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    2021 Speakers


    • Marques Colston - Strategist | Entrepreneur | Champion​ | Former Saints Great 




    • Dr. Anthony C. Hood - Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for First Horizon Bank


    Marques Colston - Strategist | Entrepreneur | Champion​ | Former Saints Great 

    Session: Keynote Address

    Marques Colston is the founder of Marques Colston Enterprises (MCE), a professional development services company, which empowers organizations and growth-minded individuals to unlock creativity and possibility to experience sustainable business success.

    Creating Separation is a Mindset© inspired by his illustrious NFL career, spanning a decade. Marques’ game-changing methodology of ‘Creating Separation’ is the paradigm shift that has propelled him to overcome adversity and experience seemingly unattainable accomplishments both personally and professionally, over his lifetime.

    “The reality is most business professionals have dealt with limitations external forces place on their ability to succeed. The good news is they don’t have to accept them.” Marques is convinced you can build professional success and transcend perceived limitations with the right mindset and strategies.

    Marques’ sustained durable competitive advantage is Irrational Confidence™ -- A mindset shift rooted in the belief that an individual can perform at seemingly unattainable levels due to having the right mentality, well developed strategies, and grit.

    Irrational Confidence™ was the contributing factor to the creation of employment opportunities, community development outreach programs, and opportunities for athletes as a franchise owner in professional football. Marques’ ventures have since expanded to business ownership, partnership, investment and advisory roles for dozens of businesses and organizations.

    The rigors and challenges experienced through his success and failure have uniquely positioned Marques to empower entrepreneurs and business owners to open their minds to possibilities and create meaningful value to fuel their business trajectory.

    Currently, Marques serves on the advisory committee for NFL Players Inc., the licensing arm of the NFL Players Association. He launched Venture Investing and Entrepreneurship for Professional Athletes, an executive education program for current and former professional athletes at the prestigious Columbia Business School. He has partnered with his alma mater, Hofstra University to create the Marques Colston Fellowship, which provides experiential learning opportunities for student-athletes in health majors. And is currently teaching entrepreneurship and life skills to undergraduate students as an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans.

    Marques is a Super Bowl champion, inductee in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame in both Pennsylvania and Louisiana. While an active player for the New Orleans Saints, he was the all-time franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards, and total touchdowns.

    Colston is a proud husband and father. He resides in the Greater Philadelphia area with his wife, Emily, a real estate professional and health and fitness expert, and their two children, Austin and Mia. Shift your thinking, develop strategies, achieve sustainable success.


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    Theresa Agovino - Workplace Editor for SHRM 

    Session: Meeting the Challenge of Keeping Working Mothers Happy at Your Organization

    As the workplace editor for SHRM, Agovino covers a wide array of topics that affect organizations and their employees, including diversity, ageism, the environment and the economy.  Agovino joined SHRM in 2018 after spending four years as a freelance journalist. She was a reporter for Crain’s New York Business and The Associated Press, and also spent six years as a Budapest-based foreign correspondent for a variety of publications.

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    Kelly Charles-Collins, ESQ., MBA - CEO of HR Legally Speaking, Attorney, Speaker, Author and Consultant

    Session: Disrupt Unconscious Bias: Act on Facts, Not Fiction

    Kelly Charles-Collins, CEO of HR Legally Speaking, LLC, has the unique ability to make difficult and sensitive topics more approachable.

    She’s a powerhouse attorney and expert on disrupting unconscious bias, bystander intervention, and workplace investigations. Kelly leverages her 20+ years of employment law experience, intuitive perspective, and engaging personality to empower leaders to stay on the right side of the next #hashtag movement.

    Leaders love Kelly’s practical tools that instantly improve company culture, promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and boost productivity while protecting their people and profit. She is the author of ACE Your Workplace InvestigationsSpeak: Silence is Not an Option!, and Conversations Change Things: The “PER”fect Framework for Courageous Conversations.

    Kelly is also the Founder of Ladies Who Leverage, a global women’s community, whose mission is to empower women to leverage their expertise, resources, and relationships to build their business, brand, and badassery. Under her brand Coach Kelz, she’s also the Chief Visioneer who empowers women to reverse engineer their visions into reality.

    Kelly and her award-winning TEDx Talk - The Bystander Effect: Why Some People Act and Others Don’t have been featured on television and podcasts and she’s been quoted in several publications, including ABC, NBC, Forbes and Fast Company.

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    Jada Monica Drew - CEO of Social Designs

    Session: Fostering a Culture of Bravery in the Midst of Division​

    When people think of Jada, they think, results, impact, innovation, and community. Jada takes intentional time with clients to ensure optimum results and an engaged experience. Jada is passionate about working with leaders and serving as a catalyst for growth as a trainer, coach, and consultant.

    She is the CEO of Social Designs , a leadership and diversity firm, and the visionary of the Bloom: Innovative Solutions for Inclusion annual conference. She is also a True Colors International and Intercultural Development Inventory certified trainer.

    Jada knows what truly drives systemic change; building relationships, historic truth-telling, and creative action. She has been recognized as a United Nations DPINGO speaker and featured in Made in Greensboro . She is also active in the community as a board member of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and the United Way Impact Team.

    When she’s taking a break from speaking and training, Jada enjoys cooking, spending time with family, working out, and traveling.

    Connect with Jada @jadamonicadrew
    YouTube | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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    Dr. Helen Holton, IDI, CPED, CPCC, ICF, CPA, SHRM-CP, PHR - Chief Thought Leader at Dr. Helen Holton and Assocaites

    Session: What’s the IDI?  Why We Need It Now More Than Ever

    Helen Holton, Chief Thought Leader, Dr. Helen Holton and Associates is a recovering elected official after 20+ years public service.  Today, a powerful coach, trainer, consultant, author, and speaker who brings an intercultural perspective to local issues with global impact from the intersection of race, gender, political power and privilege.  She lives an authentic life, unapologetically. Dr. Helen speaks truth to power and brings light into the darkness.  A bridge-builder for inclusion, diversity, equity, and resilience.

    A Gallup Certified Strengths Coach & Trainer; Qualified Administrator, Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI)®; Professional in Human Resources (PHR & SHRM-CP); Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Certified Mentor Coach (CMC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF).

    Follow her on social media at, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

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    Bryan Martin -  Program Manager for Inclusion Programs at the SHRM Foundation

    Session: Getting Talent Back To Work

    Bryan Martin is the Program Manager for Inclusion Programming at the SHRM Foundation. Bryan has over eight years of experience managing strategic, mission-driven non-profit programs. Prior to coming to the SHRM Foundation, Bryan served as the Program Manager for Wounded Warrior Project’s Mental Health and Wellness Programs where he developed clinical and non-clinical programming for veterans and their families. Additionally, Bryan spent eight years in the United States Air Force serving a myriad of roles including Program Manager of Employee Performance and Evaluation and Military Outreach Programming. Bryan holds his graduate degree in Non-Profit Management from Johns Hopkins University and is a candidate for his Masters in Human Resource Management from Georgetown University where he anticipates to graduate December 2020.

    At the SHRM Foundation, Bryan oversees the development of inclusion initiatives for veterans, individuals with criminal records, and those with disabilities. In his free time, he seeks opportunities to serve the LGBTQ+ and Autism Communities through volunteering at various non-profit organizations.

    You can contact Bryan Martin at via phone or email at 703.535.6078 or

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    Tamara M. Rasberry, SHRM-CP, PHR - Owner, Rasberry Consulting, LLC

    Session: Let’s Talk About It! Mental Health Awareness and Creating a Mental Health Friendly Workplace​

    Tamara M. Rasberry, SHRM-CP, PHR, currently serves as the Director, HR & Operations for a national nonprofit   organization and is the owner of Rasberry Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in developing strategies for inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging with a focus on addressing mental health in the workplace. Her over 20 years of HR and nonprofit experience have included in-house and consultant roles with nonprofit organizations of all sizes in the DC Metropolitan area. 

    Tamara is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and holds the
    SHRM Inclusive Workplace Culture Specialty Credential. She is also a member of the National Diversity Council and is passionate about going beyond representational diversity to creating inclusive and psychologically safe workplaces that put people first while still reaching strategic goals. Tamara’s thought leadership on mental health and diversity & inclusion have been sought and shared by multiple mainstream media outlets including, Forbes, SHRM HR Magazine, WorkHuman, Ultimate Software and the New York Times. 

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    Deborah Grimes, RN, JD, MSHQS - VP Chief of Diversity and Inclusion for Ochsner Health

    Deborah Grimes received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UAB worked as Registered Nurse for 10 years. She graduated from the Birmingham School of Law with a Juris Doctor Degree. 

    Deborah worked at UAB Risk Management as a Healthcare Attorney.  In 2004, she returned to Hospital Administration as the Director of Joint Commission/ Quality Resources. She was promoted to VP of Quality/Regulatory Affairs named Chief Compliance Officer for UAB Hospital. During this tenure she received a certification as a Healthcare Quality Professional, Certified Healthcare Compliance, completed leadership fellowship training with Momentum Inc. and graduated with Master’s in Science Degree in Quality and Patient Safety. Effective April 1, 2017 she was appointed as UAB Health System first Chief Diversity Officer. Named by Savoy magazine 2019 one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America. In March of 2020 was hired as Ochsner Health’s first VP Chief of Diversity and Inclusion. 

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    Tamara J. Wyre, CIMA - Senior Vice President, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Hancock Whitney

    Tamara Wyre leads corporate diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Hancock Whitney. She is dedicated to energizing a corporate culture respecting and reflecting the diversity of the communities served. Tamara is focused on strategies to attract, develop, and retain a talented and diverse workforce; and to enrich the company's culture, business growth, and community engagement. She also oversees the Hancock Whitney Diversity and Inclusion Council comprising associates from across the company's footprint. Wyre joined Hancock Whitney in 2018 as part of the Capital One Asset Management LLC acquisition as the vice president and senior portfolio manager spearheading the Diversity Leaders Investment Strategy, a socially responsible U.S. investment model invested in companies that demonstrate inclusive practices around gender and equality. Tamara has over 20 years in wealth and asset management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Hampton University College, MBA from Tulane University and a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA ®) Certification from University of California, Berkeley.

    Tamara actively serves on several boards and committees with education and economic empowerment at the forefront including Young Audiences of Louisiana, Dress For Success New Orleans, Café Reconcile and more. She actively promotes and facilitates financial literacy sessions for youth and adults including Rock the Street Wall Street. She was selected as a “Top Women in Asset Management“ by Money Management Executives”; as a “Money Makers” – Leading Financial Professional by New Orleans City Business; and named as an Executive Leadership Council Fellow during her career. Tamara is a subject matter expert on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the workplace and often speaks to community and professional groups.

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    Dr. Anthony C. Hood - Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for First Horizon Bank

    Dr. Anthony C. Hood serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for First Horizon Bank. In this role, he leads the development and execution of firm-wide strategy for embedding DEI into the DNA of the organization.

    He previously served as the Director of Civic Innovation in the Office of the President at UAB as well as an Associate Professor of Management in the Collat School of Business at UAB.

    An electrical engineer by training, Dr. Hood enjoyed a 10 year career with BellSouth and AT&T supporting startup telecom companies in the firm’s wholesale division. He was honored with the Pinnacle Award, the company’s highest honor for productivity and leadership.

    He left AT&T to pursue his PhD full time at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). Since completing his PhD in only 3 years, he has completed studies at the Harvard Business School, Stanford and the Morehouse School of Medicine.

    Dr. Hood received his undergrad and MBA from UAB (Go Blazers!). In 2019, Dr. Hood was honored by the UAB Alumni Association with the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Dr. Hood is a board member of a number of organizations including the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Birmingham Education Foundation, Urban Impact, the Woodlawn Foundation and the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.

    A social entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dr. Hood has received a number of awards for his community-based efforts including the Power of Leadership Award from Alabama Power Company, the Community Game Changer award from the Vulcans Community Awards, and the Dr. A.G. Gaston Award from the A.G. Gaston Business Institute.

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    The 2021 speaker lineup has not been finalized. Check back soon for updates.