October 11th 2022, 8:00 am-4:00 pm CT
Join the Texas Diversity Council for our 2022 LGBTQ+ Unity Conference! This conference brings together distinguished LGBTQ+ leaders who will address topics regarding leadership, professional development, community building, and career advancement. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ climate, equipping organizations to build fully inclusive workplaces and boost competitive edge.
Raquel Willis is a Black transgender activist, award-winning writer, and media strategist dedicated to elevating the dignity of marginalized people, particularly Black transgender people. Throughout her career, Raquel has held impactful positions like Director of Communications for The Ms. Foundation, executive editor of Out magazine, and a national organizer for Transgender Law Center (TLC).
In 2018, she founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC, focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through oppression-based trauma and incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence.
During her time at Out, she published the Trans Obituaries Project to highlight the epidemic of violence against trans women of color and developed a community-sourced 13-point framework to end the epidemic. This project won a GLAAD Media Award. Raquel is a thought leader on gender, race and intersectionality. She’s experienced in online publications, organizing marginalized communities for social change, non-profit media strategy and public speaking while using digital activism as a major tool of resistance and liberation.
She will be releasing her debut memoir about her coming of identity and activism with St. Martin’s Press in 2022.
Follow Raquel on Twitter @RaquelWillis_ and Instagram @raquel_willis
Jack Berger has been with OutSmart Magazine for 17 years. He is a sales and marketing manager for Houston’s LGBT voice. He spent the first 25 years of his professional career in sports marketing.
In addition to working for OutSmart, he is also the Vice President of Investor Relations for Hawthorne Capital, an LGBT-managed investment fund. In this role, he is responsible for community outreach resulting in contributions to AIDS Foundation Houston, The Montrose Center, Bunnies on the Bayou, Avenue 360, the Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the PRIDE Band and Share Our Blessings.
He is the Director of Business Development and Membership for the Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce and has been re-elected to his sixth term as president of EPAH, the Executive and Professional Association of Houston. He was president of Bunnies on the Bayou for four years and has served on the boards of the Bayou City Performing Arts (Gay Men’s Chorus), OutReach United and the Lesbian Health Initiative. He is a member of the LGBTQ Political Caucus.
He is a Syracuse University graduate and is the extremely proud father of two Aggie sons. He and his partner Kevin Gibson, live in Houston.
Josh Ziesel (he/him) currently serves as the Global Lead for American Airlines Pride EBRG. For nearly 30 years American Airlines has been a champion of the LGBTQ+ community with our Pride EBRG across 21 chapters globally. Our team is incredibly active from educating the business on LGBQ+, to team member engagement, we are proud that ever since the inception of the HRC Best Place to Work, American Airlines is the only airline to have won this 20 years in a row!
Josh hold Masters of Business and Commerce and a Bachelors Degree in Human Resource Management from University of Western Sydney and is a inspiring leader who loves to unearth peoples inner superhero skills to be themselves and unleash the magic from within. As an immigrant, person of faith and an individual who came out later in life, Josh is passionate about providing a safe, accepting and inclusive work environment where people can thrive!
My name is Kevin Nguyen (He/They). I am a first generation, Texas-born, gay, Vietnamese American., who was raised Catholic by two immigrant parents. I have 3 Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology (Baylor University 2007), Health Education (University of Houston 2018), and Psychology (University of Houston 2021). I also have a Master of Science Degree in College Counseling and Student Development (Azusa Pacific University 2010). I have lived in Texas, New Jersey, California, and a brief stint in Bangkok, Thailand as an English teacher. However, I have always called Houston home for a majority of my life. Within my work and within my lifestyle, I want to produce a certain sense of inclusivity, curiosity, and mutual respect for those I interact with.
Having immigrant parents and being one of the first in my family to receive a college education was a monumental milestone for me and after living overseas as an English teacher, I saw that learning about nuances within communities is imperative to growth, development, and support. My life experiences have been an eye opener of the different aspects and complexity of being LGBTQ+, a person of color, and a voting member of this country. I see that my life is a continual process where my desires to expand my knowledge, develop my gifts, and contribute to what the world becomes will directly affect students and those I work with. Consequently, recognizing and applying that multiple identities interplay within the development of LGBTQ+ students’, staff and faculty’s lives is crucial towards providing the reform efforts to help those who may feel socially marginalized and/or stigmatized to feeling accepted without judgment.
Dr. Melissa Shiplett-Jupe is a board certified licensed professional counselor specializing in reproductive health, impacts of fertility impairment, family formation of LGBTQIA individuals and couples. Dr. Shiplett-Jupe dedicates some time to her local community by serving as a founding member of the San Antonio Mayor’s LGBTQIA Advisory Committee. In this capacity, she works alongside a diverse group of individuals representing the LGBTQIA community to promote equality, equity, and education surrounding issues concerning sexual and gender minorities. Through her Texas-based private practice she provides counseling and consulting services within her specialty areas. Most recently, Dr. Shiplett-Jupe joined the faculty of Our Lady of the Lake University as a visiting professor with a focus on clinical coursework and multicultural competencies. She will continue as an Assistant Professor of counselor education in Spring 2023. Her greatest role in life is journeying alongside her wife as mothers to their two children (3 yr old and a newly earthside 2 month old).
Sarah Sloan is the Assistant Dean for Health Affairs, a collaboration between Dell Medical School and the University of Texas Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHSSW). She is also a Clinical Associate professor at SHSSW and a Provost Teaching Fellow. In 2021/2022 she was awarded the UT President’s award for Graduate Teaching Excellence. She currently serves as the incoming chair for the Provost’s council for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity, and Inclusion. Sarah has worked as a clinical social worker in agency settings focused on mental health and mental health access for LGBTQ clients since 2003. She also has a history with non-profits, working for Austin Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity International from 1996-2002 and Waterloo Counseling in 2003-2005. Sarah has a private practice, where she provides therapy, supervision, training and consultation. She is licensed in the state of Texas as an LCSW and as a board approved supervisor. She is an active community volunteer in the Austin arts and with organizations that promote social justice for all, including Vice-chair of the Texas Jail Project and past member of the board of directors for Waterloo Counseling center.
Briva is a San Antonio native with a passion for people and technology. In 2013, she received her Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology from Abilene Christian University and returned to South Texas searching for employment opportunities where she could grow both professionally and personally. At the start of 2015 she was contacted by a recruiter for Accenture Federal Services and accepted a position in the Software Testing career track. In 2016, after months of exploration, she was able to discover her authentic self and began taking steps to live in that truth. Two years later, she found the guidance and support needed to bring her identity into all facets of her life and openly transition in the workplace. Since then, she has taken an active role in the PRIDE Employee Resource Group within AFS in a co-leadership position and has used the opportunity to further inclusion and diversity goals within AFS and throughout the community.
Denise Rodgers (she/her) began her advocacy work for the LGBTQ+ community in the late 90s while growing up in South Texas. This passion has been woven into the fabric of her adult life. Her professional focus is DEI, and she’s the Pride ERG Co-Chair and the D&I Leader for Texas – North Louisiana region at Trane Technologies and the Founder & President of Taylor Pride, an LGBTQ+ Non-profit. Denise is pansexual and the matriarch of an LGBTQ+ family which includes a pansexual daughter, a transgender daughter and a super ally son.
Jaime Burnham is the Vice President of FOLX Health which provides affirming healthcare for the LGBTQ+ Community. Jaime lives in Austin, TX with her wife and 10 year old twins and has a 21 year old daughter that runs college track in Dallas. She has been working for two decades in the benefits & healthcare technology field. After coming out in her 20’s at a very conservative company she began to fight for equality and health equity not just for the LGBTQ+ community but for all minority groups. Seeing the corporate world through the eyes of her minority children and her intersectionality in the LGBTQ+ community, she became an activist for women, minorities and the queer community. With her background in health benefits, she saw the many inequities that existed for minority groups and began consulting with many benefits professionals on ways to design their benefits to be more inclusive. She recently took on the role of Growth Leader at FOLX Health which is an innovative company that has created the largest center of excellence of affirming care clinicians that provides end to end healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Work no longer feels like work, it feels like activism. Her career and life goal is to make the world, and corporate America a more equal and colorful place, for all!
With over 20 years of audit and consulting experience, Joshua Kettler has provided consulting services to clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, energy, transportation, technology, construction and life sciences. Joshua serves on the firm’s National Committee for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), which focuses on scaling the application ERM projects to meet needs of middle market clients.
Robert Salcido, Jr., he/him, is committed to civic engagement and social justice of underrepresented individuals. He is active in various community roles and has extensive experience working with issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ+ education, and matters of discrimination. Robert is the Program Director with Texas Pride Impact Funds and also serves as the Executive Director with Pride Center San Antonio.
He is a co-director of the community based project, Strengthening Colors of Pride, that resulted from his past fellowship with the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program at the University of Minnesota. The project aims to build a culture of health through community connectedness and data driven initiatives. Salcido serves on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood San Antonio and Planned Parenthood South Texas Surgical Centers and is an active member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committees for the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program at the University of Minnesota and the Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio.
Salcido has received numerous awards for his work, most recently he was inducted into the 2020 ‘Honor 41 List', honoring Latinx role models across the globe. He was raised in Amarillo, Texas - San Antonio has been his home since 2001. Robert and his husband, Mike, enjoy traveling and playing co-ed softball. They have one fur-baby, a PitBull/Catahoula mix named Cyxx.
Scott Studer is Vice President of Global Customer Experience at NI where he is deeply passionate about increasing customer loyalty, an effortless customer experience, and ensuring customers are engineering ambitiously with NI solutions from kindergarten to rocket science. Scott leads a $360M+ post-sale P&L delivered by more than 1,000 employees in 31 countries in enterprise configure & quote to order operations, pricing strategy to execution, contracting & deals, post-sales services, and technical support. He is proud to be an Executive sponsor for the NI Pride ERG team furthering LQBTQIA+ diversity globally, at all levels, at NI. Over the last several years he has been dedicating time to The Dell Children’s Medical Center volunteer board, Leadership Austin, The Legacy Collective, United Way and AIDS Services of Austin. He lives in Austin, TX with his husband of 17 years and their 9-year old son.
Callie Butcher is a senior managing associate in Sidley’s Dallas office and practices in the IP Litigation and Technology Transactions groups, focusing on complex patent litigation and patent licensing. Callie has been recognized in the 2021–2022 editions of The Best Lawyers as a “Ones to Watch in America” and “Women In The Law: Ones To Watch” in Intellectual Property Litigation. Her practice focuses on complex patent litigation involving a variety of technologies, such as wireless communications, semiconductor manufacturing, and consumer electronics. Callie also has expertise assisting clients in connection with IP acquisitions, patent cross-licensing investigation and negotiation, and IP due diligence, as well as trademark, trade secret, and unfair competition claims. In addition to her IP docket, Callie maintains an active pro bono case load and has represented clients in immigration proceedings and prisoner grievance cases.
Callie is the current President of the Dallas LGBT Bar Association and also serves as a member of the board of both the Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. When not practicing law, Callie volunteers with local LGBT organizations, including Lambda Legal, where she serves on its Dallas Leadership Committee, and Black Tie Dinner, where she volunteer as a member of the Events and Programming Committee. Callie enjoys spending time with her partner and two children. Callie is also passionate about cycling, and you are likely to see her putting in a few laps or leading a group ride on the weekends.
Gabe Rodarte-Miller, is the Underrepresented Minorites Lead on the Diversity Talent Acquisition Team.. In this role my focus is on partnering with organizations to attract Black/Latino/LGBTQ+ candidates to Dell. Gabe has been at Dell Technologies for 14 years. Working on Talent Acquisition team in different roles, recruiting for different Business Units.
Moving to the Diversity TA team began by increasing efforts of outreach to communities that are underrepresented. The goal was to increase awareness of opportunities at Dell and a place that is inclusive. Helping move beyond the traditional candidates, looking at certification programs/training to target more candidates.
Gabe is also a long team Leader of Dell's Pride Employee Resource Group. Currently is the Global Pillar Lead of Team Member Experience & Partnerships. In this role enhances the membership experience through events, guest speakers, and connections. Leads the Pride Month activities globally for Dell. In addition is a Co-Lead for our Latino Connection ERG Culture Pillar. Bringing education and aware on the Latino community and helping with Hispanic Heritage Month events.
Previous to Dell, Gabe has worked in the Talent Acquisition field for almost 25 years in various capacities.
Jake Akstins, ACAS, MAAA (he/him) is currently serving as Manager of Inclusion & Diversity Analytics at Visa. In this newly created role, he focuses on data management and strategy of employee self-identification: facilitating all employees’ empowerment and career success at Visa. Additionally, Jake serves at Visa’s Austin Pride ERG Co-Chair.
Jake is a credentialed Property & Casualty Actuary with experience in Pricing and Reserving.
Akstins is a social justice educator, a passion he practiced formally through his three-year tenure at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Multicultural Advocate. He is an ally, advocate, and organizer for inclusion and social equity.
Jake co-founded and is currently serving as President of the Sexuality and Gender Actuarial Alliance of Actuaries (SAGAA), an organization which advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the insurance industry.
Justin Brady-Joyner is a leader in corporate diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). He was the first full-time DEIB professional at NI when the function began in 2019, and was instrumental in building the function, including: developing strategy and goals, launching Employee Resource Groups, expanding cross-functional accountability, and driving inclusive behaviors from the top down. Before this, he spent 12+ years in universities overseeing leadership programs with topics such as inclusion, core values, community building, and ethical decision-making, with DEI concepts at the core. He holds a master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs, is a skilled educator and facilitator, and is passionate about learning, creativity, and cultivating spaces of belonging.
Justin serves on the Leadership Austin Board representing the Essential 43 cohort, is a graduate of ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute, and serves on the annual Brick Rodeo planning committee for the Texas LEGO Users Group. He loves reading, music, theater, art, storytelling with LEGO photography, and hosting events with his husband.
State Representative Mary E. González represents House District 75- a district that includes east El Paso County, the fastest growing parts of the city of El Paso and the towns of Socorro, Clint, Fabens, and Tornillo. Mary was raised in Clint, Texas and graduated from Clint High School.
Mary serves on the Public Education and Agriculture and Livestock Committees in the Texas House. In her two legislative sessions, she has authored numerous bills that fought to improve schools, increase economic development, and support agriculture in House District 75.
In addition, she helped hundreds of families living in colonias access public water and sewer systems for the first time, helped to create a pathway for San Elizario to become a city, and worked to give the opportunity for the dairy industry to return to the area. This has the opportunity to create hundreds of jobs for local residents.
As a result of her accomplishments, Mary has been named Freshman of the Year by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and Champion of Equality by Equality Texas.
Mary received her Bachelor Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master's Degree from St. Edward's University. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction- Cultural Studies in Education at UT-Austin.
Previously, she has worked at the National Hispanic Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, and as the Assistant Dean for Student Multicultural Affairs at Southwestern University.
Community engagement is at the heart of Mary's activism. Mary serves as the National President for the Latina-based, service sorority Kappa Delta Chi and as the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Allgo, Texas' state-wide Queer People of Color organization.
Mary has been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine for her leadership in education, was recognized as one of ten Next Generation Latinas by Latina Magazine, and as one of the 10 newly-elected politicians to watch in the nation by NBC Latino.
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez was born in Brownsville, Texas to parents who instilled in her a love for both her culture and country. From them Rosie learned the importance of service to her community and the value of people in her life.
She graduated from St. Mary’s University with her law degree in 2001, then practiced law for 16 years, becoming the only lawyer in South Texas to be certified as a Child Welfare Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. In her law career, she represented hundreds of foster children in the CPS system. She mentored several new attorneys, who went on to develop successful law careers. The judge had a solo practice, where she committed to hard work and service to her clients. Rosie loves the law this passion led her to running for judge in 2018 of County Court 13 a misdemeanor domestic violence court in Bexar County.
Stacey is Director, Market Development for AT&T Strategic Execution & Alliances. She is focused on Go-to-Market activation across the company’s strategic alliance partners such as IBM, DXC, and Google. Prior to this role, she led operational effectiveness and managed cross-functional go-to-market efforts between AT&T Business and WarnerMedia. She also led portfolio messaging and industry positioning for AT&T Edge Solutions and developed the business marketing strategy for Live Broadcast Video Services launch from AT&T, an integrated solution for the media and entertainment industry.
Stacey also serves as the CEO of LEAGUE at AT&T, one of AT&T’s Employee Resource Groups. She oversees national operational management, and program and strategy development across chapters to ensure LGBTQ+ program availability for all employees.
Stacey has a passion for human rights, equality, and DE&I. She is a frequent speaker and advocate in the public and private sector for dignity, fairness, equal opportunity, respect, and independence. Her recent speaking engagements include Dallas Wings Pride Panel, AT&T Green Couch Conversation Series, and LGBTQ+ Women Executive in Corporate America Series, and a fireside chat with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) focused on social justice and civil rights.
Stacey’s work and commitment in raising LGBTQ+ diversity have been celebrated across AT&T and WarnerMedia. In 2019, she led LEAGUE and the WarnerMedia LGBTQ+ employee groups in a Pride program celebrating Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary which won the AT&T Excellence in Action - Best Overall Program. In 2020, she led a National Virtual Pride Program which won the AT&T Excellence in Action – Professional Development-Collaboration National Program.
Gary Schumann has been a courtroom litigator for 33 years and is the founding partner of Savrick, Schumann, Johnson, McGarr LLP with offices in Austin, Dallas, and Boulder. In addition to his commercial litigation practice, he also represents clients in matters involving LGBT employment issues. He is a certified mediator. He is a founder of the Austin LGBT Bar Association and the Past Chair of the LGBT Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. He is currently a Board Member of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and is chair of its Advocacy Committee. He and his husband live in Austin, Texas and are Equality Texas Capitol Club Members and HRC Federal Club Members and have long been involved in LGBT advocacy work. Mr. Schumann is a frequent panelist on continuing legal education programs focused on LGBT legal issues. He is the 2015 recipient of the Austin LGBT Bar Award of Excellence and the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce 2021 Business of Pride Award.
Jalen McKee-Rodriguez is an educator who has committed to serving and empowering the community through representative policy-making. As the son of two veterans, and the oldest of three children, he was raised to value service to others, empathy, and integrity. Two years after graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BA in Communication, Jalen decided to continue living by family principles by working at Sam Houston High School as a high school math teacher. Through working closely with students and families in District 2, it became clear how heavily the environment impacts a child’s future -- how their housing, access to transportation, and access to recreational activities plays a huge role in these critical years of their lives. These observations are what inspired Jalen to run, and to make a difference for students and their families outside of the classroom. The Councilmember knows good representation is key for good policy - and listening is what is necessary for good representation, which will be done on the dais and in the city for District 2. Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez was elected to serve District 2 on June 5, 2021 and began his term on June 15, 2021.
Justin Hoffman is the Vice President of Service Excellence at DISCO. In his role Justin ensures the Professional Services team is delivering a consistent and high-quality service experience to DISCO’s clients globally. Prior to joining DISCO, Justin was in the legal technology industry for seven years at Epiq.
Justin graduated from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in Nonprofit Management and stayed at ASU for his law degree. In law school, Justin wrote for the Law Journal of Social Justice. In his free time, Justin likes to volunteer with Gay4Good and other nonprofit organizations.
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez was born in Brownsville, Texas to parents who instilled in her a love for both her culture and country. From them Rosie learned the importance of service to her community and the value of people in her life.
Dr. Stella Silva has championed diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) at Texas State University since 1997. She currently serves as the Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, as well as the Staff Ombudsperson, and formerly served as the Interim Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Silva provides leadership, guidance, and consultation in pro-actively establishing an inclusive community where everyone can learn, work, and celebrate their authentic identity. Her DEIA portfolio focus at TXST includes supporting councils and advisory boards including LGBTQIA Advisory Board and Network, TXST Monarch Center, faculty, and staff affinity groups such as Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff, Hispanic Policy Network, Alliance, Asian Professional Association, and Jewish Faculty and Staff Association. Throughout Dr. Silva’s service at TXST she has served in many roles including Student Conduct and Title IX Hearing Officers, Deputy Assistant ADA Coordinator, and faculty member in the Texas State Student Affairs in Higher Education program. Dr. Silva strives to create opportunities for everyone to build an inclusive DEIA skillset allowing them to inclusively engage in a global society.
Dr. Silva holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from UT Austin with a concentration in Higher Education, a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education from UTSA and a BFA from UT Austin. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi, and Golden Key National Honor Societies. In 2006, she received the Texas State’s Mariel Muir Excellence in Mentoring Award and the Excellence in Diversity Award in 2014. In 2016, she was the recipient of the prestigious Student Foundation’s, Foundations of Excellence Award.
|8:00 p.m. - 8:30 a.m.
|Registration & Networking
|8:30 p.m. - 10:00 a.m.
|LGBTQ+ Leadership Awards Breakfast
|10:10 p.m. - 11:10 a.m.
Concurrent Session I
|11:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Concurrent Session II
|12:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.
|Reigniting Allyship Luncheon
|2:30 p.m. - 3:30 a.m.
Concurrent Session III
|3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
|Networking & Door Prize Giveaway