Stars Who Mean Business

Feature2_Art_SliderThis past October, Diversity Woman magazine presented its Stars Who Mean Business Peer Awards during a reception at the 2015 National Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort & Convention Center, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The awards recognize, celebrate, and honor individuals whose work, passion, commitment, and results have made a positive impact in advancing the field of diversity and inclusion. “The Stars Who Mean Business Peer Awards honor diversity executives who share Diversity Woman magazine’s vision and commitment to support the leadership and executive development of women of all races, cultures, and backgrounds,” says Sheila Robinson, conference founder, publisher, and CEO of Diversity Woman Media.

Recipients of the 2015 Stars Who Mean Business Peer Awards were chosen by a distinguished committee of diversity leaders. The committee was chaired by Anise Wiley-Little, Chief Human Capital & Diversity Officer at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and included Tiane Mitchell Gordon (Principal and Founder, Square One Consulting), Graciela Meibar (Executive Coach and Consultant), Frank McCloskey (former Vice President of Diversity, Georgia Power), and May E. Snowden (Founder, Snowden & Associates).

The committee recognized leaders who delivered measurable results and impacted change within their organization and within the broader community, through selfless dedication to their work. “The 2015 honorees have demonstrated the criteria of understanding their craft not only by driving business results through diversity, but also by being generous with their deep knowledge, embracing their peers, and sharing knowledge by not forgetting about the up-and-coming diversity practitioners who are behind them,” says Anise Wiley-Little.

Leading Star Award

The Leading Star category recognizes a leader who, by example and practice, elevates the skills and career trajectories of all talent but particularly of female or minority talent within his or her organization. The recipient’s leadership is innovative and motivational. The Leading Star guides talent to higher levels of performance and builds both a pipeline and a bench to meet the growth demands of his or her organization.


Senior Partner / KORN FERRY

In her work with the global executive recruitment and talent management company, Audra Bohannon has long guided companies through a thoughtful and successful process of not only recruiting but also retaining and promoting diverse employees.

Take her role guiding the Campbell Soup Company in developing its Breakthrough Leadership program, which has led to an overall increase in retention and promotion of high-potential talent—of color—and has increased engagement across the company’s talent pipeline. The program has become one of Campbell’s most sought-after development opportunities within its Talent Management offerings.

Bohannon’s portfolio of client organizations includes a broad range of US and global industries and businesses: building and consumer products, financial services, food and beverage, health care, manufacturing and retail, pharmaceutical, technology and communications, and transportation. Her consulting, facilitation, and executive coaching services have spanned the corporate structure, from C-level executives to entry-level positions.

Bohannon is an in-demand conference speaker, panel moderator, seminar facilitator, and thought driver on topics related to development, inclusion, and diversity. Whether engaging an industry audience or speaking at a global women’s summit, she delivers high energy, practical tools, and a transformative message: “Lead life by design, not by default.”

Bohannon sits on the national board of Community Builders and Accelerated College Experiences, and serves on the Human Resources Committee of Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.



First Star Award

The First Star category recognizes an executive or senior leader who was the first business leader, or among the earliest leaders, to embrace diversity as a strategic business imperative. The First Star is a pioneer and is often considered a trailblazer in D&I. This leader has had positive impact beyond his or her immediate organization and often attracts wide recognition and imitation.


Global Chief Diversity Officer & VP, Global Community 
Engagement/McDonald’s Corporation

Throughout her 40-year career at McDonald’s, Patricia Harris has led the company’s inclusion journey from the early days of affirmative action in the United States to being one of the first corporations to expand diversity efforts globally.

Harris is responsible for the development and implementation of D&I strategies throughout McDonald’s, including at over 33,500 restaurants in 120 countries. She has been a prime mover in the establishment of McDonald’s Global Women’s Initiative, which has been a catalyst for the advancement of women at McDonald’s worldwide. Today, women and people of color represent 45 percent of McDonald’s franchisees, 80 percent of restaurant management staff, and 69 percent of the corporate workforce. In addition, 72 percent of purchases of food, packaging, premiums, and uniforms come from businesses owned by women and people of color.

Harris was a founding member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, an organization dedicated to developing leadership talent and ensuring career advancement among executive women in the food service industry. The organization now has more than 22,000 active participants and volunteers.

Under her leadership, McDonald’s has been widely cited for its commitment to D&I. This recognition includes Fortune magazine’s Top 50 Places for Minorities to Work, Black Enterprise magazine’s Top 40 Companies for Diversity, Latina Style magazine’s Best Companies for Latinas, Asian Enterprise magazine’s Top 25 Companies for Asians, and Work Life Matters magazine’s Disability Diversity Award.

Harris is also committed to her work with nonprofit organizations, including the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the Roosevelt University Board of Trustees, the Girl Scouts USA’s Board of Trustees, the Global Summit of Women, the Executive Leadership Council, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

Harris documented McDonald’s D&I journey in her book None of Us Is As Good As All of Us: How McDonald’s Prospers by Embracing Inclusion and Diversity.





Peer Star Award

The Peer Award category recognizes an individual nominated by his or her peers who has demonstrated leadership in driving the work of diversity and inclusion. The recipient is selfless in sharing, mentoring, sponsoring, and proactively reaching out to others to support the greater body of work in the field.

Carmen Smith

Vice President of Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies, Walt Disney Imagineering/The Walt Disney Company

At Walt Disney Imagineering, Carmen Smith is responsible for developing a diverse pipeline of people to enhance Imagineering’s consultant talent and its creative processes. Her four areas of primary emphasis are creative product and services development, talent identification (including casting talent to the full range of creative assignments), editorial participation in the creative process, and the establishment of external partnerships to enhance product relevance in the diverse global marketplace.

Smith has been deeply involved in D&I initiatives at Walt Disney. Five years ago, she spearheaded the IDEATION summit. The event was conceived around the conviction that diversity—of people, ideas, and practices—is a fundamental driver of creativity and innovation and a critical factor in the company’s ability to stay relevant. In 2015 alone, the domestic summits offered more than 79 sessions with over 135 speakers for approximately 2,100 employees.

Prior to joining Walt Disney Imagineering, Smith served as Vice President of Global Strategies for Diversity and Inclusion for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. She also served as the Vice President of the Talent Development Programs for the 
Disney/ABC Television Group.

Smith has received numerous awards and accolades, including several prestigious honors for her work promoting diversification in the television and film industry. In 2007, she received an honorary doctorate from the Metropolitan College of New York. She was also a presenter at the United Nations’ Fourth Non-Governmental Forum on Women in Beijing, China.

A native of New York, Smith graduated from Hunter College with a degree in communication arts, received her master’s in international administration from New York University, and completed the Simmons Graduate School of Management Certificate Program for Developing Managers and the Harvard University Women and Power Executive Education Program at John F. Kennedy School of Government.






Leading Star Award

The Leading Star category recognizes an individual who is viewed as an emerging leader who clearly is on track to be an industry leader. Although relatively new in his or her profession (three years or less in the diversity leadership field), this Leading Star has already demonstrated the capability to make a positive impact.

Ramona Royal, PHR, CPCU

Manager of Employment and Employee Integration/
Amica Mutual Insurance Company

In her position at Amica Mutual in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Ramona Royal focuses on diversity, engagement, and employment issues. She became responsible for D&I in 2014—and has run with it. That year, she transitioned Amica’s diversity program to a diversity and inclusion program, showing her recognition of this change in the industry and its significance. Her team created a new logo for the program announcement along with a short video that explained the importance of the transition and how inclusion is an essential part of diversity.

Royal, who has more than 15 years of HR experience, holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She has earned the insurance industry’s Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation and holds a Professional in Human Resources certification.

Royal started at Amica in 1998 as an associate adjuster in the company’s 
Philadelphia Regional Office. In 2000, Royal was promoted to management recruiter in Amica’s corporate headquarters in Lincoln. She has held various positions in the 15 years since, including Recruiting Coordinator and Manager of Employment and Employee Integration. In 2014, she was promoted to Human Resources Officer with a focus on talent acquisition and inclusion.

A native of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Royal is a volunteer at Year Up, a Providence-based program that empowers low-income young adults to go from poverty to professional careers in a single year. Additionally, she serves as treasurer for the Diversity and Inclusion Professionals in Rhode Island.

This past summer, Royal was named to Providence Business News’ 40 Under Forty.





Leading Star Award

The Leading Star category recognizes an individual who is viewed as an emerging leader who clearly is on track to be an industry leader. Although relatively new in his or her profession (three years or less in the diversity leadership field), this Leading Star has already demonstrated the capability to make a positive impact.


Angela L. Talton

Senior Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion/Nielsen

Angela L. Talton was appointed to her position at the leading consumer survey company in 2012, after spending many years in operations, IT, and financial reporting. She leads Nielsen’s global strategy for new and ongoing D&I initiatives, including supplier diversity, education and training, diverse organizational development, recruitment and retention, and client-driven solutions.

Talton created a multipronged approach to further Nielsen’s focus on diversity and inclusion. Since 2012, the company’s spending with diverse suppliers has increased over 180 percent, contributing to the innovation and productivity of the company. In May 2013, she launched an 18-month leadership development program designed to grow, mentor, challenge, and enhance the potential of high-
performing early to midcareer employees committed to building their careers at Nielsen. Seventy-five percent of the program’s participants are diverse. To date, Nielsen has graduated one class, launched a second one, and reported promotional 
or lateral moves for over 80 percent of the first class and over 60 percent of the second class.

Since Talton assumed the D&I leadership role, Nielsen, which conducts surveys in more than a hundred countries, has progressively improved its ranking to become one of the top companies for diversity and inclusion in several rankings.

Talton came to Nielsen from Sears Holdings Corporation in Hoffman Estates, 
Illinois, where she served as Divisional Vice President, Inbound Committee Chair to the Conference Board’s Council of Global Diversity & Inclusion Executives. In 2012, she was recognized by Diversity MBA magazine among the Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders.

Talton, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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