Living Color 2023 DEI ConferenceMar 28, 2023 11:34AM ● By Lori Coon
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are buzzwords that have become increasingly popular in the business world in recent years. But what do they really mean, and why are they important for businesses to prioritize?
Living Color 2023 D.E.I. Conference will explore the benefits of DEI practices for businesses, from enhancing innovation and creativity to increasing customer loyalty and profitability.
Living Color DEI 2023 Conference and
SC Top Workplaces Awards
Living Color 2023 D.E.I. Conference will feature thought-provoking speakers who will share their successes and showcase programs implemented to continue each organization’s D.E.I. journey.
Meet Our Speakers:
Living Color 2023 D.E.I. Conference will feature thought-provoking speakers who will share their successes and showcase programs implemented to continue each organization’s D.E.I. journey.
KEYNOTE: John Samuel, Cofounder & CEO of Abir, Author of Don’t Ask the Blind Guy for Directions, Digital Accessibility Advocate.
Prior to assuming his current role, Samuel spent twenty years working globally. While he experienced various successes during that time, including launching a multimillion-dollar business for a company in Africa, the Cary, NC native held tight to a secret for as long as he could. He was going blind to a degenerating eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa.
In 2017, he learned about Durham-based LCI, the largest employer of people who are blind in the nation. Samuels soon joined the organization and was able to use his business and personal experience to create a technology-services business that would create jobs and upward mobility for people who are blind.
John Samuel, along with co-founder Mike Iannelli, launched Abir in October 2020. Abir, which has ten employees, is a division of LCI. Abir began as a joint venture between LCI and Raleigh-based digital agency Walk West, until LCI acquired 100% of the business last year.
Abir Works was launched in collaboration with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Services for the Blind. Its goal is preparing people who are blind for careers in digital accessibility. The company’s “Disability Inclusion: Putting Untapped talent to Work” training modules also led to Abir receiving the NC Tech Association’s 2022 DEC Tech Award.
Last November, Samuel published his first book: “Don’t Ask the Blind Guy for Directions: A 30,000-mile Journey for Love, Confidence, and a Sense of Belonging.”
Samuel graduated from North Carolina State University (BA) and The George Washington University School of Business (MBA).
Robert Pickering, Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer, The Citadel
Robert Pickering, a member of The Citadel Class of 1994, was promoted to Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer in 2022. In his new role, Pickering will lead, develop and enhance a culture of diversity and inclusion at The Citadel, in support of the college’s mission, core values and the Our Mighty Citadel 2026 Strategic Plan.
Pickering was formerly the director for Multicultural Student Services. He has served in a variety of roles since joining the college as an employee in 1995, including admissions counselor, associate director of admissions focused on recruiting minority and underrepresented students, director of Student Success Center, director of The Citadel Success Institute and an ombudsman.
Pickering’s experiences at The Citadel have shaped his perspective in many ways. As a cadet, he was part of the African American Society, and served as their president his senior year. Pickering was also part of the Accounting Club and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Pickering, a Charleston native and Burke High School alum, graduated from The Citadel (BA), and he also earned his (MA) in Social Science from The Citadel in 2007.
Julian R. Williams, J.D., Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of South Carolina.
Julian R. Williams was appointed as the University of South Carolina’s first Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in June 2020.
In this role he serves as the university’s Chief Diversity Officer and leads the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). Reporting directly to the President, the VP/DEI is responsible for providing vision and leadership for diversity and inclusion efforts across the university. This role capitalizes on the varied ways DEI are and can be embedded in the university’s curriculum, infrastructure, policies, and programs.
Prior to coming to USC, Julian served as Vice President for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
In this role he provided leadership to Mason’s Compliance, Diversity and Ethics division, and lead the University's efforts to ensure a diverse student body and workforce.
Previously, he served as the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Officer at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Julian has also served as the Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Julian earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law.
Julian has worked as a civil trial attorney in the state of Michigan on cases involving discrimination, harassment.
He has served on the executive board for the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity, a national non-profit association of professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity and diversity dedicated to the promotion of policies designed to fulfill the nation’s promise of equal opportunity for all individuals.
Julian is also a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) and previously served as President of the organization’s Atlantic Chapter.
Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Benedict College
Roslyn Clark Artis is the 14th president of Benedict College and the first woman to hold the position. She holds the additional distinction of being the first female president of Florida Memorial University. She is also educational advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, serves on the board of directors of the United Negro College Fund and the Council of Independent Colleges, and serves as co-chair for the United Way of the Midlands Campaign.
And her work has been recognized by many organizations. In 2018, Artis was named Female HBCU President of the Year by HBCU Digest, and the following year, she was named of a Diverse Issue in Higher Education’s Top 35 Leading Women in Higher Education. And in 2020, Higher Ed Dive named here President of the Year for her leadership during the challenges of 2020.
Artis received a scholarship to attend West Virginia State University, earning a B.A. in Political Science in 1991. She then earned her Juris Doctor from West Virginia University College of Law and her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. She holds a Certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University and a Certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment from DePaul University.
Jil Littlejohn Bostick, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Winnebago IndustriesJil Littlejohn Bostick is a speaker, influencer, and leader in her community. Littlejohn Bostick currently serves as Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Winnebago Industries. She is an influential, bilingual D.E.I. leader with 15+ years of experience in growing a diverse and inclusive workforce. She has a proven record in translating best practices in D.E.I. into readily consumable resources and programs aligned to business needs. Littlejohn Bostick is committed to inspiring people to drive effective teamwork, communication, collaboration, and commitment across multiple groups with competing priorities.
Ever evolving and breaking barriers, Littlejohn Bostick became the first female President and CEO of the Urban League of the Upstate in 2015, and she had previously served as the Treasurer for the National Urban League of Young Professionals (NULYP) and as Southern Regional Vice President for NULYP.
Littlejohn Bostick has also been recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as one of Greenville’s 50 Most Influential 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee. Ebony Magazine’s Top Young Leaders Under 30, A Women Making History Honoree, Greenville Business
Magazine’s Best & Brightest 35 and Under and was awarded the Public Servant of the Year Award by the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club.
A dynamic leader, Littlejohn Bostick has graduated from Greenville, Spartanburg and South Carolina Leadership programs, Yale University’s Women’s Campaign School, and has earned a Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Certification. She is also a graduate of Wofford College (BA) and Webster University (MBA).
Carl Sharperson, Jr., Leadership Innovation Strategist, speaker, author, and coach
Carl Sharperson Jr. is a Leadership Innovation Strategist, speaker, author, and coach. He specializes in taking leaders from mediocre to maximizing their potential in work and personal life. He transforms his audience and coaching clients through his proprietary Sharp Leadership coaching process as well as drawing from his unique experiences in the military, Corporate America and entrepreneurship.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former United States Marine Corps pilot with a BS in Engineering, Carl documented those experiences in his book, Sharp Leadership Overcome Adversity To Lead With Authenticity, which is a life changing book.
Following his service, he went on to hold a number of senior sales and operational positions with Frito Lay, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate Palmolive. In fact, he was the Vice President of Manufacturing for an international sports company, when he felt the tug towards entrepreneurship. He then launched Sharperson’s Executive Leadership in 2000, where he has worked with executives at companies including: Harley Davidson, BMW, University of North Carolina, and Chick-fil-A, just to name a few.
As a speaker, Carl travels nationally, and was trained by the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC, as an adjunct trainer, where he specialized in executive coaching, leadership, and organizational development.
Carl recognizes the value of giving back and works on several community and faith-based initiatives, serving as a mentor and a resource to maximize the potential of youth today. Carl and his wife make their home in the upstate of SC, and they are the proud parents of a son and a daughter.
Kizmet T. Moore, MBA, CDE®, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion + Belonging, NFP
Kizmet T. Moore is the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion + Belonging (DEIB) at NFP. Her 20+ year career extends across various positions in the Financial & Insurance Services industry. She is committed to driving diversity at all levels of her organization by creating inclusive and engaging cultures that effectively serve employees, customers, and the community. She prioritizes relationship-building and service to design effective strategies for integrating DEIB principles into organizational practices. She believes DEIB is a business imperative for organizations to be successful today and in the future.
Ms. Moore is also the Founder and Managing Director of Kulture Beyond the Rootz, LLC, a business consultancy who has successfully designed and initiated results-oriented DEI-focused processes, workshops, trainings, and discussions for senior leaders, people managers and employees that encourages learning, reflection, awareness and understanding as well as community-building ultimately inspiring organizational growth, employee engagement and an inclusive culture overall. Her specialization is the development of Business Resource Groups and building strategic partnerships that assist with employee engagement and organizational growth.
Moore has a B.A. from Winthrop University and a MBA from Webster University. She is a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE®) and public speaker. She was the recipient of the 2022 GenHERation Icon Award and most recently recognized as one of the Top 100 Women in Business by the National Women’s Conference. She is a board member of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) Development Chapter of Charlotte, NC and a proud and active member of the Rock Hill Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Tyler Prescott, Director, Upstate LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce
Tyler Prescott moved from Western Mass to the Upstate ten years ago and has called it home ever since. After taking on the role of LGBT+ Business Resource Group chair at TD Bank, he discovered his passion for empowering LGBT+ voices in the workplace and it was there he met the LGBT+ Chamber Cofounders. His role at the Chamber is fueled by that same passion as he informs all of his work with the understanding that all workplaces are better off when their employees are empowered to bring their whole authentic selves to work.
As a man with a talent for wearing many hats, Tyler also works for Kiona Technologies as their Director of Operations, Alchemy Comedy Theater as the Executive Producer, and as an event planner for hire. He can often be spotted doing improv and stand-up comedy all over town.
When not working to improve the Upstate for LGBT+ businesses, professionals, and allies, Tyler can be found watching his favorite TV show Survivor or spending time with his partner Mitch, their wild child of a puppy Poe, and cat Anya. The latter two are likely to show up in just about every video call. You can find out more information about the Upstate LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce at upstatelgbt.org
Elvia Pacheco, DEI Specialist, Programs Director, Greenville Chamber of Commerce
Elvia is the Founder of LatinosUnited, a non-profit organization that’s mission is “to serve young Latinos in the Upstate by promoting Community involvement, Self-Empowerment, and Education.” In addition, Elvia is the owner of Enitiatives by Elvia M. Pacheco, LLC., a bilingual social media influencer startup that holds monthly networking activities with a focus to bring together the American and Hispano/Latino communities.
Community Engagement is another major interest of hers. Elvia was born in Mexico and moved to the USA before her first birthday becoming a naturalized US Citizen. Her experiences have allowed her to gain a better understanding and appreciation for both cultures to better support those in her community. Elvia believes in integration and enjoys working with community members and partners to bridge the gap between English and Spanish-speaking groups.
Elvia earned her Bachelor of Science in Communications and Journalism, University of South Carolina Upstate. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from Strayer University. She is a Riley Institute Upstate Diversity Leadership Recipient; Greenville Business Magazine’s Best and Brighest 35 and Under Honoree; HACR – Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever Award Recipient.
Additionally, Elvia is a former Human Resource Specialist with Fluor Corporation and Pendleton Place, and Head of Community Initiatives, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate; and named to the 25 Most Beautiful Women in the Update.
Angela Jenkins, Vice President of Accountable Communities, Prisma Health
Angela Jenkins is an experienced leader in Community Health, having implemented Community Health initiatives for over 20 years at a large health care system in Northern California before moving to South Carolina to become the Vice President of Accountable Communities for Prisma Health. In her current role, Angela develops strategy and leads the execution of an enterprise-wide Community and Social Health strategy designed to address the needs of communities experiencing significant barriers in achieving good health.
Before working for Prisma Health, Angela led a portfolio of Community Health initiatives at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California that addressed equity and social justice, healthy school climate, mental health and trauma, community and family safety, and homelessness prevention. Angela was also accountable for overseeing a COVID-19 public health messaging campaign to address COVID-19 related health disparities in underserved communities.
Angela served in several leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente. She launched Kaiser Permanente's Northern California Region's Community Health portfolio, leveraging the organization's financial assets and clinical and operational expertise to improve community health. Angela was also responsible for implementing the region's workforce investment strategy, providing oversight for the region's high school and college internship programs (KP LAUNCH), and collaborating with Kaiser Permanente's clinical, allied health training, medical residency programs, and the research division on strategic Community Health initiatives.
Angela has always been deeply involved in her community, serving on several boards and coalitions. Currently, she serves on the East Oakland Community Project and Youth Alive! Board of Directors.
Angela grew up in Tucson, Arizona, graduating with a BS in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. She obtained her MS in Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento, and has had the honor of participating in the Harvard Business School Executive Leadership Program, the Furman University Diversity Leaders Initiative, at the Morehouse School of Medicine Satcher Health Leadership Institute Healthy Communities Initiative.
JDew, Master of Ceremonies
By the time he was 30 years old, JDew had entertained and empowered over three
million people at live events through speaking, sports entertainment, and the stage. His
talents and capabilities are most evident in his adaptability to what kind of event he’s
hosting, from baseball games to VIP galas, and his flexibility in what services he can
provide, from behind-the-scenes brainstorming and promotion to emceeing and
handling the spotlight like there’s nothing to it.
For ten years JDew was the Director of Fun for a minor-league affiliate of the Boston
Red Sox, and is currently the on-court hype man for Clemson University Men’s and
Women’s basketball. In 2011, he began touring theatre experiences to many day school
and higher education platforms with “One Voice: A Black History Narrative";. In addition
to those experiences, JDew is perennially on the mic at many corporate and civic
fundraisers and galas. JDew (or Jeremiah, according to his birth certificate) lives in
Greenville, S.C. with his wife Sydney, and their three young children. Follow him socially
JDew is a currently Board Member of Homes for Hope, Inc, and former Board of
Directors Member of the Greenville Little Theatre and Board Member of the Fountain
Inn Symphony Orchestra.
JDew is a graduate of Bob Jones University (BA).