Diversity Awareness Partnership

2019 Summit Presenters


Anita Barker                               

VP and Director of Education,
International Institute of St. Louis

Presenting: Immigration and Innovation: How Foreign-Born Residents Can Strengthen Your Organization

Anita Barker has been employed at the International Institute since September of 1991, and has been VP and Director of Education since March of 2000. She oversees the International Institute’s adult education programs including core and pre-vocational ESOL, citizenship and computer classes, Bridge to College, job and workplace trainings, CAIP (Career Advancement for International Professionals) program, as well as after-school tutoring for immigrant high school students and youth mentoring programs.

Dewitt Campbell III                             

Program Director, NCCJ St. Louis

Presenting: Proactive and Reactive Approaches for Educators: Being Intentional Before and After Incidents Occur

Dewitt Campbell was born and raised in the city of St. Louis.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Webster University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Washington University.  Dewitt has more than nineteen years of social service experience in a number of distinct areas including; substance abuse prevention, United Way fund distribution, adult and youth homeless services, emergency disaster services, and work force development services.

Dewitt has extensive experience with Social Justice training and group facilitation including, almost 20 years as a contract trainer with NCCJ St. Louis.  Dewitt recently became the full time Program Director for NCCJ St. Louis where he is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agency’s diversity, equity and inclusion programming and setting the agencies programmatic strategic direction.  Dewitt also serves as adjunct faculty teaching Social Justice and Human Diversity at Washington University’s School of Social work.

Kwana Cannon                               

Senior Business Partner, Human Resources –
Diversity and Inclusion, Cigna

Presenting: Beyond Hiring: Business Considerations for Inclusion after the Interview

Kwana Cannon is Senior Business Partner, Diversity and Inclusion at Cigna. In this role, she engages with business leaders to maximize performance and drive inclusion-focused objectives.  Kwana has 20 years of experience as an human resources leader in the healthcare industry. Kwana has been an active leader in her community volunteering on various boards and committees. She is a member of the University of St. Louis Chancellor’s Diversity Council, Leadership Board Member for the Society for Multicultural Professionals in HR, the Multicultural Women in Leadership Alumni Board, and a current fellow in the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative.  

Angela Cody                               

Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity,
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Presenting: Why Didn’t I Say Something: Moving from Bystander to Upstander

Angela Cody is the Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. In this role, she develops, implements and manages Mallinckrodt’s global Inclusion & Diversity strategy and programs.

By effectively building and leveraging the global Business Resource Groups, Angela led the Mallinckrodt Inclusion and Diversity Council to a top 10 Council in the nation through a well-crafted, integrated strategy. In addition, she has personally developed, designed and facilitated workshops on topics such as unconscious bias, micro-inequities, building inclusive teams, and measuring and articulating the ROI for diversity and inclusion.

Angela is known as an inclusion and diversity subject matter expert and engaging speaker at local and national conferences.  Most recently, she has received the Diverse Business Leaders Award from the St. Louis Business Journal and pioneered the start-up of the St. Louis Diversity & Inclusion Consortium.  In addition, in 2017, she was recognized as Mogul’s Top 100 Innovators for Diversity and Inclusion.

Tabari Coleman                             

Education Director, ADL Heartland

Presenting: Proactive and Reactive Approaches for Educators: Being Intentional Before and After Incidents Occur

Tabari A. Coleman, MPA is a training consultant with more than 15+ years-experience in diversity and inclusion training and social justice work.  He works as the Education Director for the Anti Defamation League, and oversees the development, facilitation and coordination of anti-bias training programs for the ADL’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute, a leading provider of anti-bias education and social justice training. Tabari is also a trainer for the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJSTL) where he has been facilitating programs, youth leadership development and Building Inclusive Communities workshops since 2002. He has traveled nationally and internationally delivering training programs, workshops and presentations for PreK-12 schools, community organizations, law enforcement agencies and corporations on a variety of topic areas including managing unconscious bias, microaggressions, creating inclusive spaces and communication strategies. He has written training programs on a variety of topic areas including addressing bias, exploring identities, ally-building, analyzing curriculum through a social justice lens and facilitation skills.  He received his B.S. in Speech Communications and a Masters of Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

James Croft                               

Outreach Director, Ethical Society of St. Louis

Presenting: Atheists Aren’t So Scary: Including
Non-Religious People

James never stops talking, so it’s lucky that his job requires a lot of it! As Outreach Director for the Society, James is a public face for the community, ensuring that Ethical Humanist values are represented at rallies and protests, in schools and universities, and in the media. James believes that our culture desperately needs a Humanist moral voice, and he’s determined to provide one. You can often find James yelling through a megaphone or posting on Facebook. He loves Star Trekway too much, and tries to find a way to work a Star Trek reference into every Platform Address.

Larry Davis Jr.                               

Community Organizer, Better Together

Presenting: Better Together: How the Proposed City/County Merger Approaches Equity

Larry Davis Jr., a Community Organizer at Better Together, is always working to find new ways to impact his community through civic engagement in collaboration with elected officials and local leaders. Larry is also the co-founder of ManUp STL, a local  organization dedicated to the growth and empowerment of black men. He is a proud ambassador and connector of the St. Louis region.

Bijal Desai-Ramirez                               

Presenting: The Work Before the Work: Laying the Cultural Foundation for DEI

Bijal Desai-Ramirez does not enjoy writing about herself. She’d rather focus on others, making the most of their brilliance, and building a world that values everyone. Bijal recently launched The Peepul Tree to design, articulate, and operationalize human-centered cultures. Bijal has spent 20 years helping organizations solve problems with creativity, divergent thinking, and a relentless focus on people. She has also designed and built the foundations, systems, processes, and relationships that organizations need to start strong or grow stronger. The world is full of inequity – but with the right solutions in place, it doesn’t have to be.

Molly Dwyer                             

Manager of Community Outreach, Better Together

Presenting: Better Together: How the Proposed City/County Merger Approaches Equity

Molly Dwyer, Manager of Community Outreach at Better Together, is a native St. Louisan who is passionate about improving government access for everyone in our community. She earned her MSW from Washington University and serves on the young professionals boards of the Starkloff Disability Institute and the International Institute.

Lathon Ferguson                           

Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Mercy

Presenting: D&I Strategy vs. D&I Execution

Lathon C. Ferguson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Mercy, is a St. Louis native and a respected business and community leader who is dedicated to the enhancement of diversity and inclusion, not only in the region, but globally. A results-oriented leader, Lathon consistently demonstrates the ability to establish rapport and connect with diverse constituencies at all levels in public, private and non-profit sectors.

Elizabeth Fuchs                           

Social Justice Advocate, Consultant

Presenting: Why Didn’t I Say Something: Moving from Bystander to Upstander

Elizabeth Fuchs is a social justice activist. Leveraging personal positions of privilege to serve and empower the most marginalized and underserved populations in our community, Elizabeth has over a decade of implementing an intersectional approach to policy, focusing on building strategic partnerships and effective communication. She has the ability to connect with a broad range of audiences to serve as a powerful change agent, meeting people wherever they are on their journey to allyship. She was recognized as the 2018 Champion of PRIDE for Missouri by The Advocate Magazine. Current roles include: Consultant with the Metro Trans Umbrella Group and Goodvoice, Policy professor at The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, and Community Healer at Wu Chi Wellness Center.

Jennifer Higginbotham     

Associate Director of Community Relations,
Independence Center

Panelist: Equitable Practices for Developing Employees with Disabilities

Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and a Master in Social Work from Washington University.  While at the Brown School of Social Work, Jennifer was first introduced to Independence Center as a practicum student. She was instantly passionate about the Clubhouse Model approach of psychosocial rehabilitation. Jennifer is on the Faculty for Clubhouse Development as well as the Advisory Council for Clubhouse International. She has also been instrumental in mentoring the other Clubhouses in Missouri.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is currently the Associate Director of Community Relations at Independence Center where she has worked for over 30 years.

Mollie Mohan                         

Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt, PC

Presenting: LGBTQ+ Discrimination: The State of the Law

Mollie G. Mohan practices primarily in the areas of labor & employment and higher education with an emphasis on litigation and appeals. Mollie represents colleges, universities, and private employers in labor and employment matters at the administrative, trial, and appellate level. Prior to joining the firm, Mollie worked at a large-sized litigation firm in Saint Louis. While in law school, Mollie was a student law clerk to the Honorable Jean C. Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Turan Mullins

Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Maryville University of St. Louis

Presenting: Lessons from the Academy: Surveying the DE&I Landscape

Turan Mullins currently serves as Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Maryville University. In his current role, Mullins works with the University president to develop, implement, and assess initiatives to create a more inclusive and socially just campus. He collaborates with Maryville constituents to create culturally meaningful programs that are educative, developmental, and socially engaging. Additionally, he facilitates workshops and trainings on topics related to diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice.
Currently he serves as an at large board member for the Diversity Awareness Partnership, the Executive Friend’s Committee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, and is a general member of the 100 Black Men of St. Louis. He has been the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Alumni Award from Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club, Maryville University 2017 Presidents Award for Strategic Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, and named a 2018 Young Leader by the St. Louis American Foundation and named one of Delux Magazines Emerging 30 under 30 and Power 100.

David Newburger

Commissioner, Office on the Disabled, City of St. Louis and Co-Founder and Lead Consultant, Starkloff Disability Institute

Panelist: Equitable Practices for Developing Employees with Disabilities

David Newburger is co-Founder of and lead consultant for the Starkloff Disability Institute and Commissioner on the Disabled for the City of St. Louis. In all his capacities, he works toward the fundamental goal of making it possible for individuals with disabilities to be full and active participants in the community. In the Starkloff Disability Institute, his main goal is to help employers find ways to hire, retain and promote individuals with disabilities. As Commissioner on the Disabled, he is Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator for the City helping the City comply with disabilities rights laws.

Mr. Newburger has an A.B from Oberlin College and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. He was a member of the faculty at Washington University School of Law for a number of years and has taught courses part time at the Saint Louis University School of Law.

Dr. Jonathan Smith

Vice President, Diversity and Community Engagement, Saint Louis University

Presenting: Lessons from the Academy: Surveying the DE&I Landscape

Dr. Jonathan C. Smith serves as the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement at Saint Louis University, where he is also an Assistant Professor in the African American Studies Program. His teaching and research focus on the history and ideology of race in American culture. He has particular interests in how ideologies of race shape and are shaped by African American literature and culture. He is also a widely published poet. Dr. Smith’s work has appeared in Callaloo, Quarterly West, Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review, Crab Orchard Review, Minnesota Review and the Riverfront Times. He holds both a Ph.D. in English & American Literature and a M.F.A. in Writing from Washington University in Saint Louis, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowship for African American students. Jonathan is also an award winning teacher and an alumnus of Cave Canem.

Alexis Templeton

Scholar, Washington University in St. Louis

Presenting: What It Really Means To Be Intersectional

Alexis Templeton is a 25-year-old, gender-nonconforming scholar at Washington University in St. Louis. A native of Ferguson, Alexis is known for their efforts during the Ferguson Uprising and as a co-founder of Millennial Activists United (MAU) — a queer-women-led activist group created on the ground during the protests. In their final year at WashU, Alexis is finishing a major in Psychological & Brain Sciences.

Aimee Wehmeier

President and CEO of Paraquad

Moderator: Equitable Practices for Developing Employees with Disabilities (Panel Discussion)

Aimee Wehmeier is President and CEO of Paraquad. Paraquad is one of the first Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in the country, serving about 2,500 people with disabilities annually. Wehmeier earned a Bachelor of Educational Studies from the University of Missouri and a MBA from William Woods University. Community leadership includes the Diversity Awareness Partnership Board; Missouri State Rehabilitation Council; St. Louis Regional Chamber Board; Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council Board; Missouri Foundation for Health, Fontbonne University, Washington University, and MO Better Foundation Advisory Boards; and the President’s Council. Wehmeier received the Governor’s Council on Disability Inclusion Award in 2010 and was recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as a 2015 Diverse Business Leader and 2018 Class of Most Influential Business Women. Wehmeier has been described as “the face of disability.” Wehmeier has a passion for public policy, advocacy and increasing opportunities for people with disabilities. Employment and economic self-sufficiency are her highest priorities.