Recognizing 20 Modern History Makers for Black History Month 2023

This Black History Month, we're highlighting 20 role models and leaders who are making a positive impact in their workplaces. By recognizing these leaders and their achievements, we  gain inspiration and motivation for our own contributions at work and beyond.
Hannah Rome, Senior Program Manager, Mindr
Hannah Rome is an accomplished Senior Program Manager who has experience in both the public and private sectors. Currently Hannah manages the Mindr Mentorship Exchange program, an industry-leading mentorship program that has reached participants from over 30 countries. Prior to her role at Mindr, Hannah was a Program Manager at the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) where she oversaw the Business Pathways Programs, which are business accelerator programs for NYCHA and low-income New Yorkers to start their own home-based childcare business or catering business. Why is DE&I important to Hannah? "Diversity, equity, and inclusion help to create a more just and equitable society and can benefit both individuals and organizations."
Austin Smith, Vice President, Houlihan Lokey
Austin is a seasoned investment banking professional with over a decade of experience executing a variety of transactions for clients in the healthcare sector including M&A, strategic advisory, and public and private financings. Austin excels at advising clients in preparation for a liquidity event through change of control or sale of equity. Austin has in-depth knowledge of the healthcare services sector with a focus on payor services and cost containment, Medicare Advantage, medical products distribution, and workers compensation.
Sandra Campbell, Principal, Global Head of Payroll, Apollo
Sandra is a Principal on Apollo’s Human Capital Team and the Global Head of Payroll. Her team is responsible for overseeing compensation across 15 countries and ensuring that the firm remains compliant with all payroll related regulations. Sandra is also a culture carrier who serves as the co-chair of MOSAIC, one of Apollo’s affinity networks focused on  fostering community, engaging employees and supporting professional development for the firm’s multi-ethnic population. MOSAIC alongside the other Affinity networks play a key role in advancing the firm’s DEI strategy and promoting belonging and engagement. Our goal is to cultivate a sense of belonging that enables all individuals to be their authentic selves, which in turn will not only elevate performance but enhance their overall workplace experience. Who is Sandra? "I am equity because who I am matters..."

David Beck, Branch Chief-Business Intelligence, United States Space Force
David, is a Systems Engineering Technical Expert in the Transportation Safety Directorate, Sustainability, Electrification, Autonomous Mobility, Technology Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Space, Air, Land, Sea, National Security Systems Engineering Research Development, and Defense. David is the Founder of HUB Venture Partners LLP which emphasizes growing up to 1000 start-ups across all product and service disciplines domestically and globally. David is also the Chief Technical Scientist/Officer of Autonomous Directive Ventures focused on human-centric connectivity areas in mobility. A Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that resonates with David: "Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Jillian McGlockton, Vice President DE&I, Ares
Jillian is Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Ares Management Corporation. Prior to joining Ares, Jillian drove DE&I initiatives at Goldman Sachs. She recently participated in the Mindr Mentorship Exchange, an industry-leading internal mentorship program where she was awarded a mentorship certification badge. Jillian is also a University of Virginia alum where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and African and African American Studies. Jillian believes that: "Anyone can be an ally - every one deserves an ally."
Jian Bland, Director, NYC Tech Hub, Mastercard
Jian is a strategic partnerships professional working at the cross-sector of technology, social impact, and the future of work. With 7+ years of product design, innovation, and stakeholder management, Jian has a background working with large corporations, venture capital firms, startups, and non-profits alike generating strategies, implementation, and evaluations. Jian currently leads Mastercard’s New York City Technology Hub. There she focuses on talent acquisition, culture and future of work, technology branding, and employee and community engagement. Jian approaches leadership by: "creating equity between talent and opportunity."
Brian Black, Director D&I Customer Channels, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Brian Black is a senior leader and executive with extensive human resources, public relations, community, and government relations expertise, complemented by excellence in diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Brian has a proven record of helping organizations and people perform optimally through positive role modeling, executive-level guidance, and informed leadership. Brian is known for a strong legacy in community service, education, public policy, and cultural transformations. What is Brian working towards? "Cultivating a beloved community mindset to transform unjust systems."
Courtney Thompson, Sr. Program Manager DE&I, Silicon Valley Bank
Courtney Thompson is a Senior Program Manager of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Silicon Valley Bank. Courtney has a proven ability to effectively plan, coordinate, and meet deadlines. She is goal-oriented and customer-focused; with a commitment to executing solutions on time and under budget. Courtney has also demonstrated success in streamlining processes and identifying appropriate business solutions. She has a proven ability to guide Teams across various ERGs in alignment with ID&E initiatives. What's a quote that Courtney stands by? "Here’s to the innovators. The creatives. The doers. The ones who challenge the status quo. The ones who see things differently."
Dionna Scales, Sr. Director, L&D and DI&B, Buzzfeed
Dionna is the Senior Director of L&D and DI&B at Buzzfeed. Dionna has a passion for helping people reach their career goals. That passion has allowed her to focus on diversity & inclusion, talent development and campus and professional recruiting as well as internship and rotation program management. Additionally, Dionna is a skilled training facilitator with extensive experience in event planning. Finally, she values diversity and believes that organizations perform their best when their employee population reflects the diversity of backgrounds, thoughts, experiences and cultures that we find in the world around us. Dionna says, "We’re not perfect (and never will be). We’re also not finished (and never will be). But, we are genuinely trying to make our company (and content) a safe and inclusive space for everyone."
Blair C. Smith, Senior Director, Milken Institute
Blair C. Smith is a Senior Director at Milken Institute. Mr. Smith was previously the Founder and CEO of Promethean AB Strategies LLC, a strategic consultancy focused on helping diverse led Asset Management firms achieve their goals. Mr. Smith is the former Chief Investment Officer for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, a CDFI. Mr. Smith was responsible for co-managing a $5.2 billion Emerging Manager investment portfolio, within the State of New York Common Retirement Fund. The program has both traditional and alternative asset class strategies including: real estate, private equity, public equity, hedge funds and opportunistic. What drives Mr. Smith? "Creating equity and jobs, and driving inclusive economic growth that benefits ALL communities."
Rose Thibert, Manager, Clinical Field Application Specialist Team, NA, QIAGEN
Rose is a Manager, Clinical Field Application Specialist Team, NA at QIAGEN. She is an accomplished, dedicated, detail-oriented, and energetic management leader. Rose has diverse experience in healthcare, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical environments and has a proven track record of working across all organizational levels to advance key projects, initiatives, and priority areas. Rose believes that: "Great leaders don't see themselves as great. Great leaders see themselves as human."
Joi Bourgeois, Global Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Kirkland & Ellis
Joi Bourgeois is the Global Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Kirkland & Ellis. Joi has over 30 years of experience in the legal industry as an attorney and a business and leadership development coach. She promotes people and ideas and helps Kirkland’s women and diverse lawyers build and grow critical relationships. Joi works directly with the Firm's clients to driving change and collaborates closely with the Firm’s leaders to attract, recruit and promote diverse talent. Joi's goal is to help women, of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys feel like they truly belong and have access to the same opportunity as everyone else. What's a quote that resonates with Joi? "My humanity is bound up in yours, because we can only be human together."
Chuck Marcelin, Head of Talent Management, Kinly
Chuck is the Head of Talent Management at Kinly. He is a Global Talent Management Professional that is not afraid to take new & innovative approaches to HR.  Chuck has a passion for finding and developing the best talent in the industry. He is a smart worker, and strongly believes that the workplace can not only be hardworking, but fun! What is Chuck proud of? "Our team’s diversity is a direct reflection of our dedication to proudly serve Black America."
Atoyia Scott Harris, Attorney, Proskauer Rose LLP
Atoyia is an Attorney at Proskauer Rose in its Labor and Employment Litigation and Litigation Practice Groups. With bench trial, jury trial, and administrative hearing experience, Atoyia approaches each matter strategically to provide the best result for clients. Atoyia also provides training and conducts company investigations. Atoyia's passion for litigation began during her involvement in the moot court and trial advocacy programs at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. As a licensed attorney in both Alabama and Louisiana, Atoyia is a member of each state's bar association, and its federal and state courts. Atoyia is also the Co-Chair of Proskauer’s Black Lawyers Affinity Group and serves as a member of the Proskauer Women’s Alliance Steering Committee and as the Chair of the DRI 2023 Diversity for Success Seminar. Atoyia says: "Everyone has a role in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is imperative that we no longer talk about the progress needed, but proactively act to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment."
Raven Brown, Anchor/Reporter, WHEC-TV News10NBC
Raven Brown started at News10NBC in 2020 and was named the station's first-ever weekend morning anchor. When Raven is not on the desk, she is out in the field covering breaking news or community-based stories. Raven has over 7 years of on-air experience. Most recently she had the opportunity to cover the Buffalo mass shooting, Cuomo scandal, winter storms, elections, and a rise in violence in Rochester. Raven is originally from the Atlanta area and graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism. How is Raven promoting change in her industry? Raven said: "Debuted my braids on the anchor desk last night and it was nothing but love from everyone. I’m so happy we are living in a time where it’s ok to branch out from what’s considered 'the norm.'"
Brian Bejile, Chief Executive Officer, Octaura
Brian Bejile is the Chief Executive Officer of Octaura, where he brings two decades of senior trading positions and leadership experience to the role. Prior to founding Octaura, Brian was most recently at Citi as Managing Director and Global Head of CLO Issuer Management, a combined offering across syndicated loan trading, financing and securitization. Before that, Brian ran the Loan Portfolio Trading and Global CLO trading desks. He was formally recognized for having the number-one CLO trading desk by volume for multiple years in a row. Driven by his passion for simplifying and evolving markets, Brian sought the backing of Citi to bring his idea of an independent execution, data and analytics platform for fixed income markets to life. Throughout his career, "diversity in all its facets has been a key ingredient to all his successful innovations."
Dr. Gina Guillaume-Joseph, Chief Technology Officer, Workday
Dr. Gina Guillame-Joseph is a Technology Executive and Exceptional Systems Engineer.  She is currently the Chief Technology Officer at Workday. Dr. Gina Guillame-Joseph is an author with a demonstrated history of working across multiple industries. She is skilled in Requirements Management, Analytical Skills, Systems and Enterprise Architecture. Additionally,  Dr. Gina Guillame-Joseph is a professor of Systems Engineering advising doctoral candidates within the higher education industry. She has strong technical professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University. Here's what Gina's community had to say about her when she transitioned into her role at Workday: "As a black woman and math teacher transitioning to tech, seeing you in this role, I am beyond inspired."
Victor Glover, Astronaut, NASA
Victor J. Glover, Jr. is an Astronaut at NASA. He was selected as an astronaut in 2013 while serving as a Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate. He is currently training for Crew-1, the first post-certification mission of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft – the second crewed flight for that vehicle – and a long duration mission aboard the International Space Station. Glover is a Naval Aviator and was a test pilot in the F/A18 Hornet, Super Hornet and EA18G Growler. He and his family have been stationed in many locations in the United States and Japan and he has deployed in combat and peacetime. Victor was most recently a Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate. He worked on the personal staff of the Honorable John McCain supporting defense and foreign relations policy and oversight. Victors 3 tips for success: "Resilience, Life-long Learning, & Teamwork!"
Demi Obayomi, Vice President, Sapphire
Demi is currently a Vice President at Sapphire. He is a technology investor with experience in venture capital, investment banking and entrepreneurship. Demi has had the opportunity to work with companies across a wide variety of categories and supporting entrepreneurs with building a product for enterprises and for consumers. What energizes Demi? "What excites me about the technology industry is its ability to bring innovative products to market that transform how organizations across the economy work and how individuals live their daily lives."