2017 ERG & Council Conference:
People, Purpose & Passion -
Making a Difference!

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Presenters & Featured Events


Freddie Ravel

Keynote Maestro, Celebrated Performer & Thought Leader

First Day Opening Event: Teamwork: Diversity and the Power of Human Harmonics

Freddie Ravel, is the internationally acclaimed Keynote Maestro who blends his infectious passions for business breakthroughs and the power of music to unlock the minds, hearts and potential of audiences around the world.

Have you ever heard a great-sounding band or orchestra where everyone is a soloist? It doesn’t exist. For over a decade, the Gallup polls reveal that four out of five employees are disengaged in their work, costing the U.S. economy over $500 billion annually in lost revenue.

The Keynote Maestro shares personal stories of how minorities and women have opened doors to his ongoing success from being hired by Brazilian producer Sergio Mendes at age 23 to being the only white guy in the all black band named “Earth, Wind and Fire.” In addition to his collaborations with Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, Yolanda King as guest author in Open My Eyes, Open My Soul alongside Stevie Wonder, Muhammad Ali, Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Maya Angelou, he’s played the GRAMMYs with Prince, recorded with Madonna for her major motion picture debut, Evita and toured the world to packed stadiums with Latin rock legend Carlos Santana.

Freddie Ravel drives home the message that when we embrace teamwork and inclusion, our collective Melodies, Harmonies and Rhythms achieve the ultimate SCORE—a world where human potential is raised and diversity drives organizations to gain the distinct advantage needed in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.

Illuminating the properties of Human Harmonics to resolve conflict and create breakthroughs, Freddie will help teams and individuals learn how to better listen, engage and achieve collaborative success.



Geena Rocero

Model, Producer, Trans Rights Advocate

Second Day Opening Event: Transgender Spectrum - A Journey to Self Acceptance and Pride

Geena Rocero, born and raised in Manila, Philippines, is a Model, Producer, Trans Rights Advocate and co-host of award winning TV Show ASPIREist for USA Network. She uses her platform to share a powerful story.

On March 31, 2014, in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rocero came out as transgender at the annual TED Conference, her viral talk has since been viewed more than 3 million times. Geena is the founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and media production company that tells stories to elevate justice and equality for the transgender community.

She, along with Gender Proud Productions, produced and presented "Beautiful As I Want to Be" on LogoTV highlighting trans youth, and received the 2016 GLAAD media Award. Gender Proud also produced "Willing and Able", a 2017 GLAAD Media nominated web series about transgender employment with Fusion TV and most recently worked with Fusion/Univision to produce a TV documentary about transgender athletes, "No League of Their Own".

Geena has spoken at the White House, United Nations, and been featured on E's I am Cait, Magazine Cover of Candy Magazine, Vanity Fair: Trans America, Marriott's #LoveTravels Campaign and CoverGirl Cosmetics #GirlsCan Campaign. Most recently, she was on the cover of Harper's Bazaar India.

She has been featured in media publications such as CNN, Al Jazeera America, MSNBC, Today Show, NHK World Channel, HuffPost Live, New York Magazine, Mashable, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, People, Variety, Take Part, The Advocate, MTV and others.



Linda Stokes: Event Host & Workshop Facilitator
President & CEO at PRISM International, Inc. and
the Association of ERGs & Councils

Workshop Facilitator:ERG & Diversity Council
Leadership Academy™

Event Host

Linda founded PRISM in 1992 with the mission of increasing organizational performance by creating more inclusive workplaces that value the contributions of all employees and that connect D&I strategies and tactics to the business of the organization. Under her leadership, PRISM has provided D&I consulting services, training and products to millions of employees in hundreds of organizations around the globe.

She is the co-author of Multicultural Customer Service: Providing Outstanding Service Across Cultures, author of numerous journal articles, media contributor on topics of organizational strategic and tactical D&I, and a curriculum developer of over 200 D&I consulting and training programs. She is a recognized leader in the field of D&I and coaches and mentors Executives, CDOs and diversity and inclusion professionals at several American and European global firms.

As a women-owned certified business headquarter in Central Florida, Linda’s leadership and success was recognized by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando when she was awarded their Women’s Achievement Award for Business. She is an innovator in the D&I field and has been busy over the past several years developing several initiatives:

In 2006, she recognized the special needs of Diversity Councils and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and created the Association of ERGs & Councils. That was followed in 2008 with the launching of the annual ERG & Council Honors Award™ and in 2012 with the first annual ERG & Council Conference™.

In 2014, Linda responded to the growing healthcare needs of providing exceptional service and care by increasing cultural and language competencies by developing a special suite of healthcare skills and tools.

In 2015, she took confronting our unconscious biases, micro-inequities, and cultural misunderstandings to the next level by creating The Elephant We Can't See™- a unique workshop that uses storytelling followed by interactive, engaging, skill building training to help begin a dialogue about any difference that makes a difference in the organization.

In 2017, in being proactive and promoting civil and respectful behaviors, she developed the ground-breaking, Choosing Respect in the Workplace™- a 3-hour training session that is unique in its approach, by helping employees develop a mindset for choosing respectful behaviors and develop the skills needed to address disrespectful behaviors when confronted with them.

Prior to PRISM, Linda's professional experience included management and executive experience in education, healthcare, banking and international customer service consulting and training. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Stetson University in Deland Florida.



Fernando Serpa: Event Host
& Workshop Facilitator 

Executive Director at the Association of ERGs & Councils

Workshop Facilitator:Transforming Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to Business Resource Groups (BRGs): The Next Stage of Affinity Group Evolution

Event Host

Fernando draws upon his two decades of in-depth diversity and inclusion experience across the public and private sector and excels at building dynamic, cross cultural diversity and inclusion strategies to influence systemic change across organizations. He has led diversity efforts for such Fortune 100 companies as Agilent Technologies, Symantec, JCPenney and Johnson Controls. His responsibilities have included worldwide diversity recruitment and retention, employee network groups, international programs and diversity and inclusion training.

Most recently he served as the Director of Global Diversity at Johnson Controls where he developed strategies to advance diversity and inclusion globally. He also developed and maintained strategic alliances and relationships between the business, affinity groups, and industry organizations, and actively supported workforce planning and talent attraction, development and retention. As the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at JCPenney, he led diversity strategy and training for over 150K associates. At Symantec, he was the Director of Global Diversity and developed a global diversity strategy that was country specific and presented diversity training around the world including Japan, Germany, Ireland, France and Singapore.

A graduate of George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C., he was appointed by the White House to the U.S. Department of Justice where he directed immigration policy and worked with Congress and Federal agencies to develop and implement legislation, policy and procedures. From 1995 to 2000, Fernando served at the United States Commission on Civil Rights where he represented the Commission on civil rights issues to state and local governments, citizen-based groups and corporations.



Angie Cody: Session Facilitator
Manager Inclusion & Diversity at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Session Facilitator:What gets Measured, gets Funded

Event Patron

Angela Cody is the Manager of Inclusion and Diversity at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. In this role, she leads and manages Mallinckrodt’s Inclusion & Diversity strategy, programs and the company’s 13 Business Resource Groups across two Chapters. Mallinckrodt is a global business that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes specialty pharmaceutical products and therapies.

Angela led the Mallinckrodt Inclusion and Diversity Council to a top 10 Council in less than one-year through a well-crafted, integrated strategy focused on professional development, cultural intelligence, community outreach and wellness. In addition, she has personally developed, designed and launched workshops on topics such as unconscious bias and building inclusive teams.

Prior to her current role, Angela spent 20 years in finance, where she managed Mallinckrodt’s key accounts. This experience provided Angela with a unique perspective on measuring and developing metrics to articulate the return on investment for I&D initiatives.

Angela earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Columbia College. She is also a United States Marine Corps veteran. 

TOP 6 Recipient of the 2016 ERG & Council Honors Award™



Fran Dillard: Session Facilitator
Director Diversity and Inclusion at Texas Instruments

Session Facilitator:Religion in the Work Place –
"It's not so scary
"

Event Supporter

Fran Dillard is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Texas Instruments and oversees and manages TI’s diversity strategy and programs, including the company’s network of diversity employee resource groups which brings together dozens of grassroots, employee-led organizations.

She joined TI in 2008 as a branch human resources manager in one of the technology and manufacturing fabrication plants in Dallas. Since that time, she has held HR leader roles across several TI businesses including Analog, Embedded Processing and Power. During her career, Fran has worked in multiple industries including the banking and airline industry where she also led in HR generalists, employee relations and talent management roles.

Fran serves as a member of the Conference Board’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Executive council. She is a fellow of the National African-American Women’s Leadership Institute (NAAWLI), a 2014 alumni of Leadership America and was most recently elected to the board of directors for Leadership Women and the Alliance of Greater Good. She is passionately involved in the community and an active member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., where she serves as the president for the North Texas chapter in the Dallas area.

Fran earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of Texas at Arlington.

TOP 15 Recipient of the 2016 ERG & Council Honors Award™



Sanjay "Sonny" Dua: Session Facilitator
Senior Manager of Change Management for Coca-Cola Refreshment

Session Facilitator: Transforming the Culture of
Employee Resource Groups Leveraging Diversity
as a Business Driver

Sanjay “Sonny” Dua is a Senior Manager of Change Management for Coca-Cola Refreshments. In this role, Sonny leads the organizational change work stream for the divestiture of CCR owned US territories.

Before joining CCR, Sonny has held progressive leadership roles in continuous improvement and change management for companies such as GE, The Home Depot, and the TATA Group.

Sonny is the Senior Advisor and Past President of Coca-Cola’s Asian Business Resource Group where he led a team focused on cultural awareness, professional development, community outreach, and marketplace growth.

Sonny earned his MBA from University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, and has a Master’s in Instructional Design from Florida State University.

TOP 3 Recipient of the 2016 ERG & Council Honors Award™



Dr. Karen Francis: Session Facilitator
Principal Researcher at the American Institutes for Research

Session Facilitator: Applying Diversity Practices in a Shifting Culture

Event Champion

Dr. Karen Francis is a Principal Researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Chair of AIR's Diversity and Inclusion Council and Co-Lead of AIR’s Cultural and Linguistic Competence Workgroup. Dr. Francis has 25 years of experience in the management, planning, and delivery of training and technical assistance to juvenile justice, education, social and human service systems. Dr. Francis served for eight years as a Cultural and Linguistic Competence content expert for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Bobby Gordon: Workshop Facilitator
Vice President Client Relationships at PRISM International, Inc.

Workshop Facilitator:Becoming an Effective,
Impactful Articulate Advocate

Event Host

Bobby is Vice President Client Relationships at PRISM where he specializes in developing and nurturing client relationships. Prior to his role at PRISM, Bobby was a cultural diversity trainer with the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) where he developed, revised and conducted training for managers and senior military leaders in communications, organizational effectiveness and conflict resolution.

His DEOMI experience took him to over 30 states and US territories, and also throughout Germany and South Africa. Directly responsible for the needs analysis, instructional design, and leadership duties on diversity seminars for requesting civilian and military organizations, Bobby also served as a participating think tank panelist in developing strategies on increasing the diversity of the Army and Air National Guard. He helped to develop and design a human relation-training program for newly assigned DEOMI staff and faculty members.

Bobby received his Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College and a Master’s of Science in Transformative Leadership from Bethune-Cookman University.



Emily Koski: Session Facilitator
Assistant Vice President Employee Inclusion Program Manager at U.S. Bank

Session Facilitator:Virtual Inclusion: Your "How To" Action Plan

Event Lead

Emily Koski is an Assistant Vice President Employee Inclusion Program Manager within Human Resources at U.S. Bank. Her team currently manages all employee groups at U.S. Bank including ten Business Resource Groups (BRGs) with 100 global chapters. Koski has seven years of experience at U.S. Bank and has held various positions within the HR organization supporting the enterprise onboarding and employee group programs.

Her strengths are inspiring people to deliver a vision and empowering employee group board members to use their skills to develop their colleagues and give back to their communities.

Koski holds a Master’s in Voice Performance from Wichita State University and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI. She uses her performance skills as a part-time music director and voice teacher.

TOP 5 Recipient of the 2016 ERG & Council Honors Award™



Wil Lewis: Session Facilitator
Senior Vice President Global Diversity & Inclusion at Bank of America

Session Facilitator:Crafting a Purpose Driven Strategy

Event Advocate

Wil Lewis is a Diversity & Inclusion Executive with accountability for Bank of America’s global military, disability & LGBT strategies. He also has the responsibility for the firm’s Global Employee Networks. In this role, he is responsible for 11 networks with more than 230 chapters in forty countries with 90,000+ members.

Prior to this role, Wil led Diversity & Inclusion for the bank’s Retail & Preferred & Merrill Lynch Wealth management businesses which encompassed more than 100,000 of the firm’s employees. Before joining the Diversity & Inclusion team, Wil was a Staffing Executive leading recruiting activities in Bank of America’s Retail Banking group. Wil’s team drove recruiting activity for Bank of America’s nearly 5,800 banking centers across the US with over 25,000 hires a year. During his tenure at the bank Wil has also led Executive Recruiting, the staffing efforts for Small Business Banking, Sales Service & Execution, LaSalle Global Trust Services and E-Commerce. Wil joined Bank of America in 2006 from the LaSalle acquisition where he held the position of Head of Talent Acquisition for LaSalle Bank and ABN Amro North America, headquartered in Chicago, IL.

Before coming to Bank of America, Wil was a team member at Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, a manufacturing organization of 32,000 world-wide associates. During his time at Smurfit-Stone, Wil led employee relations, talent development and staffing. He created new business processes in 23 countries and centralized multiple functions for the organization resulting in a significant benefit to business.

In his career, Wil has been committed to driving diversity in the workplace. He has served as executive sponsor to Latino, African American and Native American affinity groups. Additionally Wil has worked diligently to create a strong connection with the communities we do business in.

Wil has held roles in both, sales and operations before starting his career path in human resources. Wil is actively engaged in many community activities including serving on the board of the Mahogany Foundation an organization committed to providing a quality education to under privileged youth and Centers for New Horizons a social service agency focused on child & elder care, foster and adoption needs on Chicago’s south side. Wil is a graduate of Drake University and resides with his family in Chicago, IL.



Sheri McGrath: Session Facilitator
Vice President Employee Inclusion at U.S. Bank

Session Facilitator:Virtual Inclusion: Your "How To" Action Plan

Event Lead

Sheri McGrath, Vice President, is the Employee Inclusion Director within Human Resources at U.S. Bank. She currently oversees all employee groups at U.S. Bank including ten Business Resource Groups (BRGs) with 100 global chapters. McGrath has more than 15 years of experience at U.S. Bank and has held various positions within the HR organization successfully leading a number of enterprise-wide employee engagement initiatives.

She currently serves on the United Way Worldwide Women United Global Leadership Council, Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Women United Steering committee, Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute Advisory Committee and the Children’s Theatre Company Curtain Call Ball Committee organizing its annual fundraiser to provide access to the arts for thousands of children in the community.

McGrath holds a Master’s in Business Communication from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Arts from the College of St. Benedict with a Major in English.

TOP 15 Recipient of the 2016 ERG & Council Honors Award™



Heidi Moore: Session Facilitator
Director of Emerging Markets & Inclusion at Froedtert Health

Session Facilitator:What is Your Rapid Response Plan?

Event Supporter

Heidi Moore is the Director of Emerging Markets & Inclusion at Froedtert Health. She partners closely with the Marketing and Communications, Supply Chain, and Community Engagement departments to develop strategies to meet the network goal to touch three million lives and expand market share in the diverse communities served.

Previously, she was a Senior Diversity Consultant at Northwestern Mutual responsible for developing and implementing diversity strategy for the over 300 sales leaders and more than 7,000 sales representatives in partnership with the corporate  office leadership. Prior to Northwestern Mutual, Heidi was the founding Organizational Development/Diversity Leader for the Kohler Company. 

Heidi is an experienced diversity and inclusion professional with more than 20 years of experience in business and sales, human resources, organizational development, and talent development. Before joining Kohler Co., she was the Chief Diversity Leader for eFunds Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Additionally, she was a Business Development Manager for Deluxe Corporation headquartered in Shoreview, Minnesota and a Call Center Manager for Bank One in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Heidi has a Bachelor of Arts degree and completed her master requirements at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.



Paul Mottola: Workshop Facilitator
Senior Consultant & Facilitator at PRISM
International, Inc.

Workshop Facilitator:Discovering Biases to Embrace Inclusion

Event Host

Paul is a Senior Consultant at PRISM specializing in leveraging diversity and inclusion and employment opportunity compliance. For the past 25 years, he has served at PRISM as a Senior Master Facilitator/Consultant and Program Developer helping clients around the U.S. and the world.

Prior to PRISM, he worked extensively with the U.S. Department of Defense, and was the Deputy Director of External Training for the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). Paul was DEOMI’s subject matter expert on affirmative action and gender integration.

Paul received a Master of Science in Management from Florida Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University. He also received a certificate, Basic Mediation Skills & Community Conflict Intervention, from the Center for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa.



Alan Partin: Workshop Facilitator
Vice President Client Relationships at PRISM International, Inc.

Workshop Facilitator:Becoming an Effective,
Impactful Articulate Advocate

Event Host

Alan is Vice President Client Relationships at PRISM where he specializes in developing and nurturing client relationships. His career experience spans Finance, Healthcare, Insurance, Security, Sales and Marketing.  He is experienced and skilled in listening to and understanding his clients’ individual needs.

Prior to his role at PRISM, while working in the banking industry, Alan discovered the bottom line impact that can be achieved by leveraging a diverse workforce to meet marketplace goals. By implementing a comprehensive D&I process and starting a Hispanic sales force to address the needs of an emerging Hispanic market, he increased his department’s sales by 20% over a 2-year period. Because of Alan’s vision, hard work and determination, he was the youngest employee ever appointed to the company’s President’s Advisory Board.

Alan received his Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from the University of Central Florida.



Francisca Phillips: Session Facilitator
Culture Champion at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Event Patron

Session Facilitator: "From Good to Great"…Implementing Inclusion in an Already Diverse Environment

Francisca Phillips is the Culture Champion at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), representing all brands (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises). In this role she helped conceive and launch the companies’ Employee Resource Groups and several brand champion initiatives (e.g. #IamRCL campaign). Francisca also leads the employee engagement surveys and associated initiatives. Her focus goes beyond diversity and inclusion to incorporate all factors that result in RCL being the highest-rated large cruise company by employees.

Francisca joined RCL in 2005 in the Rewards & Recognition Department after a career in competency-based leadership development consulting. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees and a Master in Eduction from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.



Shri Ramachandran: Session Facilitator
Global Vice President & Chief Information Officer, President Inclusion & Diversity Council at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Session Facilitator: What gets Measured, gets Funded

Event Patron

Shrikant Ramachandran is Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. He has global responsibility for all Information Technology (IT) activities, partnering with various divisions, regions, local markets and global support functions to deliver appropriate IT systems for the company.

While serving as the CIO at Mallinckrodt, he serves as the President for the Inclusion and Diversity Council for the company. As the President of the I&D Council, Shri provides leadership and guidance to the Council, oversees the development and execution of the various programs.

Shri has extensive global IT experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, which includes time living and working in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. He has also held roles of increasing responsibility at top multinational corporations in industries from finance and information services consulting to semiconductor manufacturing.

Shri holds a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University in India, a Master’s in Engineering from Canterbury University in New Zealand, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Penn State University’s Smeal School of Business in State College, Pennsylvania.

TOP 6 Recipient of the 2016 ERG & Council Honors Award™



Shary Tran: Session Facilitator
Shary Tran, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Froedtert Health

Session Facilitator:What is Your Rapid Response Plan?

Event Supporter

Shary Tran is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Health System. Her work focuses on Workplace and Workforce initiatives with the ultimate goal of ensuring a quality healthcare experience for everyone who chooses Froedtert for their care. Shary specializes in strategic recruitment, education and development of quality staff for the health system. This work is accomplished through cultivation of key partnerships with internal departments and community organizations.

Before joining Froedtert Health, Shary spent over 13 years working in the field of Diversity and Inclusion for Fortune 500 companies such as Briggs & Stratton and Johnson Controls where she developed and coordinated the implementation of workforce diversity and compliance strategies.

Shary holds a Masters in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a Bachelor of Administration in International Business from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater.



Monica Villalta: Session Facilitator
MPH, Chief Diversity Officer at the American
Institutes for Research

Session Facilitator: Applying Diversity Practices in a Shifting Culture

Event Champion

Mónica Villalta is Chief Diversity Officer at the American Institutes for Research. In this role, she guides AIR’s continuing efforts to diversify their workforce and ensure an inclusive organization. She also endeavors to increase staff knowledge and experience, develop diversity and inclusion competencies, and promote AIR’s six employee resource groups.

Monica received a Masters of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and has 25 years of experience helping people and organizations to see the power and impact of culture, diversity, and inclusion.


Presented by:

PRISM International

Association of Diversity Councils