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Speaker Biographies 2016

    2016 Full Speaker Biographies

    Sabrina Baker, PHR

    Sabrina Baker, PHR is the founder and CEO of Acacia HR Solutions, a human resource outsourcing and search firm located in Los Angeles, CA. Through her business Sabrina gives small businesses the opportunity to recruit, develop and retain employees as though they were a big business. Sabrina was a corporate human resource leader for eleven years before starting her own business in 2011 after experiencing an untimely layoff. Experiencing job loss has ignited a passion to help job seekers, specifically veterans navigate the confusing and frustrating job market. Sabrina is a writer, speaker, and trainer for various outlets including the SHRM blog and multiple state conferences. 

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    Brooke Duncan

    Brooke Duncan joined Adams and Reese in 1992 and is a senior member of the Labor and Employment team. Hired to build the labor and employment practice of the firm, Brooke helped it grow into the 30-plus lawyer team practicing in that area today. He also co-chairs the firm’s New Business Acceptance Committee and serves as one of the firm’s labor and employment lawyers for in-house matters.

    Focusing his practice on labor and employment law, Brooke works exclusively on behalf of employers and has experience in union avoidance and union relations. He represents employers in many fields including universities, hospitals, trucking companies, shipyards, restaurants, convention and trade show contractors, manufacturers, insurance brokers, and nonprofit organizations.

    Brooke is a problem-solver for his clients. He de-mystifies the law so that clients can use the law as a tool to carry out their objectives and further their goals. One good example involved Brooke resolving a difficult union stranglehold on the convention and trade show industry in New Orleans, which was threatening one of the area’s most important economic engines. Brooke strategized a way to break their hold and allow employers to operate efficiently and more competitively with other cities. This also vastly expanded employment opportunities for local workers who had been unable to break into the union-dominated hiring system. Years of litigation ensued and the client ultimately prevailed. The real achievement was the transformation of the industry for the good of the clients, their employees, and the area’s economy.

    Other ways in which Brooke brings value to clients include: 

    • Practical, proactive consulting with CEOs, managers and human resources professionals about problematic labor and employment issues. Drawing on his real-world workplace management experience, Brooke’s practice focuses on avoiding needless legal entanglements and achieving positive employee relations.
    • Helping employers maintain union-free status, defend job discrimination claims, answer FMLA questions, understand wage and hour regulations, resolve reduction-in-force issues, and comply with the myriad of workplace regulations and laws facing all employers.
    • Developing and revising handbooks and policies; preparing employment agreements and confidentiality/non-competition contracts; advising on employment issues arising from mergers and acquisitions.

    Brooke is a sought-after speaker who regularly conducts seminars and presentations for clients, employer groups, and trade associations. He is listed in Chambers USABest Lawyers® and Louisiana Super Lawyers®. 

    He recently authored and had published, "Best Practices for Dealing with Recent Employment Law Developments and Trends," an employment law chapter in Aspatore: Inside the Minds, The Impact of Recent Regulatory Developments in Employment Law

    Prior to becoming a lawyer, he gained practical business and management experience by running a factory that produced industrial fabric products. Brooke also served as a detective with the New Orleans Police Department, receiving several awards for outstanding duty.

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    Hilda Gonzalez

    Hilda Gonzalez is President of HR Gonzalez Consulting Group, Inc. in Chicago and consults for Illinois corporations and local universities. Her current consulting engagement with McDonald’s Corporation includes the facilitation of professional development workshops. She also assists the Global Inclusion and Intercultural Management team with the creation and enhancement of workshop curricula. Additionally, she coaches employees new to the facilitator role.

    Mrs. Gonzalez provides business solutions to corporations through the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. She is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and the College of Management at National-Louis University in Chicago, Illinois.

    Hilda’s career includes leadership roles at Peoples Energy in Chicago, Illinois. During her 23-year career at Peoples Energy, she rose through positions including Business Analyst, Quality Control Supervisor and Executive Manager. Her responsibilities included the day-to-day operations of a 200 plus employee call center and the development and training of her management team. She also designed and coordinated mentoring and coaching programs for her staff.

    Hilda has experience in multi-cultural training and has a deep understanding and working knowledge of various Latino cultures. She has extensive experience working with corporate executives and community leaders.

    Hilda holds an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, a coaching certificate from Lewis University and a B.A. in Organization Management from Calumet College of St. Joseph.

    Hilda lives in Orland Park, Illinois with her husband Rey.

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    Katrina Kibben

    Katrina Kibben is the Director of Marketing for RecruitingDaily, and has served in marketing leadership roles at companies such as Monster Worldwide and, where she has helped both established and emerging brands develop and deliver world-class content and social media marketing, lead generation and development, marketing automation and online advertising.

    An expert in marketing analytics and automation, Kibben is an accomplished writer and speaker whose work has been featured on sites like, Brazen Careerist and

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    Julia Mendez

    Julia Méndez is Principal Business Consultant for the Workforce Compliance and Diversity Solutions division and a team member of the Peoplefluent Research Institute. She is based out of the New Orleans office.  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 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 is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University and will be graduating in 2016. She holds a Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute, 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 (formerly HRMA), where she has 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 (formerly AAAA) for which she contributes monthly to their EEO Tips section of their email publication.  She also serves on the editorial board for INSIGHT into Diversity.

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    Monica Pierre

    Monica Pierre is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, talk show host, author and motivational speaker. A veteran broadcaster, Pierre has hosted a variety of news, talk and public affairs shows. Her weekly public affairs show is aired on WWL-AM 870 and five Entercom Radio New Orleans stations.

    Pierre is author of the personal growth books, Found My Soul in a Sweet Potato Patch: Living a Life of Victory and No Permanent Scars: It's Never Too Late to Have the Life You Truly Want. Monica’s third book, titled Deeply Rooted is scheduled for release March 2016.

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    Dorothy “Dottie” Reese, MPH, MSW, CCDP

    Dorothy “Dottie” Reese, MPH, MSW, CCDP, a principal of DMM, has extensive experience in management and leadership, in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  Her areas of expertise include strategic diversity management, performance and change management, community engagement, DBE compliance, education and training, and leadership development. She has utilized her skills as an advanced practitioner in strategic diversity management to assist organizations in assessing, and designing solutions that deliver lasting value. As a skilled change agent, she has successfully created and executed strategies designed to increase competitive advantage for organizations and businesses.  As an accomplished and engaging speaker, she has presented workshops on the local, national and international level.

    Ms. Reese holds a B.A. in Psychology from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges in Claremont California, and a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work Degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans. She is a licensed clinical social worker and is certified in Advanced Diversity Management from Cornell University in New York. Ms. Reese served on the faculty of Cornell University Executive Diversity Management Studies Program in New York.

    She has been recognized with honors and awards including, New Orleans Magazine 2014 Top Female Achiever, Family Services of Greater New Orleans 10 Outstanding Persons Award for 2013, Young Leadership Council 2013 Role Model, New Orleans Chapter of Jack and Jill Leadership and Community Service Award for 2013, St. Charles Avenue Magazine Community Activist of the Year, Weiss Award, Grace House Woman of Substance, Dorothy Schenthal Leadership Award, Susan G. Komen Foundation Cameo Award, YWCA Role Model of the Year, Data News Community Service Trailblazer, the Louisiana Health Care Social Work Leader of the Year and The New Orleans Medical Association Humanitarian and Community Service Award just to name a few.

    She began her life-long work of confronting inequality and working to promote respect for all people early on in her career. She worked tirelessly in the health care profession to promote the rights of all people to have quality health care. Ms. Reese was an administrator in health care social work, and a health care consultant for 25 years prior to launching a consulting firm. She was on the faculty of Tulane University School of Social Work where she taught the health seminar and coordinated field placement for the health concentration. As a volunteer she has championed human rights for all people, seeing these issues intricately interconnected. Her life of service includes public appointments and innumerable projects at local, state, national, and international levels.

    A pioneering and committed civic and professional leader, her current and past service extends to serving as; Chair of the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, Sugar Bowl Committee, Member of the Board of Directors of the French Market Corporation, African American Women of Power and Purpose, Parkway Partners, Louisiana Women’s Forum, Crescent City Chapter of Links, Inc. Her past experience extends to serving as a member of Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors, LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation Board of Directors, President of the New Orleans Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, , Susan G. Komen New Orleans Board of Directors, Louisiana Hospital Association for Directors in Health Care, American College of Health Care Executives, Jonathan Bender Foundation, YWCA, and Human Relations Commission for the City of New Orleans. She has served as a board member of many other organizations that have had the good fortune of her guidance and support.

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    Charles L. Rice, Jr.

    Charles Rice became president and chief executive officer of Entergy New Orleans, Inc., a $750 million a year electric and gas utility, on June 14, 2010.

    Taking over the electric and gas utility that has been in a growth mode since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rice is responsible for the company’s financial and operational performance, customer service, regulatory and governmental relations, economic development programs, external and internal communications, charitable contributions and environmental policy. At the core of his operational responsibilities is management of the company’s electric and gas distribution systems to New Orleans customers.

    Under Rice’s leadership since 2010, Entergy New Orleans negotiated with the New Orleans City Council through the formula rate plan process resulting in lower rates for electric customers for four straight years. Entergy New Orleans also has improved service reliability through hundreds of electric system improvement projects throughout the city. The company is also managing the industry’s largest natural gas rebuild effort in history – the replacement of approximately 844 miles of underground pipe damaged after Hurricane Katrina – and continues to be ahead of schedule and under budget, while constantly improving reliability to gas customers.

    After his first legal private practice position in Louisiana with Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre, L.L.P, Rice joined Entergy in the legal department in 2000, serving as senior counsel in the Entergy Service, Inc. litigation group and then as manager of labor relations litigation support in human resources.

    Rice was recruited into New Orleans city government in 2002 as the city attorney and later took the critical role of chief administrative officer for the City of New Orleans, where he managed 6,000 employees and the city’s $600 million budget. In 2005, the law firm of Barrasso, Usdin, Kupperman, Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C. recruited him back to private practice, where he was named partner.

    Returning to Entergy in 2009, Rice served as director of utility strategy where he was responsible for coordinating regulatory, legislative, and communications efforts to develop and execute strategies that advanced commercial objectives for the company’s regulated service areas. He then served as director of regulatory affairs for Entergy New Orleans.

    Rice holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Howard University, a juris doctorate from Loyola University’s School of Law and master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University. After graduating from Howard University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and served as a military intelligence officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. While in the Army, he earned the Airborne Badge, Air Assault badge and was awarded the Army Commendation and the Army Achievement medals.

    He is a member of the Alabama and Louisiana State Bar Associations, the American Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He received the Loyola University School of Law Distinguished Moot Court Alumni Award in 2004. New Orleans City Business magazine also recognized Rice as a member of the Power Generation in 2003 and as a “Leader in Law” in 2008.

    In addition to serving on the visiting committee of the Loyola University School of Law and on the president’s council for the University of New Orleans, he is a member of the Business Council of New Orleans executive committee, and serves on the boards of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Audubon Institute, Dillard University, United Negro College Fund Louisiana Leadership Council, Board of Visitors for the Howard University School of Business, University Medical Center, and Boy Scouts of America’s Southeast Louisiana Council. He also has served as the 2014 campaign chairman for the United Way of Southeast Louisiana. The mayor of New Orleans also appointed Rice to the NOLA Business Alliance board, the city’s first-ever public-private partnership for economic development.

    A respected keynote speaker and panelist, Rice addresses local, national and international forums on topics ranging from utility industry issues to leadership development. His recent participation includes the Caribbean-Central American Action’s Annual Conference, Southeastern Electric Exchange Claims Section, American Bar Association Minority Counsel Program, Loyola Law School Diversity Symposium, YMCA Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience, Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Revius Ortique Leadership Institute, Loyola Law School Centennial Film, Honore Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement, and the Delgado Community College Diversity Leadership Roundtable.

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    Ronnie Slone

    Ronnie Slone is the Founder and President of The Slone Group, a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development and training for growing companies and organizations. Ronnie has over 30 years of experience in operations management, human resources, training and professional staffing. He served in the United States Marine Corps and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. Ronnie was certified in Technical Services by the American Staffing Association and is an Associate of Emergenetics International (a framework used to increase both personnel and team effectiveness).

    In addition to leading his growing consulting firm, Ronnie is a faculty member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative (He facilitates Module #4 "You Are The Leader" and Module #5 "It's The People") and has served as the interim Executive Director of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

    As a highly recognized community leader, Ronnie was awarded the Chamber Member of the Year Award in 2012 and selected as a Young Leadership Council (YLC) Role Model for 2012.

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    Roderic F. Teamer, Sr.

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has appointed Roderic F. Teamer, Sr. as Director of Diversity and Business Development. 

    In his new role, Teamer will oversee Blue Cross’ award-winning diversity and inclusion program.  The diversity and inclusion program touches each department where there is opportunity to diversify the employees, business partners or clients of the company, including human resources, supply chain management and corporate responsibility. 

    Teamer will also continue to build corporate presence and sales in the New Orleans region.  Teamer joined Blue Cross in Aug. 2005 as Director, Metro Area Business Development.

    Teamer has nearly 20 years of experience in resource development, marketing, project management, human resources, budget and finance, strategic planning, employee recruitment, training and career development. He came to Blue Cross from INROADS/Louisiana, Inc., where he had been managing director since 1994. Under his leadership, INROADS/Louisiana, a nationally acclaimed non-profit career development and placement organization for minority college students, experienced double-digit growth and achieved its highest level of intern placement.

    Teamer received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with a concentration in marketing, from Louisiana State University. He began his career in 1986 as a campaign manager for the United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area. He held roles of increasing responsibility within United Way, leading to his appointment as assistant vice president of campaign for the Capital Area United Way in Baton Rouge in 1993.

    Teamer is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and has served the organization in several offices and positions. He is currently a board member of Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, Covenant House New Orleans, The New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the New Orleans Black Chamber of Commerce.  In addition, he is a member of Louisiana State University’s National Diversity Advisory Board, the UNCF Leadership Council and the National Health Care Diversity Council. 

    Teamer is a past board member of Kinglsey House of New Orleans, the Boy Scouts and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.  He still serves on the United Way Operations & Administration committee.

    He has also served as a member of the executive committee for the New Orleans Council of the Chamber of Commerce, now Greater New Orleans, Inc, and board member for the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.

    He is a graduate of the Council for A Better Louisiana’s Leadership Louisiana Class of 1997, completed the 1993 Metropolitan Area Committee’s Metropolitan Leadership Forum, and is an alumni member of the 2005 Class of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.

    In addition to his civic involvement, Teamer has always been passionate volunteer and advocate for education and recreational activities.   He has served as an executive committee member and President of his children’s elementary school, he served as a volunteer football and baseball Coach at Goretti Park in New Orleans east (two tours of duty) and has served as mentor for countless of young African American Males attempting to navigate their way through the perils of young adulthood.  He is passionate advocate for the importance of being an effective Husband, Fatherhood and Parent.   

    Teamer is married to Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, Ph.D. They have two daughters and a son (Tai, Tia and Roderic Jr.) ages 21, 19 and 18 years.

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    Dr. Ivory A. Toldson

    Dr. Ivory A. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs, as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is currently on leave from his position as full professor at Howard University. He has also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education, and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.

    In addition to ongoing work with elected officials, government executives, HBCU leaders and advocacy groups, Dr. Toldson conceptualized the White House Initiative on HBCUs All-Stars program, which identifies and engages the top HBCU scholars.  He also co-authored a series of blogs on federal sponsorships for various federal agencies and hosted a series of webinars, in an effort to increase the approximately $5 billion of federal revenue that flows to 100 HBCUs.

    Dr. Toldson has more than 65 publications, including 4 books, and more than 150 research presentations in 36 US states, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Scotland, South Africa, Paris, and Barcelona. He has been featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, POTUS on XM Satellite Radio, and numerous local radio stations.  His research has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Root, The National Journal, Essence Magazine, and Ebony Magazine.

    Dubbed a leader "who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House" by the Washington Post, one of "30 leaders in the fight for Black men," by Newsweek Magazine, and the "Problem Solver" by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, Dr. Toldson, according to U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, is "a prolific young scholar and myth buster." According to Capstone Magazine, "Toldson has spent a lot of time traveling across the country talking with teachers about misleading media statistics that invariably either link Black males to crime or question their ability to learn."  Dr. Toldson was named in the 2014 and 2013 The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders.

    After completing coursework for a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Temple University, Dr. Toldson became a correctional and forensic psychology resident at the United States Penitentiary. There, he completed his dissertation on Black Men in the Criminal Justice System. Upon completion, Dr. Toldson joined the faculty of Southern University and became the fourth recipient of the prestigious DuBois Fellowship from the US Department of Justice. He also served as the clinical director of the Manhood Training Village. He has received formal training in applied statistics from the University of Michigan, and held visiting research and teacher appointments at Emory, Drexel, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

    A native Louisianan and LSU graduate, Dr. Toldson returns home as a noted author and scholar to address Louisiana SHRM on the important issue of Diversity & Inclusion.

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