CEO STEM Allies: Progressing the conversation to build a diverse culture in the workplace
The lack of skilled STEM candidates available in the workforce has increased focus around improving the diversity of the current STEM talent pool. However, building a diverse workplace is challenging. It requires hiring teams to broaden talent pools and rethink tactics. It means being challenged by different perspectives and approaches to problem-solving.
Together, we will explore how organizations are successfully closing the diversity gap, making the move from checking boxes to intentional action while finding and growing new talent for the future. By reframing how companies think and act, coupled with using the right strategies and tactics, we can all become part of the solution. Join us as we discuss how you can:
No matter where your company ranks on the diversity spectrum, join us in changing the conversation in your own company.
Shan Cooper, Executive Director, Atlanta Committee for Progress (ACP)
Nicole Armstrong, CEO, TechBridge
H. Keith Boone, Senior Managing Director, Technology Strategy and Advisory Leader, North America, Accenture
Venessa Harrison, President, AT&T Georgia
Maurice Jones, CEO, OneTen
Katie Kirkpatrick, President and CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber
Graig Paglieri, CEO, Randstad Technologies Group and Managing Director, Global Professionals
Chief Executive Officer
Nicole Armstrong is a business executive with over 20 years of experience spanning the public, private and non-profit sectors, ranging from large to mid-sized organizations, with a robust portfolio of leading operations and emerging business strategies in technology, education and consulting.
Prior to becoming the first female and African-American chief executive officer for TechBridge in 2020, she held various executive leadership roles as a senior vice president of customer success at Renaissance Learning, CEO and co-founder of Noodle Markets and president of CORE Education and Consulting Solutions (ECS), Inc.
Nicole’s expertise lies in developing and growing small businesses, creating and bringing new digital platforms to the marketplace nationally, organizational change management, productization and configurations, innovating and implementing educational technologies.
Nicole has a bachelor's degree with honors in computer science engineering from Binghamton University’s Watson School of Engineering and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland University College with a master’s degree in business.
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Randstad North America
As chief diversity and inclusion officer, Audra spearheads initiatives both within and outside of our organization. She not only advances diversity and inclusion among internal employees, she also partners with customers as they work to achieve their own diversity goals. Audra firmly believes that diversity and inclusion must be woven into every aspect of the talent lifecycle to attract quality candidates, enhance employee engagement and drive performance.
She brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources, diversity and compliance, along with a passion for advocating on behalf of underserved populations. She is the executive sponsor for Randstad’s Hire Hope program and was recognized as the Most Powerful Influential Woman by the National Diversity Council in 2018.
H. Keith Boone
Senior Managing Director
Technology Strategy and Advisory Leader, North America
Keith Boone is the technology strategy and advisory practice leader for North America Accenture. Accenture’s strategy and consulting practice serves 19 industries including banking, communications and high-tech, retail, consumer goods and services, life sciences and utilities/energy.
As the technology strategy and advisory leader, he advises clients on transforming their business while integrating and maintaining with traditional IT. His team is the market’s leading advisor in shaping the technology vision and transformation journey. He advises his clients on cloud, applied intelligence and the next wave of technology integration through connecting devices transforming the industries. By working end-to-end across all IT dimensions, from strategy to architecture to digital, Keith’s team delivers transformative outcomes.
As the practice leader, Keith has accountability for successful delivery of all technology strategy/advisory engagements.
Keith’s past global roles have included: group technology officer for Products Operating Group, outsourcing lead for Health & Life Sciences North America, North America mega outsourcing client lead and outsourcing lead for Global Products.
Keith joined Accenture in 1987 and during his career, he has been accountable for large scale transformations and running complex programs for many global clients.
Keith received a bachelor’s degree in finance and graduated Magna Cum Laude with an MBA in finance from Georgia State University. He lives in Atlanta and is married with three children. In his free time, Keith enjoys riding his motorcycle, flying, wake surfing, competitive rowing and Peloton. He serves on the board for TechBridge and is also involved with Pilots N Paws and Angel Flights.
Maurice Jones is the CEO of OneTen, a coalition of companies dedicated to creating one million jobs for African Americans by the end of the 2020s. Previously, he was president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national community development financial institution.
Prior to joining the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, he was the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where he managed 13 state agencies focused on the economic needs in his native state.
Maurice Jones was appointed secretary of commerce and trade by Governor Terry McAuliffe in January 2014. Previously, Jones served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from April 2012 through January 2014. As the second most senior official at HUD, Jones managed the department's day-to-day operations, the annual operating budget and the agency's 8,900 employees.
Prior to HUD, Jones was president of Pilot Media, the largest print and digital organization in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Jones joined Landmark Media Enterprises, owner of Pilot Media, in 2005, serving as vice president of the Landmark Publishing Group, consisting of multiple newspapers, including the News & Record in Greensboro, NC; The Roanoke Times; The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD; and Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc., based in Shelbyville, KY. In 2006, Jones became the vice president and general manager of Pilot Media, and in 2008, he became president and publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, the locally owned and managed newspaper founded in 1865.
A native of Kenbridge, VA, Jones also served as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services and deputy chief of staff to then-Virginia Governor Mark Warner. At the U.S. Treasury Department, Jones was special assistant to the general counsel and he also served as legal counsel to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and as director of the fund during the Clinton administration. Jones also worked for the law firm of Hunton & Williams in Richmond, VA, and he was a partner at Venture Philanthropy Partners, a firm that invests millions in the Washington, DC metropolitan area to assist low-income children.
Jones received a bachelor of arts in political science from Hampden-Sydney College and attended Oxford University in England on a Rhodes scholarship, where he received a master of philosophy in international relations. He later received a juris doctor from the University of Virginia.
Atlanta Committee for Progress
Shan Cooper is the executive director for the Atlanta Committee for Progress. The ACP was founded in 2003 with the mission to provide leadership on key issues important to economic growth and inclusion for all citizens in the City of Atlanta. The committee includes more than 40 highly engaged chief executive officers, university presidents and civic leaders who offer expertise in service to Atlanta and its future development.
Shan is the former chief transformation officer of WestRock and was responsible for the recycling and waste services division, procurement, enterprise logistics and information technology. Prior to joining WestRock, Shan served as vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.
As general manager, she was responsible for the 6,000-employee operations across Marietta, GA; Meridian, MS and Clarksburg, WV that designs, produces, modifies and maintains military aircraft for the U.S. and countries around the world. Marietta programs included the C-130J Super Hercules, F-22 Raptor, P-3 Orion, C-5M Super Galaxy and F-35 Lightning II.
Shan was named Georgia Trend magazine’s 2015 Most Respected Business Leader, one of the 2015 Women of the Year by American Association of University Women and as one of Georgia Trend magazine’s Most Influential Georgians in 2012–2016, 2020 and 2021. She was also named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2017.
Shan serves on the board of directors for the Atlantic Capital Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Atlantic Capital Bank, N.A; the Georgia Power Company; Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.; Veritiv Corporation; Grady Health System and on the board of trustees of Emory University. Shan is also on the board of Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Historical Society, Zoo Atlanta and is a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and a life member of the board of councilors for The Carter Center.
Shan earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and religion from Emory University and a master of business administration from the Roberto Goizueta Business School of Emory University. She is also a graduate of the Rutgers University Executive Masters in Global Human Resource Leadership Program.
President and CEO
Metro Atlanta Chamber
Katie Kirkpatrick currently serves as the president and CEO of the 160-year-old Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC). Kirkpatrick is known for her public policy prowess, courageous leadership and more than a decade of driving impact through her work at MAC.
Previously as MAC’s chief policy officer, Kirkpatrick served as the link between the metro Atlanta business community and local and federal government. She galvanized the public policy team’s priorities in business climate, educated workforce, transportation and sustainability — including water, energy and the environment. The public policy team continues to fight to protect Georgia’s top-rated business climate against legislation discriminatory in nature or harmful to the region’s ability to create, recruit and retain jobs.
Kirkpatrick joined the Chamber in 2007 as vice president of environmental affairs, previously serving in numerous roles directly related to environmental policy and water-related issues. Kirkpatrick later served as the Chamber’s senior vice president for business higher education, leading the execution of key initiatives, strengthening the region’s higher education ecosystem and workforce development. Before joining MAC, she served as director of environmental engineering for Gold Kist, Inc., with responsibilities in regulatory compliance, designing treatment systems, strategic planning and more.
Kirkpatrick currently serves on the GRACE Commission, composed of public officials, law enforcement, businesses and nonprofit organizations, committed to ending human trafficking in the state of Georgia and the City of Atlanta. She is a vice-chair for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District and a past board chair for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Atlanta Track Club.
Kirkpatrick is a current member of Rotary Club of Atlanta, the International Women’s Forum and the Georgia Freight and Logistics Commission. She is a member of the board for Central Atlanta Progress and executive committee member of Learn4Life — an initiative working to advance educational outcomes for students in metro Atlanta. In 2021, Kirkpatrick was named one of Georgia Trend magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, and in 2020 she was named one of Atlanta magazine’s Atlanta 500, which ranks top leaders in the region.
A graduate of Auburn University, Kirkpatrick is a registered professional engineer in several states and a member of the school’s 100+ Women Strong group of successful female engineering alumnae. Kirkpatrick is an alumna of Leadership Atlanta, a program designed to propel established leaders to further serve their communities. She is a volunteer with youth sports leagues in metro Atlanta and the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.
Kirkpatrick lives in Atlanta with her husband, Dow, and their two sons, who currently attend the Lovett School, where she regularly serves on the parent volunteer association.
Senior Vice President
Angela Harris is the senior vice president of human resources for Randstad US, with responsibility for talent management and development to advance organizational effectiveness for the Randstad Technologies Group. Prior to being appointed to this role in 2014, Angela served as vice president of human resources for Randstad US. Angela brings nearly two decades of experience and expertise holding leadership roles and advancing HR service delivery and excellence within some of the largest staffing companies in the industry. During her career, Angela has served as director of HR for Spherion, senior director of HR for Todays Staffing and vice president of Aurum Technology's HR Group for the six years prior.
In addition to her HR and staffing experience, Angela also served nearly 10 years in customer service and relations in the banking and automotive industries. Her background includes establishing and centralizing customer call centers for banking operations, as well as holding leadership roles in electronic data systems (EDS).
Angela has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in communications from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She lives in Dallas and is active in her community, where she is a member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentoring program.
CEO, Randstad Technologies Group
Managing Director, Global Professionals
Graig is responsible for day-to-day operational leadership and strategic direction for Randstad’s professional staffing and solutions, including the technologies, engineering and life sciences lines of business as well as the company’s technology consulting brand, Celerity. Supporting Randstad globally, Graig manages the Randstad offshore services teams to bring efficiencies and delivery back to the U.S. market. Starting his career with the U.S. Marine Corps after college, Graig has since spent the last two decades in professional staffing, IT managed services and management consulting.
As president of AT&T’s Georgia operations, Venessa Harrison is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of AT&T’s public policy, economic development and community engagement activities across the state of Georgia.
Named to her current position in November 2018, Harrison works closely with state and local policymakers and business and community leaders to foster an environment that welcomes investment and innovation, focuses on bringing new technologies that drive innovation and create jobs and provides educational and economic opportunities to empower the improvement of quality of life for all Georgians.
Harrison began her telecommunications career as a telephone operator. She subsequently pursued a career-development opportunity in the network organization, quickly rising through the ranks of management within AT&T with increasing responsibility in the network, business and regulatory and external affairs departments. Prior to her current position, Harrison served for six years as president of AT&T North Carolina.
In addition to her corporate responsibilities, Harrison is committed to helping make a difference in the community and in the lives of others. She has a passion for driving positive impact and social equity and is currently chair of the board of trustees of North Carolina A&T State University and a member of the board of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the executive board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the board of the Georgia Research Alliance, the board of the Atlanta Committee for Progress and the Rotary Club of Atlanta. Additionally, she was recently honored by Families First with the 2021 Making a Difference Community Service Award, by the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce with the 2021 Moxie Award, the Atlanta Business Chronicle with the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Civic Award, by the Women in Technology with the 2020 Woman of the Year in Technology Award, by the Atlanta Business Chronicle with the 2019 Women Who Mean Business Award and named to Atlanta magazine’s 2020 and 2019 Most Influential Lists.
Harrison holds a business administration degree from the University of Phoenix. A North Carolina native, she is a proud wife, mother and grandmother.
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