2016 ERG & Council Conference:
Educate - Engage - Empower!

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Presenters & Featured Events


Apollo Robbins

An Artful Manipulator of Awareness

Conference Opening Event: Unconscious Bias: Illusions & Conclusions

Apollo Robbins is a performer, speaker, consultant and one of the world's leading experts on misdirection - things that we see every day but are blinded to. A student of human nature, he is a pioneer in the application of misdirection to operational environments. Forbes has called him “an artful manipulator of awareness”. Apollo uses entertaining and educational acts of illusion - pick pocketing and sleight of hand - to demonstrate perception management and self-deception that helps us become more aware of how we perceive, how we understand and how we draw our own conclusions.

Apollo co-founded Red Handed Media, which quickly became a go-to expert for the science community, law enforcement and government agencies studying human behavior. Drawing from his 20-plus years of experience as an entertainer and trainer, Robbins and Red Handed Media use transmedia and live event production to develop immersive training modules with a focus on experiential learning.

Apollo has been featured in The New Yorker and in numerous publications such as New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He produced and co-hosted the National Geographic program Brain Games, which was nominated for an Emmy as an Outstanding Informational Series. His popular appearance The Today Show is a YouTube favorite at more than 8 million views. The TED editors described Robbins’s TED Global 2013 Talk "The Art of Misdirection" with 11 million views as a revelation in the flaws of human perception. Most recently, he joined well renowned neuroscientist Dr. John Gabriele, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT on stage to discuss Illusion, behavior and the brain.



Ash Beckham

Sharing her Story to Embolden Others to do the Same

Second Day Opening Event: Owning Your Duality

Ash Beckham is a bold, dynamic presenter who speaks about empathy, respect, and the power of having real conversations. In Owning Your Duality, Ash discovered herself in a situation that made her ask: who am I? She felt pulled between two roles — as an aunt and as an advocate. Each of us feels this struggle sometimes, she says — and offers bold suggestions for how to stand up for your moral integrity when it isn’t convenient.

Ash is an accidental advocate. Three years ago she was living her life as an event entrepreneur before her 2013 TEDxBoulder talk went viral. With funny and poignant personal stories, and a tough yet deeply compassionate stance, Ash tells us how to take off our armor and be our authentic selves. She believes if we can live in a world of duality rather than polarity we can see that our similarities dwarf our differences

Ash has been featured in The Huffington Post and NPR. Ultimately, she advocates for FREEDOM. Freedom to give voice to your truth, freedom to love without limits, freedom to be the person you were intended to be.



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

Workshop Facilitator: Using the ERG & Council Honors Award™ Application and Application Summary Report as Tools to Drive Greater Impact

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 120 cross cultural and 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 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.

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.

Most recently she has taken 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.

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.



Lisa Allen-Brown - Session Facilitator
Vice President, Employee Communications &
Instructional Design, State Street Corp.

TOP 7 Recipient of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award™

Session Facilitator: The Power of a Hashtag: Using Social Media to Build Your ERG or Council Brand, Engage Employees, and Deliver Business Value

Lisa is a Vice President overseeing internal communications, instructional design, and community outreach for the Global Operations division at State Street Corp., a Fortune 500 company. She also serves as a member of the Global Operations Diversity Working Group and Co-chair of the Flexible Work Employee Network (FWEN) which placed #7 on the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award Top 25 list and is part of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award Leaders Circle.

When she joined State Street in 2012, Lisa led change management efforts to drive adoption of an internal social media platform as part of a business transformation program. Prior to that, Lisa was at the Massachusetts Port Authority, where she worked on communications and established the first-ever social media program for Boston Logan International Airport (and tweeted as @bostonlogan).

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Emerson College and a graduate certificate from the University of Massachusetts Program for Women in Politics & Public Policy. She is a long-time supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester and Community Servings in Boston, Massachusetts.



Jenifer Hartnett-Bullen - Session Facilitator
Chief Administrative Officer, Strategic Enterprise
Business Solutions, State Street Corp.

TOP 7 Recipient of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award™

Session Facilitator: The Power of a Hashtag: Using Social Media to Build Your ERG or Council Brand, Engage Employees, and Deliver Business Value

Jenifer is the Chief Administrative Officer for a key group within State Street’s Global Operations business unit, has extensive experience working with clients and colleagues to develop and implement change programs. Her responsibilities include communications, learning & development programming, and employee engagement for more than 400 employees.

Jenifer has been at State Street since 2010; prior to that, she held a number of roles in consulting across various industries, focused on organizational change management, communications, and knowledge management. She holds a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor’s Degree from the School of International Service at The American University, with a major in Spanish and Latin American Area Studies, and a minor in Economics



Rhom Erskine - Session Facilitator
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, McKesson Corporation

Session Facilitator: Leveraging a National ERG Structure to Scale and Align Chapters

Rhom is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at McKesson Corporation, with specific responsibility for Inclusive Culture, encompassing D&I Communication, Education, and Engagement. In this role, he works closely with HRBPs, Business Unit leaders, Workforce Intelligence and Corporate Communications to weave diversity and inclusion thought leadership into the company culture.

At the forefront of this work is the expansion and increased profile of McKesson’s Employee Resoure Groups (ERGs), which he helped move into a national infrastructure that provides strategic vs. tactical oversight, drives consistency in processes and practices, makes it easier for employees to engage, and allows for global scalability in the future.

Prior to this role, he was Director of Strategy and Business Development at Sciberus, Inc. where he identified business opportunities, developing strategic partnerships, and driving overall company growth across the Government, Private Sector, Education, and Nonprofit arenas> He served as the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural at Affairs at Harland Clarke Holdings Corporation, where he provided strategic counsel, support and updates to Senior and Executive Management on developing and integrating diversity goals and strategies into business processes and practices.

Rhom holds a B.A. in Psychology from Morehouse College and an MBA with a Marketing concentration from Clark Atlanta University.

Thank You Sponsor!



Michael A. Gonzales - Session Facilitator
Director, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion at Hallmark

Session Facilitator: Partnering with Employee Resource Groups to Influence Your Business Results - " Castro: Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion"

Michael is the Director of Corporate Diversity & Inclusion at Hallmark. He is responsible for Hallmark’s Corporate Diversity & Inclusion’s strategies and direction, Diversity & Inclusion’s, (D&I’s) internal and external collaborations, partnerships, support and compliance. More specifically, Michael is responsible for the execution of the Corporate Diversity & Inclusion’s efforts regarding, workforce, workplace, marketplace and community priorities. He sustains the relevance of the company’s Diversity & Inclusion business case while overseeing the company’s six Employee Resource Groups, (ERG’s). He’s skilled in the areas of building critical relations, innovation and resourcing, business collaboration, employee relations, diverse and cultural understandings, compliance metrics and program management.

History and portfolio involvement include; board positions that reflect progress against an aggressive and iterative scorecard. Michael saw a need for D&I collaborative thought and best practice and so co-founded the KC D&I Consortium, he’s partnered in creating a Hispanic college student mentoring program. Michael was responsible for the creation of Hallmark’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion. He also was the project lead for Hallmark’s first summit on Diversity & Inclusion. He is a frequent resource to fellow Diversity & Inclusion and Human Resource professionals from the business, non-profits and higher education communities on topics of Diversity & Inclusion and ERG’s.

Michael holds B.F.A. and M.S. degrees from Emporia State University.



Bobby Gordon - Workshop Facilitator
Vice President Client Relationships, 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.



Salvador Mendoza - Session Facilitator
Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion at NBCUniversal

TOP 15 Recipient of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award™

Session Facilitator: Getting the Most from your Executive Sponsor Relationship

Salvador Mendoza is Vice President Diversity & Inclusion for NBCUniversal. He is responsible for the development of long-term strategies in the areas of workforce, community investment and management of NBCUniversal’s employee resource groups, with a focus on enhancing the company’s diverse and inclusive environment. Previously, Mendoza served as Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. In his fifteen years at Hyatt, he worked to integrate the company’s diversity & inclusion strategies across recruitment, staffing, employee and labor relations, learning and development, procurement, employee network groups and communications.

Mendoza received a B.S. from Chicago State University and M.S. from Governors State University. Among his many accolades, he has been recognized as one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics, iConexion Game Changer Award, Black Meetings & Tourism APEX Award for Distinguished Service, the Disability Champion Award and Chicago State University’s Latino Alumni Award.



Alan Partin - Workshop Facilitator
Vice President Client Relationships, 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. 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 was able to increase 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.



Stephanie Piimauna - Session Facilitator
Director Diversity & Inclusion at MGM Resorts International

TOP 20 Recipient of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award™

Session Facilitator: Creating Inclusive Environments through Power of Recognition – Ubuntu

Stephanie is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at MGM Resorts International. She works closely with the company’s Chief Diversity Officer in developing Diversity & Inclusion metrics, measurements, and goals as well as supporting the 12 CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Councils and 16 ENGs (Employee Network Groups).

She has been in the customer service and learning and development industry for the past 20 years. Over the last 12 years, she has traveled across the United States and Europe facilitating leadership training and delivering motivational speeches for many organizations including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, U.S. Airforce, and U.S. Army, the Four Seasons, Nacro UK, SMCOV and many other organizations.

Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She also holds numerous certifications in leadership and diversity.

Thank You Sponsor!



Tanya Vaughn-Patterson - Session Facilitator
Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, NextEra Energy

TOP 19 Recipient of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award™

Session Facilitator: ERGs and Philanthropy: Integrating Your Brand in the Community

Tanya is a Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant with NextEra Energy where she has served for over four years. She helps drive the company's diversity and inclusion efforts across the enterprise and manages the its 11 Employee Resource Groups.

Her role allows her to work with individuals with all abilities and therefore, has a front row seat to the many strategies and tools that can be used to assist all employees in working towards the common goal...organizational sustainability. Serving over 25 years as a human resources professional, Tanya is able to leverage her talent of developing others with her joy of working with all levels of the team to help the company achieve its business objectives.

Tanya received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Northwood University and her Masters in Human Resource Management from the University of Phoenix. Tanya is a United States Marine Corps Veteran where she served for over nine years.

Thank you patron!



Miguel Valenciano - Workshop Facilitator
Senior Consultant, PRISM International, Inc.

Workshop Facilitator: Leveraging Your Multicultural Skills and Competencies to Grow Your Career

Event Host

Miguel is a Senior Consultant at PRISM specializing in leveraging diversity and inclusion and increasing cross cultural effectiveness. For the past 18 years, he has served at PRISM as a Senior Master Facilitator/Consultant assisting clients around the U.S. and the world.

He is a native speaker in Spanish and is versed in French and Italian. He has lived and worked around the globe in countries such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Peru, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Marshall Islands, Philippines, Indonesia, Samoa, Tonga and many of the eastern European countries.

Miguel received his Master of Arts in Education from the University of Oregon and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Costa Rica.



Melissa Wallace - Session Facilitator
Senior Manager Diversity & Inclusion at American Airlines along with the American Airlines Inclusion & Diversity Team

TOP 3 Recipient of the 2015 ERG & Council Honors Award™

Session Facilitator: Driving For Results Through ERG Collaboration

Melissa is Senior Manager Diversity & Inclusion at American Airlines. A 31 year veteran with AA, she joined the Diversity Strategies team in 2008. In her current role, she helps with the execution of the strategic direction, implementation, and alignment of the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) to Business Initiatives, Community Involvement, and Employee Engagement.

The DAC is comprised of two representatives from each of the 19 Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs) at American Airlines which include ethnic, faith, generational, and other affinities. She helps leads the American Airlines Diversity Advisory Council to be recognized as one of the Nation’s top 25 Councils by the Association of ERGs & Councils for the past six years.

Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Western Kentucky University.

Thank you parton!


Presented by:

Association of Diversity Councils

PRISM International