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Session Speakers

Phaedra Boinodiris Photo.jpg
M. Helen Cavazos.jpg
Donna Davis_Headshot3.jpg
Gayle Fisher Pic.jpg
LaTanya Flix Photo.jpg
Toi Harris Picture1.jpg
Ariel Jones Pic.jpg
Randall Pinkett Headshot 2022.jpg
Tamika Tyson Pic.jpg
Bryce Yates Pic.jpg

Phaedra Boinodiris

Trustworthy AI Practice Lead, IBM Consulting


A fellow with the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Boinodiris has focused on inclusion in technology since 1999. She currently leads IBM Consulting’s Trustworthy AI Practice and serves on the leadership team of IBM’s Academy of Technology.


Boinodiris is a co-founder of the Future World Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to curating K-12 education in AI ethics. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in AI and Ethics at University College Dublin’s Smart Lab. In 2019, she won the United Nations Woman of Influence in STEM and Inclusivity Award and was recognized by Women in Games International as one of the Top 100 Women in the Games Industry as she began one of the first scholarship programs in the United States for women to pursue degrees in game design and development.

Dr. Sarah Candler

Chair, Women in Medicine Committee,

Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians and 

Delegate to the American Medical Association from American College of Physicians

Sarah Candler, MD, MPH, FACP is a board certified Internal Medicine physician, who specializes in value-based primary care for older adults. Dr. Candler has dedicated her professional career to decreasing disparities in healthcare through systems-based policies that acknowledge and address Social Drivers of Health. 


Dr. Candler serves on the American College of Physicians’ (ACP) national Medical Practice and She also serves as a delegate from the ACP to the American Medical Association (AMA), helping guide national advocacy efforts for the house of medicine and as a member of the Governing Council of the Specialty and Service Society


Dr. Candler most recently served as Medical Director of One Medical Seniors’ Houston Northside office where she practiced first-hand the value-based primary care for underserved older adults that she advocates for in all these other capacities. 


M. Helen Cavazos

Director of Human Resources

Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans


Helen is a human resources and diversity executive with extensive background in

 a variety of industries to include retail, insurance, financial services, and transportation 


Her human resources career includes working at corporate headquarters for McDonald’s

Corporation in Chicago and last corporate position was Vice President Human Resources &    

 Diversity METRO Houston. 


She is founder and president of M. H. Cavazos & Associates, a human resources and diversity management consulting firm.  She has channeled her human resources expertise to working with non-profit organizations such as SER Jobs, AVANCE, The Houston Food Bank and Avenue 360.  She served as facilitator/instructor for HACE  Career Development Programs focusing on training and development for Hispanics.


She currently serves as Director of Human Resources for AAMA, a non-profit organization that includes the George I Sanchez Charter Schools, and health and human services clinics both here and in Laredo, Texas. 


She is active on the Education committee of the City of Houston Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board, Executive Committee of Ronald McDonald’s House Charities Board of Houston/Galveston, the Women’s Initiative Leadership of  Anti-Defamation League, and serves on the Advisory Committee of ACAP’s Diversity Summit.  She was appointed to the HGAC Workforce Solutions Board and serves on the Education, Procurement & Audit Committees. 

Dr. Donna Davis

Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center

South Texas College of Law Houston.

Donna has twenty-two years of experience in higher education serving in leadership positions at law schools and university systems nationwide. She is a nationally certified DEI officer, civil rights investigator, executive coach, speaker, and consultant.

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

Gayle Fisher

Founder, Getting Sorted


Gayle is an activist mom of a 10th grader with learning differences.  She is an educator, author, advocate, ally, and learning differences consultant, and has been living in the spectrum 14+ years. She teaches workshops at Lone Star College and out in the community.  She is Founder at Getting Sorted, Special Needs SibsOur Training Center, and writes at If We Learn Differently.  She participates in the Center for School Behavioral Health (CSBH) of MHA Greater Houston, and the Behavioral Health and Suicide Prevention Community Taskforce (BHSP) of Montgomery CountyFirst Responders Supports When Dealing With Neurodiversity and is on the boards of Cafe Azul and NAMI-Greater Houston.  More can be found at

LaTanya Flix

Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Greater Houston Partnership.

LaTanya oversees internal DEI learning and development and leads broader regional efforts through One Houston Together-- a data-driven effort of more than 100 businesses, institutions, and nonprofit organizations to advance people of color into senior management roles, increase racial diversity on corporate boards, and grow spending with Minority Business Enterprises.

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.

Toi B. Harris, MD

Senior Vice President, Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Memorial Hermann Health System.


Dr. Harris has been a practicing psychiatrist for nearly 25 years and is double board-certified in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Harris joined Memorial Hermann in 2022 after 17 years at Baylor College of Medicine, where she most recently served as the associate provost of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Student and Trainee Services; she is also a professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Harris completed her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine.


Dr. Harris is acknowledged as a thought leader in EDI, having published more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, co-authored a number of abstracts and book chapters, and presented nationally and internationally on a variety of psychiatry and EDI topics.

Ariel Jones

Senior Operations Manager of Care Coordination, Hims &Hers


Ariel has been passionate about creating equitable experiences and driving improved outcomes for various patient groups for over a decade. Ariel received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Clark Atlanta University, a historically black college & university, and her Master of Science in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. During her masters program, Ariel discovered she would focus her career on impacting patient care through technology.


Ariel has served as a patient experience leader for Memorial Hermann Health System, Medallia, Inc., and most recently joined Hims & Hers as the Senior Operations Manager of Care Coordination. In her current role her primary focus is making healthcare easily accessible for all patients. 

Dr. Randal D. Pinkett
Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, BCT Partners

Dr. Randal Pinkett is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and DEI expert. He is the CEO of BCT Partners whose mission is to provide insights about diverse people that lead to equity. He is the author of Campus CEO, No-Money Down CEO, Black Faces in White Places, and Black Faces in High Places. He appears on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox Business, and was the winner of “The Apprentice. He holds five academic degrees from Rutgers as an Academic All-American scholar-athlete, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and MIT.

Vani Rao

Executive Coach


Vani Rao is an executive coach who specializes in helping clients create a mindset to deliver results through their empowerment. She believes that relentless positivity is transformational – taking accountability for every aspect of your life, seeking positive lessons from negative experiences.


She uses values-based coaching with clinically proven mental and emotional release techniques to break negative patterns and manifest goals. She has worked for three decades in the corporate sector, most notably in oil and gas leading teams in capability, planning, projects & engineering, continuous improvement and diversity & inclusion. She developed and led diverse Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) moving from volunteer roles to a manager on the D&I team where she delivered a sponsorship program for Women in Global Operations and launched Inclusion Councils; her passion for inclusivity garnered numerous internal corporate and external industry awards.


Vani incorporates spirituality – Vedantic philosophy on self-realization and the Hawaiian healing arts – to help individuals reconnect to their Spirit and authentic voice. Her coaching style combines Eastern philosophy and Western business acumen to empower underrepresented groups to use their voices to get results – the intersection of business and belonging.


Vani has an MBA from Columbia University and BA in Psychology from Austin College. She is a certified trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a project management professional (PMP©), and is certified in Mental and Emotional Release (MERTM), hypnosis and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. She lives in Houston and loves her Dallas Cowboys.

Tamika Tyson

Co-Founder TGC Impact Growth Fund


TGC Impact Growth Fund, a fund that invests growth capital in diverse and women-led or managed companies in the Southern Region. Prior to co-founding TGC, Tamika was the Global Head of Credit at Noble Energy, her responsibilities included managing the credit functions, trade finance, and performing due diligence on large-dollar projects and new ventures.


Tamika has over 25 years of risk management experience and started her career underwriting small business loans at First State Bank of Texas. She has worked with entities ranging from small businesses to multi-national enterprises in a cross-section of industries including energy, oil and gas, transportation, manufacturing, pulp and paper, infrastructure, and business services. She has a Masters and Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance and Economics from Sam Houston State University.

LeChauncy Woodard, MD, MPH

Internist and Professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Science

Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine, University of Houston


Dr. Woodard serves as the Founding Director of the Humana Integrated Health Systems Sciences Institute. The institute’s goal is to advance the next generation of health professionals through interdisciplinary training and research with a focus on social needs, risk factors and determinants of health, and expanded use of value-based payment models.


Dr. Woodard is a longstanding member of the Society of General Internal Medicine where she served as co-chair of the Health Equity Commission, and of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Dr. Woodard was awarded the ACP Laureate Award in recognition of her commitment to excellence in medical care, education, research, and community service. Dr. Woodard is committed to advancing the University of Houston’s mission to address health disparities and increase the value of health care for patients both locally and nationally.

Dr. Brice Yates

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, University of Houston Clear Lake (UHCL)


Dr. Yates is responsible for implementing, developing and overseeing UHCL’s overall strategic plan as it relates to diversity and inclusion. In addition, Dr. Yates works with campus partners to create, establish and implement assessment strategies to actively and consistently assess, evaluate and leverage the progress toward a climate of inclusion and diversity for students, faculty, and staff.

Dr. Yates strives to promote diversity and inclusion through his professional work. Throughout Dr. Yates’ career, he has created environments and learning opportunities that incorporated people of many cultures and backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in academe. Dr. Yates’ experience in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Multicultural Affairs has prepared him for the leadership challenges and opportunities associated with DEI within higher education. Dr. Yates genuinely believes in leading the charge of inclusive excellence where fairness, access, equity, and social justice for all are the norms rather than the exceptions.

Dr. Yates earned his doctoral degree in Higher Education and Leadership from Indiana State University. Dr. Yates’ other academic attainments include a Master of Arts in Communications Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Morehead State University.

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