By helping organizations and the people inside of them understand their relationships with power, how to use their power responsibly, and how to share their power, she helps create the conditions for everyone to thrive at work.
As part of Ethos, Alida serves as the Program Director of the Women Influence Chicago Accelerator, which supports womxn-identifying technologists advance their careers through a structured four-month program combining coaching, forums, classroom learning, and mentorship. She is also the founder of the membership organization, Embolden, which is focused on developing friendships between women.
Brittany Coleman is a Project Specialist at Ethos, overseeing systems administration and operations.
After receiving her BS degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from San Jose State University, Brittany worked in marketing for 8 years at tech startups and non-profit organizations. Because of her passion for learning, Brittany then went on to complete the Drexel University graduate program for Library and Information Science.
As a public librarian, Brittany gained first-hand experience of some of the challenges marginalized people face in their communities—such as economic inequality, gender bias, and ableism. To this end, Brittany believes that DEIB education is crucial to ending discrimination and the opportunity gap among marginalized people; so she brings her love of writing and problem-solving to the Ethos team, ensuring that projects stay organized, efficient, and focused on DEIB endeavors.
Karyn Oates is a Consulting Manager at Ethos, developing, managing, and implementing large-scale client projects.
Karyn is passionate about developing organizational cultures in which all employees—and particularly those from marginalized groups—can navigate their careers with dignity. This passion led her to earn a master’s degree in Human Resource Management at Roosevelt University, with a DEI concentration. Karyn has ten years of professional experience developing people strategies, writing grant proposals, and advancing employee-led DEI initiatives at the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. In addition to her master’s degree, Karyn holds a B.A. in Theater from Oberlin College. She is an ensemble member at Definition Theatre Company.
Lisa Tomiko Blackburn, JD, MBA, DEI Cert., is the VP of Strategy at Ethos, Principal of Counsel.Love, and Founder of Blackburn Law PLLC.
Prior to working as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (“DEIB”) consultant, Lisa spent over 15 years as legal counsel, advocating for and against some of the world’s leading brands, including as General Counsel of Cypress Equities, Deputy Compliance Officer of CEC Entertainment, and Chief Development Counsel for Caesar’s Entertainment. Early in their career, Lisa was an Am Law 100 attorney and worked in the securities industry as a Series 7, 15, 22, and 63 investment agent.
Select honors include: Minority Attorney of the Year from the Dallas Bar Association (for strategic initiatives work advancing racial justice and gender equity in the legal profession); 1st place in the GRAMMY Foundation national law competition (serving as a featured GRAMMY Week speaker in connection with advocacy of performing artists’ rights); and selection for a Hawaii Supreme Court judicial clerkship (which was personally meaningful in relation to ancestral ties to the Hawaiian Islands as a descendant of plantation laborers).
Lisa is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (Juris Doctor degree); the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School (MBA with dual concentrations in Strategy & Consulting and Entrepreneurship); the NeuroLeadership Institute (coaching certificate); and Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership (“Georgetown”) (Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management Program certificate).
Outside of Ethos, Lisa is an adjunct lecturer for Georgetown’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging graduate certificate programs (with specializations in DEIB strategy, DEIB business modeling, and the DEIB Business Case); serves as a Co-Chair of WE LEAD, an award-winning and nationally-recognized women’s leadership program for attorneys 8-15 years into their careers; and enjoys renewal time through secular meditation.
*Ethos does not provide legal advice; in addition to direct engagements, Ethos offers subcontractor DEIB services through law firms wishing to engage Ethos on behalf of their clients.
María Emilia is a Training Associate at Ethos, leading content development, technical facilitation, client communication, and training project management in our Training practice.
María Emilia has a passion for raising awareness and driving impactful change to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Learning Technologies and Design and hopes to use her experience to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences for all. Before joining the Ethos team, María Emilia worked within Higher Education developing programs to expand knowledge and understanding of critical issues that hamper both student and institutional growth. Her personal experiences exploring her identities as a minority in the US have driven her to find creative ways to build spaces focused on inclusion and belonging.
Pondharshini Sadasivam is a Programs Associate at Ethos, overseeing operations for the company’s Programs practice.
As a Singaporean-Indian immigrant, Pondharshini’s purpose stems from her personal challenges with identity and her observation of the unequal allocation of resources in the criminal justice system. She considers her lifework to be elevating the voices of women in underserved Indian communities and does this work through her role as an executive board member and Director of Development at Ulaga Tamil Magalir Mamandram, a nonprofit that aims to educate, elevate, and empower South Asian women worldwide.
Pondharshini attended the University of San Francisco for her undergraduate career, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Politics with a concentration in Law and Justice and a double minor in Psychology and Criminal Justice Studies.
Sonni Conway is a Project Manager at Ethos, overseeing team operations, resource management, and system architecture.
Sonni is passionate about process, organization, efficiency, and helping teams do their best work. She enjoys creative problem solving and iterating on her solutions until she finds the one that sticks. Prior to joining Ethos, she spent 9 years in the creative field as a graphic designer, branding director, and creative director. Sonni graduated with a B.A. in Graphic Design from Flagler College.
Walter Faro is a Consulting Associate at Ethos, using qualitative and quantitative research to bring affirmation to the experience of underserved people within organizations with an emphasis on enabling opportunity.
Walter believes in the potential that healing oneself has for contributing to healing within communities. As a writer and English teacher, he pursues language and narratives that embrace radical possibilities for relation and resist totalizing knowledge. As a person with a disability, specifically PTSD, he affirms the difference of what it’s like to occupy a specific body in space-time (and what happens when trauma and experience connect our bodies to moments in a personal and/or collective history). As a formerly homeless individual and high school dropout, he knows the power of community as a tool for overcoming gaps in knowledge and experience.
Lisa Mei is a Marketing Intern at Ethos, helping to build and drive Ethos’ marketing strategy, especially as these initiatives relate to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Lisa is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying Advertising with a minor in Business. She is passionate about brand strategy and content curation, and her interest in DEIB stems from her struggles with her own cultural identity. She is motivated to work towards creating change in underrepresented communities.
Amalia is a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a minor in Leadership Studies. She has a passion for DEI and wants to work either as a DEI consultant or DEI lead in the future. Since her sophomore year of high school, Amalia has been involved in organizations focused on racial equality such as Students Organized Against Racism and co-founded an organization called Evanston Fight for Black Lives.
Strother is a business and personal coach for creative entrepreneurs and those who want to become one. He is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with a background in theatre, public speaking, education, sales, management, leadership, and segway-tour-guiding. His private practice is called But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit!, where he passionately works to help as many people as possible own up to the fact that they’re a unique snowflake. He is the producing artistic director for DC’s only immersive theatre company, TBD Immersive. His TEDx Talk has been viewed over 30,000 times, and his work has been seen in person by over 30,000+ audience members.
She is currently the Talent Advisor for Relativity after having served as Chief People Officer during a period of rapid global growth. She helped build a company culture based on core values, continuous learning, commitment to inclusion, diversity & belonging, and positive social impact. Her passion is helping leaders create values-based sustainable culture change, building corporate universities and leadership development programs and designing and supporting wholistic DEI initiatives. With expertise as an executive coach, she provides a variety of assessments and development tools in EQ, communication/work styles, strengths, and conflict management styles.
Francine is an attorney with over a decade of experience as a contract wrangler. She breaks complex concepts down into smaller pieces to assist individual employees and corporate business partners to make smart decisions. From employment agreements to vendor contracts, Francine has successfully negotiated on behalf of her clients for over a decade.
Because she has a lot of experience and a lot to say, she also shares her knowledge as a facilitator in trainings, podcasts, and on stage. From sexual harassment to conversations about diversity, she’s the person you go to if you need a straight answer or a guide through tough conversations.
Khalilah is a results-driven career and talent strategist devoted to advocating for underrepresented and untapped talent in others. Her HR experience ranges from Fortune 500 corporations and manufacturers to digital start-ups. She has successfully developed and executed initiatives around diversity & inclusion, strategic planning, and workforce management.
She currently drives diversity and inclusion at Discover Financial Services. In addition to her corporate role, Khalilah aligns her passion to disrupt exclusive narratives and create opportunities for inclusion and diversity for various groups across Chicagoland. She serves as a D & I expert for several nonprofits, sharing inspirational and actionable messages as a keynote speaker, mentor, advisory council member, thought leader, board member, and volunteer. Her purpose, experience, and zeal drive her to present compelling stories, facilitate workshops, influence youth, and create spaces for courageous — and often provocative — conversations.
When not working, she spends time with her two children being inspired by their approach to and perspective on life. She lives life fully as a dedicated mother, sister, friend, and disruptor.
For over 12 years, Kirsten has motivated individuals to look within themselves to work more effectively with others. She has led learning and development activities for smaller, post-startup organizations to a Fortune 500 company. Her passions include assisting participants with presentation skills, emotional intelligence, leadership and management skills enhancement, and working with early-career team members to develop them for maximum, positive impact within organizations.
Founder of The Change Coaches, LLC, LaTonya specializes in coaching executives on leading “below the surface” to build psychologically safe relationships with their teams across differences. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and has inspired audiences all over the world. Through highly customized coaching, culture academies, consulting, and human-centered design services, LaTonya and her team work with executives, upwardly mobile professionals, and teams to create cultures of belonging and motivating environments. She built her career working in HR, talent management, and learning & development at Fortune 500 companies before teaching and taking on progressive leadership roles at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business. LaTonya was rated an “excellent” teacher by her undergraduate business students, and she is also a board member of the LGBTQ+ Alumni Association at Indiana University.
Michelle Bess is a Facilitator at Ethos, specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion and management.
Michelle Y. Bess serves as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director at Sprout Social, focusing on efforts to ensure all people feel a sense of belonging and that their voices are heard. Prior to Sprout Social, Michelle worked in college persistence at OneGoal and Posse Chicago. Michelle attended Whitworth University, earning a B.A. in Biology and completed Georgetown University’s Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management. She was recognized as a 2018 AdWeek Rising Brand Star, serves as the Board Chair of Degrees of Change, and is the Founder and Co-Lead of The Brave Space.
Trevor Jenkins a Facilitator at Ethos, specializing in racial equity and anti-racism.
Trevor is the Sr. Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Manager at ServiceNow. He has over a decade of experience in multi-ethnic churches and is passionate about helping people understand the severity of racism and inequality in America.
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