Morning Keynote Speaker:
Kenston Henderson, Sr. aka “ The Game Changer”, “The Bias Disrupter” and “ The Winning Conversations Enthusiast” is the founder and CEO of Live With Lyfe, LLC a training and development company. He is a TEDx Signature Speaker, a certified John Maxwell Leadership Speaker and Trainer, Culture Transformation Champion, and certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid USA. With over 18+ years of experience in Human Resources and 20+ years helping people cultivate the best version of themselves, Kenston has delivered hundreds of presentations and keynotes in over 30 different states. Since the pandemic, his impact has extended virtually and physically to international areas in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.
Kenston is also an accomplished musician with two instrumental albums “Breathe”and “Oasis”. He also wrote “Parenting Like a Boss: Intentionally Committed” which landed on Amazon’s Best Seller list and “Winning Conversations: How to Communicate Successfully and Courageously About Race”. He most recently created Cultural Transformation in the Workplace: The 7 Keys to Create + Cultivate Racial Equity Online Course.
As much as Kenston loves speaking, his ongoing commitments and goals are to be the best husband to his amazing wife and the best father in the world to his incredible son.
“If you’re doing LYFE alone, you’re doing it all wrong” KSR
Lunch Keynote Speaker:
Christopher Szamosszegi is the President and Co-Founder of Los Angeles, CA based Mindi Walters Skincare. He started his journey in the skincare industry in 2013 as an integral part of the research and development of multiple skincare products, which helped him gain extensive knowledge in creating some of the most effective and innovative skincare.
In 2015, Chris was introduced to Esthetician Mindi Walters and together launched Mindi Walters Skincare. Since launching, the company has grown exponentially. They now sell products to customers in over 40 countries. The brand has been featured in various publications including Cosmopolitan, GQ, Elle, InStyle, and on the television shows ‘Chelsea Lately” and “The Doctors”. Multiple celebrities including Megan Fox and Chelsea Handler have also posted on social media about his products. As well as selling products online, Christopher is also the co-owner of Mindi Walters Skin Clinic in West Hollywood, CA which is one of the top rated skin clinics in the Los Angeles area.
Christopher is a tribal member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a part of the LGBTQ community. He has been involved with multiple non-profits, including Boo2Bullying, which helps at risk youth, he has benefitted Toys For Tots for many years and is also a member of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program, which helps fight against the use of cosmetic testing on animals.
Afternoon Keynote Speaker:
Ayesha Simons is currently Director, Supplier Diversity at Colgate Palmolive. She’s been in the Supplier Diversity role since December 2019. She prides herself on her ability to utilize her cross discipline knowledge and her passion to drive long lasting change. In this role, she leads the development and implementation of strategies to enable the success of diverse owned businesses and deliver a world class Colgate Supplier Diversity program.
Prior to this role she was Director of Operation for Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, North America Division. In this role she led the operations and strategy for Colgate’s flagship award winning children’s oral health improvement initiative that operates in 80 countries. She has worked for Colgate for 14 years and held several leadership roles in Global Project Management and Global and Regional Packaging Engineering within Global Supply Chain. Prior to Colgate she worked for Kraft Foods for 10 years leading teams in product and packaging development.
Ayesha holds a BS degree from Howard University in chemical engineering and lives in Piscataway, New Jersey with her husband. She has two early in career daughters pursuing and building their careers.
Mistress of Ceremony & Panel Moderator:
Linessa Frazier, the daughter of Alonzo and Lizzie Walker, is originally from South Carolina and a graduate of Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee) with degrees in Political Science and English and Fort Hays State Univiersity with an MEd in Instructional Technology. She is the wife of Pastor Carl Frazier and lil madre to LaRonte, Carleigh and Emersen – all thriving and contributing humans of society.
Linessa is a nationally recognized speaker, conference facilitator and co-author of bestselling book, The Life I Love. She was recently recognized as a 2022 YWCA Woman of Excellence for her nonprofit work and was a 2021 Woman Who Rocks! and 2020 USD437 (Washburn Rural) Distinguished Employee. As a resident of Topeka, Kansas, Linessa is active in the following organizations:
● Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated – Alpha Iota Omega Chapter
● Topeka (KS) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
● Topeka Rotary Board
● Topeka Shawnee County Public Library Board
● Go Topeka Board
● SENT Topeka Board
● Midland Care Volunteer
● Topeka United Mosiac Coach
● Stormont Vail Patient and Family Partnership Council
● American Cancer Society – Making Strides
● Shawnee County Precinct Committeewoman (0086)
● KNEA Board (past Minority Representative)
As a caregiver to her mother, Linessa has recently embarked upon certification as an end-of-life coach (death doula) to educate and bring dignity to this natural process of life. A self-proclaimed diversity, equity and inclusion enthusiast and advocate, Linessa is employed by American Century Investments (Kansas City, MO) as a Learning and Development Consultant. Next up…a doctorate in Education Policy, Leadership and Organization with an emphasis in DEI from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
…I’m just a super EXTRA tech nerd who loves people with a passion to make a difference.
Lonnie Walker, Jr.
Lonnie Walker, Jr. (He/him/his) is a Topeka native who has a passion for leadership, serving and people. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing/Finance from The Florida State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Washburn University, and an Executive Certificate in Strategic D&I Management through the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
In keeping with his zeal for serving and people, he began his journey as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practitioner over five years ago at Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka as its Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Program Manager. Joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas in March 2021, he currently serves as its Director of DEI.
When he is away from work, his focus is on spending time with his wife, Alicia; and, their two sons, Aries who’s nine, and Lonnie Walker, III, aka Trey, who’s one.
Cultural Awareness Session Facilitator:
Dr. Graciela Berumen is the Managing Director for Global Education Outreach for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at Kansas State University. She received her Bachelors in Spanish and Master in Second Language Acquisition and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Kansas State University. She has a graduate certificate in Teaching and Learning and is ESL certified. Dr. Berumen’s research interests include first-generation college students, global education outreach, language acquisition, culture, equity, inclusivity, access, and identity in Education. Originally from California, her interests stem from her upbringing as well as her love for language, education and raising two bilingual sons. Graciela considers her work as an educator and as a board member for the Tonantzin Society, Harvesters, The YWCA and her membership in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., as a way to give back to the community and encourage others who like herself are proud children of immigrants to embrace their heritage, pursue their academic dreams and join the fight for social justice. Her passion for equity in education and her love for her students inspired the birth of her non-profit: BE F1rst. BE F1RST is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to offering one-on-one support, mentoring and scholarships for first-generation students and families. The belief in the transformational power of conversations surrounding equity and inclusion also led to the creation of Becoming Equitable, LLC. Becoming Equitable offers onsite and virtual consulting, lead by women of color who focus on facilitating discussions around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In her free time, Graciela enjoys spending time with her sons, family and engaging in the community.
How to Measure Your Success Session Facilitator:
Susana Ortiz is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the managing partner of Ad Astra Per Aspera Counseling, a telemental health private practice serving the state of Kansas. She also teaches school and clinical counseling graduate students as a Counselor Educator at Emporia State University. She began her professional career as an high school teacher and school counselor in Topeka school districts. She is a Ph.D. student in the Counseling Education & Supervision program at Kansas State University. She has served as President of the Kansas School Counselor Association and contributed to numerous projects supporting student development and healthy family and community systems. She frequently presents at Regional and National professional conferences on topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, community engagement, Social Justice, Mental Health Advocacy, and legal and ethical issues in counseling and supervision.
Susana is a 2015 graduate of Latino Leadership Collaborative of Kansas, she was recognized as one of Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2017, as a Women of Influence by the Greater Topeka Partnership in 2018, and was a member of the Greater Leadership Topeka Class of 2019. Susana recently completed terms serving on the YWCA – NE Kansas Board of Directors and the American Counseling Association Ethics Committee. She is a member of Rotary Club of Topeka South and also serves on the board for Topeka Latino Professionals, the Kansas School Counseling Association, and Downtown Topeka, Inc. She is proud to serve the greater Topeka community and call our capital city her home.
Ricky Scott Jr.
Building Employee Resource Groups Session Facilitator:
Ricky Scott Jr. is a Customer Development Business Account Manager and Colgate Palmolive
DE&I leader who has been the catalyst for positive change while working at Hill’s Pet Nutrition in
Topeka, KS. He previously served as the chairperson for the Hill’s Black Leadership Network
and currently as the chairperson of the Hill’s Military/Veterans ERG. Ricky has led initiatives to
improve diversity recruitment and developed DE&I programs which have educated the global
Colgate Palmolive organization while providing mentorship to new Hills’ ERG’s.
He was a recipient of the Global Chairman’s You Can Make a Difference Award in 2020 for
developing and leading a Juneteenth Town Hall that helped foster organizational empathy that
impacted thousands of Colgate employees and sparked reflection & action within the company
during a period of tremendous civil unrest. Ricky has a passion for community service and has
worked with several non-profit organizations in the realm of financial literacy and mentorship
including serving as the Vice President of the Atlanta Black Chamber of Commerce.
Ricky attended Morehouse College and DeVry University. He is a native of Houston TX and is married to Marci, they have one son named Colin.
Cultural Awareness Session Facilitator:
Brandi Turner is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Kansas Department for Children and Families based in Topeka, KS. She has served in this role for two years, previously working in Workforce Development for a total of 10 years with the state of Kansas. Brandi has taken on the charge to build an intentional agency character around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in DCF. Her focus is on building capacity around reflection and facilitation by creating spaces for people to come together to have courageous conversation around systemic oppressions that keeps communities from thriving. Additionally, in collaboration with agency programs and departments, Brandi supports the work of policy and practice review, using data analysis to help identify a starting point to inform where DEI practices needs to be embedded into the system to insure long lasting sustainability.
Dr. Beryl New
Implementing Your DEI Strategy Session Facilitator:
Dr. Beryl New has served in public education for thirty-four years, twelve as an English teacher, seventeen as a building administrator, and five as the Director of Certified Personnel and Equity with Topeka Public Schools. She serves on a number of boards and commissions which connect to the needs of youth and individuals of color. She also co-chairs, with Superintendent Tiffany Anderson, the Topeka Public Schools Equity Council, which hosts community conversations and summits about how race impacts student success.
Danielle D. Dempsey-Swopes, J.D.
How to Measure Your Success Session Facilitator:
Danielle is Director of University Diversity and Inclusion at Washburn University. She manages military education benefit certifications, academic accommodations and the programs and activities in the University’s Multicultural/Intersectional Learning Space. Danielle also teaches leadership, mediation and administrative law as an adjunct professor for the Washburn University Department of Political Science.
Danielle has a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Social Science from Kansas State University and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law. Danielle is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and several other councils and organizations that promote social justice, equity and access in higher education. Danielle is also a member of the Leadership Topeka Class of 2004 and Leadership Kansas, 2005.
LGBTQ Inclusion Session Facilitator:
Saida (Si-ee-da) Bonifield (she/her), M.Ed. is a skilled diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioner with 15 years of experience in non-profit and educational organizations. Saida works to intentionally expand and incorporate inclusion and equity-based strategies and initiatives into institutional frameworks. Currently, Saida is the Manager for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Stormont Vail Health in Topeka, KS. Saida has also worked in management for a Texas-based non-profit providing legal representation and social support to immigrants and refugees. In higher education, Saida has worked with leadership, students, faculty, and staff to advocate for excluded individuals and communities in various roles of increasing responsibility at the University of Kansas, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Saida is certified as a Workplace Conflict Mediation Specialist.
Equitable Recruiting and Retention Session Facilitator:
Charles Morgan, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Manager, is assisting Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) in its commitment to make the company and culture a place of diversity and inclusion.
Charles is responsible for providing strategic and day-to-day operational and leadership guidance in the development and coordination of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and cultural awareness policies, programs and practices within the company and community.
Charles has focused on DEI strategies in organizations for several years. He has plans to obtain a DEI training certificate.
A graduate from Washburn University, Charles has a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and Finance.
When he is not helping cultivate a place of belonging at BCBSKS
Matt Pivarnik is the CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership. He joined GO Topeka in January 2016. He is a past Chairman of the US Chamber Institute for Organization Management’s National Board of Trustees, is past Chairman of the Board of Regents for the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management at the University of Arizona, is a graduate of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management, has completed the program at the Center for Creative Leadership, is a Certified Chamber Executive, a Commissioner for the Certified Chamber Executive Program, has served on the American Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee, serves on the President’s Advisory Council for Northeastern State University, was a member of the Tulsa Area United Way 2015 Campaign Cabinet, is past Chairman of the Board for Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce Executives and serves on Tulsa’s Junior Achievement Board of Directors.
Matt was the original founder of Tulsa’s Young Professionals, a progressive organization focused on the retention and recruitment of young talent and boasts over eight thousand members. Matt recently founded the Tulsa Small Business Connection, an organization for regional small businesses and founded MAKO, a regional educational conference for economic development and chamber executives from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Matt All is a fifth-generation Kansan who brings more than two decades of experience in leadership and service to his role as president/CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. All, who joined the company in December 2006, became the eighth person to lead the state’s largest health insurer when he became president/CEO April 1, 2018.
During his years with Blue Cross, All has had the opportunity to learn nearly every aspect of the business by providing executive oversight for a diverse array of business functions. Combined with his eight years of experience in state government, All is well positioned to guide Blue Cross in today’s ever-changing health insurance marketplace.
All was promoted to president/CEO after serving as executive vice president with oversight of legal services, corporate governance, information technology, customer service, claims, membership, individual sales, and workforce and leadership development. In previous roles, he also has had oversight of human resources, facilities, government relations and corporate communications. He joined the company as vice president of legal services and general counsel, and was appointed corporate secretary by the BCBSKS Board of Directors in December 2007.
He was deeply engaged in preparing the company for the Affordable Care Act. He led the company’s Health Care Reform Guidance Team, and represented the company on the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Health Care Reform Implementation Task Force.
Before coming to BCBSKS, All spent several years in private legal practice and served in state government as assistant insurance commissioner and chief counsel to the governor.
In addition to his role as president/CEO, All serves in leadership positions for the company’s subsidiaries. He is chairman of Advance Insurance Company of Kansas, chairman/CEO of BlueCross BlueShield Kansas Solutions and president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.
He also represents BCBSKS on the boards and committees of several national organizations. He is director on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association board and a member of the BCBSA strategy/mission committee, national employee benefit committee and CEO collaborative team.
All serves on the Prime Therapeutics LLC board of directors and human resources committee. He also is chairman of the Western Conference Board of Trustees.
Closer to home, All serves the community in a variety of ways, sitting on the board of directors of the United Way of Greater Topeka and the Topeka Chamber, chairman of the University of Kansas Honors Program Advisory Board, director of the Kansas Insurance Education Foundation and member of the Topeka Chamber Nominating Committee. Since 2002, he has been a lecturer at the University of Kansas School of Law, where he teaches insurance law.
He is an avid supporter of the arts, having served on the Friends of the Spencer board at the University of Kansas, and performed at the “Dueling Dukes” and “Dueling Duos” fundraisers for Theatre Lawrence. He also has coached little league baseball, softball and soccer.
Raised in Augusta, All received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and his law degree from Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut.
Derek Gordon is the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Colgate Palmolive. Derek has held this position since June 2015.
Prior to their current role, Derek was the VP/GM US Homecare at Colgate-Palmolive from October 2012 to June 2015. In this role, they were responsible for business strategy, building demand and delivering P&L for the Colgate Home Care businesses.
Before Colgate-Palmolive, Derek was the President North America at Armored AutoGroup Inc from November 2010 to January 2012. At AAG, they led strategy, plans, execution and P&L responsibility for US and Canada. Derek also led the effort to establish AAG as a standalone organization and transition off Clorox support, driving coordination between functions including IT for SAP go-live, Sales with customer agreements and Supply for establishment of an entirely new logistics network. Additionally, Derek drove the development of an aggressive innovation plan, adding new items in year one and tripling the value of the pipeline for ’12.
Derek’s other experience includes being the VP General Manager Brita and Automotive (Armor All/STP) at Clorox Co from May 1994 to November 2010 and a Brand Manager at P&G from June 1989 to May 1994.
Derek Gordon has a MBA in Marketing from University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business and a BS in Gen Mgt from University of Wyoming.
They work with John Kooyman – Chief of Staff, Catalina Monroy – VP, Global Flavors & Fragrances, and Thierry Antona-Traversi – VP & GM, Filorga. Their manager is Noel Wallace, President, CEO & Chairman.