2022 New Jersey Women in Leadership Symposium
March 17, 2022
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM (ET)
Paragon of Womanhood: Restoration, Reintegration & Reemergence
Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez is President & CEO of The Leadership Academy, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating culturally responsive leadership in school and system leaders. She proudly began her career as a teacher and award-wining principal in her home community of East San Jose, CA. Nancy holds an Ed.L.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She teaches at Harvard, NYU, and Latinos for Education and serves on the boards of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), The Hunt Institute, and brightbeam. She is a Fall 2019 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and was named one of the top 100 most influential leaders in education in New York in 2020 by City & State.
As President and CEO at The Opportunity Network, AiLun centers first-generation college students and young people of color from underrepresented communities in her social impact work. At OppNet, AiLun oversees all areas that supports OppNet’s organizational health, including all programming, evaluation, finance and administration, operations, and growth planning. Externally, she builds strategic relationships with coalitions, peer organizations, donors, and thought partners to influence systems that have historically excluded young people of color from college and career opportunities. She seeks to activate passions and develop the skills of every young person of color to chart their paths to thriving careers. AiLun’s advocacy work includes speaking across the country, linking new insights across systems, and training education and workforce practitioners. Both inside and outside of OppNet, AiLun develops the capacity of organizations across sectors to incorporate culturally responsive curriculum, to design student-centered programs, and to leverage rigorous data-driven practices. She uses her platform to amplify the voices of first-generation students and people of color to influence the future of work and the future of learning. Her vision is that not only will people of color influence the future of work and learning, but they are represented at every level and in every space leading those conversations. Prior to OppNet, she worked at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Research Center for Leadership in Action, among other social impact organizations. AiLun received her MPA from NYU Wagner and her BA from NYU College of Arts and Science. She is an alumna of NYU Steinhardt’s Senior Leaders Fellowship and the Emerging Leaders Lab. She was also a MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow in 2019. In addition to her leadership role at OppNet, AiLun is a Management Faculty member at the Institute of Nonprofit Practice.
Tammy Garnes Mata is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Valley National Bank where she leads the development, delivery and communication of a holistic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy for the organization. Tammy partners with Valley’s Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team, Business Lines and Functions in driving awareness, commitment and accountability for Valley’s DEI initiatives, internally and externally. Prior to joining Valley, Tammy focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives, employee relations matters, investigations and HR policies at a large national insurance company. She previously practiced employment law for fifteen years, most recently as in-house counsel at a leading financial services firm. Tammy holds an undergraduate degree in Politics and a certificate in Afro-American Studies from Princeton University, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
Mecca Mitchell is the Senior Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity at Burlington Stores, Inc., where she is responsible for leading efforts to create supportive and equitable institutional structures, fostering welcoming and inclusive environments, and cultivating a culture that leverages diversity, inclusion, and equity best practices to drive business objectives, while responding to the diverse needs of its workforce, its customers, and the communities it serves. Prior to this position, she served as the Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement for the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, a ten-hospital system located in the Hudson Valley. In that role, she ensured that all internal organizational policies and procedures across the network aligned with diversity, inclusion, and equity principles, while also building relationships with external stakeholders to explore innovative partnerships that created sustainable health and promoted community vitality. Prior to this position, Mrs. Mitchell served as the Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York. Appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in September 2013, she was responsible for the creation and implementation of recruitment and retention initiatives designed to promote workforce diversity and inclusion, while also leading state-wide initiatives to increase Minority & Women Owned Business (MWBE) procurement opportunities. Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Mrs. Mitchell was the Executive Director of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity Management for the New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the country. In that role she was responsible for ensuring department-wide compliance with all EEO laws and diversity policies by overseeing the Discrimination Complaint Unit, the Procurement/Contract Compliance Unit, the Training Unit, the Disability Rights Unit, Title IX Unit, and the Diversity Management Unit – a unit that Mrs. Mitchell created. Mrs. Mitchell began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s Office. Appointed by the renowned Robert M. Morgenthau in 2000, she prosecuted assorted criminal matters as a member of the Trial Division, Sex Crimes & Domestic Violence Units, and the Welfare Fraud Unit. Mrs. Mitchell holds certifications from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity Studies. Mrs. Mitchell, who is licensed to practice law in both New York and New Jersey, graduated from Hofstra University’s School of Law in June 2000 and is a graduate of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, where she double majored in Criminal Justice and Political Science. Mrs. Mitchell has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including: Crain’s New York Business Notable Black Leaders and Executives Honoree, Athena International Award Honoree, Healthcare Leaders of New York Diversity Leadership Awardee, National Association of Minority Contractors Diversity Champion Awardee, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Woman of Distinction Honoree, Tri-State Diversity Council Healthcare Diversity Awardee, YWCA Community Champion Awardee, City & State Corporate Social Responsibility Awardee, National Diversity Council Most Powerful & Influential Woman Awardee, Diversity MBA Top 100 Under 50 Executive Leader Awardee. In 2020, Mrs. Mitchell was selected to lead the Hudson Valley’s Regional Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force. She was also nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and confirmed by the NYS Senate, to serve as a member of the NYS Minority Health Council. Additionally, she serves on the Board of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam Counties and volunteers her time as a mentor for Judge Judy’s Her Honor Mentorship Program.
Vera Sansone, LCSW serves as President and CEO of CPC Behavioral Healthcare in Monmouth County, New Jersey since 2014. Prior to that she was the Chief Operating Officer for 15 years. Vera worked in public and non-profit managerial roles in New York for many years prior to relocating to New Jersey in 1991. CPC Behavioral Healthcare is currently one of the seven original New Jersey agencies designated as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) and is also involved in a SAMSHA grant for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Integrated Care. Vera serves on the State Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) for Addictions and Co-Occurring Disorders and was recently named as a member of the Governor’s Fee-For-Service (FFS) Transition Oversight Board.
Keti Mehta currently serves as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Growth Leader for Gallagher’s NY Metro office, where she manages the firm’s growth initiatives to expand and deepen client footprint across diverse industry segments. Mehta also serves as an Advisor to the inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee of the Risk & Insurance Management Society’s (RIMS) Advisory Board. For the past eight years, Keti has passionately served as a Board Member on the Tri-State Diversity Council (NY, NJ, and CT). Recognized for being an inspiring growth accelerator, strategic brand promoter, and influencer - Keti Mehta successfully develops high-performing teams and strategic partnerships to unleash organic growth potential. She stands out for being a transformational culture catalyst by building diverse communities of practice that promote inclusion and collaboration. Keti leads by example and is a highly skilled, certified sales activator, leadership development coach, talent enthusiast and evangelist of the Customer Experience. Mehta has also held senior executive leadership roles at Hub International, USI Insurance Services, Dell, and Morgan Stanley. Keti resides in White Plains, Westchester County with her husband of 24 years and their beloved daughter, Karina. Keti is a licensed NY Property & Casualty Insurance Broker. Mehta received a Master of Arts degree in Change Leadership/Business Transformation from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in New York City. Additionally, Keti holds an Executive Coaching Certification from the International Coach Federation.
With over 20 years of IT experience, Barbara Coscio has built and refined world-class service, support, and customer experience. Barbara began her IT career at the Bank of New York, where she honed her expertise and swiftly grew through the ranks. Graduating with a degree in Management Information Systems followed immediately by an MBA in Information Technology put her in a perfect spot for creating a secure and highly available infrastructure, supporting over 12 million members at AAA Mid-Atlantic. In 2014, Barbara brought her talents to Freedom Mortgage, where she immediately impacted employee experience by increasing employee satisfaction to an all-time high of over 98% at all of the support desks. During her career at Freedom, Barbara has been instrumental in supporting and enhancing several areas of the Information Technology Division, including Service, Professional Development, Training, and most recently, Employee Engagement, where she currently oversees all Communications and Culture initiatives. Her success in this area caught the eye of others in the organization, and Barbara was asked to grow her cultural efforts beyond IT into the Call Center, Human Resources, and Marketing divisions. Barbara is also responsible for direct oversight of the IT interns and the IT First Flyer program, where she is skilled at educating and empowering recent college graduates with the knowledge they need to advance and succeed in their careers. Barbara’s genuine passion to be a business partner, mentor, and leader shows in all that she does as she continually engages those around her, inspires others to work to their full potential, and advocates for all.
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