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.
Monday, April 24th, 2023
8 : 3 0 A M - 5 : 0 0 P M • C O L U M B I A , S C
COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN CONVENTION CENTER
Meet Our Speakers:
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 multimilliondollar 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. Samuel 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
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
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's 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
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
Roslyn Clark Artis
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
Jil Littlejohn Bostick, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Winnebago Industries. Jil 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 Under 35, 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.
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 Moore, MBA, CDE, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, NFP Insurance Kizmet Moore is an Executive at NFP Insurance, with a focus on team building and promoting diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry. Moore’s work spans strategic planning, public speaking, and program development within the nonprofit sector, as well as the corporate and business community. As a professional with more than twenty years in the health and welfare benefits industry. Moore has always been passionate about developing opportunities that are inclusive of all. Moore also the CEO & Managing Director of Kulture Beyond the Rootz, LLC., a professional Training and Coaching consulting firm. Moore is a graduate of Winthrop University (BA) and Webster University (MBA).
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
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).
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