna leads the development of the Asian segment strategy as well as drives cross-segment business strategies that deliver on Wells Fargo Diverse Segments enterprise strategy.
Joanna joined Well Fargo in 2018, bringing more than 14 years of marketing
experience in financial services industry. Prior to joining Wells Faro, Joanna was with Bank of America, where she most recently served as Senior Vice President, Acquisition Marketing
Manager, leading the development of multi-channel acquisition marketing strategies for mass affluent and affluent segments to drive new client growth. Prior to that, Joanna led the national acquisition marketing strategy for Business Banking, where she was responsible for managing the end to end marketing strategies and programs targeting mid-sized businesses with prior experience leading portfolio marketing for small business credit card at Bank of America.
Joanna's background includes extensive domestic and international B2B and B2C experience in strategic planning and activation of integrated marketing programs. Joanna has previously lived and worked in China and Australia, where she held a variety of leadership roles in product management and marketing for various companies.
Joanna has a Master’s in Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and her BA from Guangzhou University, China. She is tri-lingual and speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and English.
SVP, Diverse Customer Segments, Consumer & Small Business BankingWells Fargo
SVP, Diverse Customer Segments, Consumer & Small Business Banking
Christopher Galang is senior vice president and strategy consultant for the small business diverse segments team. In his role, Galang is responsible for shaping the roadmap of initiatives that the team will prioritize. In addition, he leads the development of programs that increase access to capital for diverse and women-owned small businesses.
Galang, a fourteen-year veteran of the Company, started his career as a personal banker. As a product manager, he launched the Company’s first real-time ATM advertising platform then as regional marketing manager for the city and county of San Francisco was responsible for the Bank’s local marketing programs and sponsorships.
A former small business owner himself, Galang joined the Bank’s Small Business Group in 2013 where he held several leadership roles including diverse segments implementation leader, head of sales enablement and chief of staff for the small business branch strategy team.
Galang holds an undergraduate degree in Law and Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from the University of San Francisco.
Global Business Diversity & Inclusion LeadNike
Clayton Judge III
Global Business Diversity & Inclusion Lead
Clayton Judge III is the global business diversity and inclusion lead with Nike, responsible for envisioning, building, implementing, and leading the future of supplier diversity for Nike. He currently provides strategy, communication, performance management, and all necessary tools to support teams across the globe. Through his work, he is able to drive alignment across the global organization, manage internal stakeholders, and partner closely with Nike’s chief diversity office to ensure connection into larger strategy and vision around diversity.
Government & NGO Speakers
Adjunct Professor, Center for Excellence in Supply Chain ManagementHoward University School of Business Information Systems & Supply Chain Management Department
Adjunct Professor, Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management
Howard University School of Business Information Systems & Supply Chain Management Department
James Haddow is Director of the Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management (CESUM) and a professor in the School of Business at Howard University in Washington DC. Currently, Mr. Haddow teaches a range of supply chain management courses to both undergraduate and graduate level students. He also supports students as faculty advisor during supply chain case competitions and participates in various CESCM activities (e.g., SCM Think Tanks, Corporate Advisory Board, Site Visits, Workshops, etc.). Mr. Haddow has made supply chain presentations at ISM, IMC, APICS, PMAC and other Global industry conferences. Mr. Haddow has previously held positions as Director of Global Procurement (Chief Procurement Officer) and a Supply Chain consultant for A.T. Kearney a global consulting firm, Cost and Financial Analyst at the Interstate Commerce Commission and Safeway Stores, Inc. His 30 years of consulting and industry experience encompass global procurement, supply chain management, business planning and commercial business development which provides hands-on teaching examples for his students.
Co-Founder & PresidentNational LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Co-Founder & President
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Justin Nelson is the Co-Founder & President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest LGBT economic advocacy and business development organization in the world.
In addition to over 50 LGBT affiliate chambers in the United States representing America's 1.4 million LGBT business owners, NGLCC leads economic development opportunities at over 20 international affiliates. NGLCC is responsible for major victories for the LGBT business community, among them the first-in-the-nation inclusion of LGBT suppliers in statewide contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Justin regularly advises senior leaders at the White House, in Congress, and corporations throughout the world to build business opportunities through commitments to LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity programs. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences and meetings around the globe promoting the business case for LGBT inclusion and creating equity for the LGBT business community.
Justin and Team NGLCC are also responsible for the creation of the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), advocating the business interests of a diverse range of people, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, ethnic minority, disability, and women-owned business communities, representing a total of over $9 trillion in annual consumer spending power and significant contributions to the marketplace and workplace.
For his efforts in establishing the NGLCC, Justin was named to OUT Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Gay Success Stories. Justin was also named to the 25 Leading Men of 2006 list by Instinct Magazine, SmartCEO Magazine's 2012 Top 20 Leaders We Admire, and the 2012 Global LGBT Power 100 from the Guardian Newspaper in Great Britain. In 2010 Justin received the Outstanding Collaborative Partner Award from the U.S. Business Leadership Network for his partnership work on disability issues and is the recipient of the 2014 Vanguard Award from the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to launching the NGLCC, Justin was the Director of Federal Affairs and External Relations for the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Washington, DC. During his tenure, the organization was named one of the top 100 lobbying organizations in Washington, DC by Forbes Magazine. Prior to lobbying Congress and the White House, Justin spent five years as an aide in the United States Senate. He has served as a past volunteer coordinator for the Wyoming Special Olympics, a Capitol Hill Chair for the March of Dimes Walk America and on the advisory board for the First Wyoming Race for the Cure. Justin holds a BA in political science from the University of Wyoming.
President & CEOUS Black Chambers, Inc.
President & CEO
US Black Chambers, Inc.
As President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), Ron Busby, Sr. brings business management skills as well as a lifetime of community development experience to the organization. Mr. Busby is a former successful business owner himself, and he has been recognized as one of the nation’s best CEOs. Ron grew his first company, USA Superclean, from $150,000 annualized revenue, to over $15 million in only 10 years. Early on in his career, USA Superclean was recognized as the largest Black-owned janitorial firm in the country. Mr. Busby has also started and grown two other janitorial firms, both resulting in over $4 million in annualized revenue. Currently, Ron serves on the Pfizer Small Business Council, National Newspapers Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors, and White House African American Leadership Council. He has also formerly served on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities.
Trained by some of the country’s leading corporate executives, Ron developed his skills at some of the nation’s largest corporations including; Exxon, Xerox, IBM, and Coca-Cola USA. While in corporate America, he was recognized as National Sales Person of the Year.
Ron also has chamber experience as he was previously the President of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce for five years.
A native of Oakland, CA; and graduate with honors from both Florida A&M and Clark Atlanta University, Ron has dedicated himself to the empowerment of the African-American community. Ron is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Ron has two sons and currently lives in the Washington, DC area.
President & CEOUS Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
President & CEO
US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director, OSDBUU.S. Department of Treasury
Executive Director, OSDBU
U.S. Department of Treasury
Ms. Donna Ragucci serves as Director for the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and assumed her duties in March 2018. She is responsible for Small Business Programs that include mission, compliance, outreach, and training for a 5,000 member organization obligating over $6.7 billion annually. Her office ensures compliance with the federally directed Category Management Initiative and meeting the Small Business Administration statutory socio-economic small business prime and subcontracting goals. Ms. Ragucci aligns best business practices with other OSDBUs throughout the federal government. In her tenure, her office received national recognition from the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Association and the National HUBZone Association. Her office is a Core Cluster member of the White House Initiatives Group on HBCUs, championing the awareness of and increasing federal contracting opportunities for HBCUs and the underserved communities and the White House Initiatives Group on Advancing Racial Equity in Federal Procurement. Ms. Ragucci also chairs the 93-member Federal OSDBU Council that assists SBA by influencing small business policy and legislation.
Ms. Ragucci’s held numerous leadership and public trust positions during her 35 years with the federal government. She was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in March 2018. She graduated from the Senior Service College in May 2015. Ms. Ragucci has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from Athens State University, and she earned a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Florida Institute of Technology.
Her awards include the Secretary of the Army Excellence in Contracting Award, Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Excellence, and three Department of the Army Achievement Medals for Civilian Service. Ms. Ragucci is a member to the Acquisition Corps. She holds federal certification Level III in Contracting, Level II in Purchasing, and Level II in Program Management.
Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)U.S. Department of State
Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
U.S. Department of State
George L. Price is the Director of the Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization for the U.S. Department of State. He assumed the role in October of 2015. In this capacity, he advises the Department on all small business procurement issues and is responsible for promoting the use of Small Businesses within the Department of State to support the Department’s mission of protecting U.S. interests abroad and implementing foreign policy initiatives.
Prior to the Department of State, he was the Deputy Associate Director for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Training and Management Assistance Program. He was responsible for providing Federal agencies with direct acquisition and project management assistance in the area of human capital management and customized training services.
Before joining OPM, he served ten years as the Director of Outreach Communications for the U.S. General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service.
Mr. Price began his Federal career with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Over a ten year span at SBA, he was a Business Opportunity Specialist within the 8(a) program, a Business Development Specialist, and lastly as the Director of the HubZone Program for the Eastern United States.
PresidentLatino Chamber of Minnesota
Latino Chamber of Minnesota
John is a corporate foundation executive with exceptional strategic skills and a proven ability to synchronize corporate goals with community needs, benchmark results, and streamline operations with new technology. He keeps strong community ties and has a long history of public service. He is experienced in building and empowering diverse teams, as well as offering a strategic and innovative approach to new challenges. He is a high energy individual with a genuine commitment to diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. He has experience leading non-profit, public, and for-profit public affairs efforts.
Executive DirectorPride Chamber of Orlando
Pride Chamber of Orlando
As executive Director of The Pride Chamber (formerly MBA Orlando), Kellie draws from her extensive background in business development and journalism to help lead the LGBTQ business equality movement in Greater Orlando.
Working with a dedicated board of directors, Kellie has transformed The Pride Chamber since her arrival in 2016. The organization was honored by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as the 2017 Chamber of the Year, for outstanding growth, sustainability and leadership. In 2018 Kellie was recognized as one of Business Equality Network’s National Top 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40. At NGLCC’s 2019 International Business and Leadership Conference, Kellie was honored with the inaugural Affiliate Chamber Leader of the Year Award. Most recently, Kellie was recognized during the 2020 pride month by U.S. Congressman Darren Soto as a distinguished leader in Central Florida.
Kellie served on the taskforce to formally establish the One Orlando Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization unifying the LGBTQ+ community of Central Florida with a coalition of local non-profits. She is a member of the HCCMO Supplier Diversity Council and serves on Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. Kellie also volunteers with the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the separation of state and church.
PresidentHeartland St. Louis Black Chamber
Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber
Veta T. Jeffery has spent her life fighting for the rights of others. Veta began her professional career advocating for the rights of individuals with disabilities. Her conflict resolution abilities allowed her to serve families by helping them to successfully navigate through education, employment, building and housing issues. She went on to spend 18 years working in the financial services industry as a licensed professional and the Manager of Financial Services, where she ran agencies gaining national recognition. She was a business owner for 10 years where she earned a 6-figure income running a business. She received awards and recognition for her ability to develop strong leaders in business and community affairs and positioned them to serve as ambassadors offering a voice to the voiceless. Mrs. Jeffery identifies as a Servant Leader and her desire is to be positioned to help facilitate avenues for others to have access. She has had the opportunity to travel nationally speaking on behalf of various corporations where her role was to bridge diversity gaps; teach others to be financially independent and develop economic development programs for individuals and communities. Her passion is in growing, strengthening and building communities and families.
In taking a brief leave of absence from the Financial Services Community, Mrs. Jeffery went on to work on a Special Assignment following Ferguson under Governor Nixon serving as Manager of Community Development in the Office of Community Engagement and Department of Community and Economic Development. In this role she served on many significant projects with the most notable being her creation of the Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce.
She currently serves in a dual role as a Senior Vice President of Community and Economic Development for Midwest BankCentre and the Executive Director of the Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce. In her current position, Mrs. Jeffery identifies success as when she positions individuals or business owners to have access and/or opportunity. The mission of the Chamber is to make an economic impact on the St. Louis region by organizing the black business community and creating an echo system through which we can build capacity for these owners. She currently serves on the advisory board for The Empowerment Network where part of their mission is to heighten awareness of every level addressing Prostate Cancer and she sits on the Board Nationally for the US Black Chambers, Inc. Mrs. Jeffery is married to Pastor Tony Jeffery, Pastor of The Center of Life Christian Church and they are the proud parents of two beautiful girls, Ishmaiah age 18 and Toni age 8.
Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)U.S. Department of Education
Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
U.S. Department of Education
In 2020, Calvin J. Mitchell Jr. joined the U.S. Department of Education leadership team as the Acting Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). In 2021, Mr. Mitchell transitioned to Director of OSDBU. As Director, Mr. Mitchell provides executive leadership and policy direction for developing and implementing policies and initiatives throughout the Department to ensure that all socioeconomic categories of small business are afforded opportunities to compete for contracts. Prior to the Acting OSDBU, Mr. Mitchell was the Deputy Director of Contracts and Acquisitions Management (CAM). As CAM Deputy Director, in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, he was responsible for overseeing the work of four contracting divisions that provide operational procurement services to the Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, Mitchell served as the Branch Chief of the Accounts Management Division at the General Services Administration. Mitchell led the organization toward meeting the Government-wide strategic goals to support all 24 CFO Act agency vision, mission, and strategic goals. Separately, Mr. Mitchell served as a Congressional Fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. In this position he served as the Principal Procurement Advisor to Committee leadership and provided guidance and oversight to Members and Committee staff on procurement, small business programs, and related acquisition issues within the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Mitchell has also held leadership positions at the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.
Acting Chief, Diversity and Business Inclusion BranchFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Acting Chief, Diversity and Business Inclusion Branch
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Deputy Director Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)U.S. Department of Agriculture
Michelle E. Warren
Deputy Director Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Michelle Warren began her federal career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1988, as a Federal Market News Reporter within the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Agency, then later served as the Contracting Officer for the Commodity Procurement Branch, responsible for the supervision of purchasing teams which administers contracts for commodities for distribution to the National School Lunch Program and other Food Assistance Programs.
By 2010, Michelle was assigned Program Manager in the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). In December 2015, Michelle was appointed Deputy Director in OSDBU and still holds that position. It is her responsibility to provide maximum opportunities for small businesses to participate in USDA contracting activities. Michelle served in the Acting Director’s capacity from December 2016-May 2022.
Educating, and Supporting the Buyer and the Seller is OSDBU’s core value.
Michelle’s philosophy is, “Think about what you want to do, DO IT, then think about what you have done!”
Michelle is a graduate of Virginia State University located in Petersburg, VA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business and Economics.
Supplier Diversity Program ManagerBoard of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board System
Supplier Diversity Program Manager
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board System
the Federal Reserve System. In this capacity, she is responsible for ensuring compliance with
the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as it relates to the inclusion of
minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises in the Board’s acquisition process.
Prior to joining the Federal Reserve Board in 2011, Ms. Williams worked at Alabama’s largest
electric utility corporation, Alabama Power Company, where she provided leadership and
strategic direction to corporate business units in delivering results toward defined supplier
Throughout her career in Supplier Diversity and Supplier Relations, she has been affiliated with
various organizations that focus on minority and women business development, including the
U. S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, National Minority Supplier Development
Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. She has been recognized in
local and national publications such as Women Enterprise USA for her work in Supplier
Diversity. Ms. Williams received her bachelor’s degree from Birmingham Southern College.
Program Manager, Supplier DiversityUnited States Postal Service
Rupert Warner, Jr.
Program Manager, Supplier Diversity
United States Postal Service
In his position as Purchasing and Supply Management Specialist, Program Manager Supplier Diversity, Mr. Warner is responsible for managing programs that promote Supplier Diversity through the nine–elements of the U.S. Postal Service Supplier Diversity Corporate Plan. He conducts projects for the design, development, implementation, evaluation, monitoring, administration, and improvement of national programs that promote advancement opportunities for diverse business groups.
Warner is a graduate of National-Louis University of Chicago, where he obtained both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in business management.
Managed Service Providers Speakers
Chairman & CEOPinnacle Group
Chairman & CEO
Nina Vaca is Chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group, a Latina-owned global workforce solutions provider named fastest-growing woman-owned company in the country twice in the last six years. The workforce solutions industry has recognized Nina repeatedly as a leader in the industry, including her in the Global Power 150 – Women in Staffing list every year in the list’s six-year history. In addition to her work with Pinnacle, Nina is one of the few Latinas in the nation serving on the boards of publicly traded companies and also serves as a civic leader and philanthropist, working relentlessly to expand opportunities for minorities and women in business. In 2014 she was appointed by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and is a German Marshall Fellow, a British American Project Fellow, a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and in 2019 became a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a recipient of the coveted Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneur award, and just last month Vaca was recognized by the SIA in their inaugural list of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Influencers.
Senior Vice President, Global OperationsAgileOne
Senior Vice President, Global Operations
Brian Clark is Senior Vice President, Global Operations at AgileOne. He brings more than 20 years of professional experience in workforce consulting, including industry-leading Managed Services Programs (MSP), Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Vendor Management Systems (VMS) along with project management, operational efficiency and technology innovation.
Brian joined AgileOne in 2006 and is currently responsible for Operations within North America while also managing all of AgileOne's global business, located in Europe, LATAM and APAC. AgileOne is currently doing business in or implementing in 30 countries around the globe. Brian works closely with the global sales team, the onsite client services teams and also the operations teams, including three shared services centers around the world.
Brian received his bachelor's degree from Auburn University and he has a master's degree in Information Technology. He is PMP certified. Brian enjoys time with his family, including his wife, 5 children and 5 grandkids. He is passionate about all things Auburn and he loves basketball and great movies.
VP Partnerships & SolutionsGeometric Results
VP Partnerships & Solutions
Jody Mohammed joined GRI in 2020 as an Executive VP leading Partnerships and Solutions and most recently expanded to include Client Executive Sponsor for a portfolio of clients. Resonating with GRI’s position as an independent innovator, Mohammed has designed, implemented, and executed partnerships, solutions and strategies that encompass all channel partner relationships and platforms. Just as important of a focus has been leaning in with client’s and evolving our MSP offerings to meet the demands of Total Talent Management. By building deeply rooted relationships with her clients, she is able to help clients solve their business problems. With GRI serving as a fully independent MSP and MDS provider, Mohammed underscores their approach of bringing forward the best talent partners and platforms. Her motto at GRI is “Champion for the Client and Advocate for the Partner” which truly embraces her passion for fostering meaningful relationships that help promote innovation.
On March 29th, GRI announced its acquisition by ProUnlimited, a leading integrated workforce management provider. GRI will be operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of PRO Unlimited. As a combined contingent workforce solutions entity, we will have the scale and breadth of operations to provide a tremendous value-add, with an expanded team of expert advisors, data, and insights.
Tammy Browning is president of KellyOCG®. She’s responsible for the company’s $10 billion global MSP portfolio, which includes embedded solutions such as services procurement, payroll outsourcing, the global RPO practice, and the Ayers Group outplacement.
Her path to executive leadership started more than 20 years ago in a temporary role as a recruiter with Kelly®. Since then, she’s moved through several customer- and talent-facing roles with increasing responsibility and leadership, due in part to her visionary thinking and passion for operational excellence.
She brings a pioneering spirit to any challenge. Tammy always looks for new ways to add value for customers by helping them discover what’s next in the world of work and is recognized for her ability to spark change through forward-looking solutions.
Tammy is an industry thought leader who regularly shares insights on how people want to work and how organizations can meet their future workforce challenges. Staffing Industry Analysts® recognized Tammy as one of the most influential leaders in the staffing industry, naming her to its 2021 and 2020 “Staffing 100” list and its "Global Power 150" Women in Staffing lists. Inspiring Workplaces named Tammy a 2021 Inspiring Leader for being inclusive, courageous, transparent, and empowering. Diversity Journal honored Tammy as a 2020 “Women Worth Watching” for leading the way to excellence in the workplace.
Tammy is a well-seasoned and self-proclaimed “travel sports mom.” In her free time, you can find her spending time with her family and spoiling her grandchildren.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Speakers
Founder and CEOAmpcus, Inc.
Ann Anjali Ramakumaran
Founder and CEO
Anjali Ann Ramakumaran, Founder and CEO of Ampcus Inc. (Ampcus), is a technology savvy entrepreneur with more than 15 years of contribution towards the design, development and delivery of leading edge Technology Solutions and Human Capital Management across the globe. Under her leadership she has cultivated Ampcus into a fast growing Consulting and Professional Services firm. For eight consecutive years (2009-2016), she has been recognized as a top Asian American owned business by the USPAACC. In addition, for the past seven consecutive years (2010-2016), she has been honored as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Women Owned Businesses in the CONUS by the Women Presidents Organization. Under Ann’s leadership, Ampcus has made the Inc. 500/5000 list and has been recognized as a Top Diversity Business for the past 7 years (2010-2016). Ann was also awarded Women in Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by WIT and most recently received the Chairman’s Award for Inspirational Leadership from the CRMSDC. Ampcus has also received the Global Growth Award from Astra Women’s Business Alliance, Supplier of the Year Award from the GMSDC and the Top Asian American Business Award from the USPAACC-SE.
Ann works closely with her Advisory Board, whose advice/input on strategy and direction helps her drive the company to attain its vision of being one of the largest and most successful high performing Professional Services companies globally. She has been actively involved in executing a consultative methodology to define, qualify and quantify Ampcus’ target clients, determine their strategic IT and business objectives and from this developed solutions which proactively address their current and evolving demands and needs.
Ann serves on the CRMSDC Board of Directors, WPEO Leadership Committee and the USPAACC Scholarship Committee. She has been a speaker at numerous National and Local Procurement and Diversity Conferences. In addition, Ann has mentored several women and minority start up’s in an effort to help them grow their business. Ann holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business and Commercial Management from India and has completed Executive Management from the Robins School of Business, University of Richmond Virginia and an Advanced Management from the Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University Illinois.
Co-President; COOUSPAACC Western Regional Chapter; Diya TV
USPAACC Western Regional Chapter; Diya TV
Co-President; Partner and Co-FounderUSPAACC Western Regional Chapter; ASTUTE
Co-President; Partner and Co-Founder
USPAACC Western Regional Chapter; ASTUTE
Sandhya Mukkamala is a Partner and Co-Founder at ASTUTE and an accomplished CPA in the State of California. She advises clients on R&D tax incentives, technical accounting, forensic audits, as well as works closely with clients’ CFOs/Controllers to develop stronger processes and controls within the business. She has more than 15 years of experience in audit and review engagements, and complex Merger & Acquisition due diligence audits for private and public accounting sectors.
Prior to founding Astute, Sandhya has served as M&A due diligence auditor for several years in a reputed public accounting firm in Silicon Valley. She has led the audit team in planning, structuring, and performed M&A due diligence activities across all functional areas such as financial, products, operations, and technology etc. She has also served as an external Auditor for various high-tech, automotive, retail, manufacturing, and service industries nationally and globally. As an acumen auditor, she helped companies uncover millions of dollars lost due to fraudulent activities or lack of control over processes, addressed complex accounting and financial reporting challenges.
Besides Auditing and Corporate finance, Sandhya has extensive experience in R&D tax credit consulting projects, performed numerous financial and M&A due diligence audits, resolved complex Accounting for Income tax provisions, SEC Reporting, internal controls testing and fraud testing over financial reporting for a multitude of industries from early startups to Pre-IPO to public companies nationally and globally.
Her unique understanding, problem-solving skills and providing reliable solutions have benefited clients in various industry sectors.
Co-Founder & Chief Customer OfficerPyramid Consulting, Inc.
Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer
Pyramid Consulting, Inc.
Namita Tirath is the co-founder, co-owner and Chief Customer Officer of Pyramid Consulting, Inc., a company specializing in technology and professional staffing, and technology solutions across North America, Europe and Asia. Namita’s leadership has grown Pyramid from 3 people working in an Atlanta basement to a $300M business in 20+ countries.
In response to growing IT talent shortages, in 2019 Namita drove the creation of Pyramid Academy, giving recent college grads and those looking to grow in their careers the opportunity to re-skill, upskill or get their foot in the door with intensive IT training and a career-path while providing talent for clients. The Academy has graduated 100+ people and counting.
In addition to her experience and longevity in the marketspace, Namita brings her passion to increase diversity in the technology space, and the tenacity, perseverance, persuasiveness and ability to connect with people on both a personal and professional level that it takes to drive collaboration and change.
CEO & 2020 USPAACC "What's Your Pitch?" Innovation Competition WinnerIchosia Biotechnology
CEO & 2020 USPAACC "What's Your Pitch?" Innovation Competition Winner
Lucas Vining is a scientist, student, and entrepreneur working in the biotechnology and sustainable development industries. His first company, Ichosia Biotechnology, at which he is the founder and CEO, is leveraging novel genetic engineering and stem cell technologies to create a proprietary red blood cell product, called Erythrosyn. In the year and a half the company has existed, Lucas has raised over $200,000 in non-dilutive funding, including a combination of both national and international business competitions, academic grants from leading research universities, and research grants from the federal government.
Using the entrepreneurial skills learned at Ichosia, Lucas more recently founded Sa'akom Farms, a social enterprise dedicated to the alleviation of poverty and promotion of education in the Southeast Asian country Cambodia, where Lucas was born. The team is doing this through the implementation of vertical hydroponic farming in rural communities to increase farming productivity and pay farmers a living wage. They are currently in talks with one of the largest supermarkets in Cambodia and have just completed construction on the pilot farm.
Both of Lucas' startups are actively raising first funding rounds and are interested in connecting with socially minded investors interested in creating a better future.
Lucas has also been featured on the Washington Business Journal's 2020 DC Inno 25 Under 25 list as well as multiple other awards recognizing pitching, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Chapter President, Attorney and PartnerUSPAACC SE, The Trusted Lawyers, a Desai Law Group
Chapter President, Attorney and Partner
USPAACC SE, The Trusted Lawyers, a Desai Law Group
Sheetal Desai is an accomplished attorney and partner at The Trusted Lawyers, a Desai Law Group, PC. Her areas of practice include commercial transactions, real estate, corporate law and commercial litigation. A product of the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, Wisconsin, Sheetal began her professional career in Chicago. Two years later, she married Ritesh ("Rick") Desai and moved to the Atlanta area where she has been practicing law ever since.
Sheetal Desai has worked closely with many business and community leaders through her service as a public relations lead for BAPS Atlanta. She is the current President of the Southeast Chapter of the US Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC-SE). Sheetal has held various leadership position such as an advisory board member for United Way – Gwinnett and a member of the Community Outreach Board for Gwinnett County. Mrs. Desai has also volunteered her legal services for such causes as Asian Pacific American Council (APAC) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
Sheetal and her husband are the proud parents of three beautiful daughters. She enjoys cooking, exploring local and state parks, travelling and spending time with her family.
Founder & CEODayblink
Founder & CEO
Michael Wong is a respected business strategist, agilest, author, entrepreneur and leader. Over the last 20 years in Management Consulting, Michael successfully supported clients in areas such as innovation, strategic execution, operational improvement, and mergers & acquisitions.
Frustrated with the lack of innovation and outdated models that envelop the professional services landscape, Michael saw a great opportunity to disrupt the industry. In 2013, DayBlink was born. As founder and CEO, Michael leads all aspects of the firm’s strategy and operations, and continues to deliver results on key initiatives for DayBlink clientele. In just a few short years, DayBlink earned some of the industries top recognition: Inc.'s "Inc 500" (#159), Consulting Magazine’s "Seven Small Jewels”, Fortune Magazine's "Best Small Workplaces", Vault’s 2017-2021 “Vault Consulting 50”, Inc.'s 2017 Best Workplaces, and Entrepreneur's "Best Company Cultures in America".
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Michael is a devoted alumnus and regular classroom contributor of his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a BBA degree in Accountancy. In 2009, Michael was elected President of the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, representing more than 130,000 alumni worldwide. In this capacity, he concurrently served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.
Sushumna Roy Jalajam
Professor & Executive Director, Howard University School of Business Center for Supply Chain Management; SVPAmpcus
Professor & Executive Director, Howard University School of Business Center for Supply Chain Management; SVP
Tanya Penny is a strategy and finance executive with an extensive track record across critical functions in the Fortune 50 realm. Penny held positions as Chief Procurement Officer at Verizon, with over $35 billion in spend and Senior Vice President of Real Estate, controlling a $2B budget and 3,000+ staff.
As President/CEO of TPW & Associates, a strategy consulting firm advising clients on financial and business performance, Penny continues to design and lead high-impact business transformation projects.
Penny serves on the advisory board of Ampcus, Inc., Ivy Community Charities, and leads the Board of Directors for the Redda Group.
Project DirectorUSPAACC Community Navigator Pilot Program
USPAACC Community Navigator Pilot Program
Tracy Balazs is an entrepreneur and senior executive with a foundation based in supporting both public and private sector organizations in Healthcare, Human Resources Consulting, and Human Performance for Military Readiness programs. She comes from a background of healthcare with 20 years of clinical trauma nursing followed by healthcare recruiting and federal government business development career prior to her starting her first business in 2004. In 2004,Tracy founded a company called Federal Staffing Resources (FSR) which obtained several hundred prime government contracts that cover the United States. After leading FSR as their CEO for 17 years, she transitioned to became the founder and CEO of Compass Government Solutions in April, 2021.
Throughout Tracy’s career, she has always been involved and has subject matter expertise in Government Contracting, Health, Talent Acquisition, Leadership and Organizational Development. She has a vast network and is an active member in several associations and professional groups such as, Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO), Women Business Leaders (WBL), and various Government and Veterans organizations which gives her access to people with strong leadership and executive capabilities. Through these organizations and groups as either a board member or participant, she frequently mentors the professionals and has spoken at the behest of the SBA and for other organizations.
CEORCI Technologies Inc.
RCI Technologies Inc.
Nisha Balwani is the Chief Executive Officer of RCI Technologies, an MWBE information technology firm focused on building and modernizing digital systems while minimizing security risk. By creating high-value technical solutions for clients ranging from, state, local, federal, and commercial entities, RCI Tech is poised to continue its growth. As a second generation-member of the family business, Nisha served as Head of Business Development for five years before becoming CEO, spearheading the company’s expansion into the public sector. Under her leadership, RCI has already tripled its’ business with New York City agencies and expanded its’ cyber security capabilities.
Nisha was recently featured in Forbes for her leadership of RCI through its’ generational succession. She is especially proud to continue RCI's woman-owned and led legacy as she leads the company into the next generation of growth.
Prior to returning to the family business, Nisha graduated from Columbia Business School with an MBA in technology and entrepreneurship and founded RENTALYA, the first US-based brand to provide South Asian formalwear as a rental service. She sat on the board of the NJBPU SDDC Supplier Diversity Development Council and was Chief of Staff to the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Northeast President