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 Tony Allen

Tony Allen is the Executive Vice President and Provost at Delaware State University, one of the nation’s oldest and most diverse Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As the institution’s Chief Academic Officer, Tony leads a faculty of more than 200 professors and 21 academic departments serving nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Previously, he led the corporate reputation group at Bank of America and was responsible for developing programming to influential external audiences including media elites, national social justice advocates, academics and elected officials and their staff at federal and local levels. He was also responsible for ongoing reputation analysis and related research, led communications for the bank’s Consumer, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management businesses and was the co-chair of the Global Marketing & Corporate Affairs Diversity & Inclusion Council. He started his financial services career as an Executive Vice President at MBNA America.

Prior to his career in the private sector, Tony spent many years in the not-for-profit and public service sectors. He was the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League where he advocated for equity in education, minority business procurement and urban revitalization, and also worked for several years with former Vice President of the United States Joseph R. Biden. He started his career as the co- founder of Public Allies Delaware, a leadership organization for young adults interested in full-time, public service careers. Since 1994, more than 600 “Allies” contributed nearly 1 million hours of volunteer service to Delaware communities.

Tony has also written extensively in many periodicals and publications including the National Urban League’s annual journal, State of Black America, and its syndicated column To Be Equal. He is also the author of Devolution and Intergovernmental Decision-Making (2001) and the editor of The Pace of Progress: A Comparative Analysis of Racial Disparities (2002).

He is a former trustee and Senior Policy Fellow at the University of Delaware, a trustee at the Laffey-McHugh Foundation and director emeritus with the Wilmington Hope Commission. He is also the chairman emeritus of the National Urban Fellows, the oldest academic fellowship for mid-career professionals of color in the country.

He is currently Chairman of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, a Commission created to strengthen public education for low-income black and brown students throughout Delaware. The Commission’s mandate is outlined in two seminal reports, Strengthening Wilmington Education: An Action Agenda (2015) and Solutions for Delaware Schools (2016).

Tony is a Whitney M. Young awardee for Advancing Racial Equality, the National Urban League’s highest honor, and in 2012 was named Delaware Citizen of the Year. In 2016, he was named PR Council’s National Diversity Champion and has received many other honors throughout his career.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a doctorate in urban affairs & public policy from the University of Delaware as well as a master’s in public administration from Baruch College (City University of New York).

 Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014, he was the Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor in the state of South Carolina.

Earning his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina, Sellers has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to service taking championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity.

His impressive list accomplishment in addition to having served on President Barack Obama's South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election, Sellers is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done  has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s  40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014 and 2015 “The Root 100” list of  the nation’s most influential African-Americans and has provided commentary and analysis to CNN and MSNBC including multiple appearances on Hardball with Chris Matthews and Morning Joe. He now currently serves on AIPAC’s National Council.

He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, the 2008 Democratic National Convention and, in 2007, delivered the opening keynote address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.

Sellers practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC and is a Political Commentator at CNN. He is married to Dr. Ellen Rucker-Sellers.

 Tony Byers

Boldly challenging the status quo and decades of diversity and inclusion practices, Dr. Tony Byers is transforming D&I from “the right thing to do” to the business imperative of our time. His presentations provide the perfect balance of “why now” and “how to” that will take your thinking on inclusion — and your organization — to the next level. Along the way, you’ll learn from the success stories of companies that have evolved beyond “doing diversity well” to leveraging inclusion as a powerful business advantage. These inclusive cultures are increasing employee creativity and productivity, developing new products and product categories, and far outpacing their peers in innovation, marketplace growth and business performance. Dr. Byers shows you how to build an inclusive culture through a breakthrough behavioral approach that overcomes biases and creates buy-in. You’ll also learn how to set in motion a multiplier effect of inclusion that more than doubles employee productivity while positively impacting every aspect of your organization.

The author of The Multiplier Effect of Inclusion: How Diversity & Inclusion Advances Innovation and Drives Growth, Dr. Byers is best known for leading and revitalizing Starbucks’ highly respected and successful D&I function and programming. As Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Byers developed and lead the company’s strategic direction to drive engagement, innovation and business growth. Prior to Starbucks, his impressive track record in large matrix multinational organizations included Cargill, where he led diversity programs throughout North America and a pioneering role as a transformational D&I leader at H.J. Heinz. At Heinz, he created the company’s global diversity and inclusion function from the ground up, creating and building model programs and practices. With 20+ years working in the field, Dr. Byers brings a diverse set of experiences and thinking to his D&I practice, including work in the nonprofit and education sector, as an organizational management consultant and as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, Metropolitan State University and the University of Wisconsin. He holds a Ph. D. in Human and Organizational Development and a M.A. in Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. His doctoral thesis focused on effective strategies for building support for diversity programs among senior leaders.

As Dr. Byers has observed, “We’ve been working on diversity and inclusion for 50 years and we’re really not happy with where we’re at. That means we’re either not doing something right, or we need to do something different.” His thought-provoking presentations challenge old mindsets and inspire both individuals and organizations to stretch their imaginations and move beyond awareness of our differences and towards utilization that fosters innovation and growth. With a call to look within and leverage our cultural insights and diversity, Dr. Byers provides key strategies to increase personal, professional and organizational success. Whether you’re a D&I professional, an affinity group, or any organization looking to build a better culture while boosting the bottom line, you’ll leave inspired, empowered, and seeing diversity and inclusion in a fresh new light.

 Dr. James Fielder

James Fielder, Jr. is the Secretary of Higher Education for the State of Maryland.   He received his B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1970 and 1972, respectively. Dr. Fielder earned  the Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1984. 

Dr. Fielder has a long, rich history of working on behalf of Maryland’s citizens in the field of education and in industry.  Currently, he is Chair of the Segmental Advisory Council and a member of the Board of Directors, Maryland Workforce Corporation.  Dr. Fielder also serves the State as a member of the Governor’s Executive Council; Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs; Smart Growth Subcabinet; Governor’s Warrior to Worker Council; Task Force to Study the Impact of Expanding Credit and Noncredit Courses for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; College Savings Plans of Maryland Board; Coordinating Council for Juvenile Services Educational Programs; Correctional Education Council; Financial Education and Capability Commission; Maryland Heritage Areas Authority; Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs; Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center Governing Board; Maryland Advisory Commission on Manufacturing Competitiveness; Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs; P-20 Leadership Council on Maryland; Student Transfer Advisory Committee; Governor's Workforce Investment Board; and Southern Regional Education Board.

Dr. Fielder has held several positions in the higher education arena. He served as the President, Capstone Properties, On-Campus Management, Birmingham, Alabama; Vice President for Administration and Finance, Towson University, Towson, Maryland; Director of Budget, Personnel, and Institutional Analysis, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, Michigan; and Budget/Policy Analyst, Division of Education, Office of the Budget, Department of Management and Budget, State of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan.

For more than two decades, Dr. Fielder has helped Maryland improve the lives of its citizens by serving in such positions as the Vice President, Business and Education Advisory Task Force, Harford County Department of Education (1992-93); Assistant Secretary for Business Development, Department of Economic and Employment Development (1994); Deputy Secretary, Department of Business and Economic Development (1995-98); Member, Cabinet Council for Career and Technology Education; Member, Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority (1998); Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (2003-2007); and Member, Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Minority Affairs.  This list is just a small sample of the contributions made by Dr. Fielder. 

Dr. Fielder is the recipient of numerous awards.  They include: the Maryland Economic Development Association Life Time Achievement Award (2013); Strathmore’s Who’s Who (2009); Governor’s Citation, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., State of Maryland (2006); Leadership Award, Maryland Workforce Development Association (2006); and President George W. Bush Recognition Award for Innovation in Workforce Development (2005).  Between 1990 and 2013, Dr. Fielder received more than twenty honors and awards.  He is recognized by the State of Maryland and nationally as a leader who is innovative, analytical, caring, and inclusive.

Dr. Fielder and his family reside in Harford County, Maryland.

 Mr. Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace  is an internationally-known entrepreneur, author, business consultant and keynote speaker. With more than 30 years of industry experience spanning engineering, energy, IT and executive consulting, Bob leverages his expertise to educate and inspire entrepreneurs, executives and audiences around the world.

Growing up in the Baltimore projects amidst poverty and racial segregation, Bob overcame social and economic obstacles through his own rags-to-riches story to become a successful serial entrepreneur. After being groomed by innovative industry leaders like IBM, DuPont and Procter & Gamble, Bob leveraged his experience to establish and lead three companies: BITHGROUP Technologies Inc., an IT service provider; Bithenergy Inc., an energy services company; and, through, EntreTeach Learning Systems LLC, which offers web-based training for women and minority business owners.

Pulling from his real-life experiences and extensive research, Bob has published five books on wealth creation, strategic partnerships, emerging markets and entrepreneurship. His books address the challenges faced by small disadvantaged businesses and entrepreneurs, with an insightful approach that makes his writing equally compelling to large corporations with “intrapreneurial” spirit.

Today, Bob blends his diverse experiences in engineering, energy, technology, and entrepreneurship to educate, entertain and enlighten corporate audiences across industries and demographics. His dynamic keynote presentations and hands-on workshops inspire personal and professional breakthroughs, resulting in bottom-line improvements for groups he has consulted with and spoken to.

Avid about education, especially STEM programs, he regularly mentors students in high school and college. Bob is a passionate community leader and devoted church elder who believes in the intersection of spirituality and business. He helped establish Global Vessels, a faith-based nonprofit that pursues humanitarian projects around the world to meet the physical needs of people in emerging nations. Through his nonprofit, he has built global relationships that have translated into profitable connections – an example of his motto to “do good while doing well.”

Currently, Mr. Wallace serves as Affiliate Professor of Business at the Loyola University Sellinger School of Business, where he lectures on innovation in the global economy. Previously, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania, and his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where he began his research on the successful characteristics of entrepreneurs.

A highly sought-after consultant and advisor for corporate and government leaders, Bob has served as chair for the State of Maryland Information Technology Board, the Governor’s Advanced Technology Commission, Small Business Task Force, Minority Business Task Force, the City of Baltimore Mayor’s Coalition of Supplier Diversity and Inclusion, and Chair of The President's Roundtable, a results-driven organization made of 20 companies that strive to improve the community through small, medium and large businesses working together. 

Bob seamlessly blends the theoretical traits of entrepreneurial success he’s researched, with the real-world insights he’s learned from starting and building actual businesses. With this bold, forward-thinking approach, Bob’s books and presentations offer practical advice and proven strategies that give professional audiences a roadmap to achieve their own objectives of success.

 Dr. Katherine Wheatle

Katherine Wheatle is the Lumina Foundation's strategy officer for finance and federal policy.  Dr. Wheatle previously served as a research analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and as a research associate for the NSSE Institute for Effective Educational Practice at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. She has also served as a consultant for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) of the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Wheatle’s prior work included examining how the Higher Education Act affects minority-serving institutions and how finance and financial aid policies can impact these institutions. She also worked in academia.

Dr. Wheatle is published. She and three of her peers co-authored: The Potential of Degree Reclamation: A Path to Reclaiming the Nation’s Unrecognized Students and Degrees . This article “offers a new vision for scaling degree reclamation nationwide. Degree reclamation is a transformative completion strategy that can help millions of college students achieve their dream of earning a degree, especially underserved students.”

During Dr. Wheatle’s tenure in academia, she served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs (Student Diversity Services & Programs), Brooklyn College; Resident Director/Living-Learning Coordinator: Health Promotion & Wellness, Sea/Institute for Shipboard Education; and Division-Wide Assessment Graduate Research Associate, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Core values; valiant, personal “superpowers”; higher education policy; and tenacious, personal attributes define Dr. Wheatle. She is loyal, focused, enterprising, bold, and judicious. Dr. Wheatle is a deep listener who pays attention to what is being said, and seeks to find what is omitted so that collaborations and negotiations are more effective. “Thinking outside of the box” comes second-nature to her. Dr. Wheatle is passionate about eliminating inequities in higher education. One of her main responsibilities is to consistently demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of higher education policy. She has a talent for discerning, acknowledging and appreciating multiple, often conflicting, points of view. Dr. Wheatle has keen instincts and is able to navigate sensitive political environments, negotiate effectively, interact confidently with a wide range of professionals, and bring positive energy to a wide range of contexts.

Dr. Wheatle received a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Indiana University, an M.S.P.H in Health Policy and Health Service Research from Emory University, and a B.S. in African and African American studies from The Pennsylvania State University.