Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate
A partial list of presenters and speakers for this program is presented below. Additional speakers are planned and content will be added as the program start date draws nearer.
Valerie Alexander is a renowned expert on happiness and inclusion and the author of the Amazon No. 1 seller, "Happiness as a Second Language" and several other popular books on happiness and success. She is a globally recognized speaker on the topics of happiness in the workplace, unconscious bias and the advancement of women, and her TED Talk, “How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias” has been viewed more than 300,000 times. Alexander was previously a securities lawyer, an investment banker, a tech startup CEO and a screenwriter and film director. She also writes Christmas movies for the Hallmark Channel.
Susan Bean teaches organizations around the world how to use emotional intelligence to cultivate diverse perspectives in the workplace. As an organizational development consultant, she works with executive and leadership teams to explore the impact of different thought processes and leadership styles on team dynamics and performance. She advises them on how to develop as individuals, understand their role within the company, and identify the perspectives from which they operate. Bean understands how to effectively align employees at all levels with business strategy across a broad spectrum of Fortune 500, non-profit and government organizations. She is a Birkman Method Master Trainer and facilitates the Emotional Intelligence & Situational Leadership Certificate for the USF Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education. Bean earned a master’s degree in human resource management and organizational development from the University of London.
Terry Boyd is a visiting instructor in the Muma College of Business’ School of Information Systems and Management. He served 20 years in the Ross College of Business at Franklin University in Ohio as chair of human resources, entrepreneurship and MBA programs, prior to his appointment as graduate school division chair and then associate dean of the college. He is retired and is a professor emeritus at the university.
Derrick Brooks was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. He grew up with many challenges, yet reached past all of his struggles and became a first-round NFL draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995, beginning a 14-year, Hall of Fame career. Prior to playing for the Buccaneers, Brooks attended Florida State University where he excelled, not only as an athlete, but also as a student. He received a bachelor’s degree and after his NFL career, a master’s degree in business communications. His passion for education and inspiring young people led him to begin his charitable work in the community, which has turned into the array of programs that Derrick Brooks Charities focuses on.
Patrice M. Buzzanell
Patrice M. Buzzanell is the chair and professor of the Department of Communication at USF and endowed visiting professor for the School of Media and Design at Shanghai Jiaotong University. She is a fellow and past president of the International Communication Association and served as president of the Council of Communication Associations and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender. Her research focuses on career, work-life policy, resilience, gender and engineering design in micro-macro contexts.
She has published four edited books, more than 200 journal articles, chapters and
encyclopedia entries, and numerous engineering, education among others. She has served
on 25 editorial boards (17 current) and on the Oxford Research Encyclopedia and other
advisory boards. Her NSF grants focus on engineering ethics scales and processes as
well as design thinking for the professional formation of engineers. Among her awards
and honors, she recently received ICA’s B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award and the
Provost Outstanding Mentor Award at Purdue, where she was University Distinguished
Professor and endowed chair and director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership
Braulio Colón is an experienced non-profit executive and education system reform strategist. His leadership experience has focused on Florida state-based programmatic and policy development work at the state agency, university, community-based and philanthropic levels. He currenlty serves as vice president of Florida Student Success Initiatives at the Helios Education Foundation where he leads strategic planning in community investment and engagement activities designed to increase student success in Florida, particularly in the key metropolitan regions of Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. Prior to joining Helios, Colón was executive director and is co-founder of Florida College Access Network, an organization based at USF that engages communities for higher education by promoting program and policy development designed to influence systemic change, improve college-preparation, access and completion rates for limited-income, first-generation and underrepresented students.
Donny Crume is a consultant, volunteer and lifelong learner with more than 20 years of professional experience ranging from management consulting to IT delivery and performance. His work experience spans the public and private sectors to include health and human services, workforce management and property and casualty insurance. His volunteer experience includes more than nine years in BSA Scouting, and more than 15 years in various youth athletics. He is passionate about cultural dynamics and the innovation and exploration of team development opportunities and process-oriented improvements based on accepted-industry leading philosophies and practices. Crume’s current professional areas of interest include supporting youth development, organizational change management, strategic planning and data exploration.
Michael DeJonge is the chair and professor of Religious Studies at USF. He teaches the history of Christian thought, theories and methods in religious studies, modern religious thought and theoretical issues in religion and politics. His scholarship has focused on the 20th century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, with monographs including Bonhoeffer’s Theological Formation (Oxford, 2012), Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther (Oxford, 2017), and Bonhoeffer on Resistance (Oxford, 2018).
He earned a PhD in religion from Emory University in 2009. He has been a Fulbright
Scholar, a fellow of the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies,
a Volkswagen/Mellon Fellow at the Leibniz-Institute for European History in Mainz,
Germany and Visiting Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Theology and Ethics at Union
Theological Seminary in New York.
Triparna de Vreede
Triparna de Vreede is the associate chair of the School of Information Systems and Management and academic director of the Master of Science in Management Program. She teaches multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate courses. While at USF, she has developed courses such as people analytics and principles of collaboration. de Vreede earned a PhD and a master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology and a master's degree in management information systems all from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She received an MBA in human resources and a B.Com. in accounting from Osmania University in India.
Tony Dungy is a former professional football player and retired NFL coach. Beginning his coaching career in 1980, Dungy went on to serve as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later the Indianapolis Colts. He guided the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007 and later worked as an analyst for NBC's "Football Night in America." In addition, Dungy, a committed Christian, has remained active in a number of charitable causes, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Prison Crusade Ministry.
Eric M. Eisenberg
Eric M. Eisenberg is a professor of communication and, since 2007, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the USF. He twice received the National Communication Association award for the outstanding research publication in organizational communication, as well as the Burlington Foundation award for excellence in teaching. Eisenberg is the author of more than 70 articles, chapters and books on the subjects of organizational communication, health communication and communication theory.
As dean of the largest college at USF—with nearly 600 faculty, 18,000 students and
a budget of nearly $100 million—Eisenberg has sharpened the focus of faculty work
through the creation of three interdisciplinary schools, 22 departments and 10 interdisciplinary
research centers. He has successfully recruited world-class faculty talent while playing
a major role in the university's strategic efforts to measurably improve student success
through transformed pedagogy. Eisenberg graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University
in 1977 and earned a doctorate in organizational communication from Michigan State
University in 1982.
Heba El-Tall is the Hialeah campus director for the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College. She previously worked at the Center for Civic Engagement at USF on the St. Petersburg campus and the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships on the USF Tampa campus. She is passionate about having open and authentic dialogue around mental health and self-care, creating reciprocal and genuine relationships in the community and discussing sustainable approaches to matters of social change and diversity/equity/inclusion in the workplace. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of West Florida and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and affairs from USF.
Elizabeth Frazier is the executive director of the Lightning Foundation and senior vice president of philanthropy and community initiatives. Frazier led a transformation of the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Relations departments and is responsible for strategic planning and leveraging of the Lightning’s philanthropic contributions, managing events and sponsorships, and facilitating relationships with community leaders. She led the development of the Lightning Community Heroes program, which has distributed more than $22 million to more than 500 unique non-profits, an organization-wide employee volunteer program called C.H.A.R.G.E through which employees have donated over 50,000 hours, and the creation and management of dozens of impactful community partnership programs through multiple community impact areas. Frazier earned a bachelor's degree in comparative literature with a certificate in European cultural studies from Princeton University and a master's degree in business administration from Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.
Stanley G. Gray
Stanley G. Gray served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. He served in training, infantry, artillery, ceremonial and reconnaissance units where he commanded four companies for over three years until an injury forced him to resign his commission. While in the service, Gray received several personal awards for both merit and leadership and he studied at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Amphibious Warfare School, Airborne School, Scuba School and The Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance School. He is a founding member of Naval Academy's Minority Association. After his military career, Gray spent more than a decade in corporate America, serving as human resources professional for several Fortune 100 firms, largely in organizational development, effectiveness and labor/employee relations roles. In 2001, Gray created his own human resources practice and developed a commercial real estate investment firm that provided housing for renters in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas. He serves on a number of community boards in the region, including the Urban Leage of Hillsborough County, and he founded ON Track, a non-profit serving children in Title I schools. He is a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Steve Griggs became the president of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Amalie Arena less than four years after joining the organization as its chief operating officer. Before coming to Tampa Bay, he spent nearly three years serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Orlando Magic. During his time in Orlando, Griggs oversaw the Magic's corporate partnerships, premium sales and services, season ticket services and operations, brand management, event presentation and ticket sales departments. Griggs served for eight years as the vice president of sales and service for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League and its parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. Prior to joining the Wild, Griggs served as the vice president of corporate sales and service for Sportsco International, LP and SkyDome. The Aurora, Ontario, native also worked for both the NBA's Toronto Raptors and the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs as the director of ticket sales and service.
Sharon Hanna-West is a Muma College of Business graduate programs' faculty member and the director of the Sustainable Business Concentration at the Patel College of Global Sustainability. She teaches in the USF Muma College of Business-Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola program in Lima, Peru, and is the former USF Exide Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics and Sustainability. Her former business experience includes the founding of a multi-million-dollar corporation engaged in international trade. Hanna-West teaches courses in ethics and sustainable business practices in the School of Marketing and Innovation.
Sheilina Henry has served as group vice president of diversity and inclusion for Bloomin’ Brands since July 2020. She is responsible for leading the Bloomin’ Brands company journey toward furthering equality and inclusion, especially in the areas of leadership, talent, training and education. Henry has more than 20 years' experience in the restaurant industry. She joined Bloomin’ Brands in 2012 as an Outback Steakhouse Joint Venture Partner in the Chicago and Wisconsin markets. She relocated to the Restaurant Support Center in Tampa in 2014 to lead several large-scale projects. In 2016, Henry returned to the Outback Steakhouse team as vice president, leading a team focused on providing each restaurant the tools and resources necessary to deliver memorable dining experiences. She was promoted to regional vice president for Outback Steakhouse in 2019. Henry previously worked for Yum! Brands for 12 years and held various positions within the regional operations and training areas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Ohio State University and an MBA from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. She serves on the board of directors for Ladies of Virtue, a transformative mentoring and leadership experience for girls, and is a member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum.
Miguel Ángel Hernández
Miguel Ángel Hernández is the associate dean of students at the University of California Irvine. He supervises approximately 22 staff members housed in several functional areas within campus life, which include: the LGBT Resource Center, the Center for Organizations & Volunteer Programs, the Cross Cultural Center, Student Veterans Center, Sorority & Fraternity Life, and the Center for Student Leadership. Over the past 16 years, Hernández has supervised both graduate and full-time staff in University Housing, Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement, Multicultural Services & Programs, Center for Leadership & Social Change, and currently the Dean of Students Office. In addition, he has served as a guest lecturer for the College of Education at Florida State University where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses focused on social justice and leadership. He was a first-generation college student, earning a bachelor’s degree in justice administration from Columbus State University and a master’s degree in college student development from Appalachian State University. Last year, he completed his doctoral degree in higher education at Florida State University. His research focused on DACA student in Florida who engage in social activism.
Diane Price Herndl
Diane Price Herndl is the chair and professor in the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies at USF. She teaches several undergraduate courses including Politics of Women’s Health, Gender and Science Fiction and Women of Color Writers. At the graduate level, she teaches Advanced Feminist Theories and Body Politics.
Her research focuses on the intersection of several disciplines including feminist
theory, American literature and disability studies. She started working on American
novels of the mid-19th century that had plots centered on women’s illnesses. Her courses
often focus on non-standard bodies: technologically enhanced bodies or bodies with
disabilities or illnesses. Herndl’s scholarship focuses on the cultural discourses
of breast cancer, from autobiographies to novels; poetry and art from Supreme Court
decisions to pink-ribbon campaigns.
Cecil Howard joined USF’s St. Petersburg campus as the new chief diversity officer in November, coming from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania where he served as the executive director of social equity. In his new role, he collaborates with students, faculty, staff and institutional committees and serve as a liaison to community partners regarding initiatives and advances in diversity and inclusion on the St. Petersburg campus. His duties intersect with all areas of the institution, including Academic Affairs, Human Resources, Student Affairs, and Enrollment Management. He chairs the Chancellor’s Advisory Diversity and Inclusion Committee and serve as a liaison to diversity officers across the university.
Howard grew up in Miami and worked as director of the city of Gainesville’s Office
of Equal Opportunity from 2009 until early 2015. In that position, he contributed
to the University of Florida’s diversity action plan. He also previously served on
the State of Florida Commission on Human Relations. He earned a law degree from the
Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University and a bachelor’s degree
in political science from Florida State University. He is an Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission certified investigator.
Opal Hudson has spent the last 15 years in local government, and currently serves as the director of community and social media relations for the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser. In this role, she performs an array of duties including, community outreach, process redevelopment, management, policy making/compliance, strategic planning, innovation and assessment/administration project management, as well as internal/external human relations. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from USF. Using holistic approaches to create systemic diversity, equality and inclusion and systems change within the public sector, Hudson seeks to transform local government offices into organizations that strive for excellence by tapping into and utilizing maximum human potential via emotionally intelligent leadership. She is a certified public manager, who is Dare to Lead trained, an alumna of USF’s “Post-Crisis Leadership” certificate program, and is a Florida-certified residential appraiser. A female of color in a white, male dominated industry, Hudson currently chairs the International Association of Assessing Officers Women’s Initiative Network, as well as its new Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
Bruce Johnson is executive vice president at Jabil and has served as chief human resources officer since January 2017. He joined Jabil in 2015 as vice president of human resources. Previously, he was a chief organizational effectiveness officer/executive vice president of human resources for C&S Wholesale Grocers in Keene, New Hampshire. Johnson also served in senior roles at The Timberland Company in New Hampshire and E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company in Delaware. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Middlebury College in Vermont. He is the founding director, vice chair of board of directors for Pathways Group.
Dejun “Tony” Kong is an associate professor in the School of Information Systems and Management, joining the full-time faculty in August 2019. Prior to his assignment at USF, he was a tenured associate professor of management and leadership at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. In 2019, he was selected by Poets & Quants as one of the 40 best business school professors under the age of 40 in the world, and was named an Ascendant Scholar by the Western Academy of Management. He has taught courses on negotiation, leadership, managerial decision making, organizational behavior and culture at the undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA, and PhD levels.
Jenny Lay-Flurrie is chief accessibility officer at Microsoft, leading the company’s efforts to drive great products, services and websites that empower people and organizations to achieve more. Her team is at the forefront of creating positive experiences that apply technology to make a difference in the world and the lives of individuals, from how we hire and support people with disabilities in employment to innovative technology that aims to revolutionize what’s possible for people with disabilities. With the help of her team and broad community within Microsoft, Lay-Flurrie leads many initiatives to empower people with disabilities both inside and outside of Microsoft. She founded the Disability Employee Resource Group at Microsoft and chaired it for 10 years. She created the Disability Answer Desk, which provides specialist customer support to people with disabilities (over 1 million calls handled to date), hosts the annual Microsoft Ability Summit, which focuses on empowering more than 2000 attendees with the inclusive and innovative thinking necessary to enable people around the world. Instrumental in projects such as Autism Hiring Program, Soundscape and the Microsoft Ability Hackathon, which has supported over 500 hackathon teams building technology for people with disabilities, Lay-Flurrie was recognized as a technology groundbreaker by CEO Satya Nadella in Wired Magazine, and is a contributor to the book, “The Ability Hacks."
Moez Limayem, the Lynn Pippenger Dean of the Muma College of Business, joined the University of South Florida in 2012, coming from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Since his arrival as dean, he has raised nearly $100 million in contributions from a number of donors. The results from his tenure are impressive: The college has received three multi-million dollar naming gifts and its programs have risen in national rankings.
K. Doreen MacAulay
K. Doreen MacAulay is an award-winning instructor in the School of Information Systems and Management. She teaches courses in leadership and organizational behavior to undergraduates, graduates and executives. Her research focuses on the areas of gender equity, organizational change, and organizational history. MacAulay was the 2017 Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Instructor Award winner for her work on women in STEM professions. She earned a PhD in management from St. Mary's University in Nova Scotia, an MBA from the University of New Brunswick and a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. MacAulay is a member of the Academy of Management Association and the Southern and Mid-West Academy of Management Association. She has served as a reviewer for several conferences and journals.
Thomas Mantz is the president and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay. During his tenure with the foodbank, the organization has seen significant development across all fronts. Most importantly, meals to the community have grown from 20 million to almost 90 million per year – reducing the meal gap across Tampa Bay. In 2018, Feeding Tampa Bay launched an ending hunger strategy that includes job training, benefits access and other educational services that create capacity and move people towards self-sufficiency.
Mantz oversaw a fundraising initiative that has resulted in a nearly 500 percent rise
with broader diversification of revenue streams, increases in partnerships and the
implementation of a multi-strategy brand-awareness, marketing and development program.
Feeding Tampa Bay launched other key initiatives, including the founding of the Center
for Food Security and Healthy Access with USF
Mark Mondello was appointed as CEO and director of Jabil in 2013. He joined Jabil in 1992 as a manufacturing supervisor. He was promoted to project manager in 1993, named vice president, business development in 1997, senior vice president of business development in 1999 and COO in 2002, overseeing global operations, business development, new product development, supply chain and information technology. Prior to Jabil, Mondello was a commercial and defense-related aerospace project manager for Moog. A native of Chicago, he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Florida.
Alexis Nicole Mootoo earned a PhD in government and a graduate certificate in Latin American Studies from USF’s School of Interdisciplinary and Global Studies under the direction of Professor Bernd Reiter. Mootoo serves as an assistant vice president at the University of South Florida and is an adjunct professor for USF’s School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies and Humanities. She is also a fellow in the USF Muma College of Business. Mootoo is interested in American and international race politics and race relations, comparative politics, and public and foreign policy. Her research areas of interest are Brazil and regions with Afro-descendant populations. Her dissertation, “Structural Racism: Racists without Racism in Liberal Institutions within Colorblind States,” examined how Afro-descendants are competing in publicly funded universities in New York City and the city of São Paulo, taking race-based affirmative action into consideration.
Haley Moss made international headlines for becoming the first documented openly autistic attorney admitted to The Florida Bar. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami’s School of Law in 2018 and graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminology and law.
Moss is the author of “Great Minds Think Differently: Neurodiversity for Lawyers and Other Professionals,” to be released in this summer by the American Bar Association. Her second book, “The Young Autistic Adult’s Independence Survival Guide” will be published in November. Moss is also the author of “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About” and “A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Her work on neurodiversity, autism and disability has also been published in national media outlets.
She was appointed to the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, the
Florida Bar Journal Editorial Board and the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity
& Inclusion. She also serves on the constituency board for the University of Miami
– Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities.
Edwin Mouriño is a senior fellow in the Human Capital Center at The Conference Board. He has more than 30 years of experience leading key elements of organizational change projects. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran with extensive experience in leadership development executive coaching, team development diversity, learning & development executive retreats, and organizational change. Mouriño has served as a thought leader in his areas of focus, enabling a learning organization by integrating organizational strategy with a corporate university infrastructure. He has written several articles and is the author and co-editor of several books on various human resources topics and is founder and president of Human Capital Development: Helping Leaders Help Themselves.
Scott Neil has been part of Horse Soldier Bourbon since its inception in 2015. As chief operating officer, he is responsible for national operations, regional production and corporate responsibility functions. Prior to coming to American Freedom Distillery, he worked at the Green Beret Foundation as the director of development, where he developed and launched a transition and resiliency program for Green Berets titled “The Next Ridgeline.” He served in the U.S. Special Forces for 25 years.
Neil actively collaborates with the George W. Bush Military Service Initiative and
Team 43, a collaboration of former veterans and the former president and his staff
that focuses on the power of outdoor recreational sports. He also works with several
Veterans Affairs committees and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
championing key issues facing veterans establishing their own businesses. Neil serves
as a regular contributor to major news and media outlets, including Fox, Fox Business
News, CNN, Newsmax, Global News, the LA Times and Bloomberg Business Week.
Balaji Padmanabhan is the Anderson Professor of Global Management, the director of the Center for Analytics & Creativity and a professor in the School of Information Systems and Management at USF. Previously, he served as the chair of the department. He has created and taught undergraduate, MBA/MS, and doctoral courses in areas related to AI and machine learning, business/data analytics and computational thinking.
In his work, he designs analytics-driven algorithms to solve business problems. Padmanabhan's
specific interests and expertise include AI and machine learning, designing analytics-driven
algorithms for business applications, managing analytics, building and evaluating
predictive models, patterns discovery in data, business value of analytics, enabling
citizen data science and applications of analytics in churn, health care, recommender
systems, fraud detection and elections. He often works with industry partners on applied
research and has worked with more than twenty firms on various machine learning and
analytics initiatives, often with a focus on innovative applications to drive business
Sandra Quince is a diversity and inclusion executive responsible for the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council. She also leads diversity for Global Human Resources, an organization of over 2,500 employees. She supports the CEO and chief diversity and inclusion officer in delivering the bank’s global D&I strategy, focused on growing the diverse representation of the workforce, promoting an inclusive workplace where all employees have the opportunity to achieve their goals and meet the needs of customers. Quince serves the community through her contributions to the executive committee and board for Family & Children’s Services, the Black Women Business Owners of America Board, the City Year Board and as a member of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Board. She is the vice president of the Tulsa Chapter of Jack and Jill of America and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority as well as immediate past president of the Tulsa Alumnae Chapter. Quince is a graduate of Florida State University.
Derek Shields is a corporate disability inclusion consultant on the Disability:IN Inclusion Works team. With a background in disability employment supports, return to work programs and training on proven employment strategies for building disability inclusive organizations, he works closely with global brands in the Inclusion Works Community of Corporations. Shields was also responsible for developing the Disability:IN Global Directory, a database with country profiles to help companies achieve disability inclusion around the world.
He is a certified program management professional with a master’s degree in management
and disability services. He co-founded and serves as the director of the National
Disability Mentoring Coalition and frequently provides workshops for young adults
Dawn Siler-Nixon is an equity partner and diversity and inclusion partner for Ford & Harrison, a law firm that specializes in labor and employment law litigation. She has decades of experience guiding clients toward creating and executing strategies in the field of human resources. She has argued in administrative proceedings and state and federal court actions involving sex, age, national origin, race and other discrimination claims. She has extensive experience handling Family and Medical Leave Act claims and successfully litigated multiple plaintiff age discrimination claims in state and federal court. Siler-Nixon is the firm's diversity and inclusion partner with responsibility for the oversight and implementation of the firm's diversity strategic plan. As the firm's diversity partner, she is a member of the Management Group and the firm's seven-person Executive Committee, the firm's highest governing body that sets policy and compensation. She is recognized as a Certified Diversity Executive through the National Institute for Diversity Certification.
Nadine Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, the state's largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A former award-winning journalist turned organizer, Nadine was one of four national co-chairs of the 1993 March on Washington. Smith was part of the historic oval office meeting between then-President Clinton -- the first such meeting between a sitting president and gay community leaders. She served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization, which celebrates 30 years in 2014. Smith is a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, board member of Green Florida and served on President Obama's National Finance Committee. In 2013, she was named one of the the state's "Most Powerful and Influential Women" by the Florida Diversity Council. She was also given the League of Women Voter's Woman of Distinction Award earlier this year. Smith serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee.
John Townsend is FuturePlan's vice president and national head of client service and operations. FuturePlan is a retirement administration, plan design and actuarial firm. Previously, Townsend was vice president of T. Rowe Price Group. Townsend joined T. Rowe Price in 1993 and held several leadership positions there, eventually serving as the manager of the firm's Participant Service Center in Owings Mills, Maryland. He left T. Rowe Price in 2004 and joined BISYS Retirement Services as vice president of client services. In 2005, he returned to T. Rowe Price and remained there until joining FuturePlan in 2017. Townsend graduated from Randolph-Macon with a bachelor's degree in English and earned a DBA from the USF Muma College of Business. He is also a Series 7, 24, and 63 FINRA registered representative.
Janelle E. Wells is an associate professor in the USF Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, within the School of Marketing and Innovation. Wells’ experience as a collegiate student-athlete and coach led her to teach organizational behavior and leadership, and to research the experiences of underrepresented employees. Specifically, Wells explores development, access, inequities, and success in leadership; her publications and presentations have a worldwide audience. Putting theory into practice, one of Wells’ most recent research projects resulted in the co-edited book The Business of Esports: The Wild Wild West on Fire and the establishment of Equity in Esports. In 2015, Wells partnered with the Tampa Bay Lighting to create the Lightning Leadership Line – a personal and professional development initiative. In 2018, Wells helped empower women as a founding member of the Women in Sports and Events Tampa Bay. In 2020, she became a founding research fellow of Wasserman’s The Collective Think Tank, a first-of-its-kind initiative between industry, higher education, brands, properties and media companies to share data, insights and information to drive real action toward advancing women in sports.