I have cultivated an extensive network of DEIB practitioners, social justice educators, and activist-scholars with whom I work as thought partners and collaborators to impact social change. My collaborative partners have a wide range of experiences and contribute their functional expertise to various projects and initiatives focused on equity and justice across the United States.
Jamie Bergeron is an experienced diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner and consultant. She regularly trains and consults with non-profit organizations, corporate teams and university groups dedicated to expanding their commitment to equity, inclusion and social justice. A long-time social justice advocate and educator, she spent over a decade working specifically to support institutional change efforts in university settings. Now, Jamie lends her expertise to teams seeking to create more inclusive organizations to serve their respective missions. She is passionate about fostering dialogue across difference and skill-building work to incorporate inclusion thinking into everyday work. Her facilitation style is interactive, reflective and aims to foster settings where open dialogue can take place for all participants. She specializes in climate assessments, cultural awareness programing, social justice practice, understanding identity and more.
Jamie was honored by Business Equality Magazine as a 2022 40 Under 40 LGBT+ Honoree. She holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree from University at Buffalo with a specialization in Inclusive Leadership Practice. She holds a B.A. from State University at New York – College at Brockport in Spanish Literature and Language, where she became the first in her family to earn a college degree. She is also a Certified Human Resource Professional with Society for Human Resource Professionals (SHRM), and a trained Title IX investigator for sexual misconduct. Jamie is very involved in her local community, serving as Board Advisor for COLAGE, and working closely with GLAD, MA LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce and Pride In Our Workplace – all organizations dedicated to achieving lived equality for LGBT+ people and their families. She lives in Boston, with her two dogs, Ginger and Foxy.
Makeeba Browne, originally from Brooklyn, NY, is a strategy consultant and facilitator with a wide range of experience working across multiple sectors. Makeeba is an alumnus of Dickinson College where she was the recipient of the Posse scholarship and part of the first Posse to be selected and has certifications in grant writing, yoga instruction, and flexibility training. Makeeba helps organizations develop both internal and external operating strategies that align their missions, visions, and goals with their policies, procedures, and growth trajectories. Makeeba is particularly passionate about climate change, youth development, storytelling, and wellness. She has worked with a variety of organizations including non-profits, foundations, corporations, and higher education institutions that are committed to increasing diverse representation in all of their functions, and ensuring multiple perspectives are incorporated into decision-making. Makeeba’s work centers alignment between what we value and what we practice. Her climate change, youth development, and wellness projects have extended to Brazil, India, Mexico, and the UK.
Makeeba works to bring concepts of sustainable living and racial equity to wellness spaces and the ways that health and environmental disparities affect women of color. She is a writer, a voracious consumer of books, and uses all of her skills to envision and work towards a liberatory future rooted in justice for all.
Rico is a co-founder and principal at Third Settlements, an EIDB consulting firm that serves multiple sectors. He is an experienced executive leader, facilitator, and creative strategist. Before his current role, he was the Vice President for Policy & Collaboration at Philanthropy New York (PNY) where he worked with national and New York based grant making institutions to develop events for foundation staff members. Prior to his time at PNY, Rico was the Vice President of Strategic Projects and member of the executive team responsible for the expansion, evolution and management of The Posse Foundation. He has played multiple roles that have supported the growth of Posse, notably as the national director of training and site development, which helped replicate the Posse program during the early stages of the organization’s growth. During his 20 years at Posse, Rico has codified and developed Posse’s comprehensive curriculum and processes, led multiple staff trainings and has helped develop Posse’s unique brand.
In 2008, Posse honored Rico alongside Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs; Deval & Diane Patrick, Former Governor and First Lady of Massachusetts and Nancy Vickers, President Emerita, Bryn Mawr College. Rico led a series of organization wide initiatives for Posse, which included the cultivation of a new consulting arm, whose aim was to leverage Posse’s expertise and work with institutions, organizations and companies build more inclusive cultures and design youth leadership and resilience programs for diverse populations. He graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Human and Organizational Development and English Creative writing.
Favour Izuchukwu will graduate in 2022 with a BASW from Rutgers University-Newark. She is a recipient of the 2021 OZY Genius Finalist Award where she pitched her project about rewriting black stories to include humanness and representation. Favour also served as a panelist at the Garden State Guarantee event with Governor Murphy where she advocated for financial assistance for low-income students who have a desire to go to college in New Jersey.
Favour is passionate about social justice and has experience as an advocate with a focus on LGBTQ+ rights, racial equity, mental health, access to education, and women’s rights. At Rutgers University-Newark, she worked at the Intercultural Resource Center where she counseled LGBTQ+ students and supported their social, personal, and academic development. In this capacity, Favour recieved the Outstanding Ally Award for her incredible work on campus. Favour has extensive facilitation experience with a focus on integroup dialogue and helping groups navigate difficult conversations related to race, identity and social inequity. She has served as a teaching instructor at the undergraduate level and a social work intern within high school settings in Newark, NJ. Favour's work focuses on supporting young people's social, emotional, and cognitive development. She takes pride in being a learner who is always open to new perspectives, new theories, and ever expanding experiences.
Dr. Xhercis (Sir-Sis) Méndez, is associate professor and Vice-Chair of Women and Gender Studies and Queer Studies, as well as a founding member of the Collective for Justice, Equity and Transformation (CoJET) at Cal State University Fullerton. Prior to Fullerton, she was an assistant professor of Philosophy and African American and African Studies at Michigan State University where she founded The Campus Transformative Justice (TJ) Project, (www.campustj.com), in 2017 in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar Case. The Campus TJ Project offers consultation and facilitation services to higher ed institutions seeking an intersectional and transformative justice approach to building healthy and harm-free educational environments. As a consultant she works with faculty, staff, administrators, leadership teams, and academic units to identify the root causes of harm, such as microaggressions, relationship violence, and campus sexual assault, to create actionable pathways towards accountability and healing. Her approach often includes building from the resources available to provide support, toolkits, and adaptable accountability models that are survivor-centered and trauma-informed.
Her writings include titles such as “Beyond Nassar: A Transformative Justice and Decolonial Feminist Approach to Campus Sexual Assault” and "Notes Toward a Decolonial Feminist Methodology: Revisiting the Race/Gender Matrix." Beyond the academy, she works with various community organizations and serves as a consultant, facilitator, and strategist to organizations seeking to address systemic harm, racism, and antiblackness. She is a first-generation graduate, and the child of Puerto Rican factory workers who lives to inspire the next generation of believers that “a better world is possible.”
A successful author of three books with over 30 years of experience specializing in conflict resolution, change management, and creating inclusive environments, Dr. Kathy Obear is a leading expert in helping to establish socially just environments where everyone feels valued and respected. As the founder of The Center for Transformation and Change, Kathy has given speeches, facilitated training sessions, and consulted to top leaders at hundreds of universities, human services organizations, and corporations across the United States and internationally with a goal to increase the passion, competence, and commitment to create inclusive, socially just environments for all members of the organization.
As an organizational development consultant and trainer, she is a natural leader in creating team and organizational effectiveness. She is considered an expert at training leaders and facilitators to navigate difficult dialogues and triggering events. Kathy has facilitated “training of trainers” programs for student affairs professionals, faculty, and student leaders at numerous colleges and universities.
Kathy is a Co-Founder of the Social Justice Training Institute (www.sjti.org). For 20 years, she and her colleagues have helped over 3,000 people deepen their capacity to be effective organizational change agents and to create greater racial and social justice. A certified Martha Beck Life Coach, Kathy offers Leadership/Executive Coaching in both an individual and small group format. Kathy makes it her mission to support leaders, helping them live up to their highest intentions as they actively work to create greater equity and inclusion throughout their spheres of influence.