Diversity and Inclusion is imperative in today's workplace. A diverse, supportive and respectful workplace has a myriad of benefits: increased engagement, productivity and innovation to name but a few. In short, it impacts the overall success of a company. Employees must commit to treating all people equally regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or cultural background. Setting clear expectations of employees and providing regular diversity and inclusion development opportunities enhances the likelihood of achieving a competitive business advantage through a diverse workforce. This panel presentation will include local professionals offering insight and experience on how D&I has evolved, challenges employers face, best practices and perspectives for the future.
Justice Waidner Smith is the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for ONEOK, a Fortune 250 energy company. Prior to joining ONEOK, she worked as the Director of HR at YWCA Tulsa, and as the Co-Director of the Inclusion Institute, YWCA Tulsa’s diversity education arm.
Justice has worked in inclusion for 15+ years. She has experience in the implementation of strategic diversity and inclusion initiatives; background in organizational development and change management; and subject matter expertise on numerous diversity issues. Justice earned a M.A. in Intercultural Leadership and Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Vermont.
Named by Tulsa People and Tulsa Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 recipient, Justice has served on the boards of TAHRA as the VP of Diversity, Camp Fire, Center for Individual with Physical Challenges, YWCA Tulsa and Teach for America. Earlier this year, she was named on of Diversity MBA magazines “Top 50 Emerging D&I Leaders.”
Kate Tillotson is the Oklahoma Regional Coordinator of NextOp, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that recruits, trains, and places high-preforming middle-enlisted military talent into industry careers. Kate was named to her current position in September of 2016.
Kate comes from a military-connected family who laid roots in Tulsa in 2005. In 2007, Kate enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served as a Field Radio Operator. Prior to her current role, Kate lead the largest student veteran organization in the state of Oklahoma and one of the top five within the United States from 2016-2017. In 2017, she was awarded Student Veteran of the Year 2017 from Student Veterans of America, representing the TU Student Veteran Organization at The University of Tulsa. During her time at TU, Kate worked closely with The Office of the President to help develop veteran programing. Her work, tireless advocacy, and programing implementation led to The University of Tulsa being able to acquire a $5,000,000 endowment for military-connected students on campus. Upon graduation, in 2018 Kate served as a Policy Fellow and Veteran Advocate for Mayor G.T. Bynum, working with the staff of the Mayor’s Office to craft initiatives to empower military-connected families across Tulsa. With a deep desire to continue giving back to Oklahoma, Kate decided to shift gears and put her extensive experience into innovative change and economic opportunities for the military-connected community. As the Oklahoma Regional Coordinator for NextOp, Kate works with Oklahoma corporate and community stakeholders to help expand NextOp’s programing into the state of Oklahoma to help cities attract and retain Post 9/11 military talent.
Torrel Miles is a board member at Ability Resources, a non-profit with the mission of helping people, of all ages and backgrounds, with disabilities maintain their personal independence.
He is the co-presenter and co-creator of Ability Resources’ “Disability Etiquette Program”, a presentation geared towards teaching workplaces and employees proper etiquette when encountering and hiring people with disabilities.
Torrel is also a spokesman and media personality for The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, a nonprofit focused on the transition and physical well being of people with disabilities.
Jose Emmanuel Vega serves as Program Director for Oklahomans for Equality (OkEq) and the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Oklahomans for Equality seeks equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer individuals. He has been involved with OkEq for five years, first as a volunteer, then as an advisory board member and subsequently as staff. He is passionate about the inclusion of diversity, eliminating homophobia, advocating for LGBTQ hate crime protections and rights, education and community relations. He serves on the Tulsa Hispanic Affairs Commission as Vice Chair and is the Chair of the Social Media Committee of the Anti-Bullying Coalition. He is on the Advisory board of the Tulsa Community Service Council power of the family and Planned Parenthood. Jose revived the Tulsa Mayor's Youth Council which had ceased to exist. Jose had participated as a senior at Webster High School. He felt the program had motivated him to be more involved in public policy. The program recruits High School Junior and Senior students and teaches them about local government, allows them to interact with city officials, tour city facilities and encourages volunteerism the key to making Tulsa a better place. Jose motivates and inspires others to become involved and improve their community. One of Jose’s major accomplishments was the renaming of 4th street to Pride Street. Which runs in front of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. He is the youngest Tulsa Pride Director in history, directing the festival at age 23. Sharing the importance of Pride and the involvement of Young Adults.
Shalynne Jackson is a Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for ONEOK, a Fortune 250 energy company. Prior to joining the Diversity and Inclusion department, she was a Recruiting Specialist for ONEOK’s Talent Acquisition team.
In 2014, Shalynne completed her master’s degree in Human Relations from The University of Oklahoma. She also received a graduate certificate in Human Resource Diversity and Development. Shalynne recently served as co-chair of the Women for Economic and Leadership Development's National Advisory Board and is a graduate of LEAD North, a Leadership Tulsa program now known as Thrive Tulsa. She was TAHRA's 2016 Outstanding New Professional Award recipient and has participated in the planning and execution of the 2016 and 2018 Return on Inclusion Summits. She is also a member of the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s Mosaic Workforce Diversity Council and an active volunteer in the Tulsa community, including work with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
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