Our speakers offer invaluable insight and take-aways to give to your organization. The truth is that today’s complex business problems demand a range of viewpoints to get solved. And organizations that do not value an array of perspectives lose growth opportunities and suppress innovation. That’s the value of having a diverse workforce. Diversity in itself isn’t the goal, however. It’s the outcome of the organization’s efforts to be inclusive: to cast a wide net for talent and to value people in whatever package they come in. In these presentations, you will come to better understand what organizations can do to create inclusive cultures—from hiring to professional development, retention and succession planning.
Introducing our newest speakers:
Ayris is a tri-sector executive who brings years of experience designing and executing fundraising strategies, culturally sensitive communications & policy planning. She has been called on to provide team-building and startup operations for prominent elected officials, global brand executives, and highly recognized nonprofit organizations. Her expertise lies in building authentic public-private partnerships, stakeholder engagement, fundraising, strategic planning and startup efforts that benefit women, underinvested communities and teams. Her leadership and approach have generated outcomes that are both purposeful and profitable.
As the Founder & CEO of Abel Vision Enterprises, her high energy and creative talks motivates audiences to ATTRACT investments, VOCALIZE impact, and EXCITE partners. Ayris has raised more than $50M in grants and investments and administered more than $200M in funding and subsidies. She brings a raw yet warm delivery to every keynote, podcast, radio, and tv appearance.
Bernadette Smith is founder and CEO of Equality Institute and award-winning author of four books. Her fourth book is Inclusive 360: Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organization.
Bernadette has presented to enthusiastic audiences of CEOs, associations, entrepreneurs, leadership teams, sales professionals, account executives, marketing executives, human resource managers and more. Her expertise has been sought after by the New York Times, Forbes, the Washington Post, and Fast Company, among many others, and she’s appeared on the Today Show, the BBC, National Public Radio, and CNN.
Bernadette has been named one of Chicago’s Notable LGBTQ Executives by Crain’s Chicago Business. Each week, Bernadette writes about good vibes in DEI in her newsletter, 5 Things and shares these 5 Things in 15 Minutes on her podcast of the same name.
Award-winning advocate, speaker, author, entrepreneur, CEO, publisher, Radio Show Host, and proud Navy veteran Melissa A. Washington wears many hats. Yet woven throughout her diverse pursuits is a mission of service—and a passion to empower her fellow women veterans.
The daughter of a Bronze Star Army Vietnam War veteran, Melissa grew up in San Francisco’s East Bay. Fiercely independent as a child, she spent many afternoons in her family’s video store, where she developed an early sense of business acumen. That enterprising spirit continued into her teenage years when Melissa began training for a career in early childhood education while still in high school.
But something else sparked in Melissa, just as she was finishing her certification. Seeking to expand her world and serve her country, the 18-year-old enlisted in the Navy, where she spent three years on active duty and five years in the reserve. During her time on active duty, she did a 6 month “Med Cruise” and a 6-month “West Pac” deployment. That formative experience set her life on a completely new trajectory—not only taking her across the globe and teaching her vital lessons, but also introducing Melissa to her husband and, ultimately, inspiring her to transform thousands of lives.
Today, aside from serving as CEO of both WVA and WVG and publisher of Women Veterans Magazine, Melissa stays busy as an in-demand public speaker, whose topics range from career reinvention and women veterans to discovering one’s self-worth. She speaks regularly at conferences and events around the country and has conducted more than 100 training workshops—presenting for the likes of Marriott, the Urban League, Blue Diamond, and IMEX America. Melissa has also appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and the Lifetime Channel’s The Balancing Act, as well as on SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, among others.
Want to explore further? Find our complete list of speakers on our website. If you’re planning an upcoming event, please reach out anytime – we are happy to jump on a call to help you craft the perfect event.