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Session Speakers

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Kay Iwata

President of K. Iwata Associates, Inc.


Kay is an internationally recognized and respected management consultant. She brings over 30 years of experience in strategic planning, assessment, training and development, executive coaching, DEI leadership and management development. Kay has extensive experience in assessing organizational culture and developing strategic plans, change processes and interventions to transform organizations. She has been actively involved in all phases of implementation including systems design and training.


K. Iwata Associates, Inc. sponsored and directed a groundbreaking research project to identify the characteristics of diversity competent leaders and managers.  This research has added to the field in terms of knowledge and tools to increase DEI competence in organizations.  The findings of the research are found in her book, The POWER of Diversity: Five Essential Competencies for Leading a Diverse Workforce.

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Dolly Nguyen Haim Brenneman

EMBA President and Founder

Soar to Greatness Coaching | Inclusion | Consulting Services

Dolly Brenneman is a servant leader, executive coach, strategic leadership consulting for organization transformation in healthcare delivery system, energy, banking, investment, education, fundraising for non- profit and faith-based organizations. She brings fresh creative approaches and unique perspectives. Through her coaching program, clients gain new insights, learn techniques to minimize stress, find calmness, new directions, achieve goals and strive to live the best life that they have been given.

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Derrick Brown-Richtel

Director of Supporter Success, US Southern Region



Derrick (he/his) is a dynamic, proven executive leader with over two decades of accomplished experience in corporate relations, development, community service, philanthropy, and nonprofit leadership. His unique background blends his passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion with human capital engagement and corporate partnerships. Committed to developing mutually beneficial relationships with his partners, he has a hands-on approach to create a shared sense of vision, goals, and purpose.

Prior to joining Catalyst, Derrick held the roles of Chief Development Officer with AIDS Foundation Houston, Regional Development Officer with American Red Cross, Director of Corporate Engagement with Freedom For All Americans, Executive Director with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (New York City), Executive Director with the Kidd Kraddick Foundation & Morning Show, and was the first In-Market Director of Human Resources with iHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel Radio).

Derrick holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management and Human Resources. Additionally, he is nationally certified with SHRM as a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and obtained his DE&I certification from Rice University.

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M. Helen Cavazos

MHCavazos Associates


M. Helen Cavazos is a human resources and diversity executive with extensive background in a variety of industries that include leadership positions in both the private and public sector.  Most recently she has worked with nonprofit organizations that provide training and career development for diverse groups and women.  These include AAMA, SER Jobs, Houston Food Bank, Avenue 360 Health & Wellness and AVANCE. 


Her professional career included leadership positions for McDonald’s Corporation in various locations including Houston, Hawaii and the Corporate headquarters in Chicago area. She served as Vice President for Human Resources & Diversity Officer for Houston METRO prior to starting her Human Resources Management Consultant firm. 


Helen has served in leadership roles on national and local boards of organizations that foster leadership and economic development for diverse groups and women.  She currently serves on the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC) Workforce Solutions Board and is active in the Education and Audit/Procurement Committees, as well as serving on the City of Houston’s Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board.  She has served on the Executive Committee of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Ronald McDonald’s Children’s Charities Board and served as President of Texas Executive Women and Hispanic Women in Leadership organizations.  She served on the Inaugural Board of Advisors for HACU, (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) and on the Texas Diversity Council Board of Directors.  Other organizations in which she has been active, and supports are ACAP – Association of Chinese American Professionals, the Women’s Initiative Leadership of the ADL – Anti-Defamation League, the Houston Symphony’s Hispanic Leadership Council.  She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum and served on inaugural team of Leadership ISD.  


Helen has received numerous awards and recognitions and is proud to have been recognized by Texas Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Influential Women Leaders, Top Latino Leader by the Council for Latino Workplace Equity, TWEF Leadership Empowerment Award and Top 50 Award by Houston Woman Magazine. She was honored as one of the first Latinas to Chair Texas Executive Women organization and recognized as a TEW Women on the Move, among other recognition for her commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Helen is a first generation Latina, whose parents emigrated from Mexico.  She is a proud Mom of three adult children, two grandchildren and four great-grandchidren. 

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Sandy Hoa Dang is a social entrepreneur, inspiring speaker, experienced executive, and leadership trainer. She is the Co-founder and Principal of CoInnovate Consulting, a company that provides leadership training, capacity building, and strategic planning to companies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations.

In 2010, Sandy was appointed by former President Obama to serve on the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) board, an U.S. federal government agency with a goal to reconcile the wounds of war through education.  Later, the board appointed her to serve as the Executive Director of VEF. Prior to VEF, she served as Founder and Executive Director of Asian American Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (AALEAD), an organization that supports immigrant and refugee families through a broad array of educational and social services.


Sandy has received numerous awards for her outstanding public leadership, including being named as an Outstanding American by Choice in 2021 by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Ms. Dang earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

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Donna Davis, JD

Senior Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

South Texas College of Law Houston

The Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center


Donna Davis is responsible for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for South Texas College of Law Houston (STCLH). In her current role, Davis focuses on the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategic vision, training initiatives, programming, and internal collaborative opportunities for the law school. Davis has twenty-three years of experience in higher education and has held various key positions at law schools and university systems nationwide.

Davis is a recognized speaker in the areas of cultural competency, unconscious bias, privilege, microaggressions, and a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Southern University Law Center, Master of Science in Positive Organization Development & Change from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Dillard University.


Michelle “Mikki” Hebl

Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Professor of Psychological Sciences

Professor of Management

Rice University

Mikki Hebl is a proud native of Pardeeville, Wisconsin, who graduated with her B.A. from Smith College and her Ph.D. from Dartmouth College.  She joined the faculty at Rice University in 1998, was given the endowed title of the Radoslav Tsanoff Assistant Professorship in 2000, and is currently the Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Professor of Psychological Sciences with a joint appointment in the Jones School.

Mikki is an applied psychologist whose research specifically focuses on workplace discrimination and barriers stigmatized individuals (e.g., women and racial/ethnic minorities) face in social interactions, the hiring process, business settings, and the medical community. She also addresses ways in which both individuals and organizations can remediate such discrimination. She has published over 200 journal articles, book chapters, and edited books. She has presented her research across the globe and often shares her expertise on subtle biases, gender issues, and ally training within organizations. She has just released a new book entitled “Working together: The science of diversity and inclusion.”

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Christina A Jones

VP HR Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Shell USA


Christina has worked for Shell for twenty years with quite the global HR career across a vast array of businesses.  As an HR Generalist in the US, she supported a variety of businesses in both Houston and California.  She broadened her skillset outside HR with a Lean Practitioner certification, building a three-year culture journey for the former Shell Martinez Refinery.  She then returned to HR and moved her family to Muscat, Oman, to assist Shell’s joint venture, Petroleum Development Oman, in technical recruitment.  Her family’s next adventure was in The Hague, The Netherlands where Christina worked in Joint Venture Excellence, including roles in Talent and HR Business Partnership for Shell’s joint venture in Brunei. 


Mrs. Jones moved back to the United States as VP HR Consultancy for Shell’s commercial businesses before her current assignment where she finds great purpose in supporting Shell’s ambition to become one of the most diverse and inclusive organizations in the world.


Christina earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Human Resource Management, both from Texas A&M University.  She and her husband have been married for twenty years with a high school junior son on the school soccer team and is working to complete their adoption process of their daughter from Haiti.  In her spare time, Christina enjoys reading, traveling, wine tasting, eating what her classically trained chef husband creates and visiting the orphanage when it’s safe.

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Kelly (Kleinkort) Montes

Executive Director, US



Kelly is Executive Director for the U.S. at Catalyst, a global nonprofit that works with nearly 500 global companies to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion. Her team serves as thought partners for supporter organizations, imbedding research, tools, and solutions to build inclusive workplaces from the frontline to the C-Suite. Kelly frequently speaks on inclusive leadership, empathy, ERG best practices, sponsorship, and allyship; during her time with Catalyst, she has delivered nearly 100 speaking engagements.


Kelly is a Fulbright Scholar as well as a Young Sinologist. She holds a B.A. in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University, a Master of Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a Mandarin language certification from Inner Mongolia University of China. 

With more than 25 years of experience, LaTanya has a record of success leading organizational change management and supporting senior leaders in operationalizing equity and inclusion across all areas of business strategy. LaTanya holds a BA from Trinity University and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Dr. Mahnaz Kolaini

Psys D. LPC-S


Dr. Kolaini is a compassionate leader in the field of Mental Health and Wellness. Her body of work over the last fifteen years at one of the largest community colleges in the country as the Director of Counseling has been focused on promoting wellness, belonging, and overall culture of care in our diverse community.

Dr. Kolaini is an experienced mental health clinician with experience in different mental health settings. In her current role, she leads programs and activities that include Suicide Prevention, Domestic Violence/Dating/Sexual Violence awareness and prevention, Basic Needs support, and overall wellness.

Dr. Kolaini is a firm believer in the need to work collectively with community organizations to reduce stigma and provide support for those with mental health conditions. As part of her efforts to build communities of care around the students she serves, Dr. Kolaini has forged several large-scale partnerships and care coordination agreements with community organizations.

Dr. Kolaini is a licensed professional Counselor-Supervisor with a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Houston and her Doctor of Psychology from California Southern University.

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Brandon Mack, M.Ed



Brandon Mack is an activist, organizer, entrepreneur, and all-around angelic troublemaker. He is the founder/owner of B.Mack Strategies, LLC, a full-service consulting firm focusing on college admissions counseling/consulting, diversity, equity, inclusion training and education, political consulting, and dialogue and meeting facilitation. He has been an activist and advocate for over 15 years.


He is the Screening Chair of the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus. He is a commissioner on the Harris County LGBTQIA+ Commission. He has been a part of the Mayor's LGBTQIA+ Advisory Board. He is working on a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies.


Mayra Marshall

Senior Manager of DEI & Organizational Development



Mayra is an accomplished Learning & Development (L&D) leader known for her innovative approach to strengthening operations. Mayra skillfully blends adult learning theories and emerging learning technologies to foster a culture of inclusivity and growth. Her strategic planning and execution in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) and proficiency in change management, mentorship, coaching, and stakeholder engagement have significantly contributed to her success in driving cultural transformation within organizations.

In her current role at Greystone, Mayra has taken the lead in elevating workforce capabilities through the development and execution of multifaceted L&D, DEI, and leadership programs. Her efforts have led to the recognition of Greystone's DEI program with a Bronze award at the 2023 CPE Influence Awards and named Top 10 Enterprise-Wide ERG for 2023 by Talent Dimensions / Global ERG Network for the annual Diversity Impact Awards. 


Currently, Mayra serves on committees for two local non-profits: one ensures over 6,500 under-resourced children receive necessary school supplies and uniforms, and the other focuses on raising funds to make local parks accessible and enjoyable for the entire community.

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Zena Mohammed

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited


Zena is a seasoned leader in Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory Practice focusing on our Controllership and Mergers & Acquisition “M&A” offerings. She has 18+ years of experience serving attest and relationship clients in various capacities and is viewed as a trusted advisor by her clients. Zena’s experience includes deep technical accounting under both US GAAP and IFRS and SEC experience,  financial reporting, internal controls, finance transformation, and M&A  (acquisitions & divestitures).


In addition to serving our clients, Zena also spends a lot of time at Deloitte and externally as a leader who is passionate about developing and mentoring professionals and advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Zena has spoken at numerous internal and external conferences, summits and training events, has been a mentor and coach to many professionals within Deloitte and outside Deloitte . She currently leads our Deloitte Advisory NABA strategy as the  NABA champion, leads our Energy & Resources Industry DEI efforts and is a dean to one of our advancement DEI programs that focusses on advancement and retention of our Senior Consultants.

Zena has also served as an advisor to our Women advancement programs at Deloitte and has mentored several women through the Women Energy Network industry organization. Additionally, Zena drives our efforts around Making Accounting Equitable and Diverse “MADE” working directly with one of the HBCUs to achieve our MADE objectives.

Zena has a bachelors of accounting degree and Masters in Finance degree from the University of Nairobi and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

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Pranika Uppal Sinha

Managing Director, DEI and Organizational Development

Pranika Uppal Sinha leads Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Greystone. In this role, she is responsible for DEI strategy and initiatives, including education, resources, and programming. She ensures Greystone’s DEI efforts are sustainable and progressing forward to build belonging. Greystone’s DEI committee and overall DEI program are award-winning and recognized nationally. Pranika also oversees organizational development, including performance management, training, leadership programs - creating impactful content for employees and leaders at all levels.

Pranika previously worked at Oxy in Houston, Texas, where she spent over nine years in various talent and development roles overseeing development programs, culture, and diversity/inclusion efforts. Prior to Occidental, Pranika held talent development, training, and diversity-focused roles at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston and 21st Century Consulting, Inc. in Chicago, IL.

Pranika earned a B.S. in environmental engineering at Northwestern University and an MBA at Rice University. She is a graduate of Leadership Houston, Class XXXIV. She has been involved with the Texas Diversity Council and the Diversity Summit in Houston for many years. Pranika serves as a DEI lecturer at Rice University’s Business School. She is also involved with Boys and Girls Clubs both locally and nationally. Pranika is based in Houston, TX where she resides with her husband, Samir, two daughters, and a rescue dogs.

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