2023 Northern Ohio Women in Leadership Symposium
March 23, 2023
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM (ET)
Rising in Resilience: Achieving Empowerment through Advancement & Adaptability
Tamra Billinghurst-Black is a native New Yorker with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is a highly engaged and collaborative leader with a passion for service. Demonstrating a strong commitment to others, Tamra uses her skills as a learning and development leader and professional coach to help employees reach their highest potential. Through her initiatives at New York Life (NYL) as corporate vice president, she helped position her former department as a top tier training organization, meeting the training needs of over 700 customer service professionals located in New York, Cleveland, Dallas and Minneapolis. Her efforts contributed to NYL consistently being named to Training Magazine's Top 125 Global Elite. Over the course of her NYL career, Tamra has served in several roles, ranging from entry-level to appointive officer. She serves on various committees and projects and has experience developing and delivering training initiatives to new hires, experienced staff, high-potential employees, managers, and senior leaders. Tamra's achievements include: The design, development and delivery of AMPLIFY; a premier leadership and development program for high potential, diverse officers at New York Life The strategic development of the Experience Engineering call coaching model and corresponding training program for call center representatives Leading the Investing in Our People strategic team of appointive officers The actualization of a local diversity council made up of the local leaders of NYL’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in Cleveland. Delivering high-impact training throughout the organization She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and an MBA in Quantitative Analysis from St. John’s University. She is a FINRA Registered Principal, having earned both her series 6 and 26 designations and is a Gestalt Professional Certified Coach and a National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional (NDCCDP). Tamra completed Boardroom Bound’s Boardology™ 400 – The Pipeline Seminar© and currently chairs the regional board of advisors for the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio, and recently joined the board of directors of the Ohio National Diversity Council. She is a member of the core leadership team for NYL’s BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership and Development) ERG and is an active member of CALIBR, Global Leadership Network. Tamra is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and is an avid supporter of Junior Achievement, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Girls, Inc. In addition to her Association for Talent Development (ATD) membership, she is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and served as an Associate Faculty for the University of Phoenix. Her extensive experience, commitment to developing others, passion for growth, and her authenticity make her a highly sought-after panelist and guest presenter. Tamra has two daughters; Amber Renee, an attorney in New York, NY and Savanajh Maichele, an underwriter for a Fortune 100 Company in Cleveland, OH. Tamra currently resides in Olmsted Township, Ohio.
Margarita Diaz leads as the Director of Health Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity for the Office of Equity. She is a leader in advancing inclusion, diversity, and equity for The MetroHealth System impacting employees, patients, vendors, and surrounding communities. Implements strategies that align and promote the health system’s mission in proactively and strategically addressing health disparities and inequities with a focus on underserved and underrepresented communities. Executes a five-year strategic plan incorporating health equity systemwide. Leading a team under the Office of Equity, overseeing the planning, design, and implementation of system programs, education, and engagement at all levels. Addressing multidisciplinary roles from the front line to executive leadership, ensuring the MetroHealth System is well equipped to serve diverse populations equitably. Transgender Job Fair, the Minority Men’s Health Fair, Multicultural Centers of Care, Underrepresented Minority Provider Recruitment and Retention, Health Equity Certification, Employee Business Resource Groups, and leading many more programs and resources. Project lead as an essential health system to improve the collection and accuracy of data on race, ethnicity and language demographics improving collection and accuracy to a 99% collection rate improving quality metrics, safety, and patient services. Collaborates, convenes, and partners with all services and operations, including nursing and physician leaders as well as General Medical Education to improve the patient experience and population health by driving trusting culturally sensitive care to improve compliance and positive outcomes for patients, by partnering with physicians, clinical providers and caregivers in reducing disparities and addressing racism as a public health crisis. A Cleveland native and leader in healthcare for over 25 years, Margarita’s extensive knowledge and professional experiences strategically and operationally drive a cultural competency model of health and patient-centered care which involves accrediting bodies as National CLAS Standards and Joint Commission. Her expertise encompasses Implicit and Explicit Bias, Race, Ethnicity and Language, LGBTQ Health, Inclusive Leadership, racial equity and much more. Margie is a passionate, dynamic, engaging leader and national speaker who promotes a culture of inclusion and diversity with a clinical lens towards health equity. She is certified for Cook Ross Unconscious Bias for Healthcare Professionals and a master trainer for TeamSTEPPS national programs as well as certified in the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument among many other educational programs that drive her work and expertise in the DEI space and she is a published author. Margarita was recognized in Phenomenal Women Magazine for her equity work in the health system and the local community in December 2018. An inaugural member since 2014 of the first local chapter in Ohio of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and nominated as Chapter President for Northeast Ohio in 2020. Recognition for serving as Co-Chair of Action Team 1, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for First Year Cleveland-eliminating structural racism to reduce infant mortality for African Americans and has strategically been advancing their goals since 2015. In 2021, she is listed as 100 Latinos Cleveland Must Know and most recently featured in the American Healthcare Leader website with an article March 2022 stressing the importance of reflecting the communities we serve. Most recent recognition is the 2022 Excellence in HR Award Winner by Crain’s Cleveland for Inclusion and Diversity. Margarita completed a Master of Science in Nursing for Executive Leadership from Chamberlain University in 2018 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Breen School of Nursing at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio 1998.
Kristen Gajewski focuses on building an inclusive and engaging employee experience to enable business growth. In her current role as Global HR Director, she holds dual responsibilities supporting Avient Corporation’s functional organizations and leading talent management. With almost 10 years’ experience at Avient, she’s held various roles in learning and organizational development, global business partner leadership roles, and led due diligence and HR integration for 7 acquisitions around the world. Working internationally, Kristen also spent time living in Luxembourg to support the EMEA and India region while being fully immersed in cultural integration herself which has led to a better appreciation of the impact belonging and the sense of community has in engagement and retention. With this, she has been active in supporting Avient’s Employee Resource Groups: LEAD by Women, PRIDE, HYPE, and EMBRACE, and ensuring global applicability to their missions. Kristen has helped implement global development programs focused on inspirational leadership and driven improvements in employee engagement and experience for Avient through their 3 years of certification as a Great Place to Work®. Her passion for developing key and diverse talent led to her being the first recipient of the Chairman’s Achievement Award for Excellence in Avient’s People strategic pillar and a graduate of their NextGen leadership development program. Prior to Avient, Kristen worked both supporting manufacturing operations and commercial organizations at AkzoNobel Decorative Coatings. As a Toledo, Ohio native, Kristen received her undergraduate degree in psychology with a focus on organizational psychology from Bowling Green State University. She and her husband, Jean-Paul, reside in Avon and can be found enjoying Cleveland’s food scene or hiking in our beautiful metro parks.
Dr. Susan Kuznik is Dean of the Carmel Boyer School of Business and Professor of Strategic Management at Baldwin Wallace University. She is also a consultant with over 35 years of business experience in the Manufacturing, Healthcare, Government, and not-for-profit industries. Dr. Kuznik lectures in the School of Business Healthcare MBA and Management MBA programs and conducts the undergraduate capstone business course. In the School of Heath Sciences, she lectures in the Master of Public Health program. She teaches courses in the areas of Systems Management, Strategic Management, Organization Theory & Behavior, Strategic Leadership, and Executive Leadership. Her professional experience includes working at British Petroleum (formerly Standard Oil of Ohio) in various managerial capacities. Organizational experience, education, and information systems knowledge provide a rich background for classroom and consultative opportunities. Her major foci are the areas of Leadership & Culture Change, Team Dynamics, Strategic Management and Organizational Design & Effectiveness. Prior university duties included Faculty President, Associate Dean of Graduate Business Programs, Director of the Business Honors Society, and Director of Graduate Curriculum & Assessment. Dr. Kuznik received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer and Information Science from Cleveland State University, a Master of Science degree from Case Western Reserve University with a focus on Organization Development, and a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University with a research emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Praveena Nathawat is Vice President of HR for Global Operations and Technology (GOT). Praveena’ s focus is developing and executing an HR strategy to support GOT Bold goals, being agile to support growth beyond tires, and building an engaged and diverse workforce. Praveena has over 20 years of HR leadership experience at Ericsson, General Electric, and Accenture. At Accenture she was part of the India start-up, learning how to run a tight HR operation in a high-churn and hyper-growth market. In GE, Praveena held several Global HR leadership roles for Industrial, Digital, and Hi-Technology businesses based in India and US. A common thread across her GE experience was helping the business build new capabilities in support of the transformation, restructuring, and expansion. At Ericsson, Praveena leads their Talent Management and Diversity & Inclusion function. She was responsible for creating the D&I strategy and building the DEI function and organization capability to execute the game plan. While at Ericsson, Praveena lead a culture transformation initiative that put associates at the forefront of a culture movement - while still leveraging the values of the founders and their 140 years of legacy. After several international relocations and professional transitions spanning both high-tech and industrial companies, Praveena learned that developing a deep understanding of the business, remaining humble, and curious, and cultivating genuine people relationships across all levels of the organization, are her keys to success. Praveena was born and raised in India, living in a multi-generational large joint family. She credits her ability to influence, to her unique experience of growing up in a joint family under a strong patriarch. Praveena is married to Naren, and mom of two girls Gagana (15) and Siya (10). Praveena holds a bachelor’s in economics and accounting and master's in human resources management.
Clotea was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a single mother who raised her with a passion for education, reading and writing. After becoming a teenage mother at the age of 16, she later pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English from Case Western Reserve University in order to become a Language Arts teacher, which is a calling she still loves today after 25 years. She also received her Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist from Kent State University. As an empowerment coach and the founder and CEO of Lifted in Love, LLC, whose mission is to “Empower women to live their BEST lives NOW!”, Clotea does public speaking engagements in both the religious and secular arenas. In 2018 she was honored with the Lady of Legacy Award for her work with youth, and she established an after school initiative, The Village Vibe, to mentor teen female students in her high school. Other highly sought after workshops that Clotea conducts are on Self Care, Self Love, The Power of Vision and Living an Uncommon Life: Breaking Out of the Box. Being a mom to four amazing children does not stop her from being a part of the Praise Team and Dance ministries and leading small group facilitators at her church. Her goal is to make sure that she leaves the earth having touched and impacted as many lives as possible.
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