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7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.    Conference Registration

** 6 SHRM continuing education credits is available for attending the conference



8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.    Pre-Opening Session


Diversity Best Practices

This is a small group discussion of D&I best practices.



8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.    Corporate Exhibits and Coach’s Corner

Professional coaches from International Coach Federation - Houston will offer complimentary career coaching sessions. Sign-up at the Registration Desk to take advantage of this exciting opportunity!



9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.    Welcome Remarks

Executive Director:    Cecil Fong

Honorary Co-Chair:   James Harris, Director D&I and Supplier Diversity, H-E-B

                                     Dr. Madeline Burillo-Hopkins,  President SW College, Houston Community College


9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.    Plenary Session

The Power of FeMANists


Speaker:        Dr. Mikki Hebl,   Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Professor of Psychology, Professor of Management,

Rice University 


 There is a great deal of gender equity that remains in our society and world. Unfortunately, the all-too common explanation is that women simply don’t want the same sort of workplace positions as men. Or, organizations initiate a women’s affinity group and/or initiate women’s committees to tackle women’s professional discontent. The current research takes a more holistic picture of the biases against women, both subtle and overt, and suggests why it is essential that men be a significant player in creating lasting gender equality.


10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.    Networking Break

Visit exhibits, and sign up for a complimentary session at Coach’s Corner


10:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.        Concurrent Sessions


Session A:       Intersecting Identities and the Impact of Emotional Tax


Speakers:       Kelly Kleinkort, Director of Corporate Engagement, Catalyst

                                   Dana Dawsey, Operations Leader & Site Inclusion and Diversity Leader, Dow Chemical


Everyone brings their intersecting identities to the workplace. Women in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups experience intersectional barriers that white women and men in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups don’t face. These barriers lead visible minorities to experience what Catalyst calls the Emotional Tax—being on guard and consciously preparing to deal with potential bias or discrimination. However, it’s not only employees of color, but the organizations for which they work that pay the Emotional Tax in the form of talent loss and potential reduced revenues. In this session, learn about the effects of the intersecting dimensions of difference, explore tools and tips to reduce the consequences of Emotional Tax in your organization, and identify ways to ensure that the people of color working at your company can contribute to their highest potential and thrive.




Session B:      Feeling Safe in the Workplace: Psychological Safety, Civility & Unconscious Bias

Speakers:      Pranika Sinha, Senior Manager, Talent Development & Inclusion, Occidental (Oxy)

                                   Joyce Eisler, Certified Leadership Coach and Supervisor of Training, Occidental (Oxy)


We often speak about being safe at work, but this session will discuss feeling safe in the workplace. The session will help participants 1) understand the definition and importance of Psychological Safety in the workplace, 2) embrace diversity of thought by fostering inclusivity through civility, learn about the definition of incivility and how it spreads, and 3) take a different look an unconscious bias by exploring 3 different concepts trust, an echo chamber, and how we “judge a book by its cover.” The session will close with some practical, conscious actions the participants can do to foster psychological safety and help create an overall feel of inclusion as well as a checklist to feeling safe at work.




Session C:       Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number:  Age and Your Company’s D&I Strategy

Speakers:       Deborah Wilkins, Senior Equal Opportunity Consultant, Shell Oil

                                   Dolly Brenneman, President and Founder, Soaring to Greatness


People are working longer than ever before.  Some do so because they have to. More and more frequently, others do so because they want to.  Despite this trend, most companies don’t consider older workers when they think about areas of D&I focus.  Given today’s multigenerational workforce, they may be missing an opportunity.


In this session, you’ll learn how we’ve arrived at our current attitudes about aging, and how forward-thinking companies are taking steps to dispel stereotypes and maximize the value of workers over 50 bring to their organizations.


Noon – 1:30 p.m.        Luncheon

Emcee:          Vani Rao


Keynote:       Leslie Mays, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Diversity Champion Awards :          

Corporate:         Shara Hammond,  Leadership and Inclusion Manager, Marathon Oil Company

Community:      Joe Bontke, EEOC (Posthumously)

Trail Blazer:       Leslie Mays, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Team:                 VAST Academy, Houston Community College

Recognition of past Diversity Champions

1:30 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.        Networking Break

Visit exhibits, and sign up for a complimentary session at Coach’s Corner




1:40 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.        Concurrent Sessions


Session D:       Men Advocating Real Change: Building Allies and Inclusive Leaders

Moderator:      Amanda Scott, Specialist Diversity & Inclusion, Enbridge


Panelists:         David Bryson, Senior VP & Chief Commercial Officer, Gas Transmission and Midstream, Enbridge

    Ryan Ebright, Sales Manager – Gulf Coast, Branded Marketing, Phillips 66

    Marius Kotze, VP Human Resources, BHP

Men are an often untapped, yet critical, resource in diversity and inclusion efforts. In the past, initiatives have focused on women or minorities. Men haven’t always been central to the conversation—yet men are 85% of all leadership in Fortune 500 companies. This panel discussion will address the obstacles and solutions to men contributing fully and authentically in order to help foster and support inclusive company cultures.




Session E:       Improving Inclusion on Virtual Teams


Virtual teams, defined as teams composed of people who work from different physical locations, present special challenges.  Time zone differences, differences in language and culture, and a host of other factors can make navigating effective communication difficult. In this session, learn how to improve inclusion in your virtual teams to elevate their performance and increase trust among team members.

Speaker:      John Sequeira, CEO, TL One Partner

Shea Bible, President, Blue Topaz Consulting


Session F:         Inclusion in the Workplace includes Physical and Invisible Impairments


Let us get comfortable talking about physical and invisible disabilities in the workplace and learn how we can all manage a safe and successful working relationship. Inclusion means frank conversations of needs and where to get assistance so we can be inclusive and not scared about getting the most out of a talent pool with apparent and not apparent disabilities.  What are the hidden challenges that can be a real deterrent in making positive change for disabilities.


Moderator:      Crystal Lovelady, Shell Oil

Speakers:        Cheryl Guido, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Manager, Gulf Coast Central Unit

                                            Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services

                                     Sandhya Rao, First Vice-President, iBUG

                                    Lloyd van Oostenrijk, Trial Attorney in the Houston District Office,  U.S. EEOC

2:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.        Network Reception & Door Prizes Drawing