Return on Inclusion Summit


Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author and advisor bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.

Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits, and blogs at He is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and his insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, The Diversity Factor, The American Diversity Report, the Corporate Recruiting Leadership Journal, Associations Now, other print and on-line journals and he co-authored the book Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships.

Joe grew up on a family farm in NW Iowa, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, attended Iowa State University and then spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. He then made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization, and this is where he found himself drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion and then became actively involved in that work.

Today, Joe believes that we can ill afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century issues. A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees diversity and inclusion as poorly understood and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, action, and impact to existing and new organizational diversity & inclusion efforts.

Thank you to the 2018 Return on Inclusion Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor 

Equity Leaders

Inclusion Partners

AEP Logo

Nonprofit/Small Business Partners

Switchgear Recruiting
Schnake Turnbo Frank
Key Personnel
Phillips Theological Seminary
Barracuda Staffing
The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice

ROI Logo

The ROI Summit will return in 2020!

Convening 250 executives, HR professionals, civic and nonprofit leaders and over 100 regional organizations committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, summit workshops include addressing generational diversity in the workplace, cultivating an inclusive environment, practical strategies for HR professionals, and more. The 6th biannual conference, presented by TAHRA, brings together professionals from across the city and state to address the critical issues of inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

We have grown over the years and are expecting a record number of participants from for profit and nonprofit organizations. Our esteemed keynote speaker is Joe Gerstandt, a strong advocate in the diversity and inclusion conversation. In addition, we will offer panels and workshops led by other local and national leaders in organizational diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives.

Click here for .pdf of schedule, speaker and workshop information.

There are two options to attend this event, register for the Full Summit (8:45am - 3:45pm) or for the lunch keynote only (11:15am - 1:00pm).
Upon registering for the Full Summit, you will be required to select a morning and afternoon workshop (descriptions below).

Schedule Overview

7:30am – 8:30am - Executive Breakfast with Joe Gerstandt
7:40am – 8:45am - Onsite Registration & Check In
8:45am – 9:30am - Opening Plenary
9:45am – 11:15am - Morning Workshops
11:30am – 1:00pm - Lunch and Keynote Address: Joe Gerstandt 
1:15pm – 2:45pm - Afternoon Workshops
3:00pm – 3:45pm - Closing Session

MORNING SESSIONS | 9:45am - 11:15am
Are We Racially Aware? White Racial Identity in the Workplace

with Dr. Shelly Tochluk, Scholar and Educator
*This session will also be offered in the afternoon.

Who are we in the workplace? Why do our social identities matter? Participants in this workshop will identify the various social categories assigned to each of us. We will then consider the impact these social identifies have on 1) our experience in the workplace and 2) how we engage with our coworkers and clientele. A key area for consideration will be white racial identity and how its development affects our ability to create and maintain equitable work environments and inclusive working relationships across difference. Free online resources that support workplace dialogue groups to develop awareness, shared language, and leadership on these issues will also be discussed.

Dr. Shelly Tochluck is an educator with a background in psychology. She spent ten years as a researcher, counselor, and teacher in California’s public schools. She now trains teachers to work with Los Angeles’ diverse school population as a Professor in the Education Department at Mount Saint Mary’s University-Los Angeles. Her personal dedication to confront issues of race developed first through her participation with UCLA’s NCAA Division-1 All-American Track and Field 4X400 meter relay team and later through her inner-city teaching experiences. She currently works with AWARE-LA (Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere-Los Angeles). With this group, she has co-created a workshop series that leads white people into a deeper understanding of their personal relationship to race, white privilege, and systemic racism.

This session is appropriate for all levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Employee Resource Groups

with Sandra Quince, Bank of America

Many companies in our communities have affinity/business resource groups (ARGs/BRGs) serving the diverse needs of their associate base. The operation and structure of these groups tend to be very diverse from company to company. Companies now see the increased benefit that these groups bring to their organizations—from increased recruitment and retention to more effective mentoring, coaching and leadership development. How are companies in our communities structuring and supporting their ARGs/BRGs? Attendees will learn the latest on the business case for these groups, their operation, and measurement of success, including information on global and executive level networks.

Sandra Quince is a Bank of America Diversity & Inclusion Executive responsible for the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council as well as the Global Diversity and Inclusion Awards. In this role, she supports the CEO and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in developing and delivering the global D&I strategy for the company.

In 2014, Sandra took on expanded responsibilities as Market President Human Resource Executive for Oklahoma, responsible for driving employee engagement and retention efforts as well as performance planning for the Tulsa and Oklahoma City markets. Sandra is a graduate of Florida State University.

This session is appropriate for intermediate+ levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Intergenerational Dynamics

with Nancy Gunter, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, YMCA of Greater Tulsa

Have you ever wondered why some people act like they do or say certain things or have certain view-points? Part of the reason could be due to the generation that they belong to.

This keynote looks at 4 generations in the workplace: Traditionalists, Boomers, Xers and Millennials.

In any conversation you could have 4 different ways of viewing things. Because of this the work environment can be challenging to say the least. This session will give you some insight into how these distinct generations think, what causes some of the problems, and how we can work differently.

Why is this program critical now more than ever?

  • Acceptance & understanding of each other in the workforce is a strong foundation.
  • Millennials are becoming the largest driving force in the workplace.
  • Offering the workforce a culture in which to excel can impact the bottom line.

Nancy Gunter is the Chief Learning Officer for the YMCA of Greater Tulsa and has worked for YMCAs in North Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, California, and Oklahoma. In May 2008 Nancy finished her Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. Her graduate project was on retaining the generations through supervision where she did research for two years on the four generations at work. She has continued her research of the generations and most recently the 5th generation that is just starting to enter the workforce.

Nancy is a member of the National Speakers Association as well as Exceptional Leaders Lab.  She presents on many topics related to leadership and self-development. She has also studied Emotional Intelligence for the last 17 years and the impact it has on the work environment. She has led many sessions on Emotional Intelligence guiding organizations in understanding why people act and react like they do. Nancy specializes in speaking on Generational Differences, Emotional Intelligence, and Why People Do the Things They Do.

This session is appropriate for all levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Nice is Not Enough

with Josh Linton, ONE Gas

It’s tempting to reduce diversity and inclusion work to simply respecting others or being nice. But this approach often doesn’t move the needle closer to an inclusive culture where work works for everyone. This session should particularly benefit D&I practitioners wanting to integrate and build accountability for D&I into the organizational system. The purpose of this session is to resist diluting the work of D&I with simple solutions about getting along with everyone and identify ways to incorporate equity and accountability for D&I into the systemic operations of an organization.

We will identify attempts to dilute the work of D&I to make it more palatable although ineffective, understand how exclusion and inclusion function at a systemic level despite the way employees may treat one another individually, and learn ways to build accountability into an organization for ensuring systemic inclusion.

Josh Linton works in Inclusion and Diversity at ONE Gas, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is responsible for their 6 Employee Resource Groups along with leading the inclusion and diversity champions group. He has served as chair for the Inclusive Leadership Council of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (2016-2017) and currently sits on the board of OCCJ. He holds a master’s degree from Phillips Theological Seminary.

This workshop is appropriate for intermediate+ levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Religious Inclusion

with Mark Fowler, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
*This workshop will also be offered in the afternoon.

Join Mark Fowler, Deputy CEO of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, to discuss how issues of religion emerge at work. Highlighting the latest demographic trends and relevant current events, the session will articulate the business case for addressing religious diversity in the workplace. Participants will learn about best practices through analyzing real life case studies. Mr. Fowler will provide practical tools to proactively address religious diversity, accommodate a diverse workforce, and contribute to religio-cultural respect.

As Deputy CEO, Mark Fowler oversees all of Tanenbaum’s program areas and works with operations, fund development and communications. He is responsible for program development, project management, design and implementation of all Tanenbaum trainings and the expansion of Tanenbaum programs nationally and internationally. He is also an in-demand trainer and speaker in all of Tanenbaum’s core areas. Recently, he led workshops at the Out and Equal Annual Conference, the Boston College Center for Work and Family, the Society for Human Resource Management Diversity & Inclusion conference, the 6th National Conference on Quality Care for Diverse Populations, the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations and the Forum on Workplace Inclusion.

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Inclusive Leadership

with Joe Gerstandt

Leaders play a critical role in providing an inclusive employee experience, and research suggests that the wrong kind of leadership is one of the biggest barriers to inclusion. Not only is inclusion poorly understood, and often misunderstood by managers, inclusive leadership is simply not the path of least resistance. Even if we see the importance and value of inclusion intellectually, in the moment it makes life a lot easier if everyone just thinks and acts in the same ways. Inclusion is hard work and is about much more than having good intentions. Being an inclusive leader is not about “getting it,” “embracing it,” or having a killer business case for it…you have to actually do stuff, and Joe will help you figure out what that stuff is.

Starting with a simple, but actionable framework for understanding inclusion and what it means to be included, Joe outlines a basic toolkit for inclusive leadership.

Key takeaways:

  • A more tangible understanding of what inclusion is and how it can impact performance.
  • Exploration of dynamics which make inclusion difficult, including practices of traditional management.
  • Be introduced to a basic toolkit for inclusive leadership consisting of knowledge, behavior, and practices.

The lunch address is appropriate for all levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

AFTERNOON SESSIONS | 1:15pm - 2:45pm
Are We Racially Aware? White Racial Identity in the Workplace

with Dr. Shelly Tochluk, Scholar and Educator
Session description can be found above in the Morning Workshops.

Inclusion & Innovation

with Joe Gerstandt

We still seem to love the idea of the lone, possibly eccentric, mythical genius who drives innovation from their lab, their garage, or an exotic mountain top, but innovation almost always has social origins. Innovation often emerges from the intersection of different things, different world views, different industries or professions, different ways of thinking. If we are as serious about innovation as we claim to be, then we must be better at mixing diverse things together in inclusive containers. Thanks to the research of Scott Page, Ron Burt and others, we know that there are very direct lines between cognitive diversity (diversity of thought) and superior decision-making and problem solving. Having greater diversity of thought involved in a conversation also can make it more difficult, so knowing how to do it well becomes a pretty big opportunity for advantage.

Key takeaways: Introduce the concept of cognitive diversity, what it is, and why it matters; Review research and examples of how cognitive diversity makes a difference; Consider individual and group practices for more effectively leveraging diversity of thought toward greater innovation, improved decision making and problem-solving.

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Recruiting, Interviewing, and Hiring for a Diverse Workplace

with Dixie Agostino, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CPC, Switchgear Search and Recruiting

This workshop will provide strategies and processes that can be implemented by those in the recruiter, interviewer and hiring manager roles to improve diversity within the organization. It should particularly benefit those who want to make a positive change toward creating a more diverse organization but don’t know where to begin. This session is an overview “how-to” to give beginners an idea of where to start and more experienced practitioners an idea of next step improvements. Participants will examine recruiting bias and how to recruit for diversity, including outbound recruiting and balanced submission/blinded resumes. In addition, the workshop will cover interview bias including stereotype threat and how to eliminate bias through structured interviews and scorecards. Lastly, participants will discuss hiring bias and how to eliminate through work sample tests, scoring likeability, setting diversity goals and continuing the conversation.

As Founder of Switchgear Search and Recruiting, Dixie Agostino is active in the Tulsa business community and mentors for startup incubators BetaBlox and 36 Degree North. She is active in the Tulsa Small Business Connection’s advisory committee and is the Chair of the newly created Women Business Leaders committee. Dixie has been involved with the Northeastern Oklahoma chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) as their VP of Professional Development and has participated in the United Way’s Live United Network steering committee. Dixie has a Bachelor’s in Marketing from Oklahoma State University.

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience with diversity and inclusion.

Religious Inclusion

with Mark Fowler, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding
Session description can be found above in the Morning Workshops.

This event is approved for 4 hours of HRCI General Credits. The workshops "Nice is Not Enough" and "Inclusion and Innovation" are approved for 1 hour each of HRCI Business Credits, all other sessions are HR General Credits. 
This event is also approved for 4 SHRM Professional Development Credits.