Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
2018 Diversity Conference Speakers
Share |
 Register Schedule
Speakers  Sponsor  Nominate

 2018 Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Award Ceremony

July 10, 2018  Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, Dover, Delaware

“Diversity and Inclusion:  Strategies beyond the Board Room”


Conference Speakers


Dr. LaVerne T. Harmon

 President of Wilmington University


     Exhibitor Se

Dr. LaVerne T. Harmon became President of Wilmington University in July of 2017 after being unanimously approved by its Board of Trustees. She is the first African-American woman to be named the president of a college or university in the state of Delaware. Dr. Harmon holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Harmon began working at Wilmington University in 1989 and held numerous positions while earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wilmington University, then maintained her full-time position while earning her doctorate. She held key roles in the University’s internal operations, planning and strategic growth, and her tenacity propelled her to flourish from positions as assistant to the President to Director of Human Resources; from Director of Student Affairs and Alumni Relations to Vice President of Student Affairs; and from Executive Vice President to President. This diverse experience prepared Dr. Harmon for the expanding role of American college presidents, particularly in the areas of student recruitment and retention.

Dr. Harmon is dedicated to the well-being and success of all students. Her greatest strengths are her creativity, determination, and insistence on leading with compassion and dignity. A collaborative leader who thrives on building partnerships, Dr. Harmon created the university’s Leadership Institute and established its Office of Student Affairs. She also advanced its athletics from NAIA to NCAA Division II, and the guidance she provided during those complex negotiations was noted in the Wilmington University Board of Trustees’ official minutes.

Dr. Harmon has earned numerous accolades, including the American Council on Education Leadership Award, the National Association of University Women Educator of the Year Award and the Community Service Award, the Markevic A. Johnson Scholarship Foundation Woman of Distinction Award, and the Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year Award.

An ardent proponent of community service, Dr. Harmon is a member of the United Way of Delaware’s Board of Directors. She also is a board member of Boys & Girls Club of Delaware, The Grand Opera House, and the Wilmington Leaders Alliance. Dr. Harmon was instrumental in establishing the Delaware American Council on Education Women’s Network and was a member and Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. She has mentored for several groups, including the national Help One Student to Succeed Program, and also founded the Linda Thomas Scholarship Fund at Wilmington University.

t Up


Warren S. Cook




Warren Cook is a co-founder of SymbianceHR and leads all client consulting engagements.  He is a human capital strategy management subject matter expert with over 20 years of experience as a strategic business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public-sector organizations.

Warren is responsible for all client consulting engagements from initial needs assessment and compliance review through delivery of customized complex human capital strategy solutions that meet the client's business goals.   He has a proven track record of providing executive coaching and guidance to business leaders and human resource professionals at all levels including the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies.

Warren combines his human capital, project management, and business management experience with a philosophy of solving business challenges through the strategic implementation of policies, processes, and procedures to deliver sustainable solutions that demonstrate ROI, mitigate and manage employment practices risk, and empower organizational success.

Warren is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today” and holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management, an MBA in Project Management, and a M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.  Warren is a member of the DE SHRM Board of Directors, and is a SHRM Certified Professional.



Stephanie Staats

YWCA Delaware


Stephanie Staats has devoted more than two decades to advancing the mission of Delaware nonprofits. She is experienced in all facets of organizational leadership which includes strategic planning, fiscal management, program development, marketing, public relations, fund development, board relations, and human resources. She joined YWCA Delaware in 2004 as chief program director and under her leadership client engagement doubled and new revenue sources increased almost 20% within five years. Her accomplishments include the design, launch and successful implementation of an 8-year, $1.2 million entrepreneurship program; a nationally recognized, multi-sector statewide coalition to increase asset building opportunities for Delaware families; and in 2015, a $.5 million Sexual Assault Response Center. In 2016 she was selected as Chief Executive Officer for YWCA Delaware. Stephanie’s prior experience includes the positions of Director of Development for the Delaware Community Foundation, Chief of Staff for the Delaware Humanities Forum, and Communications Manager for the Grand Opera House. She currently serves on the board of the Delaware Theater Company, Delaware Continuum of Care, and the YWCA USA CEO Advisory Council. She is a member of the Forum of Executive Women and the International Women’s Forum. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Wilmington University, a Bachelors degree from the University of Delaware, and professional certificates in Community Economic Development from Neighborworks America.


Michelle Taylor

United Way of Delaware



Michelle A. Taylor is President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Delaware, one of the state’s largest non-profit community impact organizations.  As the leader of the organization, she has the vision to address our communities’ challenges through collaboration and partnerships to increase outcomes that align with Early Education Success, Career and College Readiness, and Financial Stability. Ms. Taylor works across all sectors of the community to include private, public and corporate sectors and particularly the communities that are beings served to improve conditions to strengthen Delaware. She possesses a high level of broad business and management skills and is effective at generating resources and financial support for the organization, and is dedicated to shared and measurable goals for the common good - creating, resourcing, scaling and leveraging strategies for large investment and impact. 

A career non-profit professional, Ms. Taylor is a standing board member of several professional organizations and agencies.  She believes that change is on the horizon but will require all of us to move from out of our comfort zones and truly work united. Ms. Taylor holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Morgan State University and an MBA from Wilmington University. 



Chandra Pitts 

One Village Alliance



A dedicated visionary, philanthropist and social entrepreneur, Chandra Pitts is committed to growing youth into their true greatness through education, entrepreneurship and the arts. As a first-generation Mexican American and a Black woman, her passion, integrity and authentic voice of advocacy for marginalized youth locally, nationally and globally is driven by her own life experiences. A justice-driven businesswoman, Chandra created a social enterprise securing her first multi-million dollar contract to address the needs of marginalized youth and families at the age of 31.

Chandra Pitts began her life’s work organizing youth in Jamaica whose families could not afford to send them to school. In 2008, she developed the largest school-based mentoring program in Delaware’s Christina School District serving 247 at risk youth. In 2009, she founded The Village Learning Center securing a 2.1 million dollar federally funded contract to continue her work with marginalized youth. Her company's innovative education model was adopted by the Department of Education in Delaware and New Jersey, implemented in 42 schools throughout the region, and created 62 new jobs in its first year alone.  

She used this successful social enterprise to launch non-profit, social impact agency, One Village Alliance, Inc. As founding President & CEO, Chandra’s primary work takes a gender specific approach to growing purpose-driven youth into their true greatness with a strong focus on education, global leadership and social enterprise. “Girls Can Do Anything!” empowers hundreds of girls throughout the Delaware Valley to redefine womanhood and what it means to be a girl. Raising Kings changes society’s prominent image and expectations of men and boys of color by elevating the level of positive male engagement in the lives of boys. And Suitable Men provides fatherhood training, man-to-man mentoring, and leadership support for dads in our "village" approach to holistic youth development.  

In 2017, Chandra Pitts became the youngest person ever inducted into the Delaware Hall of Fame for Women, an esteemed honor she accepts on behalf of all the extraordinary women who paved the way before her. The YWCA featured her among 12 social innovators in a life-size travelling exhibit that opened at  Delaware's African American Heritage Museum. Chandra graced the September 2017 cover of Delaware Today Magazine as one of the most Intriguing Delawareans. The Center For Urban Families selected her among the nation's 10 most promising practitioners in fatherhood, family strengthening and Black male achievement.  Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year issue featured Chandra as one of the nation's 50 Hometown Hero's. She's been honored at the United Nations Global Women Leaders Forum; is a recipient of the NAACP Youth Impact Award; and was named one of Delaware's most influential 40 under 40. Ebony Magazine highlighted Chandra's work among Afro-Latina leaders making transformative impact across the nation. A University of Delaware Women’s Studies documentary depicting Chandra's personal narrative of won the Nanú Paloma Guerrero Award for Excellence.  

While Ms. Pitts continues to be recognized locally and nationally, her greatest reward remains the impact made through her life of service and the unparalleled honor of raising her son, Jahlihl.  

“Perseverance is my motto.” 
Madam CJ Walker. 





Sign In
Sign In securely

Delaware Bio Science & Technology Career Fair

March 13, 2018 DE SHRM Dinner Meeting, Productive Conflict: A New Approach to an Old Problem

July 10, 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Conference

11/1/2018 » 11/2/2018
2018 18th Annual DE SHRM State Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors