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2021 Speakers

Plenary Speakers

October 25: Opening Plenary

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Dr. Robert Livingston
Harvard University Professor and Author of The Conversation

Dr. Robert Livingston is a Harvard social psychologist and a leading expert on the science underlying bias and racism in organizations. For two decades, he has served as a diversity consultant to scores of Fortune 500 companies, public-sector agencies, and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the Harvard Kennedy School in 2015, he held full-time faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Sussex, where he was Professor and Chair of the Organizational Behaviour area as well as the founder and faculty director of Centre for Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity (LEAD). His research on race, implicit bias, leadership, and social justice has been published in top-tier academic journals such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Psychological Science, and Leadership Quarterly. Dr. Livingston’s work has also been featured in popular press outlets such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Harvard Business Review. His article “How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace” was the winner of the 2020 Warren Bennis Prize, awarded to the best article on leadership published in Harvard Business Review each year. Dr. Livingston’s groundbreaking and influential approach to combating racism is detailed in his book The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth about Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations published by Penguin Random House in February 2021.

Chris Cook
Head Enogen, Syngenta

Chris Cook is the head of the Enogen business for Syngenta. The Enogen platform delivers in-seed innovations that enhance ethanol production and feed efficiency, as well as connect directly to digital tools that help us deliver both traceability and sustainability. Chris earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from South Dakota State University, in Brookings SD. Chris has held several different positions in his career, including roles as an agronomist, both with Farmland Industries, Inc. and Syngenta, as well as several different management positions from his days in retail, to heading Agronomy for both the US Seeds business and the integrated Syngenta business in the US spanning all crops and all technology platforms. Chris joined the Enogen team in 2015, heading up Stewardship and Stakeholder Relations, and now leads the Enogen business for Syngenta. Chris has been with Syngenta for 23 years.

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Dr. Kimberly Jackson
Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Professor of Biochemistry, and Director of the Food Studies program at Spelman College

Dr. Kimberly M. Jackson is Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Professor of Biochemistry, and Director of the Food Studies program at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She continues to expand the footprint of the Food Studies program and promote interdisciplinary efforts between the humanities and sciences. And, she serves as founder and co-director of a living and learning community for STEM scholars, an initiative whose goal is to improve access to STEM research careers for women of color through professional and social networks and social justice empowerment. A Fulbright Scholar and a 2020-21 Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador, Dr. Jackson maintains robust and active research programs focused on novel therapeutic agents for castration-resistant prostate cancer and the role of minority-serving institutions and women of color in diversifying the STEM pathway. Her research programs have garnered a host of publications, presentations, and funding from multiple agencies. She serves on the advisory board for the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Affairs Committee, COACh for Women Scientists and Engineers, and the American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Project SEED to help implement policies that promote best practices for recruitment, retention, career development, and evaluation of programs for the advancement of minority scientists. She has held a research fellow position at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA and, a visiting faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, in the Systems Biology department. In March 2022, she will be honored with the national ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences sponsored by the Dreyfus Foundation. She is the mom of three young adult children (one in graduate school and two in college) and the wife of a CDC scientist.

October 29: Think Forward Summit

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Tim Renick
Executive Director, National Institute for Student Success and Professor of Religious Studies, Georgia State University

Timothy Renick is the founding Executive Director of the National Institute for Student Success and Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University. Between 2008-2020, he directed the student success efforts of the university, overseeing a 62% improvement in graduation rates and the elimination of all equity gaps based on students' race, ethnicity, or income level. For six consecutive years, Georgia State has graduated more African American students with bachelor’s degrees than any other not-for-profit college or university in the nation. Dr. Renick has testified on strategies for helping university students succeed before the U.S. Senate and has twice been invited to speak at the White House. His work has been covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, and CNN and cited by former President Barack Obama. He was named one of the Most Innovative People in Higher Education by Washington Monthly and one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine. Dr. Renick was the recipient of the Award for National Leadership in Student Success Innovation and was awarded the McGraw Prize in Higher Education. He has been principal investigator for more than $50 million in research grants focused on promoting better and more equitable outcomes for college students. At Georgia State, he has served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Director of the Honors Program and Senior Vice President. A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Dr. Renick holds his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.

Dr. Lisa Coleman, PhD
Senior Vice President, Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, and Chief Diversity Officer, NYU

Dr. Lisa Coleman is New York University’s (NYU) inaugural senior vice president for global inclusion and strategic innovation, and the University’s chief diversity officer. Reporting to NYU president Andrew Hamilton, Dr. Coleman works with the Office of the Provost, deans, and other senior leaders, internal stakeholders, external partners, and constituents to advance, promote, and build capacity for strategic global inclusion, diversity, equity, belonging and innovation initiatives across NYU’s global network. Prior to joining the NYU community, Dr. Coleman served as Harvard University’s first special assistant to the president and its first chief diversity officer. During her tenure there, she and her team developed some of the first initiatives focused on the intersections of technology and disability. Before her time at Harvard, she directed the Africana program at Tufts University and was later appointed as that institution’s first senior GID executive, reporting to the president. Dr. Coleman earned her doctorate in Social and Cultural Analysis, American Studies from NYU and three master’s degrees from the Ohio State University in African and African American Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Communication Studies. Her undergraduate foci included sociology, anthropology, and computer science.

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Monroe France
Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ), Tufts University

Before joining Tufts, Monroe France served as NYU’s senior associate vice president for global engagement and inclusive leadership. In this role, Monroe was responsible for working with institutional leaders to enhance inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and access opportunities —throughout the University’s global network. Monroe France has more than 25 years of global experience as an educator, strategist, consultant, trainer, and presenter in the areas of inclusive and innovative leadership, transformation, and human rights. Monroe has provided DEI consulting for executive managers at American Eagle Outfitter (AEO), the executive team for American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, and the management team at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) in Washington DC. Monroe’s background spans across higher education, non-profits, corporate sectors, arts & creative industries, as well as social responsibility, humanitarian, & philanthropy initiatives. Monroe currently serves on the board for Global Black Pride and the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy where he serves as lead strategist for DEI. Monroe is a member of Future Talent Council where he serves on their DEI Task Force, Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding, and Future Skills think tanks. Monroe is the lead instructor for NYU Global Inclusive Leadership and Management Institute and is the founder and co-principal for NYU Environmental and Racial Justice Network. He is an adjunct professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and for the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Communication’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program. He is also a faculty member for NYU Abu Dhabi’s January term.

Professor Teboho Moja
Clinical Professor of Higher Education, New York University

Professor Teboho Moja, who is a Clinical Professor of Higher Education at New York University, an Extraordinary Professor at the University of the Western Cape - South Africa, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She previously served as an Executive Director and Commissioner of the National Commission on Higher Education in South Africa (1995), appointed by President Mandela. She has published extensively on higher education policy, presented numerous keynote addresses at international conferences on higher education issues.

Tawana Kupe
Professor Tawana Kupe
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Pretoria

Professor Tawana Kupe, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria and the Africa Co-Chair of the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN). Prior to this appointment, Professor Kupe served as the Vice-Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Advancement, Human Resources and Transformation, and as Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations. Dr Kupe has also served in multiple leadership positions at Wits university, including Executive Dean of the Wits Faculty of Humanities for six years, head of the Wits School of Literature and Language Studies, as well as head of the Media Studies Department.