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Session Speakers

Dr. Richard Baker

Assistant Vice Chancellor and

Vice President for Equal Opportunity Services;

University of Houston

Richard Anthony Baker has spent 15 years as an equity compliance officer for two major university systems. In those roles, Dr. Baker managed the institution’s anti-discrimination efforts, including providing administrative guidance in the areas of equal opportunity and diversity, harassment, and sexual misconduct. Dr. Baker is President of the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity (AAAED), is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity a national association focused on affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. Dr. Baker has been quoted by various media and is also a frequent speaker on topics that range from legal issues to workplace civility.


Dr. Baker was named to the 2015 Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, AAAED’s 2015 President’s Award for Leadership and Service and the 2013 Difference Makers Award by the University Commission on Women. Dr. Baker has the distinction of being the first African-American to graduate from Texas Tech University with a JD and graduate degrees in Public Administration (M.P.A.) and Higher Education (Ph.D.)

Joe Bontke

Outreach and Education Coordinator

EEOC Houston District

Joe Bontke is Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Houston District office of  the EEOC. Joe has been in the field of Human Resources & Civil Rights for the past 30 years and has experience in employment law and adult education. 


With a Bachelor's in Philosophy and a Masters in Education, he has been a Human Resources Director, a Training Coordinator for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance Center for Federal Region VI, he was appointed as Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and commissioned as an Honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy. Spending the majority of the year dealing with discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace can take its toll.


As the training officer for the District Office the wellbeing of his staff is an added concern of management and led to Bontke’s  “side job” as a real bearded Santa Claus for 100+ events each December, Joe learned many years ago his red suit made life better.  His 90 second video on youtube inspires others to find theirs “Red Suit” and tell others what works for them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-VHkHw2ZWs  

Dolly Nguyen Haim Brenneman

Dolly Brenneman is a servant leader, entrepreneur, organizer, development consultant, and an executive coach working to awaken and transform individuals and organizations to soar to new heights.


Her vast experiences in healthcare, banking & investment, insurance, interfaith and community organizations help enriches those she interacts with fresh, creative and unique perspectives. She enjoys matching talents and resources to help diverse stakeholders to succeed in their mission.  She coaches her clients to gain new insights, minimize stress, find new directions, achieve new goals, and what it takes to live the best life that they have been given.

President and Founder

Soaring To Greatness

M. Helen Cavazos

M. Helen Cavazos is a human resources and diversity & inclusion executive with extensive

background in a variety of industries to include retail, insurance, financial services, energy, transportation and media.  Her human resources career includes working both in the public and private sector and most recently as consultant to nonprofit organizations.  She has worked with top 500 companies with long tenure at McDonald’s Corporation and last corporate position as Vice President Human Resources & Diversity Officer for METRO Houston. 


She serves on Houston Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council, Houston Symphony Hispanic Leadership Council and the Executive Committee of RMHC Houston.  She was  recently appointed to the Houston Galveston Area Council Workforce Development Board.  She has served on the Diversity Summit Committee for 10 plus years. 


MH Cavazos Associates

Andy Drake

Andy has been with Enbridge for over 35 years.  He was a founding member of their informal mentor & sponsorship group, titled Leadership Development Network (LDN).  


He also engages in a formal mentoring program, coaching women to advance their careers.  Most recently, Andy helped to form and is the executive sponsor for Employee Resource Group (ERG) FEMinEN which is focused on empowering and growing the careers of Females in Engineering.

VP, Asset Integrity


Kimberly Duck

Director Supplier Diversity

BP Americas

Kimberly Duck is responsible for managing strategic, innovative processes to influence minority and women-owned business inclusion in BP’s supply chain.  Ms. Duck drives this effort in BP’s Upstream businesses.  Her objective is to improve overall corporate targets and satisfy key stakeholder supplier diversity expectations.


Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Duck is a former research chemist.    She later transitioned into Chevron’s Global Supply Chain Management in business development. Ms. Duck earned an MBA from Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas and is a long-standing adjunct professor at the University of Houston-Downtown in the College of Business.


Ms. Duck represents BP America Inc. as Board Chair for the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC South) and sits on the board for the Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC), both in Louisiana.  She also participates in various corporate committees in Houston with the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) and the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC). 

Carla Kuaiwa

Carla Kuaiwa is the founder of CK Cross Consulting, Inc., a veteran-owned small business. CK Cross Consulting focuses on small and medium size organizations and non-profits, creating customized HR Systems and Designs to meet their unique needs and Organization Development Interventions to solve existing inefficiencies.


Carla worked for Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston for 14 years where she gained interdisciplinary experience in multiple roles in Organization Development, Human Resources, Community Relations, and Business Development. Prior to Memorial Hermann, Carla served in the US Air Force for 13 years. During her tour as a Military Training Instructor, Carla discovered her passion and talent for Human Resources and Change Management and pursued a dual Master’s in HR Management and Organization Development.


She is a founding Board Member of SoleAna Stables, which provides Equine Therapy to individuals with special needs ranging from Autism, Multiple Sclerosis to Down Syndrome to PTSD. She is a Board Member of Asian Pacific American Heritage Association (APAHA),  volunteers with Women's Voice for Better America, and at Free the Captives, an organization that fights teen sex trafficking in Houston.


CK Cross Consulting

Roland Manzano


Roland Manzano has a Bachelor of Science from Sam Houston State University with over thirty years of Human Resources experience. His career began in executive recruiting with a local search firm.


He is a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant), certified in Employee and Labor Relations, has worked with companies such as Cap Gemini America, Compaq Computer Corporation, Bank of America, BMC Software and is currently Director of Human Resources/Staffing at METRO (Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County) since July of 2003.

Director HR/Staffing


Annie Lidge

Starting her career with Fluor in 1974, Annie has more than 40 years of experience in procurement and contracting within the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) industry in both government and commercial applications. Annie was appointed Fluor’s Corporate Supplier Diversity Program Manager in 2013.


In this role, Annie transformed the longstanding Program into one that is proactive and innovative. She developed groundbreaking processes and procedures by establishing various internal program committees that foster connections and provide developmental growth opportunities for diverse businesses in the supply chain. She has created a thriving supplier diversity program with all domestic Fluor offices engaged and supporting diverse business enterprises and minority development councils in their respective regions.

Corporate Supplier Diversity Manager


Katie Mehnert

Katie Mehnert has a business mantra: Why waste a good crisis?


She is the Founder and CEO of Pink Petro™, the global community and career resource aimed at disrupting the gender gap in energy. Pink Petro has grown exponentially since its launch in 2014, with members in 120 countries and at over 500 companies. Forbes recently named Pink Petro one of seven Communities Where You Can Connect with Company Insiders. And in 2017, Katie launched Experience Energy℠ the only global careers platform for women in energy.


Katie spent 20 years in oil and gas and is an expert in driving cultural transformations through education and change management. Katie has held global leadership roles with industry giants BP and Shell in health and safety during periods of financial crisis, spills, divestment and globalization. Prior to Big Oil, Katie consulted with Duke Energy, Waste Management, Entergy and Enron. Her chaotic, imperfect corporate path drove her to build Pink Petro and help companies prepare for the looming talent shortage, end the gender gap and mitigate energy’s reputational crisis.

Founder / CEO

Pink Petro

Margaret Mayer

Margaret specializes in LGBTQ workforce inclusion and strategy development. She assists organizations in increasing inter-organization and service user inclusion across race, gender, and sexual orientation.


Margaret’s experience includes over three years of equity work and more than five years spent researching and studying inequality. Margaret has extensive experience in developing diversity, inclusion and equity curriculum and training courses aimed at effecting long-term systems change. Margaret is a trained State of Texas facilitator of equity and inclusion workshops.

Consultant and Lead Trainer

EnFocus Strategists

Pranika Uppal Sinha

Pranika has a passion for coaching and developing people, and has been in training and development for 17 years. Her focus at Oxy includes aligning people and business strategies, designing and delivering leadership development programs, and employee engagement/culture.


She has previously worked as a diversity consultant, and is the former President of the Texas Diversity Council, Gulf Coast Chapter. Pranika holds a B.S. degree from Northwestern University in Environmental Engineering and an MBA from Rice University.

Senior Manager,

Employee & Organization Development,

Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy)

Tammi Wallace

Tammi works with organizations on strategic counsel and high-quality consulting. She has worked with an array of clients in government, nonprofit and the private sector. She is well respected as a local leader in the LGBTQ community where she has been involved in various volunteer roles for over fifteen years.


In 2016, she was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve on the City of Houston’s first LGBT Advisory Board. Tammi is Co-Founder and Board Chair of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Founder and Principal Consultant

EnFocus Strategies