Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Rosie Perez Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah have something in common with Emmy Award-winning Casting Director Robi Reed. She has the magic touch. Blessed with an eye for talent and a gift for spotting a diamond in the rough, her career has spanned almost 30 years. Reed has had a hand in the careers of many and is known for taking the ordinary and creating the extraordinary. Her ability to match a role with the perfect choice has made household names out of Jamie Foxx, who she discovered at a local comedy club in Los Angeles and Mekhi Phifer, who she plucked from an open casting call. Reed has more than 50 films to her credit, including blockbusters Soul Food, The Best Man, For Colored Girls, Love Jones, Set It Off and Antwone Fisher, in which she cast Derek Luke in his first leading role. Her first studio film came with Spike Lee’s School Daze. She went on to cast Lee’s Do The Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Crooklyn, Clockers ,Malcolm X and Jungle Fever breaking out two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Samuel L. Jackson and Halle Berry. The demand for Reed’s eye for talent grew way past the silver screen to a multitude of television projects, including Oprah Winfrey’s The Game, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Showtime’s series Barbershop, The Tracey Morgan Show, Girlfriends, The PJ’s, In Living Color, A Different World and Roc for which she was nominated for a Casting Society of America (CSA) Award for best casting. She also cast Beyoncé Knowles in her first acting role in MTV’s The Fighting Temptations.
Michele joined Major League Baseball in October 2020 as its first Chief People & Culture Officer. She reports directly to Bas Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. and sits on both MLB’s Executive Committee. In her role, Michele leads human resources; diversity, inclusion and culture; and off-field operations for the League supporting the Central League Office and all 30 Clubs Clubs. Before joining MLB, Michele served as Principal and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for KPMG. In this role, she led the National Inclusion and Diversity team and was a member of the Human Resources Leadership Team. Michele worked with KPMG’s senior leaders to advance the firm’s strategy and objectives as related to the recruitment, retention, development and advancement of a diverse workforce. As a leader, she also role modeled engaging with others to inspire broad perspectives, drive innovative client solutions, and foster a welcoming and inclusive culture. During her tenure at KPMG, the firm was recognized as a top workplace by numerous organizations, including FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work, DiversityInc, Working Mother, and The Human Rights Campaign.
Gerri Mason Hall is the Vice President of Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at NetApp. She is a leader in the space with over 25 years of experience – her journey has ranged from legal compliance, to human capital engagement, to cultural and social transformation. Previously, Gerri held a series of senior level roles at Sodexo, most recently Chief Diversity & Social Responsibility Officer, where she leveraged her employment law acumen, her passion for human capital engagement, and unshakeable belief that corporations can and will advance social change to increase the number of underrepresented employees and revenue concurrently. Augmenting her commitment to Inclusion and advancing the underserved, Gerri holds a seat at various organizations, including: UNCF Board, Congressional Hunger Center, Executive Leadership Council, and Links Inc.
A fourth-generation Roxbury resident, Kim Janey is a mother, grandmother, sister and daughter. She built her career as a longtime education advocate and non-profit leader. In 2017 she was elected to the Boston City Council in a historic election, becoming the first woman to represent District 7. In 2020 she became President of the most diverse City Council in Boston’s history. Kim Janey will be the first woman, first Black Mayor of Boston. As Mayor, Janey’s number one focus will be leading Boston’s recovery, distributing the Covid-19 vaccine in a timely and equitable manner, getting our children back to school in a safe environment for students and teachers, and making sure that our economic recovery focuses on those communities most affected by the pandemic. Kim believes that now, as the city rebuilds from this crisis, it is essential to make sure we recover equitably and give these traditionally underserved communities their fair share of relief. From taking the bus to Charlestown as an 11-year-old girl, to taking the bus to City Hall as Boston’s first woman, first Black mayor, Kim Janey will be a mayor for every Bostonian.
Anna Foster works with organizations on overall business coaching and strategy, with a strong competence in the areas of Business Development, Diversity & Inclusion, Empowerment and Advancement of Women and Networking. She is the Founder of several businesses, including A Maven’s World Lifestyle Brand. Its logo includes a white bird in flight, a symbol of the freedom to live a life of one’s choosing, to be creative, and free-thinking. “No one should feel constrained by obstacles or borders,” says Foster. Since 2012, her annual Maven Women’s Conference has been attended by several thousand women nationally, who are looking to network and gain professional development. Anna is a CLC and Certified Behavioral Analyst Trainer. She Co-Founded ALL TOGETHER NOW, by and for entrepreneurs, The Women’s Dinner Group and Culture Solutions, an executive recruiting and retention firm. She also leads the 1500+ member Meetup Group of the Boston Fashion community. all of these companies build success from a diversity and inclusion commitment in various and holistic ways.
Areen Shahbari is the CEO of Shahbari Training and Consultancy and Cactus International, and a faculty member at Harvard University Extension School and Harvard Professional Development Programs. Shahbari held a lecturer position at Simmons University School of Business between 2015 and 2019, and taught entrepreneurship and leadership programs through Babson Executive Education, Stanford University Continuing Studies and Stanford Center for Professional Development. Shahbari speaks at local and international conferences and led training programs in the United States, Chile, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Turkey, Mexico, Bahrain, and Qatar. She founded Cactusint.com in 2013 to promote women's entrepreneurship and leadership in The Middle East and North Africa regions. Through Shahbari Training and Consultancy, she trains and consults companies, startups and governments on how to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, instill a creative and innovative culture, and launch and grow scalable and sustainable ventures.
Betty Francisco is a seasoned business executive, board director, investor and community leader. She has over 22 years of experience advising high growth start-ups, non-profits, life sciences, technology and health and wellness companies in the areas of legal, compliance, risk management, operations and human resources. The Boston Business Journal named Betty as one of the 2020 Power 50 – Extraordinary Year Extraordinary People, and in 2018, Boston Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Boston. As a corporate attorney, she has extensive business and legal experience negotiating and advising companies on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings, licensing transactions and strategic partnerships. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Beth Israel Lahey Health, the second largest health care system in Massachusetts, and serves on the Nominating and Governance, Patient Quality and Community Benefits Committees. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the largest philanthropy in New England dedicated exclusively to education; the Board of Directors of the Boston Foundation, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation; and the Investment Committee of Boston Impact Initiative Fund, which invests integrated capital in regenerative local enterprises. She is also a co-founder of the Investors of Color Network (ICN), which is building an ecosystem of Black and Latinx accredited investors to close the racial funding gap in start-up capital, and an angel investor with Pipeline Angels and Portfolia.
an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Director of Health Equity Research and Intervention at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and a co-Principal Investigator of the All of Us Research Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Her precision health research focuses of social determinants of health as contributors to cardiometabolic risk factors for diseases of aging. She chairs the Brigham Health COVID-19 Equity Response Team, a collaboration of multidisciplinary leaders dedicated to overcoming structural inequities for equitable COVID prevention and care.
College Counselor and Consultant, Founder of College Possible LLC With over 20 years of experience in college admission and access, Cicily Shaw is the Founding Director of College Counseling at Boston Trinity Academy. Prior to that, Cicily worked in Admissions at Boston College, Bryant University, and Lesley University. As a first-generation college student, Cicily's love for college access has fueled her passion to give back professionally and holds memberships in She has been a member of both the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the New England Association for College Admission Counseling where she has continued to serve on national committees and the regional executive board. She is a board member for College Visions located in Providence, Rhode Island. Cicily also serves as a scholarship reader for the Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship, a reader and interviewer for the Gates Scholarship Program, and is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated where she mentors young women of color. She is also the founder of College Possible LLC, a company dedicated to serving students and families through their college application process. Cicily is an ordained minister and currently lives in Randolph with her husband Lamont.
Dale is the Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Administration, for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation & Foxwoods Resort Casino, located in Mashantucket, Connecticut. In her current role, she is responsible for providing strategy and direction for all of the Human Resources, Ethics, Guest Experience and Native American Relations activities of the organization. This includes talent acquisition, labor & employee relations, organizational development, engagement, communications, internal branding, inclusion, Native American affairs, as well as all organizational policies and procedures on ethics. As a result of Dale’s leadership, MPTN/Foxwoods Human Resources Department has received multiple performance awards and accolades by both industry and community organizations. Most notably she was named one of the Great Women in Gaming by the Global Gaming Women ,for her leadership in elevating the experience of team members and customers alike.
Dani Monroe is the SVP, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Partners HealthCare, Massachusetts’ largest healthcare organization with 78,000 employees and founded with the union of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Monroe integrates diversity and inclusion into Partner’s patient care, science, research and teaching missions – Since joining Partners, Monroe has led the organization through a systematic approach of increasing diversity and fostering inclusion/engagement for patients and employees, by recognizing the whole person. Her book, “Untapped Talent: Unleashing the Power of the Hidden Workforce” (Palgrave Macmillan, April 2013) has received excellent national and international reviews.
Dawn Frazier-Bohnert joined Liberty Mutual Insurance in 2013 to shape the new office of Diversity and Inclusion. As Executive Vice President, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Dawn is responsible for leading the design, development and implementation of Liberty Mutual's global diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and programs. This includes enhancing employees’ DEI capability and skills, internal and external communications, metrics and measurements, benchmarking, external partnerships and the development of employee resource groups. Prior to joining Liberty Mutual Insurance, Dawn was Chief Administrative Officer and Partner at Global Novations, a Korn/Ferry International Company, where she developed their human capital strategy and led their post-merger company culture-shaping efforts. Before employment with Global Novations, she was at The Gillette Company as Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion, where she developed and led their Global Diversity Strategic Plan. Dawn has also held HR leadership positions at Lotus/IBM, Fidelity Investments and Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
Denise Magny is a current junior at Syracuse University who is majoring in biology with a minor in religion and public health. She is the President of the Haitian-American Student Association (HASA) and member of the Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University. Denise is a peer mentor for freshmen of color through the Wellslink Peer Mentoring Program. Her goals are to continue to conduct biological research with professors in the biology department and give back to local refugees in the Syracuse community. She hopes to one day initiate her own research that will improve the lives of many!
Joyya Smith serves as the Vice President of Diversity, Access, and Inclusion at Suffolk University and is committed to implementing programming that increases awareness and knowledge related to equity and belonging. Before coming to Suffolk in the fall of 2016 Smith worked at Georgia Southern University as Director of Educational Opportunity Programs, where she worked with the Federal TRIO Programs and other multicultural student initiatives. Hired initially at Suffolk as the Director for the Center for Academic Access and Opportunity, Smith was promoted to a new administrative role as the Vice President of Diversity, Access and Inclusion in 2017. Racial justice and community building are at the center of her work at Suffolk. She is committed to whole-heartedly embracing diversity and accelerating inclusion and working alongside colleagues to make a difference. Together they have increased the diversity and inclusion footprint by adding opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in professional learning and development through the Ambassadors for Inclusion Program, Common Reading Experiences, and Employee Resource Groups.
Kaela Stephenson is a current sophomore at Natick High School, where she is a scholar-athlete with a big heart for children. When she is not scoring points on the volleyball court, Kaela serves as a middle school tutor. Outside of the classroom, Kaela is a peer advocate where she helps create safe spaces for other students. As an advocate, she has facilitated events that focus on stress management and establishing healthy boundaries to preserve mental health. Kaela's entrepreneurial spirit led her to create Kaela's Babysitting Services in 2019. Since her business launch, Kaela has also taken on freelance work as a social media specialist.
At 20, Kellie Taylor has the distinct privilege to of presenting her developing technology venture, Cleo at the Yale Club of New York City to Thasunda Duckett, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Consumer Banking, Tyler Mathisen, Co-anchor of the CNBC's Power Lunch and Vice President of Events Strategy for CNBC, and Ernst & Young professionals. In addition to being featured in the New York Times "Wealth Matters" article by columnist Paul Sullivan and was a panelist for the 2019 Hopperx1 conference in New York City. Kellie is a Computer Information Systems major at Housatonic Community College, where she has achieved academic honors. She continues to focus on becoming a catalyst for education, a driving force for systemic change, and implementing effective equality and inclusion for underrepresented communities. She is the president of her college NAACP collegiate chapter. She was selected to serve on the State of Connecticut COVID-19 Urban Strategic Advisory Committee to advocate for the black and brown communities. Her academic aspiration is to successfully matriculate to her top colleges majoring in Data science or International Business. Her ultimate goal is to utilize her degree, in the Business Intelligence field, becoming a philanthropist and CEO of her own technology company.
Marsha Guerrier is a TEDx Speaker, 3x Bestselling Author, Trainer, Business Analyst and Coach, and CEO of Women on the Rise NY, Inc. dba HerSuiteSpot®, a SBE and WMBE Certified private network for women of color providing leadership and entrepreneurship development. Marsha has held a career in the FinServ and FinTech industries spanning over 20 years working for Fortune 500 and startup firms, working in areas of Systems Test Engineer, Business Analysis and Product Management. Marsha is also the founder and Executive Director of the Yva Jourdan Foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthen the leadership, power, and voices of women and children through our educational programs.
Michelle Robinson is a mission driven, strategic, servant leader in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Early Talent space. Currently she serves as Director Early Talent & Frontline for Sodexo a multi-billion-dollar global quality of life services company that consistently ranks in the top five of Diversity Inc’s top fifty companies for diversity. In this role, she is responsible for strategy development and managing the company’s national college recruitment program, executing diversity sourcing initiatives, and managing corporate recruitment efforts targeted at culturally diverse schools and associations. She also has operational oversight for training, frontline recruiting and branding support. Robinson is a sought-after conference speaker and conducts workshops and lectures for various companies and organizations across America. When she is not working, she is serving in the community with various civic organizations including Mocha Moms Inc, Girl Scouts of America and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Michelle received a Bachelor of Business degree from the University of Georgia where she majored in International Business and minored in French.
Monica Cost is President and Chief Pathfinder of The Core Value Company, an author and speaker. She creates value-aligned strategies for organizations, professionals, entrepreneurs and personalities, through consulting, cus-tom content creation, workshop facilitation, and keynotes. Her mission is to improve the human connection by improving the human condition, both personally and professionally. Her groundbreaking work and trademarked Value Identification Process®, has enabled her to work with Fortune 500 companies, notable personalities, entrepreneurs, non-profits and universities. Monica’s unique approach, pro-duces meaningful conversations, dismantles false beliefs and creates positive and most importantly, sustainable change. She shares the evolution of her now full-time pathfinding business with professionals around the globe. Monica teaches on a variety of topics including, personal mastery, diversity & inclusion, building an effective brand, cu-rating your client base, networking to increase your net worth, creative business building strategies, value based leadership and more.
Paige Hendrix Buckner is the Chief Operating Officer at Founder Gym, the leading online program training underrepresented founders on how to raise money to scale their tech startups. Since launching, Founder Gym has trained 516 entrepreneurs in 25 countries on 6 continents, who have gone on to raise over $80 million for their companies. Throughout her career, Paige has operated at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship, and social justice. She is a well-respected leader in the Portland startup scene and has helped cultivate their ecosystem, including teaching entrepreneurship with the TiE Young Entrepreneurs Oregon Program, serving on the board of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, and co-founding the Xxcelerate Fund for women entrepreneurs.
Sharhea is the Head of Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) North America at State Street Corporation. Reporting directly to the Chief Diversity Officer, she is responsible for developing and implementing I&D programs that promote State Street’s strategic goals of being a destination for top talent with a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. In partnership with Human Resources (HR) colleagues, she manages a team who drives delivery of I&D programs and services across the enterprise. She also oversees State Street’s approach to I&D consulting with internal clients, engaging leaders with insights from qualitative and quantitative diversity data. She previously worked as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the CAO of State Street Corporation. In partnership with senior executives, she was responsible for managing the Corporate Administrative & Oversight organization, including business communications, recertifications, employee hiring etc. She was also the Secretary for the Technology and Operational Risk Committee, a senior management level committee reporting to the Board of Directors. Sharhea began her career at State Street as an intern in 2008 and succeeded in various credit analyst roles within the Global Treasury Investment Portfolio team. Sharhea and team were responsible for managing the fixed income investments including deep dive analysis, monitoring and assessing the creditworthiness of the bank’s global portfolio.
As managing director of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Shawna guides the firm’s global diversity and inclusion strategy as a fully integrated part of our business practices, programs, and processes. She collaborates with business leaders, the Diversity Committee, and Human Resources to develop customized business-led plans that strengthen our ability to attract, develop, and retain exceptional talent. Shawna is responsible for building the firm’s inclusion capabilities, visibility, and impact through a variety of mechanisms, such as adapting best practices, directing business networks governance and programming, implementing diversity education or development offerings, and overseeing the firm’s partnerships with external diversity associations. She also consults with our clients and vendors globally on diversity and inclusion issues. She serves on the DEI Committee and works across the firm in service to our clients, business goals, and talent needs.
Vicky Wu Davis is an entrepreneur, educator, activist, angel investor, and mom. Through her various roles, Vicky works to bridge disparate communities, cultivating genuine appreciation for diversity, which in turn fosters innovation and promotes the proliferation of diversity in all areas of leadership. Inspired by the birth of her older son 13 years ago, Vicky channeled her prior decade of tech (videogames, mobile tech) and social (orphans/foster care) entrepreneurship experiences to create Youth CITIES (Creating Impact Through Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability). An education nonprofit, Youth CITIES seeds innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in young people, challenging them to think critically, and inspiring them to act innovatively to improve the fabric of society. Vicky is also a member of Beacon Angels and TBD Angels, investing in early-stage companies primarily in the areas of tech and life sciences.