Keynote Presenter:

Dr. Mira Krishnan

Dr. Mira Krishnan is a board-certified neuropsychologist and consultant. Her professional work surrounds inclusion and advancement of the needs of autistic people, people with disabilities, and gender and sexually diverse people. She is the author of a national position paper on serving LGBTQ youth in youth care settings, and she is the President-Elect of the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity within the American Psychological Association. She has been named one of the Trans100, a recognition of influential transgender Americans. She grew up in Holland and currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI.  

Panelists:

Kimberley Sims 
Elected Officials Panel 

Mayor Kimberley Sims: community leader, visionary, advocate.  Kim chooses to use her voice to help to reframe mindsets of the greater community to foster education and bring about reconciliation and healing.  Married to Andrew for 25 years, they have 3 children and reside in the family home in Muskegon Heights. 

Kurt Reppart 
Elected Officials Panel  

Kurt serves the City of Grand Rapids as a City Commissioner for the 1st Ward. Prior to being elected he was active in the community in leadership at The Other Way Ministries for 18 years in the Westside neighborhood where he lives and worships.

Frank Garcia 
Elected Officials Panel

Frank Garcia is serving his second term as Ottawa County Commissioner representing District 1. He holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.A. from Michigan State University. Frank is a retired public-school educator and administrator, including Superintendent of Holland Public Schools. As County Commissioner Frank represents Ottawa County on several county, local and state committees, including Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Committee on the National Association of County Officials.

Monica Sparks
Elected Officials Panel

Monica Sparks is a wife, mother, and servant leader. She is a Kent County Commissioner, licensed State of Michigan Real Estate Broker and Certified SCORE business mentor. Monics was selected Diversity Business Leader of the year by Corp Magazine (2009), and in 2018 as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. 

Alize Asberry Payne
Diversity Equity and Inclusion & Racial Equity Officers Panel

Alize Asberry Payne is a lifelong social justice changemaker and the first Racial Equity Officer for Washtenaw County. A data nerd specializing in policy design, her favorite expression is “what do the metrics say?”

Darius Quinn 
Diversity Equity and Inclusion & Racial Equity Officers Panel

Darius Quinn is a Human Resources Manager for the County of Kent, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His duties include serving as a key member of the County’s employee relations and labor relations team and oversight of the County’s diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives. Darius is a long-time leader in the area of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in the West Michigan area. He is an active member of the greater Grand Rapids community.  For the past nine years, Darius has served on the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority’s Operations Committee and he also serves the Chairman of the Authority’s Community Inclusion Group. Darius and his family reside in the City of Kentwood, where he currently serves as a City Planning Commissioner. Prior to joining Kent County in 1999, Darius also worked in Human Resources in the automotive industry and in the Human Resources Department for Ferris State University, his alma mater. 

Robyn Afrik 
Diversity Equity and Inclusion & Racial Equity Officers Panel

Bio:  Robyn serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, holding the first office in Ottawa County. The department is responsible for leading and developing an equity plan for the entire range of human differences.  Robyn is an author, speaker and adjunct professor; teaching on topics of DEI.

Workshop Presenters:

Alfredo Hernandez 
The Racial Equity Toolkit: A Road Map for Government, Organizations and Communities and 
Diversity Equity and Inclusion & Racial Equity Officers Panel

Alfredo Hernandez was born and raised in Panama. He moved to the United States in 1990 after graduating from high school and joined the US ARMY at the age of twenty. He spent 5 years stationed in Hawaii before moving to Illinois in 1997 and Michigan in 1998. Alfredo obtained his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and Philosophy at Grand Valley State University where his work, Language, Culture, Perception and Knowledge, was published in the McNair Scholar Journal. He pursued his graduate studies at Western Michigan University where he earned a master’s degree in Comparative Religion. As a McNair Scholar and Thurgood Marshall Fellowship Recipient, Alfredo believes that knowledge of our history and culture help us understand how we experience our experiences and the variables that shape inclusive and exclusive practices. Alfredo has worked in the field of equity for numerous years developing inclusive strategies for organizational change; he teaches philosophy and anthropology courses at the College level, and he is currently the Equity Officer for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.  

Stacy Stout 
The Ups and Downs of One City’s Journey and 
Diversity Equity and Inclusion & Racial Equity Officers Panel

Stacy Stout - Director of the Office of Equity & Engagement with the City of Grand Rapids that oversees the City’s community engagement, equity, diversity and inclusion strategies. She is a K-Connect board trustee, GRPS Native American Education Program Parent Committee member, and Latina Network of West Michigan board member.

Patti Caudill 
City of Grand Rapids Equal Business Opportunity Program

Patti Caudill, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Diversity and Inclusion Manager - Patti began working worked for the City in 1993. Her current role is Diversity and Inclusion Manager. Patti manages the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the City which consists of workforce, supplier, and community diversity efforts as well as serves as staff to the Community Relations Commission.

AJ Hills 
City of Grand Rapids Equal Business Opportunity Program

Alvin Hills, IV, Business Developer - Alvin began working worked for the City in 2017 and was promoted to Business Developer in 2018. Alvin currently administers the City’s Equal Business Opportunity Programs to promote Supplier Diversity including in Construction, Goods and Services and Professional Services including the Micro-Local Business Enterprise program.

Sarah Allen
Inclusion in Hiring: Using an Evidence-Based Selection Process

Bio: Sarah Allen is the Human Resources Manager at Ottawa County where she oversees several aspects of the employee experience including talent acquisition, onboarding, development and recognition. Prior to her career in public service, Sarah worked with several non-profit organizations focused on promoting diversity, inclusion and equity. She received her BA in Sociology and Spanish and is currently pursuing her MPA.

Lisa Stefanovsky
Building Health Equity Capacity

Since 2006, Lisa Stefanovsky has provided executive leadership for the Ottawa County Department of Public Health as the Administrative Health Officer overseeing programs and services that protect public health, safety and the environment.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and Human Nutrition from Northern Michigan University and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University.

Sandra Lake
Building Health Equity Capacity

Sandra Lake is the Community Health Manager at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. She received her B.S.N. and M.P.H. from Grand Valley State University. Her commitment to the work of health equity is fueled by both her work experience as a home-visiting public health nurse, and her lived experience.