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2019 Speaker Biographies

    2019 Full Speaker Biographies

    KEYNOTE

    • Dr. Katrice A. Albert -  Executive Vice President of Inclusion and Human Resources for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

    BREAKOUT SESSIONS

    PANELIST

    • Hollis Conway, OLY -  Assistant Director for  Diversity, Leadership and Education at University of Louisiana Lafayette 
    • Kevin DawsonVice President of GE New Orleans
    • Todd Manuel - Director of Organizational Health & Diversity for Entergy Corporation
    • Monica Sylvain, Ph.D. - Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer at IBERIABANK

    PANEL MODERATOR


    KEYNOTE

    Dr. Katrice A. Albert, PH.D. -  Executive Vice President of Inclusion and Human Resources for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

    Session: Keynote Address

    Katrice A. Albert is the NCAA’s executive vice president of inclusion and human resources. In this role, she leads efforts to enhance diversity, inclusion, leadership development, and education and community engagement. Additionally, she is responsible for leading national office employee relations, performance management, professional development, and compensation and benefits programs. Before joining the NCAA, she served in executive capacities with the University of Minnesota System from 2013 to 2017, and at Louisiana State University from 2005 to 2013. She led diversity, inclusion and equity strategies in both positions.

    Albert frequently writes, speaks and consults on issues of intercultural competence, educational and workforce diversity, gender and dynamics of power, the complexities of diverse populations, educational access, community-university partnerships, corporate social responsibility, and the application of psychological knowledge to ethnic minorities and other underserved populations. Also, she serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, and her works have been published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology and the Journal of Counseling and Development. Albert also is the co-editor of two volumes: “Trayvon Martin, Race, and American Justice: Writing Wrong” and “Racial Battle Fatigue in Higher Education: Exposing the Myth of Post-Racial America.”

    Albert earned a doctoral degree in counseling psychology at Auburn University and completed her clinical internship at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology at Boston Medical Center. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi and graduated magna cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

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    BREAKOUT SESSIONS

    Michelle Craig - Managing Partner at Transcendent Legal, LLC

    Session: Diversity & Inclusion in the Public Sector: Devising a Plan to Implement D&I Principles in the Public Sector

    Michelle D. Craig is Managing Partner of Transcendent Law Group. With over 15 years of Am200 law firm experience, she became the first African-American female Partner in the New Orleans Office of an Am200 regional law firm before starting her own firm. She holds dual degrees, including a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and a Bachelor of the Civil Law (B.C.L.), from the Louisiana State University (LSU) Law Center. She also studied International and Comparative Law at the Université d'Aix Marseille III in Aix en Provence, France.

    In her practice, she facilitates effective resolution of legal matters for small to large companies in all practice areas. She regularly provides legal counsel to existing and newly formed charter schools. In that capacity, she assists charter schools with their employment and legal needs from inception through operation, including drafting employment documents, vendor agreements, student handbooks, parent teacher handbooks and authorization documents. She also assists with ongoing personnel matters, board governance and procedures, compliance with the charter application processes, and the selection and training of administrators. In addition, she serves as the outside general counsel for several companies by providing transactional and litigation advice, proactive management and human resources guidance and counseling. To assist small and medium-sized firms in their process improvement, she created Prosquire, a legal project management software. She is very active in the community and very passionate about the economic sustainability and development of the New Orleans area. She currently serves as both the Chairperson of the Orleans Parish Civil Service Commission and the Secretary of the Downtown Development District in New Orleans.

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    Monique Gougisha Doucette Shareholder at Ogletree Deakins

    Session: Diversity & Inclusion in the Public Sector: Devising a Plan to Implement D&I Principles in the Public Sector

    Ms. Doucette is a frequent speaker on various employment law topics and contributing author to publications such as the Louisiana Bar Journal and HR Magazine. She is also an avid supporter of the local arts and education in New Orleans by serving on the executive board of directors for the New Orleans Ballet Association and the Arts Council of New Orleans, as well as the board of directors for Urban League of Louisiana and the advisory board for the New Orleans Opera Association. She is a member of the A.P. Tureaud Chapter of the American Inns of Court and serves as a co-chair on the ABA Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee's Diversity Initiative Task Force.

    Experience:

    Ms. Doucette has obtained summary judgments or dismissals on behalf of clients in a variety of cases and successfully defended those decisions in the appellate courts. Some of her successful summary judgments or dismissals include:

    • Obtaining jury verdict in favor of national oilfield equipment supplier and dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit by employees seeking $120 million after a 12 day trial, with the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the jury verdict;
    • Successfully obtaining dismissal of an ADEA and ADA claim filed against a national insurance company;
    • Dismissing federal and state law claims of defamation, wrongful termination and tortious conversion on behalf of one of the world’s largest banks, including dismissal by the Louisiana Supreme Court;
    • Obtaining dismissal of sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims on behalf of a large freight and shipping corporation, with the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming judgment for the defendant;
    • Obtaining dismissal of a pregnancy discrimination claim on behalf of one of the nation’s largest banks;
    • Successfully defending and dismissing a race discrimination and retaliation claim against one of Louisiana's largest construction companies, resulting in an award of attorney’s fees on behalf of the employer.

    Admitted to Practice:

    Louisiana, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

    Honors and Awards:

    • Best Lawyers in America – Employment Law, Management
    • Fellow, 2012 Leadership Council for Legal Diversity
    • Honoree, New Orleans CityBusiness, 2011 Women of the Year
    • Recipient, Loyola University New Orleans John G. Arnold Cardinal Key Commencement Award for Outstanding Female Graduate
    • Semi-finalist, Robert F. Wagner National Labor & Employment Law Moot Court Competition
    • Senior Justice, Tulane Moot Court Board
    • Leading Lawyer, Chambers USA

    For more about information about Monique, click here.

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    Amy Landry, SHRM-CP -  Founder & Owner of Fuel Success Academy, LLC

    Amy Landry has 15+ years’ experience in human resources. She is a Human Resources Certified Professional through the Society of Human Resources and a Meyers Briggs (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.

    Amy Landry is Founder and President of training company, Fuel Success Academy, LLC, specializing in customer service and workforce development.

    In 2014, Amy left her Director of Human Resources position to start consulting after experiencing firsthand the difficult transition of returning back to work from maternity leave.  From her personal experience, Amy, committed to improving the experience for working mothers through education. Amy is Founder of ‘Diapers to Desk,’ whose mission is to provide new mothers with maternity reintegration assistance and companies with retention strategies. The program was successfully implemented at Shell Oil in 2017 and expanded nation-wide through webinars in 2018.

    Landry is a charter member of American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) Crescent City Connections local league, a national association with over 18,000 women nationwide. She has served in multiple leadership roles and currently serving as Past President. Amy created two successful empowerment events with a training mentality to build skills enabling women to be earn more and be more. She created a Leadership Conference held at NOLA Motorsports Park and an Equal Pay Day Celebration event held on National Equal Pay Day every year. Both events have raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and have equipped hundreds of women with new skills. In 2018 Amy was awarded the prestigious honor of the league's Woman of The Year and was then nominated by her entire chapter to represent the league nationally as a Top Ten Business Women nominee. Amy was selected by ABWA Nationals as one of Top Ten Business Women for all of ABWA for 2019.

    Landry serves on the board for the New Orleans Society of Human Resources Management as the Director of Professional Development. She is a 2017 alumni of Emerging Philanthropist of New Orleans, a 2017 inaugural Economic Ambassador through NOLA Business Alliance, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Member, POW of Women Business Strategist member, Fidelity P.O.W.E.R. member, and selected to serve as an advisor on Loyola’s inaugural Women Leadership Academy Advisory Committee.

    Locally, Amy is a 2018 City Business Woman of the Year, 2018 GNO Inc. Millennial Award Winner in Business, and was honored by the Baby Cakes as an All Star Women in Business in 2018.

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    Julia Mendez, SHRMP-CP, CDP, CAAP, PHR, CELS -  Principle Business Consultant for Affirmity

    Session: Invisible Disabilities and Accommodations

    Julia Méndez is Principal Business Consultant for Affirmity. She is based out of the New Orleans area.  Ms. Méndez’s current duties include overseeing the training programs for customers as well as creating content and delivering training in areas such as equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action (AA) compliance, and diversity.  She also has over 20 years of experience in assisting clients through OFCCP compliance reviews and offering technical assistance both to clients and internal customers. She has also been invited to speak at national, regional and local conferences on topics such as recruiter compliance with AAPs, regulatory requirements for veterans, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities, updates on EEO laws and settlements, as well as recognizing unconscious bias and other diversity topics.

    Ms. Méndez is a graduate of University of New Orleans where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in General Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration.  She also has a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Liberty University where she graduated with distinction. Ms. Mendez was appointed in 2016 by the governor of Louisiana to the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights. She holds a Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute, is a Society of Human Resources Professional Certified Professional, is a Certified Employment Law Specialist from Columbia Southern University, is a Certified Affirmative Action Professional from the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity as well as is a Certified Diversity Professional through the Institute for Diversity Certification.

    Memberships in professional organizations include the Louisiana Liaison Group (LLG) where she served in 2007 and 2008 as President and continues to serve on the board; Society for Human Resource Management; New Orleans SHRM where she served as Diversity Chairperson from 2007-2011; Society for Diversity, and is a member and past Personnel Committee Chair for the American Association for Access, Equality, and Diversity for which she contributed monthly to their EEO Tips section of their email publication.  She also serves on the editorial board for INSIGHT into Diversity and is active with the Inclusion Allies Coalition.

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    Ronnie Slone -  Founder and President of The Slone Group

    Session: Me First! Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI): The View From My Seat

    Ronnie Slone is the Founder and President of The Slone Group, an organizational development and training consulting firm based in the Greater New Orleans area. Ronnie has over 30 years of experience in operations management, human resources, training and professional staffing with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike.  

    His area of expertise includes organizational development and training, executive coaching, operations and business development, and facilitation. Ronnie’s ability to challenge the way people think and behave has made him a sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator. 

    Ronnie is also a faculty member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Delgado Community College and the national cohorts at Babson College.  

    A passionate community leader, Ronnie strives to develop organizations, a ready workforce by preparing youth for life after graduation and help create communities where citizens can live, work, and raise a family. He has contributed to numerous organizations in the Greater New Orleans area as a community volunteer including Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, GNO, Inc., City Park New Orleans, CASA Jefferson, and River Region Chamber of Commerce.  

    Ronnie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. He is an Advanced Associate of Emergenetics International. Currently, he is serving as the Interim Director for Trinity Community Center located in Hollygrove in New Orleans.  

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    Amy Landry, SHRM-CP -  Founder & Owner of Fuel Success Academy, LLC

    Amy Landry has 15+ years’ experience in human resources. She is a Human Resources Certified Professional through the Society of Human Resources and a Meyers Briggs (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.

    Amy Landry is Founder and President of training company, Fuel Success Academy, LLC, specializing in customer service and workforce development.

    In 2014, Amy left her Director of Human Resources position to start consulting after experiencing firsthand the difficult transition of returning back to work from maternity leave.  From her personal experience, Amy, committed to improving the experience for working mothers through education. Amy is Founder of ‘Diapers to Desk,’ whose mission is to provide new mothers with maternity reintegration assistance and companies with retention strategies. The program was successfully implemented at Shell Oil in 2017 and expanded nation-wide through webinars in 2018.

    Landry is a charter member of American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) Crescent City Connections local league, a national association with over 18,000 women nationwide. She has served in multiple leadership roles and currently serving as Past President. Amy created two successful empowerment events with a training mentality to build skills enabling women to be earn more and be more. She created a Leadership Conference held at NOLA Motorsports Park and an Equal Pay Day Celebration event held on National Equal Pay Day every year. Both events have raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and have equipped hundreds of women with new skills. In 2018 Amy was awarded the prestigious honor of the league's Woman of The Year and was then nominated by her entire chapter to represent the league nationally as a Top Ten Business Women nominee. Amy was selected by ABWA Nationals as one of Top Ten Business Women for all of ABWA for 2019.

    Landry serves on the board for the New Orleans Society of Human Resources Management as the Director of Professional Development. She is a 2017 alumni of Emerging Philanthropist of New Orleans, a 2017 inaugural Economic Ambassador through NOLA Business Alliance, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Member, POW of Women Business Strategist member, Fidelity P.O.W.E.R. member, and selected to serve as an advisor on Loyola’s inaugural Women Leadership Academy Advisory Committee.

    Locally, Amy is a 2018 City Business Woman of the Year, 2018 GNO Inc. Millennial Award Winner in Business, and was honored by the Baby Cakes as an All Star Women in Business in 2018.

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    PANELIST

    Hollis Conway, OLY -  Assistant Director for  Diversity, Leadership and Education at University of Louisiana Lafayette 

    UL Lafayette track and field great Hollis Conway returned to his alma mater in January 2018 to serve in the role of Assistant Director for Diversity, Leadership and Education. In this role, Conway is responsible for development and implementation of the athletics department’s Geaux Cajuns Program which is designed to provide leadership and guidance to student-athletes in accordance with the following five pillars: community engagement, leadership, career development, personal development, and health and wellness. He is also tasked with implementing an institution-wide comprehensive education and training initiative to cultivate a campus climate of inclusion and respect. Conway was a six-time NCAA All-American, six-time conference champion and three-time NCAA champion for the Ragin' Cajuns from 1986-89. He enjoyed a decorated international career that included Olympic medals for high jump in the 1988 and 1992 games. Since retiring from jumping in 2001, he's impacted lives through his motivational speaking company Overcoming Obstacles, Inc. The Chicago, Ill., native was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2015 and is also a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the UL Lafayette Athletics Hall of Fame.

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    Kevin Dawson Vice President of GE New Orleans

    Kevin has over 25 years of technical experience, delivering IT solutions for Bank of America, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Online, and BEA Systems. He has been working for GE since 2006 and is the currently the Vice President and CIO of GE New Orleans and the Vice President of Software Engineering for GE Power. Kevin and his wife Rachel relocated to New Orleans from Atlanta in late 2016.

    He is passionate about building modern, inclusive, diverse teams and a culture where employees bring their best (and true) selves to work every day leveraging their distinct backgrounds to deliver transformative solutions.

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    Todd Manuel - Director of Organizational Health & Diversity for Entergy Corporation

    Todd S. Manuel is Director of Organizational Health & Diversity with Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations.  As director of OH&D, Todd is responsible for developing and leading the company’s strategy for improving organizational health, diversity and inclusion.  He is also responsible for ensuring Entergy meets all compliance requirements set by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Todd previously served as Assistant General Counsel with Entergy and has a demonstrated history of successfully working in the utilities industry.  As a member of the Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department’s litigation team, he represented the company’s interests in casualty and commercial matters.  He has counseled operating company officers on litigation risks that impact Entergy subsidiaries and managed all aspects of litigation from inception through completion, including mediation and settlement.  Todd also has broad experience selecting and working with experts on a variety of issues that impacted the company’s business interests.

    In addition to managing litigation risks and providing creative client solutions, Todd has been involved in a number of company-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives.  He has served as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department.  He also served as Chair of Entergy’s Multicultural & Women’s Employee Resource Group.  A recognized diversity thought leader and advocate of inclusive work environments, Todd has been involved in a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives that extend beyond Entergy’s own programming.

    Prior to joining Entergy, Todd was a partner with the Baton Rouge based law firm Taylor, Porter Brooks & Phillips, LLP, where he practiced for fourteen years and served as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Associates Committee and Chair of its Diversity Committee.  During his law firm tenure, Todd was engaged primarily in general civil defense litigation with an emphasis in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Insurance Defense, Employment and Toxic Tort Litigation.  As a litigation partner, Todd managed all aspects of litigation including trial and appellate strategy.

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    Monica Sylvain, Ph.D. - Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer at IBERIABANK

    Dr. Monica Sylvain is Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer of IBERIABANK where she is building the diversity and inclusion (D&I) enterprise for the financial holding company. Prior to joining IBERIABANK, Dr. Sylvain was the founding Director of Posse New Orleans, a regional site that is part of The Posse Foundation, a premier college success, leadership cultivation and workforce diversification program founded in 1989. Throughout her 7-year tenure at Posse, Sylvain built a reputation for incubating a start-up nonprofit, championing equity & diversity, building a strong advisory board, and stewarding broad-base stakeholder relationships to ensure the long-term viability of the local organization. For her work, Dr. Sylvain was honored with the coveted YLC Role Model Award.

    Before pursuing her interest in D&I and development, Professor Sylvain taught at Xavier University in New Orleans and Louisiana State University. She began her career as a process engineer working for American Cyanamid and subsequently as a project manager at the commodity chemical spin-off company, Cytec Industries. Dr. Sylvain received her Analytical Chemistry Ph.D. with honors from Louisiana State University, where she wrote a two-part dissertation on Proteins in Atherosclerosis and Mentoring in STEM. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering magna cum laude from Howard University.

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    PANEL MODERATOR

    Missy Sparks, PhD - Vice-President of Talent Management / Human Resources at Ochsner Health System

    Missy Sparks serves as Vice-President of Talent Management/Human Resources  for Ochsner Health System. In this role she oversees Workforce Development, New Hire Orientations, Diversity & Inclusion, Performance Management and Engagement for more than 18,000 employees.

    Her passion is developing a diverse talent pipeline that opens career pathways into healthcare for the unemployed/underemployed in our community. The work of she and her team in this arena has been featured in HR Magazine, GNOF’s Annual Report, Grads for Life, and on the website for the Kellogg Foundation. Additionally, it has led to local and national recognition. Missy and team received the 2016 Executive Leadership Award for Project of the Year by Ochsner for work that has led to career starts for nearly 150 unemployed/underemployed as Medical Assistants. Ochsner was awarded the 2017 Frontline Workforce Champion by CareerSTAT and the National Funds for Workforce Solutions. And, Ochsner’s CEO & President received the Chief Executive of Opportunity award for the efforts of Missy and team to create new economic pathways for the disadvantaged by the City of New Orleans.

    Prior to joining Ochsner, she served as the vice president for education, communications and community at Alliance Safety Council (previouly known as Safety Council of the Louisiana Capital Area). Missy was an assistant professor in the Department of Communications at Xavier University of Louisiana.

    Missy earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies, with a focus on rhetoric and public address and a minor in political science, from Louisiana State University. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Professionals.

    Missy serves her community through participation in a variety of civic and philanthropic organizations. She is a current board member for the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act for New Orleans, YouthForce NOLA, and for Communities in Schools. She is Co-lead for the Healthcare Advisory Workforce Council for the City of New Orleans. Additionally, she volunteers weekly to help feed the hungry and homeless through St. Mark’s United Methodist Church on North Rampart.  

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    Master of Ceremonies

    Kyndra Joi - Host of On the Move! on WBOK and Executive Director at I am My Sister

    Kyndra Joi is the host of the newest show on WBOK, On the Move! She serves as the Executive Director of the non-profit I Am My Sister, is a Licensed Master Social Worker, Cultural and Holistic Family Health Consultant, Certified Belief Therapist, Certified Herbalist, Recording Artist, and Emcee. Kyndra has earned a Master of Social Work degree from Illinois State University and has over 16 years of experience in the community servicing children and families.

    Kyndra has used her experiences in clinical and community settings to develop curriculums and seminars on holistic mental and spiritual health. In addition to facilitating wellness workshops, she also consults with for- and non-profit organizations to assist in meeting the need for development and growth in the community while being a mentor and learning as a mentee daily.

    Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Kyndra is affectionately known as “Gullah Gal” in the community and actively educates and creates awareness of the Gullah culture through her interactive workshops of language, dance, and song.

    In addition, when not imparting light with the community, she and her band, Soul Theory are bringing a clap to your hand a groove to your feet with their sultry mixture of Funk and Soul. Kyndra and this dynamic group have performed with musical greats such as Kermitt Ruffins, Davell Crawford, Charmaine Neville, and Dr. Michael White just to name a few. Kyndra serves as a vocal instructor for a Girl Jazz Camp in New London, CT and is an avid fan of the Golden Girls!

    Click here to learn more about Kyndra.

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