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2021 Session Descriptions

Keynote Address - Intentional Leadership: Unlocking Performance Through Diversity and Innovation
Presenter: Marques Colston - Strategist | Entrepreneur | Champion​ | Former Saints Great

Marques Colston knows about performance. During a successful 10-year career with the New Orleans Saints, he helped his team capture the first SuperBowl win in the franchise’s history. Colston’s record-breaking statistics in touchdowns, receptions, and yardage earned him a spot in both the New Orleans Saints and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Still, his performance off the field has been equally impressive. Colston’s role as an advisor, investor, and partner in over 25 businesses has given him a front-row seat to what it takes to build and innovate high-performing companies and their teams.

In his keynote, Colston will tap into this knowledge and experience to help you find ways to Create Separation™ and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that actually get executed. Through his framework--for transformational change--he’ll guide you to spot opportunities, build dynamic partnerships, increase strategic alliances, and lead with intention. You will walk away with a new way of looking at strategic measures to create the change you want to see!

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Creating a Workplace that Embraces Working Mothers​
Presenter: Theresa Agovino - Workplace Editor for SHRM

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devasting effect on women’s careers, especially those of working mothers who have struggled to do their jobs while homeschooling their children. Women held more than half the jobs lost during the crisis, and a vaccine isn’t going to fix the situation. The crisis laid bare what was already lacking in the workplace such as flexible scheduling, job-sharing opportunities, child-care benefits, and equal pay. Now, organizations can use the lessons learned during the pandemic to create a better workplace for women, and all their employees.

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Disrupt Unconscious Bias: Act on Facts, Not Fiction
Presenters: Kelly Charles-Collins, ESQ., MBACEO of HR Legally Speaking, Attorney, Speaker, Author and Consultant

Disrupt Unconscious Bias: Act on Facts not Fiction

Every second our brains receive millions of bits of information. But we can only consciously process about 40 of those bits. Those other bits result in people making decisions based on learned stereotypes, our background, environment and personal experiences. You might know this as “Unconscious Bias.” While everyone has it, there is a price to be paid for unconscious bias if it is not controlled or corrected. Our unconscious thoughts negatively impact our organizations every day in ways we probably don’t even realize. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the power to discover and leverage the true value of those around us and to help others do the same. But it takes more than good intentions. It takes action.

Learning objectives:

  • Differentiate between unconscious bias and discrimination
  • Explore biases that are most prevalent in the employee career cycle
  • Analyze the tangible and intangible impact of unconscious bias
  • Develop practical strategies to uncover hidden biases and facilitate inclusive interactions
  • Gain practical tools to disrupt unconscious bias and effectuate sustained change

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Equitable Development and Its Impact on Racial Equity in Louisiana
Presenters: Chris Tyson - President & Chief Executive Officer for Build Baton Rouge

Diversity acknowledges and encourages individual differences that exist in any given setting. Inclusive goals pursue that each person is valued, welcomed and respected for their individual differences. The last component in this continuum is Equity which ensures that diversity and inclusion is achieved by identifying barriers and creating opportunities that are accessible to everyone regardless of their background. Equity, therefore, is more of a state than a step. This presentation will offer insight as to how systematic racism has created a barrier throughout Louisiana and caused a denial of equitable opportunities.

Attendees will:

  • Learn to identify systematic racial barriers;
  • Gain insight into the impact of racial equity throughout the state of Louisiana
  • Understand how these barriers impact opportunities in business
  • Discuss the work needed to spur equitable development to overcome those barriers

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Fostering a Culture of Bravery in the Midst of Division
Presenters: Jada Monica Drew - CEO of Social Designs

Brave space is an open environment to challenge others and be challenged. Participants will
learn how to use the Social Designs Dialogue Principles as a tool for growing as a team and
becoming more effective communicators.

Attendees will:

  • Learn key diversity, equity, and inclusion terms.
  • Engage in interactive activities to understand the impact of implicit bias and socialization
  • Discuss relevant topics using the dialogue principle framework
  • Discover cultural differences and similarities through storytelling.. 

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Getting Talent Back to Work
Presenters: Bryan Martin -  Program Manager for Inclusion Programs at the SHRM Foundation

This presentation will provide participants an overview of the SHRM Foundation inclusion initiatives that seek to position individuals from untapped pools of talent as key populations that provide incalculable benefits to organizations. The presenter will provide the latest research, trends and best practices for HR professionals to provide equitable and inclusive opportunities for both veterans and individuals with criminal records, as well as others.

Key Takeaways:

  • A strong understanding of the business case for hiring from “untapped pools of talent”
  • Concepts and practices for implementing DE&I strategy across all aspects of the employee lifecycle
  • SHRM Foundation resources that inform and equip HR professionals to confidently hire and retain individuals from “untapped pools of talent”.

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Let’s Talk About It! Mental Health Awareness and Creating a Mental Health Friendly Workplace​
Presenter: Tamara M. Rasberry, SHRM-CP, PHR - Owner, Rasberry Consulting, LLC

The presentation will be about fostering mental health awareness in the workplace. 

Attendees will learn: 

  • A basic understanding of mental health and some primary mental health disorders. 
  • Practices HR professionals can implement to reduce the stigma around mental health disorders in their workplaces.
  • Examples of how various mental health disorders may present in the workplace & how to educate managers about them.
  • How HR professionals can support individuals dealing with mental health disorders, both directly and indirectly.

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Taking Action! 5 Steps to Improving Your Diversity Hiring Strategy
Presenter: John Coffee IV, MBA - Director of Talent Acquisition & Technology for the Hanna Resource Group

Diversity and Inclusion within an organization has never been more important or relevant than in today's environment. In fact, studies show that companies with a strong, diversified workforce tend to perform better, generate more revenue and are often perceived more amicably by the public than their competitors! Assuring you have a strong diversity hiring strategy is mission critical to supporting a company's success. And let's be honest, tackling this topic as an HR professional can seem both daunting and overwhelming to achieve meaningful results as you navigate through organizational red tape and find yourself challenged with broad and unreachable goals. In this training, our goal is to provide you with 5 tangible steps to take action and immediately improve your diversity hiring strategy today! This program will provide the tools to develop a foundational blueprint for successful and sustainable diversity hiring.

Presentation Learning Objectives (What the attendee will walk away from your session having learned) Three objectives are required:

  • #1 Audit Your Current Diversity Hiring Process
  • #2 Pick One Metric to Improve Your Diversity Hiring Strategy
  • #3 Enhance Your Diversity Sourcing Strategy
  • #4 Promote Inclusiveness In Your Screening Process
  • #5 Measure Your Success and Strive For Continued Improvement

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What’s the IDI?  Why We Need It Now More Than Ever
Presenter: Dr. Helen Holton, IDI, CPED, CPCC, ICF, CPA, SHRM-CP, PHR - Chief Thought Leader at Dr. Helen Holton and Assocaites

Our current climate is charged with confusion, conflict and division. Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion are impacting our reality, and they are also interrelated components of our Intercultural Competence.  We’ll take a closer look at the Intercultural Development Inventory, the IDI® and gain a deeper understanding of why it matters; especially today.  We’ll begin with an exploration of what the IDI® is, what’s it used for, and why does it matter. As a human resources professional working to increase inclusion within your organization or with clients, the IDI® is a tool to consider.

Three (3) Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the IDI® as a DEI resource tool.
  • Using the IDI® to deepen interpersonal engagement.
  • Application of the instrument with individuals, teams, and organizations.

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Thursday Night Immersive Networking Program


Panel Discussion: From Confederate Symbols to EQUITY in Louisiana!
Presenter: Mitch Landireu - Founder & President of E Pluribus Unum and Jhacova Williams ​- Associate Economist at RAND Corporation

Our Panel will discuss the issues and challenges related to equity within the state of Louisiana and our opportunities to move toward and achieve Equity.

  • Impact of Confederate Symbols on socioeconomic conditions.
  • Correlation between neighborhoods where Confederate Symbols were placed the job outcomes for the residents.
  • Discussion of the opportunities to address Equity within Louisiana.
  • Strategies that companies can engage in that lead the path to a more equitable state of Louisiana.

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