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Global Intellect Summit 2023 Panelists

(select a panel below to view this years speakers and their bio)

Panel: Access to Capital      MODERATOR: Sekou Kaalund

Sekou Kaalund

Executive Vice President, US Bank

With more than two decades of experience in financial services, Sekou Kaalund knows firsthand the ability financial services institutions have to invest in, influence, and enact meaningful change in communities. His leadership experiences include contributions across staff and line roles in institutional and retail businesses, where he has developed market strategies, managed strategic business transactions, and led complex organizations.

Kaalund joined U.S. Bank in December 2022 as Executive Vice President and Head of Branch and Small Business banking, overseeing the organization’s 2,200+ branches across 26 states. The bank’s branch and small business presence on the West Coast will expand further in 2023 upon full conversion of its acquisition of MUFG Union Bank. Prior to joining U.S. Bank, he spent the last 15 years at JPMorgan Chase in a variety of leadership roles, most recently serving as Head of Chase Consumer Bank for the Northeast Division, overseeing $375 billion in deposits and investments.

Kaalund has a strong track record developing talent, forming inclusive teams, and leveraging a vast network to connect people with opportunities all while achieving revenue growth and developing highly profitable client relationships in start-up, turn around, and scale businesses, as evidenced by his work in JPMorgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank.  Specifically, he managed some of the largest, complex firmwide relationships with Asset Manager and Hedge Funds. He also was the Americas Head of Sales for Public & Corporate Pensions and joined JPMorgan in 2007 as Global Head of Private Equity Fund Services Business.

Kaalund previously held leadership roles at Citi and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and his contributions have been recognized by several organizations, including NABA 2022 President’s Award for Leadership and Excellence; Ebony Magazine’s 2020 Power 100 list, “Titans of Industry”; SAID Institute 2020 Mark of Excellence; World of Money 2019 Wall Street Legacy Award; and Face2Face Africa’s 2019 “30 Black Stars”. He has been featured in publications, including BBC, Forbes, NBC, CNBC, Black Enterprise, and Essence.

Fred Royall

Managing Director at JP Morgan Chase

As the National Head of Diverse Businesses for JPMorgan Chase, I lead a team of 20+ bankers across the country to identify new opportunities and build upon existing relationships with women and minority-owned businesses. In addition to driving new business, I am also focused on developing an integrated diversity strategy that aligns with firmwide initiatives including Global Supplier Diversity, Advancing Black Pathways and Women on the Move.

I am passionate about diverse businesses gaining access to capital and serve as a frequent speaker and panelist. My previous conferences and speaking engagements include the National Utilities Diversity Council, the National Minority Supply Diversity Annual Conference, and the Wall Street Project Economic Summit.

Benjamin Carson Jr,

Co-founder & Partner, FVLCRUM Funds

Mr. Carson is Co-Founder and Partner at FVLCRUM Funds, a CRA Eligible Lower-Middle Market Equity firm based in Washington DC, where he is responsible for the overall strategy of the company and its portfolio. FVLCRUM is one of the few minority-owned private investment firms in the country and targets transactions between $10-40 million backing proven executive teams leading highly scalable businesses. The fund exclusively invests in minority owned businesses with the goal of creating generational wealth for the executive teams and substantial economic opportunity for minorities.

Prior to founding FVLCRUM, Mr. Carson served in an executive capacity at The Warner Companies, a middle market financial services and consulting firm, where he advised companies on mergers and acquisitions, capital structuring, capital raises, investments, risk management and strategic planning.

Mr. Carson has also been involved in several political initiatives and served on the board of Carson America, the presidential campaign of Dr. Benjamin Carson, in 2016 -17. Mr. Carson continues to be actively involved in political initiatives in Washington, DC to support entrepreneurship, workforce development, and minority – and women-owned businesses.

In 2015, the Carson Family established their Single Family Office, Floreat Park, where Mr. Carson serves are head of the Investment Committee and on the Executive Committee.

Mr. Carson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Tufts University. He is a 2019 AEI Scholar and also the recipient of Baltimore’s 35 Under 35 award, the Envest Foundation’s 40 Under 40 award, Franchise Journal’s MBE Titans, Washington Life’s 40 Under 40, and DCA Rising Stars of GovCon. Mr. Carson is dedicated to community involvement and serves on several boards, including Tufts University (Tufts Entrepreneurship Center), Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the Minority Wealth Commission, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital Foundation Board, and The Carson Scholars Fund.

Todd McDonald

President, Liberty Bank

Originally from New Orleans, LA, Todd McDonald received his undergraduate degree in Business Management from Morehouse College, his Master’s in Business Administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and his Graduate School of Banking Degree from Louisiana State University.

McDonald began his career at Liberty Bank and Trust in 2003, with most of his experience concentrated in Commercial Lending. He now serves in the role of President and is a member of the Liberty Bank Board of Directors. In his role, McDonald is responsible for uncovering, evaluating, and developing business plans for growth and performance improvement opportunities; leading high impact initiatives; and providing overall management for special projects initiated by the CEO and Board. Todd is intimately involved in the company’s high-level corporate strategy decisions that ultimately affect the long-term growth and sustainability of the bank.

Todd’s civic activities include but are not limited to the National CDFI Fund Board (appointed position by the President of the United States), New Orleans Board of Liquidation (appointed position by the Mayor of New Orleans), National Bankers Association (Board Member), Independent Community Bankers of America/ICBA (Federal Delegate), the Cowen Institute (Board Member), Bureau of Governmental Research (Past Board Member), and the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council (Past Chair/appointed by the Governor of Louisiana).

Lorenzo Thione

General Partner, Gaingels

Lorenzo is a serial entrepreneur and investor at the intersection of technology, art, commerce, and social value. he is a tony-award winning Broadway producer (Hadestown) and the co-creator/producer of the George Takei Broadway musical allegiance, of which he also directed/produced the record-breaking 2016 film.

He’s co-founder/CEO of the social edge, and previously co-founded two other companies: Powerset (exited to Microsoft in 2008) and artify. It as well as an active investor, board member, and advisor to many more startups.

Lorenzo’s support of the LGBT entrepreneurial community predates his involvement with Gaingels – he’s also the co-founder/board chair emeritus of startout, the leading non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship within the LGBT community. he’s an outspoken LGBT advocate and was twice named one of the most influential LGBT people in tech by business insider in 2014 and 2018.

Greg Horner

Managing Partner, Untethered Health Ventures

Dr. Greg Horner brings two decades of deep Healthcare experience to Untethered Health Ventures, as an investor, an operator and a medical practitioner. His work in healthcare began as a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon.  Greg soon realized an inexorable trend developing, care was migrating from the hospital industrial complex to lower cost, nimbler sites of service that are more accessible to the end users.  Over the ensuing 15 years, Greg has worked with private equity and health systems to invest in businesses expanding this evolution in Healthcare.  Fueled by the pandemic, an explosion of new business models and disruptive technologies led Dr. Horner to leave private practice and focus on supporting early-stage Healthtech companies.

As an Angel investor and board member of Sand Hill Angels, Dr. Horner recognized that prolonged market adoption or “death by pilot” was constricting the pipeline of brilliant seed and pre seed technology companies in Healthcare.  To solve for this, Greg worked to secure proprietary relationships with trade organizations whose membership comprises tens of thousands of healthcare professionals – the customer base.  

Untethered Health Ventures was formed to support Healthtech founders with capital and operationalized access to industry.

Greg holds a BSE from Northwestern University in Biomedical Engineering and an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Fireside Chat: Change Agents      MODERATOR: Anjelica Kelly Watson

Anjelica Kelly Watson

Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
Chief of Staff to the Chairman & CEO

In this role, she focuses on maximizing the reach and impact of the CEO, managing CEO-led initiatives, optimizing CEO external relationships and representing the office in select forums and Firmwide committees

Prior to joining the Office of the Chairman & CEO, Anjelica spent most of her career in Morgan Stanley’s Global Capital Markets Division working on the Acquisition Finance team. She advised corporate and financial clients on event-related financing solutions and worked closely with the M&A team to develop capital structure and funding strategies in the context of acquisitions, corporate divestures, and separations.

Select transaction experience include Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $36.5Bn financing for the acquisition of Celgene; T-Mobile’s $38Bn financing for the acquisition of Sprint; and Cigna’s $26.7Bn financing for the acquisition of Express Scripts.

Anjelica graduated from Harvard College with a BA in Economics and Government and received her MBA from Columbia Business School. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband, son and dog.

Susan L. Taylor

Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement
Editor-in-Chief Emerita of Essence Magazine

Susan L. Taylor, best-selling author of four books, and editor of eight others, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, who grew up in Harlem working in her father’s clothing store. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renown brand with more than 8 million readers. It was that enterprising spirit wedded to a deep love for her community that led to the founding of the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2006 as Essence CARES. With local affiliates in 58 cities, National CARES has recruited, trained and deployed more than 160,000 mentors to schools and youth-support and mentoring organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as to its own culturally rooted, academic- and social-transformational initiatives. A community-mobilization movement, National CARES is the only organization in the nation dedicated to providing mentoring, healing and wellness services, on a national scale, to advance Black children living in poverty.

Taylor is a recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and hundreds of awards, including the Phoenix Award and the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the highest honors given by the Congressional Black Caucus and the magazine-publishing industry, respectively. A lifelong activist who has worked to ensure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Susan Taylor says that securing our vulnerable children is her highest calling and the big business of our nation and Black America today.

James H. Lowry

Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group
President, James H. Lowry & Associates

James H. Lowry is a business icon, sought after speaker, strategic advisor and nationally recognized workforce and supplier diversity expert and pioneer. Lowry was the first African American consultant for global consulting firm McKinsey & Company in 1968. Later, he became the first African American senior partner at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, where he led the firm’s workforce diversity, ethnic marketing and minority business development consulting practice. Lowry continues to serve as a senior advisor to BCG, while heading his own private consulting firm, James H. Lowry & Associates.

In 1978, his firm prepared the first major study on minority business enterprise development for the U.S. Department of Commerce titled, New Strategy for Minority Business. It was the precursor to the creation of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). In 1980, he prepared another study for the Department of Commerce titled, Minority Business in the 80s. 

Between 1981 and 2000, Lowry designed over 30 major minority business programs for corporate and public sector clients. He lead his firm in the design and implementation of state-of-the-art supplier diversity programs in the public sector for the cities of Louisville, Atlanta, and Chicago; at the federal level for the SBA, Department of Labor, and Department of Defense; and in the private sector for Burger King, AT&T, American Express, Peps-Cola, Frito-Lay, Toyota and the Ford Motor Company.

In early 1960’s, Lowry was an associate director with the US Peace Corps, stationed in Lima, Peru, where he met Senator Robert F. Kennedy who recruited him to be a staffer at the new Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn. While there, he, along with Bed-Stuy resident and actress Roxie Roker, co-hosted the pioneering television show Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City’s first program written, produced and presented by blacks at a time when blacks were largely invisible on television, or seen only in news footage about riots, protests or crime. In 1985, Lowry also co-hosted the groundbreaking television show MBR: The Minority Business Report.

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Lowry is a teacher, mentor and leader across sectors. Since 1999, Lowry has been an adjunct professor and the academic advisor of the one-week course on minority business development for the National Minority Supplier Development Council as part of the Advanced Management Education Program of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where he has served on the advisory board since 1998.

He has been a member of the board of directors of Howard University’s business school since 1995 and served as the chairman of Howard University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Innovation for six years. He also chairs the RLJ Equity Fund’s Executive Network and is a member of the Toyota Diversity Advisory Board.

Lowry is the recipient of many iconic awards. Most notably, in 2005, he was elected into the inaugural class of the Minority Business Hall of Fame; in 2009, he received the National Minority Supplier Development Council Lifetime Achievement Award; in 2011, the Abe Venable Award for Lifetime Achievement from the MBDA; in 2012, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council Impact Award; in 2017, his longtime friend John Legend presented him with the Alvaro L. Martins Heritage Award at the Executive Leadership Council’s Recognition Gala, and in 2020 he was once again presented with the National Minority Supplier Development Council Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lowry encapsulated his 30 plus years of experience in the field of minority business development in the book he co-authored in 2011, Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream. His new book, Change Agent: A Life Dedicated to Creating Wealth for Minorities, is an intimate memoir that demonstrates the power of iconic mentors and pivotal opportunities leveraged across the globe and offers solutions to the ever widening wealth gap that plagues black and brown communities today.


Nelson Griggs

President, Capital Access Platform, NASDAQ

Nelson Griggs is President of Capital Access Platforms at Nasdaq where he leads our Data & Listings, Index, and Workflow & Insights businesses. Together, he is responsible for leading a business that serves over 10,000 corporate clients and 5,000 investor clients across the investment management ecosystem.

Nelson served as Executive Vice President of Nasdaq’s Corporate Platforms business in his prior role. In this capacity, he oversaw new listings and capital markets, our governance and investor relations  solutions business, and led global business development and relationship management with over 4,000 of our listed companies around the world. 

He served previously as Senior Vice President of New Listings and Capital Markets in the U.S. and Asia, attracting some of the highest-profile IPOs and transfers to Nasdaq. Since joining our company in 2001, he has held a range of leadership roles within Listing Services unit including: Senior Vice President, Listing Services, where he was responsible for our U.S. listings business and corporate solutions sales; and Head of Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Nasdaq, Nelson worked at Fidelity Investments and a San Francisco-based startup. He graduated from Denison University in Granville, OH.

Charles Corpening

Senior Managing Director, Head of Investment Team
Ariel Alternatives, LLC

Charles Corpening is Senior Managing Director and Head of the Investment Team for Ariel Alternatives, LLC. He serves on the firm’s Investment Committee. Mr. Corpening brings decades of Wall Street experience to his role with Ariel and has significant investment and board level experience in transportation and logistics, industrials, and franchise businesses. Additionally, he is skilled in serving on boards during dynamic and challenging transitions such as companies seeking aggressive growth via acquisitions, as well as organic turnarounds.

Prior to Ariel, Mr. Corpening also served as Chairman and Founder of Joshua Partners, personal investments focused on lower and middle market private equity opportunities.

Previously, Charles was a longtime partner with Citigroup Venture Capital (CVC) and helped lead the Industrials effort for Court Square Capital Partners. Prior to joining CVC, Mr. Corpening was a private equity executive with The Rockefeller Group and Roundtree Capital, after beginning his career as an investment banker with PaineWebber in the M&A and Merchant Banking groups.

Mr. Corpening is a graduate of Princeton and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. He currently serves as on the board of directors of Sorenson Communications and Action Resources. Charles has served on the board of directors of public companies such as Chase Industries, Kemet Corporation and DAVCO Restaurants (the largest Wendy’s franchisee); and private companies with public indebtedness such as FastenTech, Inc and Royster-Clark, Inc. In addition, Mr. Corpening is Chairman of the Trustee Board of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. He is a family man, married with five sons and one granddaughter.

Cassandra Walsh

Partner, Adams & Reese, LLP

Cassandra advises clients in a variety of industries on corporate matters. As a self-proclaimed “death and deals lawyer,” Cassandra focuses on counseling clients through transactions from start to finish, while also maintaining a unique niche practice in the often-complex realm of death law.

On the mergers and acquisitions front, Cassandra regularly advises clients in the sale and purchase of both assets and equity. She has handled transactions of all shapes and sizes, from smaller closely-held entities to massive $1 billion buy-outs.

In the real estate arena, Cassandra regularly represents clients in the sale and purchase of commercial, agricultural, and residential property as well as in the negotiation of complex commercial and agricultural leases. She also has extensive experience in bank finance and lending matters, representing financial institutions with the issuance of secured loans and credit facilities attached to real property collateral.

Cassandra provides day-to-day operational advice to business owners, negotiating contracts, assisting with entity formation and corporate governance matters, as well as corporate succession planning matters.

In the death space, Cassandra provides operational advice to financial institutions regarding which parties may take possession of deceased customers’ funds and other property and assists with the development of funeral home and cemetery property. She also has extensive experience in probate administration and estate and wealth planning.

Elisabete Miranda

President & CEO, CQ fluency

Elisabete Miranda is the founder, president and CEO of CQ fluency, a global language services company focusing on healthcare and life sciences. Elisabete is responsible for taking CQ fluency from a 2-person shop in Hackensack, New Jersey to an international company with 100+ employees with presence in several states in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, India, Ireland, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.

Under Elisabete’s guiding principles, superior leadership, and a philosophy of continuous development, CQ fluency has built exceptional client partnerships with organizations focusing on multicultural markets from all over the globe, including Fortune 500 companies such as Merck, UnitedHealthcare, CVS Health, Anthem, Pfizer, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, MetLife and many more.

Elisabete attended business school in Brazil and holds degrees in International Business and Business Management from Montclair State University. She also completed the Hispanic Marketing program at Florida State University, Executive Program at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, as well as the Advanced Management Education Program [AMEP] at Kellogg School of Management and Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Program.

Over the course of her career, Elisabete has established a reputation as a diversity and inclusion champion, a passionate leader, and has built lasting business and personal relationships through her personable and caring approach to all interactions.

John Watson

Managing Director, Tactical Operations, The Blackstone Group

John Watson is a Managing Director in the Tactical Opportunities Group, where he is involved in the execution of the firm’s Media and Communications investments.  Mr. Watson is involved with the firm’s ownership stake in Hotwire and currently serves on the Board of Directors of YES Network, Certified Collectibles Group.

Before joining Blackstone in 2021, Mr. Watson worked at Morgan Stanley as an investment professional for the firm’s Infrastructure fund, and prior as an Investment Banker in the Media and Communications group.

Mr. Watson received an B.A. from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Nancy Williams

Principal, COO, MIA-US

Nancy is a Principal of MIA-US and Sunfield Advisors delivering maximized valuations and earnout to drive success for fellow entrepreneurs as they look to sell their business.

Retired CEO of both ASAP Solutions and WeFresh, Nancy is an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. She is skilled in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Project Management Office (PMO), Recruiting, Technical Recruiting, and Change Management.

Nancy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) from Georgia State University. She is a board member of TAG, GWBC, former board member of C5, GCAPP and member of IWF.


Farryn Melton

Formerly, Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer Bristol Myers Squibb

Farryn is the SVP, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Her team is responsible aligning with company’s business strategy to optimize value, drive efficiency and manage the company’s external spend. With revenues in excess of $35B, her team is responsible for managing the company’s external spend of ~ $12B from early research to distribution. In addition to Global Procurement and Supplier Relationship Management, she is responsible for strategy-to-pay processes, global travel and fleet operations. She leads a diverse team of over 400 + colleagues around the world and manages large external partnerships.

Farryn has a 25-year career in procurement and business management, including key leadership positions with Fortune 100 companies to include Amgen, Novartis, Pfizer, Warner-Lambert, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Boeing and Rockwell International. She successfully led the transformation of several procurement organizations to become “best in class.”

Ms. Melton is a lifetime certified purchasing manager (CPM) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She has received a number of external recognitions in her field; the most recent include The National Association of Purchasing Managers Executive of the Year in 2015, and CPO of the year from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in 2016, Top 100 Women in Diversity in 2016 and 2017 and Strategic Executive of the Year for the NGLCC in 2019.

Farryn is active in the Procurement field, and passionate about diversity and inclusion. She serves on the executive committee for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC); previously served on the executive committee and board of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) through 2016, and actively supports The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Diversity Alliance for Science. She leads the Diversity & Inclusion Council for BMS Global Business Operations for the last several years and sits on the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council within BMS. She is a mentor to several colleagues (within and outside), of BMS.

Ms. Melton enjoys music, the arts, reading, and spending time with her family. She currently resides in PA with her husband Gary of 30 years, two children, Halli and Alexander, dog Bella and cat Simon.

Shelley Stewart Jr.

Chairman, Billion Dollar Roundtable

Shelley Stewart Jr. retired Chief Procurement Officer at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. is the organization’s chairman. Stewart is responsible to shape the strategic direction of the BDR, a top-level advocacy organization that promotes corporate supplier diversity excellence and advances best practices through its 28 member companies.

Shelley is a familiar face in corporate procurement and supplier diversity and has worked alongside many of our members to promote best practices. He has been a leading champion and voice for diverse business development and inclusion.

Stewart led DuPont’s procurement, global sourcing and logistics, real estate and facility services organizations and played a significant role in the 2017 DowDuPont merger by helping to deliver synergy savings for the combination that is now the world’s largest chemical company. Prior to DuPont, Stewart was Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer at Tyco International. In addition, Stewart has served in executive capacities in procurement and supply chain operations at Raytheon Co., Invensys PLC, and United Technologies Corp.

Stewart has been a contributor to many boards and councils, including Cleco Corp., Howard University, Drexel University and the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton/Mercer County.

In supplier diversity, he has served in leadership positions with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and received the NMSDC’s first-ever Chief Procurement Officer of the Year award. In 2011, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce appointed him to its National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises. Black Enterprise and Savoy magazine named Stewart one of the “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America,” and he received a 2016 honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven. Stewart is co-author “Straight to the Bottom Line” An Executive’s Roadmap to World Class Supply Management, (J. Ross Publishing).

Rachel Kutz

Vice President, AT&T
Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, AT&T Global Connections & Supply Chain

Rachel Kutz, V.P. – Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, is responsible for leading an organization of over 1100 diverse employees dedicated to innovative solutions that provide AT&T’s customers with connected products and services. In this role she assumes ownership for all AT&T’s logistics, supplier quality control, planning, and replenishment of AT&T’s consumer and business products and equipment such as mobile devices, tablets, video, and broadband gateways. Rachel also maintains ownership of two critical enterprise-wide programs: supplier diversity and sustainability, responsibilities from her previous role as VP – Strategic Initiatives.

 As VP – Strategic Initiatives, Rachel set the overall supply chain strategy for purchasing operations and supply chain systems and tools to improve the efficiency of AT&T processes using data analytics and automation. She has prior experience in logistics support for consumer products from her prior role as AVP of Product Logistics and Quality where she led teams managing forward/reverse logistics and product quality. Rachel has also lead teams responsible for managing supplier and product selection, pricing, inventory and supply planning, procurement, and quality control for AT&T consumer products.

Rachel is an engaging, insightful and decisive leader who uses excellent communication skills to adapt to any situation. She joined AT&T as a wireless network radio frequency (RF) performance engineer and rapidly rose to Executive Director, Wireless Network of AT&T’s HQ market. In her progressive roles in AT&T’s wireless network organization, she successfully dealt with state and local governments resolving cell site zoning and RF spectrum issues. Rachel designed smarter cell site building plans that expanded networks and enabled local sales teams to more effectively market products and reduce customer churn.

She graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a degree in Astrophysics.

Pamela Prince-Eason

President & CEO
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Pamela Prince-Eason is the President and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a role she assumed in 2011. She was previously Vice President of Worldwide Procurement for Pfizer Inc. and held various leadership positions at Texas Instruments, GSE Systems and Warner Lambert, as well as co-owner of RMR Associates.

Pamela is a member of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), a non-partisan federal advisory council who advises the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

Pamela’s dedication to women’s business leadership is illustrated in her many professional and personal roles advancing women’s excellence and opportunity. She serves on women’s advisory committees of several corporations including the CVS Health Executive Learning Series, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program, the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, and Walmart’s Women Owned Business Advisory Council.

Pamela holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from East Tennessee State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with a Master of Administrative Science in International Business and Finance. In 2008, she was among the first to receive ISM’s Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation, in 2010 was named a Power Women by NYMoves, and in 2012 she received the AIDC WBE Hall of Fame “Executive Leadership” award. In 2013 and 2017, she was named a top leader in Supplier Diversity by WE-USA Magazine and selected by the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) as the 2014 Woman of Achievement. Most recently she was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame in March 2018 and was recognized as Alumna of the Year at East Tennessee State University in May 2018.

She and husband John have three children and six grandchildren. Favorite family activities include tennis, basketball, and snowboarding.

Cheryl Harris

Senior Vice President, Procurement
Allstate Insurance

Cheryl A. Harris is the Chief Procurement Officer at Allstate. In this role, Cheryl manages Allstate’s $12B 3rd party spend portfolio to deliver value, mitigate risk, foster innovation, and develop high performing individuals and teams. She also oversees Allstate’s Business Inclusion and Supply Chain Sustainability programs where her focus is on increasing economic equity through the inclusion and development of minority, women, LBGT, veteran and disabled owned businesses, and ensuring that Allstate suppliers serve stakeholders in a socially responsible way.

Prior to Allstate, Cheryl served as the Americas Procurement Delivery Managing Director at Accenture, LLP. where she was responsible for managing $10B in 3rd party spend for global companies. While there she delivered value for her customers, created award-winning supplier diversity mentoring programs in the U.S. and Canada, and served a sponsor of the African American Employee Resource Group.

Over her 30+-year career, Cheryl has been recognized as an innovative and inclusive leader. Recent recognition includes being named as one of the Most Powerful Black Women in Corporate America (2018 & 2019), and one of the Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America (2017). Cheryl holds her a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida A&M, a Master of Science degree in Values Driven Leadership from Benedictine University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Values Driven Leadership from Benedictine. Cheryl is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Chicago United Business Leaders of Color, and serves as chair of the Florida A&M University Industry Cluster. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Humanities Festival Board, The Independent Film Alliance, and is a member of the Allstate Foundation Board.

Fireside Chat: B2T Alliance

Rachel Kutz

Vice President, AT&T
Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, AT&T Global Connections & Supply Chain

Rachel Kutz, V.P. – Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, is responsible for leading an organization of over 1100 diverse employees dedicated to innovative solutions that provide AT&T’s customers with connected products and services. In this role she assumes ownership for all AT&T’s logistics, supplier quality control, planning, and replenishment of AT&T’s consumer and business products and equipment such as mobile devices, tablets, video, and broadband gateways. Rachel also maintains ownership of two critical enterprise-wide programs: supplier diversity and sustainability, responsibilities from her previous role as VP – Strategic Initiatives.

 As VP – Strategic Initiatives, Rachel set the overall supply chain strategy for purchasing operations and supply chain systems and tools to improve the efficiency of AT&T processes using data analytics and automation. She has prior experience in logistics support for consumer products from her prior role as AVP of Product Logistics and Quality where she led teams managing forward/reverse logistics and product quality. Rachel has also lead teams responsible for managing supplier and product selection, pricing, inventory and supply planning, procurement, and quality control for AT&T consumer products.

Rachel is an engaging, insightful and decisive leader who uses excellent communication skills to adapt to any situation. She joined AT&T as a wireless network radio frequency (RF) performance engineer and rapidly rose to Executive Director, Wireless Network of AT&T’s HQ market. In her progressive roles in AT&T’s wireless network organization, she successfully dealt with state and local governments resolving cell site zoning and RF spectrum issues. Rachel designed smarter cell site building plans that expanded networks and enabled local sales teams to more effectively market products and reduce customer churn.

She graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a degree in Astrophysics.

Marlan Hardie

AVP, Chief Digital Officer World Wide Technology

Marlan is a driven customer experience evangelist who cares about people…YOUR people…YOUR consumers and YOUR employees. With 20+ years in the CX industry, he continues working with global customers on strengthening their brand by engaging their customers and empowering their employees. As a certified CX practitioner and technologist, Marlan brings a consultative and practical approach to business evolution.


Eric Kelly

Chairman & Founder, Bridge 2 Technologies

Eric is a high-performing, senior executive with a 40+ year career growing and turning around technology companies ranging from pre- public startups to Fortune 100 organizations ─ achieving consistent success running companies in CEO, President, and COO roles. He has served on boards of public companies trading on the U.S. and Canada stock exchanges, private companies, universities, and foundations for the past 20 years. His specific areas of expertise include cybersecurity, complex M&A strategy/execution, international corporate finance, government affairs, business transformations, and leading the strategic visions and product development of software, SAAS, cloud, and artificial intelligence technology companies. Of significant further value in today’s environment, Eric is a thought leader in developing the culture of the companies and senior management in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). In his current position as Chairman and CEO, he oversees a portfolio of technology companies.

In previous career roles, Eric was Chairman and CEO of Sphere3D Corporation (Symbol: ANY), which focused on cloud and virtualization and Blockchain; CEO and President Overland Tandberg Corporation (Symbol: OVRL) where he orchestrated the turnaround by transforming the global operations, changed the technology direction and executed two strategic acquisitions; Chairman and Founder of Silicon Valley Management Partners Corporation, a management consulting and M&A advisory firm in the private equity sector; President of the Systems and Networking division at Maxtor (Symbol: MXO); Vice President and General Manager of Storage Systems and Software at Adaptec Corporation (Symbol: ADPT); and Vice President at Dell Technologies $billion enterprise business (Symbol: DELL).

Eric has also held prior executive positions at Conner Peripherals (CNR) – the fastest growing manufacturing start-up in U.S. history, to reach the Fortune ranking, Hitachi Data System (HTHIY), and IBM (IBM) creating innovative strategies, developing new products, expanding global market footprint, making strategic acquisitions to drive significant gains in revenue, profitability, and market share.

Eric is currently the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Board of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, and Chairman of the Board of San Jose State University Tower Foundation. As an independent board member, he served on the Nominating and Governance, Compensation, and Audit Committees of Overland Storage (symbol: OVRL) and Chairman of the Board for Sphere3D (symbol: ANY). He also served as the U.S. advisor for Nomura Securities Venture Group, a leading global investment bank with over $360 billion in assets.

President Obama appointed Mr. Kelly to the Executive Office of President of The United States Council of Advisors on Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee. The United States Secretary of Commerce Pritzker appointed Mr. Kelly to the U.S. Department of Commerce Advanced Manufacturing Council as Vice Chairman of the workforce sub-committee.

Eric received an MBA from San Francisco State University and a B.S. in Business Management from San Jose State University.

Danny Ludeman

Chairman & CEO, Concordance

Prior to founding Concordance, Danny Ludeman was CEO of, what eventually became, Wells Fargo Advisors, the second largest brokerage firm in the country. Over his 15 years as CEO, he grew the firm from a small regional Virginia-based brokerage firm, increasing revenues from $300 million to over $10 billion, profits from $35 million to $2 billion, and financial advisors from 950 to more than 18,000 in over 4,000 locations nationwide. Danny is a visionary, setting long-term goals and identifying key leaders to guide the process – and he directly applied these skills as he founded and developed Concordance. An important pillar in Danny’s life is his family. He and his wonderful wife, Susan, have four children and four grandchildren.

David Steward

Founder and Chairman of the Board, World Wide Technology

David L. Steward is an entrepreneur, civic leader, philanthropist and the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, the largest Black-owned company in the United States. He is committed to expanding opportunities for Blacks and others from historically under-represented and underserved communities.

“Talent is equally distributed; opportunity is not,” Mr. Steward says. “We need to change that by inspiring and igniting untapped potential. Diversity and inclusion are essential to innovation; both foster stronger business outcomes.”

Creating and developing strong business relationships are hallmarks of Mr. Steward’s ability to grow a business. After being named the top sales executive for FedEx, he set out to fulfill a lifelong dream: own a company. After creating two successful startup companies, Mr. Steward began WWT in 1990 with a handful of employees and a 4,000 square foot office. WWT currently operates in 4 million square feet of warehousing, distribution, and integration space in more than 20 facilities throughout the world. The company employs more than 9,000 people globally and generates over $14.5 billion in annual revenue.

Specializing in cloud capabilities, data center and virtualization, security, mobility and networking technologies along with voice, video, and collaboration solutions, World Wide Technology provides advanced technology solutions from 3,000+ manufacturers to the commercial, government, and telecom sectors.

As chairman of WWT, Mr. Steward emphasizes the role of strong cultural values, as well as the importance of collaboration between employees and departments, beginning with the company’s executive team. For the eleventh year in a row, Great Place to Work® and Fortune magazine have honored WWT as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For® in 2022. Forbes also named WWT one of America’s Best Employers For Diversity. These honors demonstrate that the core values on which Mr. Steward founded WWT more than 30 years ago are still alive and well today.

“Transformation does not happen without listening, Mr. Steward says. “Our Employee Resource Groups, dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, strengthen our workforce culture. These groups help members better understand others through listening, learning, and engaging. As we celebrate our employees’ unique contributions to our culture and business, we put them in a position to make a meaningful impact on our business and community.”

Mr. Steward holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Washington University, as well as Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from numerous colleges and universities.

Among his many awards, Mr. Steward has been recognized as the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) and the 2015 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Citizen of the Year. Together, Mr. Steward and his wife, Thelma, have received the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award. Variety The Children’s Charity of St. Louis also honored them with their Man and Woman of the Year Award.