Yardstick Management Institute



A Journey of Awareness, Reflection & Commitment

 January 12th to 14th
 Closed Enrollment
Registration Closed

Three weekdays






St. Simons Island, GA


People Leaders



Retreat Includes

4.5 Star Award-Winning Beachfront Resort lodging and food


Three weekdays






St. Simons Island, GA


People Leaders



Retreat Includes

4.5 Star Award-Winning Beachfront Resort lodging and food

Leadership & Vulnerability: A Journey of Awareness, Reflection & Commitment is the inaugural event of the Yardstick Management Institute.


During this three-day retreat, a cohort of the nation’s top leaders will gather in picturesque St. Simons Island, Georgia to explore the connections between leadership and the power of vulnerability. Through examining diversity, equity, and inclusion lessons learned, exploring cultural awareness, and engaging in self-reflection, attendees will embark on a personal journey that will help them redefine leadership commitment in an ever-changing diverse, global landscape.

Wednesday, January 12th
Arrival & Registration

1:00PM – 4:00PM

Welcome & Opening Plenary Session

4:30PM – 6:00PM

Yardstick Management
Executive Team & Lyle Tick

Taste of St. Simons Island Dinner

6:30PM – 8:30PM

Networking Reception with Live Music & Entertainment

8:30PM – 9:30PM

Maud Arnold

Thursday, January 13th

7:30AM – 9:00AM

Movement & Meditation

7:30AM – 8:30AM

Pilin Anice

Keynote Speaker

9:15AM – 10:00AM

Chris Webber

Panel Session

10:20AM – 12:30PM

Christina Shareef, Tamika Curry Smith, Leslie Humphries


12:30PM – 2:00PM

Break Out Sessions

2:15PM – 3:15PM

Veronica Molina, Natalie Keng, Mitchell Nover, Pilin Anice

Closing Plenary Session

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Antonia Dean,
 Laura Weidman Powers

St. Simons History Tour

5:00PM – 6:00PM

Helen Ladson, Matthew Raiford, Tia Raiford


6:00PM – 8:30PM

Trolley Back to King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

8:30PM – 9:00PM

Friday, January 14th

7:30AM – 8:30AM

Opening Session & MLK Day of Service Activity

8:00AM – 9:15AM

Keith Fenton

Closing Plenary Session & Keynote Speaker

9:30AM – 10:30AM

Bracken Darrell

Pop-Up Book Store & Networking Reception

10:30AM – 11:30AM

Reflective Session

11:30AM – 12:45PM

Ebbie Parsons,
Naima Greenwood

Grab-n-Go Lunch

12:45PM – 1:00PM

Maud Arnold
Institute Agenda
Wednesday, January 12th, 2021
Inclusion in the Arts: Using Diverse Artistic Styles to Share Culture through Movement and Visual Storytelling
8:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Originating in the United States during the early 19th century, tap became a percussive form of dance slaves used to express themselves and retain their cultural identities after slave owners took away traditional African percussion instruments. This connected with clog dancing from the British Isles, and developed a unique form of movement.

Emmy Award nominated Maud Arnold, has reclaimed this art form, spreading its history internationally as a performing and choreographing duo. In this session, you will hear how she has infused the principles of inclusion to spread the joy of tap and open doors for marginalized communities.
Chris Webber
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Moving Forward: Innovation Influenced by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
9:15 AM - 10:00 AM

As we progress towards the future, it is important to create diverse communities of learning that encourage innovation. When communities are influenced by diversity, equity, and inclusion, the potential impact for innovative ideas and social change is vast. With commitment, investment, and sustainability, there can be an increase in innovative, diverse ways of thinking in all communities.

In this session, I will share my personal commitment to investing in social change and communities. While discussing the establishment of the Webber Wellness Conservatory, my work with Morehouse College, and other endeavors, I hope to provide a lens through which others can understand the importance of supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion to drive the future of innovation.
Panel 10:20
Christina Shareef
Tamika Curry Smith, MBA
Leslie Humphries
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Panel Session
10:20 AM - 12:30 PM

Christina Shareef: How to Preserve Workplace Culture and Strengthen Relationships for Employees Working in Remote Environments

Tamika Curry Smith, MBA: Back to the office: How to Attract, Engage with, and Retain Women of Color in the Hybrid Workplace

Leslie Humphries: Human Capital Management in a Multigenerational, Hybrid Workforce
Christina Shareef
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
How to Preserve Workplace Culture and Strengthen Relationships for Employees Working in Remote Environments
10:20 AM - 12:30 PM

Although many leaders have used a solid playbook for leading in-office teams and maybe even fully remote teams, pivoting into a space where many are now leading hybrid teams presents new challenges that allows us to re-think old leadership norms. How can we be more mindful about making space for inclusivity and belonging? In this session, we will discuss how leaders can adapt to these changes and create equitable experiences, stronger cultures, and more engaged teams by being creative, proactive and intentional.

After this session, we’ll be equipped with best practices that can be operationalized today including:

• Why being mindful of leading inclusively is important now more than ever
• How to create equitable experiences for all of your team members in the office and remote
• How you can own your part in strengthening the culture as a remote employee
• Ways to use your distributed workforce to increase diverse perspectives for ultimate success in strengthening your workplace culture.
Tamika Curry Smith, MBA
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Back to the office:
How to Attract, Engage with, and Retain Women of Color in the Hybrid Workplace
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

While employers are making plans for return to the office and hybrid working, many women of color are not ready to go back. Although the pandemic and remote work have been challenging for women of color, they also have provided a bit of a respite. Many do not want to return to the office environment where they experience microaggressions, biased standards of professionalism and performance, and being “the only,” all of which contribute to high rates of workplace stress and burnout.

In addition, the pay gap for women of color is a consideration. Although women overall earn 82 cents for each dollar earned by white males, women of color earn between 55 and 85 cents depending on the racial/ethnic demographic. Working from home has allowed many women of color to save money that otherwise would have been spent on gas, parking, and other work-related expenses.

In this session, you will learn about the particular challenges women of color face and how remote work has been an equalizer for them in several key areas. You will also hear tangible steps you can take to address those challenges as you create and finalize your return-to-office policies and plans. You will walk away with critical strategies to help you attract, engage with, and retain women of color in your organization.
Leslie Humphries
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Human Capital Management in a Multigenerational, Hybrid Workforce
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Business leaders are often complicit in using corporate speak and the latest buzz words, like “human capital management,” but what does that mean for successful organizations?

Today, corporations are faced with the challenge of navigating a multi-generational workforce. How should corporations adapt to their changing needs as each generation evolves?

Meanwhile, a hybrid workforce has quickly become the new normal. How do corporations need to support employees' demands of a hybrid workforce?

Our interactive session will address the questions above and provide methods to help leaders build a high performing, multigenerational hybrid, workforce.
Breakout 2:15
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Breakout Sessions
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Veronica Molina: Owning Your Career Development and Unlocking Your Potential in a World of Change

Natalie Keng: The Power of Food + Culture: Opening Minds, One Mouth at a Time

Mitchell Nover, M.A.: Increasing Self and Social Awareness in the Workplace through Cultural Exploration

Pilin Anice: Wellness Rituals: Practices to Support Wellbeing
Veronica Molina
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Owning Your Career Development and Unlocking Your Potential in a World of Change
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, including our careers. According to a Lattice Career Progression survey, 43 percent of employees reported that their career advancement at their current company has either completely stalled or significantly slowed down in the last couple of years. People are not only looking for better pay and more flexible schedules, but they are looking for roles that are meaningful and have impact.

Taking full responsibility for your professional journey is the first step to making a career advancement leap into a role that is more meaningful to you. In this session we will discuss:

- Finding your strengths and weaknesses and what you enjoy doing
- Discovering the transferable skills you can take to any role
- What are the most important skills needed in this changing work environment
- Career Ladder vs Career Lattice
- How to focus on what is in your control and the steps you can take today to advance in your career tomorrow
Natalie Keng
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
The Power of Food + Culture:
Opening Minds, One Mouth at a Time
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Natalie Keng, Founder/CEO of Global Hearth™, is a recognized food and culture expert, speaker, author, entrepreneur, and former public-elected official. As a “Chinese Southern Belle,” born and raised in Smyrna, Georgia, she endured racial slurs and was ridiculed over her food, language, clothes and body type. This caused scars, but made her stronger. Through an intersectional lens, Natalie shares humorous, poignant “Buddha to Bubba™” stories and her own leadership reflections. This session will creatively weave story-telling, DEI insights and participant engagement to show how food and culture can bring people together, break down barriers, and be a force for change and inclusive leadership.
Mitchell Nover, M.A.
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Increasing Self and Social Awareness in the Workplace through Cultural Exploration
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Learning to understand a culture that is different from your own is so important in becoming a mindful citizen and leader, but how do we develop the skill of cultural or cross-cultural competence? Cultural exploration allows us to peel back different layers of our identities that can help us connect with others on many levels as we have an opportunity to share what we discover about ourselves.

This session will review learning models and goals for cultivating knowledge through experience and reflection, how to extract lessons learned, and what technical and interpersonal skills can be gained, both personally and professionally. We will additionally touch on the concept of cultural appreciation vs. cultural appropriation and how five principles of self and social awareness can raise the level of your success.
Pilin Anice
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Wellness Rituals:
Practices to Support Wellbeing
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

This session will begin with a grounding meditation practice to steady and calm the mind. Next, the group will discuss mindfulness tools and explore Ayurveda self-care practices to manage and reduce stress, soothe the nervous system, support mental health and overall well-being.

This session will include:
- Breathwork
- Meditation
- Mindfulness Talk
Closing Plenary Session
Antonia Dean
Laura Weidman Powers
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Closing Plenary Session
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Antonia Dean: Investing in Diversity, Literally – Finding and Funding Historically Excluded Startup Founders

Laura Weidman Powers: Where Purpose Meets Profit: Integrating Innovative Impact Models Into Your Core Operations
Antonia Dean
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Investing in Diversity, Literally –
Finding and Funding Historically
Excluded Startup Founders
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Venture capital funding for historically excluded founders, specifically women, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous founders, has reached an all time high. Despite this achievement and the ever-growing numbers of these founders raising $1 million + rounds, they still only receive about 5 percent of the total venture capital dollars invested annually. Ninety-five percent of the $164 billion invested into startups last year still went to largely male, white founders.

What Silicon Valley ignores and excludes can be a massive opportunity for the Fortune 500. As enterprises increasingly look to startup investments and partnerships as a critical lever of innovation, we must be sure that we make these decisions with an eye towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In this session, we will cover why investing and partnering with startups is crucial, how to identify the right industry sectors and verticals to focus on, how to build a diverse deal flow pipeline, and how to make sure your process is equitable and inclusive from desk research through to deal signing.
Laura Weidman Powers
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Where Purpose Meets Profit: Integrating Innovative Impact Models Into Your Core Operations
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

In this session, Laura Weidman Powers, partner at Base10 Partners, the world’s largest Black-led venture firm, will walk through the design and management of the Advancement Initiative. Laura leads portfolio services for the Advancement Initiative, and in this role, counsels and supports some of the world’s leading private technology companies. She guides organizations on their own diversity and inclusion and impact strategy in preparation for their IPOs. The Advancement Initiative is a $300 million growth fund designed with the goal of closing the endowment gap for America’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Laura joined Base10 Partners because the Advancement Initiative was one of the most elegantly designed marriages of purpose and profit she had seen in her tri-sector career.
St Simons History Tour
Helen Rae Ladson
Matthew and Tia Raiford
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
St Simons History Tour
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Helen Rae Ladson: Exploring the History of St. Simons Island

Matthew and Tia Raiford: The History of the Golden Isles through Gullah Geechee Food and Culture
Helen Rae Ladson
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
Exploring the History of St. Simons Island
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Helen R. Ladson is an advocate for the equity of African descendants in America, primarily on the coast of Georgia, and has resided in Brunswick, Georgia for over 31 years. As a cultural preservationist, she has introduced many visitors of the Golden Isles to the rich history of her beloved city, including the history and contributions of the Gullah Geechee Culture on the coast of Georgia and Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia on the power and resistance of the Igbo people. Her belief in the power of education, fine arts, and history makes her thrilled to lead as a tour guide for the Historical Trolley Tour of St. Simons Island.
Matthew Raiford and Tia Raiford
Institute Agenda
Thursday, January 13th, 2021
The History of the Golden Isles through Gullah Geechee Food and Culture
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Located in Brunswick, GA, founders Tia and Matthew Raiford created an inclusive collective of talented BIPOC farmers, growers, chefs and naturalists who are dedicated to pioneering a return to the holistic relationship with the Earth. They strive to help their community regain their connection to nature and value the creation of products and safe spaces that emphasize agriculture and equality at their core. Both began their exploration of food at a young age - Tia, in the kitchen with her mother, and Matthew, as the sixth generation farmer and owner of Gilliard Farms. They will tell the story of Jupiter Gilliard, Matthew’s great-great-great grandfather who was born enslaved in 1812 and how he purchased 476 acres of land now being farmed by Matthew, Tia and Althea (Matthew’s Sister). Additionally, they will touch on African, Spanish and Portuguese influences on the food of the Golden Isles and how rice culture is the reason for the amazing 100 miles of low country Georgia Marshland. Their roots as chefs, both graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, combined with Gullah Geechee culture, will serve as a guiding light for their Historical Trolley Tour of St. Simons Island.
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This Institute is designed for people leaders, including managers, directors, VPs, and executives seeking to implement sustainable change that recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion and strengthens workplace culture. At Yardstick Management, we have witnessed leaders continuously yearning for strategic solutions in change management to foster belonging and inclusion. By attending, participants will learn the true value of preparation and proactivity and will leave equipped with the tools to impact their organization.


Our team of diverse world-class consultants personally understands the adverse effects of inequitable workplaces. In this groundbreaking Institute, we recognize that empathy is the most important leadership skill and we are committed to creating a vulnerable space for critical conversations. Topics such as self-awareness, leading with authenticity, and intercultural communication will provide an opportunity for attendees to become more conscious of themselves, colleagues, and the world.


  • Interactive world-class educational workshops led by high-calibre speakers
  • Unparalleled networking opportunities with the nation’s top diverse leaders
  • Rejuvenating health and wellness developmental activities
  • Lodging and meals at 4.5 star award-winning beachfront The King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort, the only beach front hotel on St Simons island
  • First retreat of its kind designed and implemented by marginalized people


Chris Webber


Yardstick Management

Bracken Darrell, MBA

President and CEO


Leslie Humphries

Vice President of Human Resources


Christina Shareef

Head of Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging


Lyle Tick


Buffalo Wild Wings

Antonia Dean, J.D.

Director, Startup Pipeline Diversity


Veronica Molina, MBA

Senior Vice President of News Standards & Practices

CNN Worldwide

Tamika Curry Smith, MBA

Chief Diversity Officer


Laura Weidman Powers, J.D./MBA

Operating Partner

Base10 Partners

Maud Arnold


Syncopated Ladies Tap Dance

Mitchell Nover, M.A.

Director of Public Relations and Communications

Four Seasons Resort Nevis

Pilin Anice

Yoga and Meditation Trainer


Natalie Keng, M.A.


Global Hearth: Cooking Up a Better World

Ebbie Parsons, Ed.D

Managing Partner

Yardstick Management

Naima Greenwood, MBA


Yardstick Management

Slma Shelbayah, M.A.

Chief Communications Officer

Yardstick Management

Johnny Park

Global Head of Executive Search and Human Resources

Yardstick Management

Nicole Nero, Ed.D

Global Head of Management Consulting

Yardstick Management

Vallori Thomas

Performance Coach

Yardstick Management

Helen Rae Ladson

Executive Director

Helen Rae’s Cultural Consultation Company

Matthew and Tia Raiford

Founders and Owners

Strong Roots 9

Keynote Speaker: Chris Webber

Keynote Speaker: Chris Webber

Topic: Moving Forward: Innovation Influenced by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Role: Partner

Company: Yardstick Management

Bio: Chris Webber serves as Partner for Yardstick Management and is responsible for growing the company portfolio and acting as an ongoing image consultant. Before joining Yardstick, Chris was a five-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA Team member, a former NBA Rookie of the Year, and a former number one overall NBA draftee. At the University of Michigan, he was a member of the unforgettable “Fab Five.” He is now in the NBA Hall of Fame.

Webber now serves as a Broadcast Analyst at TNT, where he also co-anchors “Players Only.” Aside from basketball, Webber produces films under his company with documentarian Peter Gilbert. He is also one half of Beat Brothers, a music production duo with brother David Ranier. He is featured as a broadcaster in the massively popular video game: NBA 2K and hosted “Chris Webber’s Full Court Pranks” on TruTV.

In his free time, Chris enjoys giving back to his community and spending time with his wife and two kids.

Speaker: Bracken Darrell, MBA

Speaker: Bracken Darrell, MBA

Topic: Passion & Purpose: Driven by Impact and Making a Difference

Role: President and CEO

Company: Logitech

Bio: Under Bracken Darrell’s nine years of leadership as president and CEO, Logitech has reinvented itself into an award-winning design company, an industry force in pursuing a more sustainable and equitable world, and a top performer on the SIX Swiss stock exchange and NASDAQ.

Bracken is a proponent of design and the liberal arts in business, especially of their role in innovating product experiences for consumers. As a result, Logitech has been the recipient of numerous awards, including more than 200 design awards over the past three years from the likes of iF Design, Red Dot and Fast Company, and numerous sustainability awards. Bracken himself has been named Swiss CEO of the year by Obermatt three times in the past four years.
Bracken brings to Logitech nearly thirty years of experience in product, people and brand management through design. He has worked around the world on iconic brands like Old Spice, Gillette and Braun, for which he was president. He has spent time at P&G, Arthur Anderson, PepsiCo, GE and Whirlpool.

Speaker: Leslie Humphries

Speaker: Leslie Humphries

Topic: Human capital management in a multigenerational, hybrid workforce

Role: Vice President of Human Resources

Company: Netflix 

Bio: Leslie Humphries is an accomplished C-suite executive with more than 20 years of domestic and international experience across various industries including Digital Media, Financial Sectors, Information Security and Technology. Leslie has led globally recognized corporations to profitability impacting corporate performance and driving organizational objectives through strategic restructuring, IPOs as well as mergers & acquisitions.

She has a proven track record in strategic planning, business-HR alignment, and talent development. In addition, Leslie is a highly respected industry champion of promoting enterprise-wide employee engagement in competitive, rapid paced business environments.

Skilled at operating between private equity ventures and large-scale corporations, like Amazon, Leslie is regarded globally as an industry expert at building repeatable, sustainable, scalable mechanisms to achieve significant milestones.

At Amazon, Leslie led a Global HR organization supporting the SVP Consumer Technology leader (Member of CEO Leadership Team) where she was responsible for driving/leading the Consumer Technology people strategy impacting 39,000 technologists globally. She ensured the business had best-in-class talent to solve the customer’s evolving needs. She was instrumental in creating a world-class employment experience for Consumer technologists.

Prior to Amazon, she served as an interim Chief Human Resources Officer prior to acquisition where she was responsible for all aspects of human resources management and operations. She led company-wide organizational redesign and talent acquisition efforts as well as initiatives to improve productivity and reduce operational costs at scale.

A sought-after strategic advisor, Leslie currently serves as VP of Talent at Netflix. In this role, she leads a team of HR Leaders to drive the people strategy for the Finance and Operations organizations led by the Chief Financial officer. Leveraging her experience in working at scale, she plays a key leadership role in the evolution of Netflix global scale.

Speaker: Christina Shareef

Speaker: Christina Shareef

Topic: How to Preserve Workplace Culture and Strengthen Relationships for Employees Working in Remote Environments

Role: Head of Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Company: Reddit 

Bio: Christina Shareef has spent her career helping companies reach their potential as a global Human Resources leader who specializes in building inclusive workplaces and corporate value through market advantage, leveraging employees’ unique skills and perspectives, employee engagement, and workplace culture. Christina is currently the Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Reddit. Reddit’s unique, community-first approach has made it one of the fastest-growing platforms, serving 430M+ people and growing.

Prior to joining Reddit, Christina served as Head of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion for MRC (formerly Valence Media).  She has also had the unique opportunity to lead both Operational and Human Resources functions as a Chief Operating Officer and Head of Human Resources within the healthcare industry and has championed Human Resources efforts throughout the US and Latin America for both large media organizations and start-up organizations, alike.

Sharing over 15 years of experience in the Human Resources and Legal fields, both internationally and domestically, Christina develops passionate and purposeful people strategies and serves as an Advisor, Consultant, and trusted Business Partner.  Christina approaches her work with the understanding that each of us—every one of us—have ample opportunities to learn from, engage with, and support someone who is different from ourselves.  

When she is not working, Christina enjoys baking with her daughter, Leila, and fine-tuning her skills as a musician.

Speaker: Tamika Curry Smith, MBA

Speaker: Tamika Curry Smith, MBA

Topic: Back to the Office: How to Attract, Engage with, and Retain Women of Color in the Hybrid Workplace

Role: Chief Diversity Officer

Company: Arm

Tamika Curry Smith is President of The TCS Group, Inc., a firm that provides human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) solutions to a broad range of clients in a variety of industries. She was most recently Vice President of Global Diversity & Inclusion at Nike, Inc., where she was responsible for leading a global D&I team across the Nike, Jordan, and Converse brands. Prior to Nike, Tamika was Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Mercedes-Benz USA.

Tamika started her career with Deloitte & Touche, where she obtained her CPA license and performed accounting and auditing services. She then joined Deloitte Consulting, where she gained experience in both general management and retail consulting on client engagements focused on strategy, operations,supply chain, and process improvement.

Tamika then took on the role of Director of Diversity Programs for Deloitte Consulting, where her responsibilities included leading the design and execution of Deloitte’s diversity strategy in the Americas and implementing initiatives with senior management. 

After Deloitte, Tamika became the Director of Diversity at Target Corporation, where she was responsible for developing and driving the diversity strategy for Target’s corporate headquarters, stores, and distribution centers and leading the organization’s focus on diversity recruitment, retention, awareness, communication, and measurement. 

Ms. Curry Smith earned a BBA in Accounting with High Distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She also obtained an MBA in Organizational Behavior, Strategy, and Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management. 

Tamika has shared her expertise as a speaker and facilitator with many organizations, such as the Conference Board, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the National Science Foundation. In addition, Ms. Curry Smith has been featured in numerous publications, including Black Enterprise, the New York Times Magazine, DiversityInc, and Diversity Professional Magazine. 

Ms. Curry Smith has received various awards, among them the Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business, Diversity MBA’s Top 100 Under 50 Executive Leaders, AZ Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, and the Chairman’s Award from the National Black MBA Association. Ms. Curry Smith is an Aspen Institute Executive Leadership Program alumna and a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association. She currently serves on the Alumni Board of Governors and the Dean’s Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, as well as the Kellogg School of Management Inclusion Coalition. She also is an advisor to Goldman Sachs, as well as early stage start-ups and venture capital firms such as Talenya, Ltd., SemperVirens Venture Capital, and Fearless Fund.

Speaker: Mitchell Nover, M.A.

Speaker: Mitchell Nover 

Topic: Increasing self and social awareness in the workplace through cultural exploration 

Role: Director of Public Relations and Communications

Company: Four Seasons Resort Nevis 

Bio: Mitchell Nover is a seasoned Public Relations professional, currently serving as the Director of Public Relations and Communication for the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies. A native of the Washington, DC Metro Area, Mitchell has lived in Maryland, Michigan and Spain before landing in Miami in 2005. Mitchell’s passion for adventure and exploration has melded perfectly with his career choice, with more than ten years of experience representing international brands in the travel, hospitality and spirits industries across Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. In addition, Mitchell is also the co-founder of the blog Mitch and Mel Take Miami, adding yet another layer to his passion for cultural discovery through food. When not home in Miami or working in Nevis, you are most likely to find Mitchell traveling the globe and trying some kind of new and different cuisine.

Speaker: Pilin Anice

Speaker: Pilin Anice 

Topic: Wellness Rituals: Practices to Support Wellbeing

Role: Yoga and Meditation Trainer

Company: Mirror 

Bio: Pilin Anice, E-RYT 500, is a yoga, barre, dance, and meditation instructor, health coach, artist, and model. For over a decade, she has guided students of all ages through breath centered, inquiry based offerings that seek to harmonize the mind, body, and spirit. 

Pilin is passionate about building community and is the founder of Restore + Explore Retreats. She has taught workshops in the US and abroad, including the Omega Institute, 1440 Multiversity, Dubai Yoga Fest, and SoulFEST. 

A Howard University Alumna, she is a MIRROR Trainer, a faculty member at Kripalu and the Ailey Extension, and a lululemon Ambassador. Pilin is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a Health Coach at THE WELL, New York’s ecosystem for wellness. She has appeared on GMA, The Today Show and has been featured in the NY Times, FORBES, ESSENCE, MindBodyGreen, and SELF. Learn more about Pilin at www.pilinanice.com.

Speaker: Natalie Keng, M.A.

Speaker: Natalie Keng

Topic: The Power of Food + Culture: Opening Minds, One Mouth at a Time

Role: Founder/Owner

Company: Global Hearth: Cooking Up a Better World

Bio: Natalie Keng is the Founder and CEO “Chief Eating Officer” of Global Hearth: Cooking Up a Better World ™. Keng is a pioneer in the intersectionality of food, culture, diversity and leadership/advocacy. Born and raised in a small American southern town, she endured racial slurs and was ridiculed over her food, language, clothes and body type. This caused scars–but made her stronger. For 20 years, she has celebrated and connected food and culture as a gateway to “Opening Minds, One Mouth at a Time” ™ in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. She is a trained human relations facilitator, award-winning entrepreneur (Chinese Southern Belle™, Global Hearth™, The Sauce Maven™, Stir Fried America™), speaker, published writer, health/wellness educator, and culinary instructor. Keng and popular co-host and mother, Margaret, have led over 500 sold-out, interactive classes, tours and special events for clients ranging from universities to Fortune 500 executives. Natalie is a proud graduate of Vassar College (B.A. Asian/Multicultural Studies) and Harvard University (M.P.P. Social Policy) and has served in public office, the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes and COVID-19 Community Outreach in multiple states and on boards that promote inclusion/equity, women’s leadership and sustainable communities. Look for her award-winning line of homegrown fusion cooking sauces “Recipes-in-a-Bottle”™ in Whole Foods, Amazon.com and farmers markets.

Speaker: Ebbie Parsons, Ed.D

Speaker: Ebbie Parsons, Ed.D

Topic: Speech of Introduction

Role: Founder and Managing Partner

Company: Yardstick Management

Bio: Dr. Ebbie Parsons, III, is the Founder and Managing Partner of Yardstick Management. A seasoned business executive with a passion for intentional impact, he has been applauded for his strategic thinking, engaging leadership, and results-oriented mindset throughout his successful career. After working at Fortune 500 companies, including Intel, Medtronic, and American Express, Dr. Parsons, III decided to transition from a promising career in business in 2007 to join the prestigious Broad Residency Program in Educational Leadership. The Broad Residency was his first introduction to the inner-workings of America’s public education system, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hartford Public Schools.

Championing the overhaul of the district’s school funding methodology, he negotiated the state’s first pay-for-performance teacher union contract. He led the redistricting of the city to an “All-Choice” system of schools. Following his time in Hartford, Dr. Parsons, III, was on the founding team of the groundbreaking Relay Graduate School of Education, where he led the organization’s Human Capital function. Following Relay, he took on a new challenge to serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the third-largest Charter Management Organization in the U.S., Mosaica Education, Inc. At Mosaica, Dr. Parsons, III, managed over 80 schools across eight states, Washington, D.C., the Middle East, and Asia. He led Mosaica to its two consecutive most profitable years in its 14-year history while simultaneously leading the company to its highest academic performance results in years.

Leveraging his wealth of experience and expertise in business and education, he launched Yardstick Management with a vision to become a leader in transforming and impacting the global landscape of the management consulting industry. Less than a decade later, Yardstick has become a world thought-leader and powerhouse in providing specialized Management, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Executive Search consulting services to renowned mission-driven brands and organizations worldwide. Yardstick is committed to building its clients’ internal capacity to enhance its ability to deliver extraordinary results to its constituents.

He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Florida A&M University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota, and a Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as a Faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. Dr. Parsons, III, has extensive board leadership experience, including serving on the boards of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Lighthouse Academies, Children’s Orchestra Society, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Urban Ministries, Inc., the Atlanta Music Project (an El Sistema Program), The Winans Group and the Finance Corps. Dr. Parsons, III, is a Fellow with the Pahara Institute and the Aspen Institute and is a Member of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Dr. Parsons, III, resides in Atlanta, Gerogia, with his wife, Ayana, and their adorable daughters, Ebbie Noelle, aka “Noey,” and Noohra Celeste. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, kayaking, and most of all, rooting for his favorite hometown team, the Michigan Wolverines. Go BLUE!

Speaker: Naima Greenwood, MBA

Speaker: Naima Greenwood, MBA

Topic: Our Stories

Role: President and Chief Operating Officer 

Company: Yardstick Management

Bio: Naima Greenwood serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer at Yardstick Management, responsible for growing the Yardstick Management portfolio and managing ongoing projects. Before joining Yardstick, Naima served as a Senior Manager on a government contract with the Office of Foreign Labor Certification. Naima has a diverse background in sales and marketing, operations, and retail. Naima is an advisory board member for the College of Business and Information Science at Tuskegee University.

Naima holds a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Florida A&M University as well as an Executive MBA in Global Business from Georgia Institute of Technology. Naima started her career at Target Corporation as a Business Analyst in their entertainment division. There she collaborated with major movie studios and record labels in managing their releases. She later relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where she managed a $1 billion domestic landscape business for over 2,200 retail stores for The Home Depot. After completing her Executive MBA, Naima was recruited by Bank of America where she served as an Assistant Vice-President. She oversaw efforts to convert California accounts to a single platform for improved efficiency and reliability and managed a multi-million-dollar project to develop global consumer risk assessment plans for call centers.

Naima resides in Atlanta with her husband Andre and their daughters, Ava and Aubree. In her spare time, she actively volunteers in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA. Outside of professional interests, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

Speaker: Slma Shelbayah, M.A.

Speaker: Slma Shelbayah, M.A.

Topic: Our Stories

Role: Chief Communications Officer

Company: Yardstick Management

Bio: Slma Shelbayah serves as the Chief Communications Officer at Yardstick Management, overseeing the internal and external communications strategy alignment, marketing, public relations, branding, and project management solutions for clients. Her background includes more than 15 years of experience as an award-winning journalist, communication, and public relations expert in the media industry, including experience as a reporter, show host, editor, writer, voice-over artist, and producer.

Prior to joining Yardstick, Slma managed her own communication consulting firm. She brings with her experience as a former Director of Corporate Public Relations with Savannah College of Art and Design. Previous to that role, she spent many years in journalism as a producer, writer, and assignment editor at CNN. She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor of communications, language, and business for several universities, including Brenau University, Georgia State University, and Clayton State University. Most recently, she completed the Diversity and Inclusion certification program from eCornell University.

In 2015, she won the CNN Worldwide Diversity Ovation Award for her commitment to inclusion in news coverage. Shelbayah is passionate about diversity, human uniqueness, and unraveling tough conversations and traditions. Additionally, she is dedicated to promoting stronger voices for underprivileged individuals with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Slma holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Sociology and an M.A. in Linguistics with a focus on cross-cultural linguistics of Spanish and Arabic, both degrees from Georgia State University. She was inducted and graduated from LEAD Atlanta’s distinguished and highly selective leadership program for the class of 2018. She has also obtained a certificate from Oxford University, the U.K., during which students were selected from 30 countries across the world to pursue a seminar on global media policy, technology, and new themes in media regulations.

Speaker: Johnny Park

Speaker: Johnny Park

Topic: Our Stories

Role: Global Head of Executive Search and Human Resources

Company: Yardstick Management

Bio: Johnny serves as the Global Head of Executive Search and Human Resources for Yardstick Management, where he is responsible for leading Human Resources and the Executive Search team. He is a seasoned Human Resources practitioner with over 15 years of international experience in policies and strategies, including workforce management consultancy and people development.

Prior to joining Yardstick Management, Johnny was based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, living and working in Southeast Asia and specializing in HR for emerging markets, international conglomerates, and large companies. Some of his employers included Fortune 500 and global organizations such as Hong Leong Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Right Management/Manpower Group, and Franklin Covey.

Johnny holds a B.A. in Management with a minor in Marketing from Loyola University in Chicago and currently resides in Metro Detroit, Michigan along with his wife, Betsye, and their two young children, Jackson, and Lucy Mai. Besides spending time with his family, Johnny is committed to serving his community through volunteering with youth groups.

Speaker: Nicole Nero, Ed.D

Speaker: Nicole Nero, Ed.D

Topic: Our Stories

Role: Principal Consultant, Global Head of Management Consulting  

Company: Yardstick Management

Bio: Dr. Nicole Nero serves as Yardstick Management’s Global Head of the Management Consulting practice. She is responsible for facilitating client workshops and trainings and oversees Yardstick Management’s Consulting practice. Before joining Yardstick, Nicole served as a Consultant in the rapidly expanding EdTech industry. In her most recent role at CampusLogic, Nicole led the strategic adoption and training efforts for enrollment solutions clients.

Nicole’s mission as a Consultant is to leave people and teams better than she finds them: more encouraged, better equipped, and in a better position to win! Her experience has given her the unique ability to support clients by purposefully aligning their organizational values with their strategic goals.

Nicole holds a BSBA from Auburn University in Human Resource Management with a minor in Marketing. She also received an MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery. Additionally, she earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Southern Methodist University.

Sparked by her former role in campus recruiting for Deloitte, Nicole’s doctoral research focused heavily on job attainment for minoritized groups. Nicole was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, where her passion for DEI work was first sparked as a young intern for the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Nicole now resides in Dallas, Texas.

Outside of professional interests, she enjoys travel, very slowly learning to play her guitars, and all things Peloton. She is also a proud co-founder of DRA Lending, a non-profit microlending organization for entrepreneurs in the South Dallas community, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Speaker: Lyle Tick

Speaker– Lyle Tick

Topic: Transformative Leadership: Becoming More Relational and Adaptive

Role: President

Company: Buffalo Wild Wings 

Bio: Lyle Tick serves as President of Buffalo Wild Wings, the largest sports bar brand in the United  States with more than 1,200 restaurants. Buffalo Wild Wings is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. 

Prior to joining Buffalo Wild Wings, Tick was Managing Director for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)  beauty brands business in the Americas. At WBA, Tick led the re-organization of the America’s business and established a capabilities program around end-to-end brand management and commercial management. 

Prior to WBA, Tick served as Senior Global Category Director at Bacardi based in London and Vice President of Marketing for North America based in Miami. As Senior Global Category Director, he was responsible for the global Vodka category, the development of a 5-year global strategic plan for the category, and the renovation of the Grey Goose Brand. As Vice President of Marketing for  North America, Tick drove the Grey Goose business back into growth reversing a multi-year year negative trend. 

Prior to Bacardi, Tick served in a variety of positions within marketing and advertising agencies,  including J. Walter Thompson, Gotham, McGarryBowen, and DDB. 

In 2005, Tick was named one of the 20 visionaries in advertising and marketing under the age of 30 by Ad Age. 

Tick is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin.


Speaker: Maud Arnold

Speakers: Maud Arnold

Topic: Inclusion in the Arts: Using Diverse Artistic Styles to Share Culture through Movement and Visual Storytelling

Company: Syncopated Ladies Tap Dance

Role: Producer/Dancer

Bio: Known as one of “Tap’s Leading Ladies” and a cover girl for Dance Spirit magazine’s tap issue, Maud Arnold is a member of the female tap band, the Syncopated Ladies, widely known for viral videos that have accumulated over 70 million views, with the most successful being their tribute to Prince and their cover of Beyoncé’s Formation. Beyoncé shared this video on all of her social media platforms and then hired the Syncopated Ladies to perform at her Ivy Park activewear clothing line launch at TopShop, London. Maud also performed live with the Syncopated Ladies on ABC’s Good Morning America, The Ellen Show with Pharrell Williams and N.E.R.D., as well as in sold-out concerts in Los Angeles, Dubai, New York City, and Washington, DC, receiving rave reviews in The New York Times and more.

Maud has quickly become a sought-after teacher, judge, and performer worldwide. Mentored and trained by Debbie Allen, Maud received the opportunity to teach at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles. Beyond the United States, Maud has taught tap dancing and Afro-Funk in Dubai, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Haiti, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Croatia, Ukraine, and Russia.

Maud’s television credits include: A Black Lady Sketch Show, the BET Experience with 106 and Park, The Late Late Show With James Corden, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Switched at Birth, Secret Talents of the Stars as a featured dancer with Mya, The Today Show, and the Syncopated Ladies as a winning member on Season 11 of FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance: Dance Crew Battle.” Maud can be seen in national commercials and print ads for Toyota, GAP, and CANTU. She has additionally worked with Beyoncé on several commercials and music videos. Maud’s choreography has been featured on Good Morning America, and she made her directorial debut with Dola’s “Space Daughter” series.

Maud is the Co-director and Producer of the critically acclaimed DC Tap Festival, pioneering new experiences for dancers and artists worldwide. Along with her sister Chloé Arnold, Maud was recognized by the US House of Representatives as Arts Preservers and Ambassadors.

Maud is a thriving female entrepreneur that holds a degree from Columbia University. In addition to teaching, she oversees Chloe and Maud Productions and their many entities, including their tap dance workshops and after-school programs as well as their clothing lines, I LOVE TAP and UniLove.

Maud exudes her passion for tap dancing with her high energy, fun, and action-packed dancing.

Speaker: Vallori Thomas

Speaker: Vallori Thomas

Role: Emcee

Bio: Vallori Thomas serves as the Performance Coach for Yardstick Management. She is an accredited member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an ICF-Certified Coach, 2021 WeInspire Movement for Change Ambassador, and the Founder of The Institute at WOW Coaching and Consulting, She is the author of “POSSIBILITOLOGY: Its A Great Day To Be Amazing”, and Co-Author of “Through It All We’re Still Standing”.

Known for delivering potent results, Vallori’s expertise is personal and professional development, leadership optimization, corporate culture, team dynamics, diversity, equity, and inclusion. A practitioner of context mastery, Vallori is adept at vision building and breakthrough training. She is an enthusiastic and indefatigable keynote speaker and facilitator who has delivered women’s empowerment training for Harvard University Graduate Students, as well as adult and youth leadership programs in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C, Seattle, South Carolina, and Atlanta.

Recently, Vallori began expanding her reach to other countries, traveling first to South Africa and later to Peru then Thailand to bring a message of empowerment, and to raise money and awareness for indigent social programs there.

With a background in entertainment and business administration, Vallori went on to become an executive in the fashion industry. In 2003, She founded her own nonprofit organization that provided personal effectiveness and performance training to women seeking to re-enter the workforce following an institutional hiatus. She has been profiled in local newspapers as well as “The Huff Post” and “Bella Magazine, and a recurring guest on the Dr. Oz Show.

Speaker: Veronica Molina

Speaker: Veronica Molina, MBA

Topic: Owning Your Career Development and Unlocking Your Potential in a World of Change

Role: Senior Vice President of News Standards & Practices

Company: CNN Worldwide

Veronica (Vero) Molina is Senior Vice President of News Standards and Practices at CNN Worldwide, where she works to uphold CNN’s brand, journalism standards, and editorial independence. Vero and her team partner with TV, digital, audio, and social media platforms to ensure that CNN’s reporting is fair, accurate, and responsible.

Vero oversees the review of sensitive and controversial content globally, including breaking news, graphic video, investigations, documentaries, and branded content. She advises senior executive leaders on journalism integrity and works closely with PR, marketing, and sales to review innovative business deals and advance CNN’s competitive edge.

Vero plays a crucial role in ensuring that CNN platforms are inclusive and often challenges conventional viewpoints. She establishes globally-adopted internal guidelines, develops training programs, and conducts seminars on ethics in journalism for thousands of employees around the world.

Vero has a unique ability to come into the most challenging discussions and bring people together to achieve shared goals. She has extensive experience in guiding corporate strategies, defining the right rules of engagement, and helping measure the value proposition of new projects.

Vero plays a key role in CNN’s diversity efforts by organizing internal panels focused on underrepresented groups and negotiating partnerships for editorial projects about multicultural communities. She demonstrates that DEI business initiatives grow ratings, digital engagement, and business revenue.

Vero has more than 20 years of experience in journalism and management. She joined CNN after working at Telemundo News, where she was head of investigations, sponsored series, and special events. Vero was also senior producer of the national nightly newscast “Noticiero Telemundo” and created the first-ever strategy for Telemundo’s digital news enterprises. Prior to this, she produced long-form investigative, political, and breaking news stories for the newsmagazine program.

Vero has been at the forefront of major world events, playing key roles in the coverage of the war in Iraq, the death of Pope John Paul II, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Hurricane Katrina, the rescue of the Chilean miners, and the elections of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. She produced interviews with several presidents, including Evo Morales of Bolivia, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and Vicente Fox of Mexico. She also spearheaded the coverage of more than 15 presidential elections around the world, including in the United States, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Vero started her career at Univision, where she worked on every news program at the network. She covered major news events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Clinton’s impeachment, the Columbine High School tragedy, and the death of Princess Diana. You could often find her hopping on a plane, chasing the most important news story of the day.

Vero was honored with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ award for ‘best investigative report’ for a series highlighting the dangers of hospital-acquired infections. She also received the Dalton Pen Award for Excellence in Journalism, the CNN Diversity Ovation Award, and the Next Generation Leader Award by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. She also served as the distinguished visiting professor at the Center for Ethics and Journalism at the University of Arkansas.

Vero is committed to inspiring and developing women across the communications industry. She is the executive sponsor of Women of WarnerMedia Atlanta and serves on the board of Dress for Success Atlanta, as well as the advisory council of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Vero holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Florida International University. She is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Vero is from Peru. Being bilingual and bicultural has served an important role in her life and career.

Speaker: Antonia Dean, J.D.

Speaker: Antonia Dean, J.D.

Topic: Investing in Diversity, Literally – Finding and Funding Historically Excluded Startup Founders

Role: Director, Startup Pipeline Diversity

Company: Comcast 

Bio: As a startup strategist, Antonia Dean specializes in turning good ideas into great businesses. Currently, she leads all startup pipeline diversity efforts for Comcast. Previously, she led engagements at Archetype Solutions Group, a venture fund and consultancy, where she served as strategic advisor to CEOs and senior executives of startups and midmarket companies in the employee health, wealth and performance industries.  A lawyer by training and a risk-taker by birth, Antonia turned down a career in corporate law after graduating from Harvard Law School to work in the cosmetics industry. She helped build some of today’s most well-known and profitable cosmetics brands, including Calvin Klein Fragrance, Simply Vera Vera Wang, Michael Kors Beauty and Flirt Cosmetics. After being bitten by the startup bug, Antonia took the skills she learned in building those brands to help recent college grads build their own businesses as Senior Vice President & Chief Brand Officer at Venture for America, a startup fellowship program. Antonia lives in Wyncote, PA, with her husband Stanley, sons, Tyson & Gavin, and 4lb. Yorkie named Furious.

Speaker: Laura Weidman Powers, J.D./MBA

Speaker: Laura Weidman Powers, J.D./MBA

Topic: Where Purpose Meets Profit: Integrating Innovative Impact Models Into Your Core Operations

Role: Operating Partner

Company: Base10 Partners 

Bio: Laura joins Base10 after working as the Head of Impact at Echoing Green, a global social innovation fund, where she oversees investments, portfolio support, and impact strategy. Laura is the co-founder and CEO emerita of Code2040, a nationally-recognized, award-winning nonprofit that equips Black and Latinx technologists and their allies with the tools, connections, and care they need to advocate for and achieve racial equity in the tech industry. In 2016, Laura was invited to join the Obama Administration for a six-month term as senior advisor to US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith on issues of diversity and inclusion and equitable access to capital. From 2014-2016 Laura sat on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for the US Department of Commerce. Laura was the American University of Rome’s first Social Entrepreneur in Residence in 2019, and was a 2018 Stanford Social Entrepreneur in Residence, teaching courses on social innovation at both schools. She was a 2016 New America California Fellow, and a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow. Laura holds a BA from Harvard and a JD/MBA from Stanford.

Speaker: Helen Rae Ladson

Speaker:Helen Rae Ladson

Topic: Exploring the History of St. Simons Island

Role: Executive Director

Company: Helen Rae’s Cultural Consultation Company

Bio: Helen R. Ladson is a formal Mayoral Candidate, cultural preservationist, educator, community activist, organizer, playwright, artist, and tour guide who has resided in the city of Brunswick, Georgia for 31 years. She has created and developed free poetry classes for the children and young adults in her community to encourage positive self-expression. As a tour guide and docent, she has introduced visitors of the Golden Isles to the rich history of her
beloved city. Her belief in the power of education causes her to take great pride in tutoring the children in her community weekly.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, Ladson moved to the city of Brunswick at the age of four years old. A proud product of Glynn County Schools, she graduated from Glynn Academy High School in 2004. She has served her community for more than a decade as an educator, poet, volunteer, and community servant. A passionate advocate of fine arts, Ladson has spent years writing plays for the students of Glynn County and other clubs in the city of Brunswick.

As a grant writer, she has written and secured grants for nonprofit organizations in Glynn County that focus on economic development and ecological stewardship in the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor. Miss Ladson has procured up to $60,000.00 for the benefit of the Gullah Geechee descendants on the Georgia coast. The most recent is F.R.E.S.H Drip, a 3-day clean water initiative that wishes to fundamentally restore ecological stewardship holistically by educating the city of Brunswick through workshops that introduce African descendants in America to the importance of fresh water and a clean environment.

As a public speaker, Miss Ladson has rendered lectures to Road Scholars on the influence and contributions of the Gullah Geechee culture on the coast of Georgia and Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia) on the power and resistance of the Igbo People. She can be seen in the PBS series “Connected with Monty Montgomery” and heard on NPR’s “Splendid Table (Episode 735): 3 Junes.

As an advocate for the equity of African descendants in America primarily on the coast of Georgia. She is the founder of the Dusky Crutchfield Women’s Coalition, a grass-roots organization that focuses on the development of women’s leadership by promoting intellectual and creative expression in the African American community with a focus on the eradication of poverty and economic development. She is also editor and co-founder of MAAFA Screams
News, an online publication that addresses the need to develop economic equity, environmental justice awareness, and the promotion of social and political power.

It is Miss Ladson’s pleasure to be your tour guide to welcome and introduce you to the beautiful Golden Isles.

Speaker: Matthew Raiford and Tia Raiford

Speakers: Matthew Raiford and Tia Raiford

Topic: The History of the Golden Isles through Gullah Geechee Food and Culture

Role: Founders and Owners

Company: Strong Roots 9

Bio: Matthew and Tia Raiford are the founders of Strong Roots 9, an inclusive collective of talented BIPOC farmers, growers, chefs and naturalists who are dedicated to pioneering a return to the holistic practices of their forefathers. They strive to help their diverse community regain their connection to nature through the creation of products and safe spaces that value agriculture and equality at their core. As Chefs and graduates of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, both have a passion for culture, food, and restoring the mind-body-spirit connection to natural roots.

Why Yardstick Management?

Yardstick Management was established in 2012 as a global strategic management consulting firm that provides comprehensive solutions to mission-driven organizations from conception to realization. We have serviced over 65 companies, government agencies, municipalities, and higher education institutions in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The launch of the Yardstick Management Institute comes on the heels of significant customer and employee growth. Over the last year, the management consulting firm increased revenue by 166%, grew its employee base by 42%, and impacted over 2,600,000 employees across global corporate, non-profit and educational organizations including, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, MIT, Orangetheory, Playboy and more. Yardstick Management is only 10 years old and already working with clients from Time 100s most influential companies list.



+ What Happens After I Register?

You will receive a confirmation email upon registration with a receipt of payment and details for the next steps to take in planning your trip. We will be sending more emails throughout the duration of the time between registering and the actual day of the event to help guide your experience. All emails will be received from the Institute@yardstickmanagement.com address. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly at the email address listed above.

+ Will I be Required to Wear a Mask?

In addition to required vaccinations and on-site Covid testing upon arrival, we are mandating all institute participants to wear masks indoors for the ultimate safety of everyone.

+ What are the COVID-19 Protocols for Attending the Institute Retreat?

All registrants must show proof of vaccination by uploading a picture of their vaccination card upon registration (must have both doses completed to attend). On-site rapid tests will also be required and administered upon arrival to The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort and provided daily. Yardstick Management will provide the testing and the cost is included in your registration fee.

+ What Happens in the Case the Event is Cancelled?

In the case of a COVID-19 related cancellation, Yardstick Management guarantees attendance approval for the next institute retreat. Registrants will receive a notification of cancellation via the institute@yardstickmanagement.com email with instructions on how to proceed. In the event a registered attendee is unable to attend, please contact us directly at the email address above.

Please note, refunds WILL NOT be issued upon a registration purchase.