Full Team Bios
Stacey A. Gordon, MBA — Chief Executive Officer
Stacey A. Gordon is a Diversity, Inclusion and Career Strategist who works to reduce bias in recruiting and barriers to hiring. Leading at the intersection of recruiting, career development, diversity and workplace culture, Stacey has delivered keynote speeches globally and developed educational content that has engaged professionals both in-person and in a virtual environment. She focuses on reworking how companies work. That includes how they recruit, hire and engage women and professionals of color.
Stacey is the creator of the number one resume course at LinkedIn learning and her unconscious bias course has been translated into several languages. She is a highly rated coach practitioner who has facilitated coaching of Chief Diversity Officers and other D&I practitioners at several Diversity & Inclusion forums. She was recognized by Pepperdine University as a Top 40 Over 40 Leader, was a finalist for Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women Helping Women Award and was recognized by Forbes as a Top 3 Business Leader Who Spoke Out About Diversity & Inclusion.
With an MBA from Pepperdine University’s Business School, Stacey is an Advisory Board Member to two career and technology related companies, was previously employed as an Adjunct Professor teaching Diversity in Organizations at Phillips Graduate University and manages programs for Professionals In Human Resources Association, the largest SHRM affiliate in the country. She is the author of a best-selling interview guide titled The Successful Interview: 99 Questions to Ask and Answer (and Some You Shouldn't) and four LinkedIn e-learning courses titled Recruiting for Diversity, Awareness of Unconscious Bias, Making a Career Change and Writing a Resume, which collectively have accumulated more than one million views. As a consultant and career strategist, Stacey has written career and diversity related articles and provided content for SHRM, FastCompany, Skillsoft, Forbes, NPR Radio, BBC Radio, Essence Magazine, and Monster.com, to name a few. She was also a career segment guest contributor to Fox Business.
Bonnie-Laila Bhattachary, MA — Global D&I
Bonnie-Laila has worked in three different sectors, in various roles. She truly believes in the “Blue Ocean” strategy of valuing difference. Bonnie-Laila’s professional journey has been a sum total of having worked in Logistics, a major European bank and spending over a decade with a large corporation as a Diversity and Inclusion consultant, coach and strategist. Personally, she is an environmentalist. This, along with her professional experiences, have supported her firm belief in the value of difference. Her overall journey has led her onto the path as a specialist in Change management, Culture, Diversity and Sustainability. Bonnie-Laila holds a Masters in Environmental Law and Policies from National Law University, Delhi and is a certified Change management coach from Cornell. She has made Wiesbaden, Germany her primary base where she runs her own D&I Consulting firm and also spends time working in Gurgaon, India.
LaVada English, MBA — Organizational Development
LaVada holds over 16 years of experience impacting cultures, she has led multiple projects and impacted countless learners. She has helped teams gain significant breakthroughs in the way they think about and do their work. The residual effects of LaVada's work began during her early career where she helped shape the leadership programs for the Johnson and Johnson corporation. Lavada's clients include the private, nonprofit and public sectors. She holds a BA in Communications, an MBA in Human Resource Management and several training certifications. LaVada has led teams to greater engagement, increased morale, new performance standards, and higher retention. She works to make teams better through organizational development and workplace cultural strategies. LaVada's approach is rooted in the belief that team cohesiveness and practical application of relevant techniques close cultural gaps and help gain greater business outcomes. Her experience includes process audits, team coaching and training, program assessments, strategy sessions, leadership coaching and customized "people" focused projects.
Lisa Gates, BFA — Leadership Coaching
With a career that spans profit and nonprofit business, from marketing and public relations to freelance writing to acting in theatre, Lisa Gates has learned a thing or two about pitching, selling, negotiating, and storytelling. As a certified coactive coach (CTI) with training in mediation, Crucial Conversations, and StrengthFinders, she helps smart, ambitious women become daily askers and confident actors in work and life by honing in on interview prep, strategy, script writing, and roleplaying.
Lisa also designs leadership, negotiation, and workplace coaching trainings that help women navigate organizational complexities, the frustrations of bias, and rise to the level of their aspirations.
Lisa has authored several video tutorials available online at lynda.com and LinkedIn, including Asking for a Raise, Negotiation Fundamentals, Resolving Conflict, Coaching and Developing Employees, and Coaching for Results.
James B. Golden, Psy.D, MPA, MH — Learning & Development
Dr. James B. Golden is Los Angeles based Learning & Development Specialist with over 10 years of organizational development experience in training methodology, design, executive coaching, systems improvement, motivation, cultural competence, and inclusion. Golden is a natural leader with compassion and emotionally intelligent praxis. He has several years of business consulting experience along with assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of major programs and events for non-profits, corporations, and government departments. Golden regularly presents research and data at national conferences including: the National Council of Black Studies, the American Psychological Association, the National Hip Hop Political Convention; and he has been invited to speak at colleges including: Howard University, Pepperdine University, University of California at Los Angeles, Sierra Nevada College, and Cal State University, Northridge. Golden earned Doctorate of Psychology, Master of Humanities, and Master of Public Administration degrees to hone his consulting and organizational development skills. He has published several articles for leading magazines/publications such as The Root, LinkedIn, Vibe, and Clutch; as well as four books including an NAACP Image Award winner. He is currently working in Los Angeles County to develop a full-scale corporate university for a regional healthcare organization.
Sonya Kaleel, MS — Organizational Learning & Design Strategist
Sonya is the Founder and Chief Design Strategist at The Inclusion Practice, a boutique consulting firm that supports organizations in capability building and creating sustainable workplace diversity, equity and inclusion practices. She brings 30 years of experience in learning and talent development where she supports organizations develop strategic approaches to cultivate inclusive and equitable environments, lead transformational change, and develop as inclusive leaders. She is an adjunct faculty member of Northwestern University’s Leading Equity and Inclusion in Organizations Master’s program, where she supports graduate students in designing an organizational change approach to align inclusion, equity, and belonging efforts to a company’s strategic vision, values and business plan. As a leadership coach/facilitator for The Holdsworth Center, she supports Texas public school leaders in an immersive action learning program designed to transform public schools through capacity building at the individual, team and system level to achieve excellence and equity in schools. She holds an MS in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. Sonya has lived in five countries on four continents, traveled to over 30 countries and currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Yasmin Marrero-Garcia, MS — Leadership & Empowerment Coach
As a first generation Afro-Latina from the West Bronx, NYC, Yasmin Marrero has unleashed her identity as a legacy maker and guides others in doing the same. With a background in behavioral neuroscience, a degree and certification in Learning, Organizational Change and Leadership Coaching from Northwestern University, Yasmin empowers individuals to unlock the personal permission to live a life based on what they deeply desire. She does so through one-on-one coaching and group workshops both in-person and virtually. Yasmin has also created Connect & Cultivate, the only Women of Color Empowerment Circle currently offered in Iowa City, IA. She collaborates as a coach and facilitator with the movements of Radical Reimagining and Rework Work to expand this impact across the world.
Farzana Nayani, MA — Intercultural Communications
Farzana Nayani is a nationally recognized leader in diversity & inclusion and intercultural consulting with over fifteen years of experience supporting Fortune 500 companies, startups, higher education institutions, and public-sector organizations. She is a frequently requested speaker and subject matter expert on cultural awareness, employee engagement, and intergroup relations in the North American and global workplace.
A former advisor for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Farzana has been invited to the White House on several occasions to represent the voice of diverse entrepreneurs at discussions on national business initiatives and government policy. She is also a seasoned trainer on strategic leadership, inclusion, collaboration, and effective communication. Her specialties also include engaging diverse audiences in both the workforce and the marketplace, while assisting organizations in achieving their organizational objectives. Farzana’s global background in Canada, the U.S., South and Southeast Asia affords her a keen perspective on working with stakeholders from populations from around the world.
Farzana has served as National Director of ERG Relations for the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) and Board Director for the Society of Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR) USA. Her most notable publications include a contribution to the Sage Handbook of International Management entitled “Cross-Cultural Training”, an online history curriculum for the Smithsonian, and Being All of Me: A Handbook for Teachers and Parents of Multiracial, Multiethnic, and Transracially Adopted Children. Farzana’s expertise has been featured in media outlets such as Forbes, DiversityInc, NPR, and the LA Times. She holds a Master’s Degree in Communication and Management from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and the esteemed East-West Center. Farzana is a qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory®, and has served as adjunct faculty with the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Intercultural Communication for over ten years. She is based in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and two young sons.
Victoria Pynchon, JD, LLM — Negotiation Strategies and Pay Equity
Victoria Pynchon, Esq., is the Founder of She Negotiates. She brings a quarter century of legal practice followed by a decade of mediation, arbitration and negotiation experiences to every engagement. As a former commercial litigator and trial attorney, Victoria not only knows the art of persuasion but also the fears, hopes and challenges faced by corporate CEOs, small business owners and fellow professionals. After earning her Master’s in conflict resolution from the world-famous Straus Institute at Pepperdine University School of Law, she published two books on the psychology of conflict and the practicalities of assisted negotiation - The Grownups’ ABCs of Conflict Resolution and Success as a Mediator for Dummies.
Victoria brought her passion for fair compensation to her membership on the Pay Equity Task Force convened by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
Kelly Watson, MBA — Women's Leadership Strategies
Kelly Watson is Managing Partner of Orange Grove Consulting and has spent more than 20 years as an accomplished operations and organizational development consultant. Kelly’s clients have included Raytheon, Oracle and Toyota, as well as Skillsoft and Linkage, for whom she has designed women’s leadership curriculum. Kelly has been an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University and is co-author of the book, The Orange Line: A Woman’s Guide to Integrating Career, Family, and Life.
Prior to consulting, Kelly served as Vice President, Marketing for Telecom New Zealand USA and has held other senior operational roles. Kelly holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada and an MBA from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.