Erika Bower, PharmD, BCACP
AISHA GHORI OZAKI
David Guralnick, PhD
SVETLANA YEDRESHTEYN, PSYD
Marisa Afzali is the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Progressive Insurance, where she drives the execution of enterprise strategies to leverage, advance and integrate D&I within the organization. Her work focuses on building an diverse workforce and inclusive culture where people can belong, contribute and thrive. Marisa has facilitated ongoing efforts to retain and advance underrepresented talent, and has created educational and engagement opportunities designed to increase intercultural competence and allyship across the organization. Marisa has a background in accounting and human resources. Prior to joining Progressive, she held roles in HR management and consulting in the education and health care fields where she founded/co-chaired a University’s first diversity council and created D&I educational programming. She’s served on the board of the Washington State Association for Multicultural Education, and the City of Bellevue, WA’s “Conversations on Race and Culture”, as well as the Seattle-area HR association’s D&I committee. She’s been featured in DiversityInc and CAREERS and the disABLED magazines, and presented at the Forum on Workplace Inclusion, Diversity Best Practices conferences, and local HR workshops. Marisa holds a Master’s degree in HR Management and is based in Seattle.
Sandra is an experienced Financial Services leader with a demonstrated history of success leading large teams through transformational change. Exceptional results in operational effectiveness, business management and employee engagement in Wealth, Learning and Operations. She is Head of Learning & Development Centres of Excellence for RBC, the Canadian banking industry market leader with over 80,000 employees worldwide. The L&D Centres of Excellence include over 100 learning professionals that provide Learning Design, Development, Onboarding, Facilitation and Support to the enterprise. L&D at RBC is constantly developing and growing as a function, innovating and striving for operational excellence. Before joining RBC, Sandra was with BMO Financial Group. She led the integration of many organizations into BMO post-acquisition, such as AIG Insurance, Lloyd George and M&I Bank. She has experience working within the US and Canada and with Globally Resourced teams. Sandra has a MBA from Dalhousie University.
David Bojarzin is Senior Advisor, Emerging Capabilities and Leadership Learning at Bank of
Montreal’s corporate university, BMO IFL. In this role, David helps leaders develop the skills they
need to lead effectively in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. His areas
of focus include Agile Leadership, Digital Transformation, Workplace Experience, and Change
David has over 20 years of experience in adult learning and development, and he is passionate about working with leaders to maximize their own performance and that of their teams. Outside of BMO, David is a part-time Communications Professor, specializing in written and oral business communication. He is also a freelance writer with over 50 bylines.
David holds a B.Ed. in Adult Education from Brock University, a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in English Literature from Western University.
Matt Boschi is an award-winning training leader that specializes in the development of: team
members, instructional designers, trainers, business leaders, skill-based training programs, and
organizational learning platforms. Matt and his teams have spearheaded the development and
implementation of company-wide training for three different organizations that have ranked in
the "Top 125" training organizations in the world (as ranked by Training Magazine). For the last
9 years, Matt has directed/lead all the training initiatives for the country’s second largest
mortgage company (United Shore) and number one wholesale mortgage lender in America
(UWM). Matt’s company has recently secured three consecutive Top Ten rankings from Training
Magazine (#8 in 2018, #9 in 2019, and #5 in 2020) and has made the prestigious Top 125 list for
six consecutive years.
Matt’s other accolades include:
- 25 years of hands on experience in the “people development” business. First as a Weapons Sergeant in the US Army, then in numerous roles throughout corporate America. These roles have included: Presenter, Facilitator, Instructional Systems Designer, Organizational Development Specialist, Training Team Leader, Training Director, Assistant Vice President, Training Consultant, and most recently, Vice President of Training.
- 10X Top 125 Award Winner (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- 2X Trainer of the Year Award Winner
- 2X National Best Practice Award Winner (Training Weekly: Nov/Dec 2016 and May 2019)
- Disney Institute Graduate (2018) and Training Magazine Certification Earner (2016)
- Recipient of numerous Military Decorations, Medals, Badges, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons.
Curtis Brooks leads the development of U.S. Bank’s Learning Ecosystem. In this role Curtis is
responsible for creating strategic direction critical to implementing a virtual, simplistic,
employee-centered ecosystem that systematically and seamlessly connects all parts of the
Bank’s learning and development activities.
Curtis serves as an Executive Coach and partners with the Diversity Talent group to strengthen, enhance, and further diversify U.S. Bank’s leadership talent pipeline.
He has 20 years of experience designing Talent Strategies and shaping Learning organizations. Prior to his current role, Curtis was head of Learning and Development for U.S. Bank's Mortgage Servicing and Lending Services Division. Before joining U.S. Bank in 2017, he served in a number of leadership roles including Assistant Vice President of Leadership and Organizational Development for Mr. Cooper, Assistant Vice President-Director of Servicing Training for Homeward Residential, and Vice President of Training and Development for Bank of America Home Loans.
Curtis holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Business Management from Stephen F. Austin State University and is certified in many disciplines including Meyer’s Briggs MBTI and FIRO-B, PDI 360 Coaching, and Prosci Change Management. He resides in DeSoto, TX with his wife and three children.
Linda is a Senior Director and Global Head of Learning & Talent Development for Aon. In her
current role, she is responsible for Aon’s learning strategy and Aon University including
leadership development, professional skills curriculum and early career programs. In 2017 she
initiated the learning transformation through implementing Workday globally and launching an
internally developed agile micro-learning site delivering curated content to 30,000 leaders
simultaneously. Additionally, she led the team to revamp and digitalize leadership curriculum
using a blended approach, focusing on building an inclusive and collaborative culture that will
reach 9,000 people leaders by 2020 across Aon.
Previously Linda served in multiple functional leadership roles for Fortune 10 global companies in the UK and US and has extensive experience in organizational design, workplace culture, workforce planning and change leadership. As the Global Organizational Effectiveness Director for Diageo, she oversaw a workforce optimization program that delivered $70 million savings across 28 markets. Prior to that, she led large-scale digitalization and workforce transformation projects for State Farm and global culture change programs for HSBC.
Linda is passionate about equipping leaders and workers with skills and mindsets to navigate the complex and volatile world today. When not working, she is a fan of Beachbody workouts and British Bake-off shows and enjoys spending time with her husband and six-year-old daughter.
Kristin Cassino is the Manager of Learning Services for Global Risk Solutions at Liberty Mutual
Insurance Group, a business unit with 8.5 billion in sales and 8,500 employees. Learning Services
supports technical training including Claims, Underwriting, and Distribution.
Kristin started in the learning field at State Street Bank in Boston by building a small training
department from the ground up. She led training departments for several banks in California
before returning to Boston to join Liberty Mutual.
Today Kristin leads a group of 100+ training professionals. Her recent focus for the team has been on improving consulting capabilities, increasing agility, and using measurement and evaluation to demonstrate business impact.
Leah Cark leads Strategy and Planning for GP Strategies’ Leadership division - focusing on bringing new products to market and enhancing the participant experience. She conducts research and writes articles and blogs on leadership on behalf of GP Strategies. She also works directly with clients to understand their leadership and engagement challenges and consult with them on creative solutions
Donald L. Dennis is SVP, Learning and Leader Development Director of Huntington Bancshares
Incorporated, a $100 billion regional bank-holding company delivering a full suite of commercial
and retail banking, investment management, and insurance services across the Midwest
through Huntington National Bank and its affiliates.
Donald joined Huntington in 2018 from Nationwide Financial Services where he served as AVP,
Learning & Performance Excellence; Learning Solutions Director and Enterprise Applications
Director. Donald also held several technology management roles at Chase, Victoria’s Secret
Stores and BISYS Fund Services. Donald began his career as a management information
consultant with Accenture.
Donald serves on the Boards of Directors of The Columbus Community Kitchen, LLC. Donald completed the Executive Program in Leadership at the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and English Literature from The College of Wooster. Donald resides in Columbus.
As GP Strategies’ Chief Learning and Innovation Officer, Matt Donovan brings more than 25 years of experience. Throughout his career, he has helped support a wide range of Global Fortune 500 companies through significant transformation initiatives. Not only has he been recognized through industry awards, his articles are regularly published and presented at a variety of national and international conferences. He has an M.S. in instructional systems technology from Indiana University
AISHA GHORI OZAKI
Aisha Ghori Ozaki is a manager on the enterprise-wide Inclusive Diversity team at Allstate (since
2015) where she is responsible for communication, marketing, training, education and metrics.
Aisha is a frequent presenter and facilitator on diversity, equity and inclusion as well as
professional development topics and is devoted to ensuring that all individuals feel welcome,
find their passion and contribute toward creating an inclusive environment. Prior to joining
Allstate, Aisha worked in higher education for almost 18 years.
Aisha holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Sociology from DePaul University and is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and the MBTI. Aisha recently completed a Diversity and Inclusion certificate through Cornell University. Aisha volunteers with multiple organizations and especially enjoys her mentoring and time with Upwardly Global Chicago, the DePaul University Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program, Muslim Women’s Alliance (MWA) and the Career Transitions Center of Chicago (CTC). In 2013, Aisha received the Diversity Founders Award from MWACE for her ongoing commitment to the Diversity Advancement Committee. Aisha remains active in various professional associations including the Forum on Workplace Inclusion where she has served on the conference programming committee since 2016 and co-presented at the annual conference in 2017 and 2019. Aisha is a frequent presenter including a recent as a DEI panelist at the Chief Learning Officer Symposium in 2019. Aisha joined the board of directors for the Muslim Women’s Alliance in 2018 and the Il-Muslim Civic Coalition in 2020.
Brian Gontarski is a Director of Learning and Development with Mastercard. He provides strategic learning consultation, program design and delivery as part of the Sales Excellence function. With a background in enterprise sales and customer relationship management, his focus has been to drive innovation in sales enablement that contribute to increased seller effectiveness and pipeline growth.
Brian leads CRM learning and Mastercard’s Product Knowledge Certification program for the core sales business units. He has also been instrumental introducing new learning and performance management innovations to Mastercard including spaced learning assessments, online video assessment and coaching, VR+AI sales messaging simulations and on-screen performance support for sales tools (earning Mastercard’s Global HR Excellence Award).
Prior to Mastercard, Brian worked as a business development professional for several learning solution providers including SmartPros, SkillSoft, SmartForce, DigitalThink and Personnel Decisions International (PDI). Brian is a certified Salesforce Administrator, Six Sigma/Lean Green Belt and holds a BA from Rutgers University. Brian currently resides in the NY Metro with his two children, wife and their dog Suzy.
David Guralnick, PhD
David Guralnick has been a recognized leader in the field of computer-based and online learning
for over twenty years, specializing in the design of "user experiences" in e-learning. His
contributions to the field of e-learning include the creation of the first online learn-by-doing
simulation training course for corporate use (in 1993), and the first e-learning authoring tool to
allow trainers and subject matter experts to create rich e-learning products on their own (in
1995). He has since designed numerous online learning methodologies for both training and
performance-support goals, and has been the recipient of awards from several national and
international organizations, including Brandon-Hall.com, the Society for Applied Learning
Technology (SALT), and the International Association for the development of an Information
Society (IADIS). He is a regular keynote speaker at industry conferences, and holds a Ph.D. from
Northwestern University, where his work synthesized concepts in artificial intelligence,
education, software usability, and cognitive psychology.
David serves as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Teachers College; was the founding chair of the E-learning Group for ASTD-NY, the American Society for Training & Development (2002-2009); was chair of the International Conference on E-Learning (2006 and 2007) and the founding chair of International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace (2008- present); and is president of the International E-Learning Association (2007-present). Further information about David, including lists of his awards, publications, and talks, can be found at www.davidguralnick.com. David was a founder of Kaleidoscope Learning and has been with the company since its inception in 1998.
Amy Hileman is Senior Vice President and managing officer of the national banking supervision
training function for the Federal Reserve, the Center for Learning Innovation, and the Eighth
District’s Banking Supervision functions supporting information security & technology, staff
development & recruitment, financial support & risk management, document & records
management, and administrative support. Supervision training includes staff from all 12
Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors. It consists of three examiner commissioning
programs (community bank, large financial institution, consumer compliance) and provides
ongoing professional development for the 4,000+ supervisory staff in the Federal Reserve
System. The Center for Learning Innovation provides learning and technology solutions for a
variety of Federal Reserve System business areas to reach internal and external audiences.
Ms. Hileman started her career in commercial banking, where she held management responsibilities in a large community bank in Chicago, IL. In 2000, she joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where she earned her examiner commission and served in various management roles. In 2015, she transferred to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Ms. Hileman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana, IL. She received her Master of Arts degree in Information and Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado, Denver, CO, where she was named the outstanding graduate in the program.
Sauntura Jones is in Learning Experience Design at Amazon Web Services. Her Goal to create and nurture a continuous learning culture by providing our internal AWS field & partner organizations with the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviors to successfully resolve and anticipate their AWS customers’ business problems. Sauntura lives in Rockwall, Texas and enjoys cooking and good music. Her favorite quote is “It always seems impossible until it is done,” by Nelson Mandela.
Paul Nisco is the Director of Learning and Development at Mastercard supporting Sales Excellence. At Mastercard, Paul manages several programs, including the Executive Speaker Series, where executives from different parts of the business provide learners with a strategic and high level overview of a specific topic. Prior to joining Mastercard, Paul was the Manager of Training and Development for Quorum Federal Credit Union, the program received recognition from Bizlibrary. For over twenty years, Paul has delivered successful learning programs and has had extensive experience in solving complex business and organizational problems with the implementation of effective solutions, resources and methodologies that have delivered measurable results. Paul is certified Six Sigma Lean Startup and holds a BA from Fordham University. Paul currently resides in Connecticut with his three children and wife.
Matt Petrilla is a Leadership Performance Consultant in Vanguard’s Talent Management department, where he coaches leaders across the enterprise on a broad range of managerial and performance-related topics. Matt’s prior role was as Divisional Manager in Vanguard University, where he led a team of Instructional Designers and Multimedia Developers responsible for creating innovative learning solutions for Vanguard’s global workforce. Prior to moving into a formal leadership role in 2012, Matt served as a Senior Corporate Trainer in HR, facilitating professional development, feedback & coaching, business-related, and leadership development courses to managers and individual contributors alike. Matt is a member of Vanguard’s select Adjunct Faculty pool, a Vanguard Certified Master Coach, and holds his Series 6, 7, and 63 financial licenses.
Mike Reed is the Director of Instructional Design and Administration within Global Risk Solutions
Learning Services at Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, a business unit with 8.5 billion in sales and
8,500 employees. Learning Services supports technical training including Claims, Underwriting,
and Distribution. Mike’s group supports program design and development, content
management, internal information systems, and training delivery support on the corporate
Mike has 15 years of experience in information technology where he spent 10 years as a software engineer and 5 years as a technology manager. He also has 15 years of experience in course and program development for adult learners. His recent area of focus has been establishing and using technical platforms to measure the business and talent impacts of training programs developed and delivered by Learning Services.
Alejandro Rodriguez has more than 30 years proven experience steering strategy development,
culture and process improvements for the greatest possible impact. He has demonstrated skill
in leading teams, learning and development, and flawless implementation of large-scale
initiatives, with the ability to quickly establish relationships to innovatively solve problems and
Highlights include improving organizational, team and individual capabilities through:
- Strategy development and execution
- Strategic and brand messaging
- Change management
- Learning and development
- Diversity and inclusion
Partner to senior executives with results transforming HR products and services, driving
sustainable value in human capital and creating innovative solutions to meet complex business
challenges. Held leadership roles in a variety of areas of talent development, including
leadership development, curriculum design and development, learning management systems,
compliance training and training operations. Passionate about business strategy and technology
as growth levers.
Held leadership roles through major mergers, playing a critical role in integrating Bank of New York and Mellon Financial HR systems and processes, earning recognition and awards for this work. Past member of the advisory board for a leading enterprise Talent Management systems provider, published articles in journals and trade magazines, and was contributing editor with “e-learning” magazine. On advisory board for the annual Financial Services Learning & Development Innovations conference and was a FinTech Innovation Lab Industry Advisor. Received awards from Chief Learning Officer magazine and Brandon Hall for innovative and trailblazing work in Human Resources.
Christy Taylor is Training Officer, Corporate Content Curation and Strategy at U.S. Bank. She is an experienced facilitator and team member in creating strategic direction critical to implementing a virtual, simplistic, employee-centered ecosystem that systematically and seamlessly connects all parts of the Bank’s learning and development activities. Christy lives in Glasgow, Kentucky and loves cooking, live music, and anything outdoors. Her favorite quote is “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” by Maya Angelou.
Curtis is a proven performance consultant and a senior learning leader with over 15 years of
experience in the financial services industry. Since 1996, Curtis has enabled Charles Schwab &
Co., Inc., Wachovia Securities and Wells Fargo to achieve results through educating their
workforce, implementing change initiatives and driving performance improvement initiatives.
While working for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., he directly supported the transformation of
Schwab's workforce from a transactional service provider to an advice driven consultative selling
organization. While at Wells Fargo, he led the skill development and change management
efforts necessary to establish an integrated wealth model and to install a team-based contact
management system. While at Wachovia Securities, which is now Wells Fargo Advisors, Curtis
has been involved with the skill development, change management and performance
improvements for initiatives that include two large scale mergers, transition of transactional
based advice to an advisory-based model and the implementation of a corporate university.
After growing up and starting his career in Phoenix, Arizona, Curtis currently lives in St. Louis, MO. Along with his partner Susan and children, Lauren and Christopher, he spends his non- working hours enjoying the outdoors, cooking, movies and hanging out with friends. Curtis is also involved in consulting a local public school district, leading a Boy Scout troop and advising 6th graders at his church.
Esayas Wureta is the Inclusion and Belonging lead at CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer.
Esayas leads the creation, development, and execution of the company's diversity, inclusion and
belonging strategy aligned across their four pillars: Workforce, Workplace,
Communities/Marketplace and Members. The company has been recognized for their diversity
efforts by numerous national organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the
National Association of Female Executives, and was named one of the 50 most community-
minded companies in the United States by Points of Light.
Prior to joining CSAA Insurance Group, Esayas served as the Supervisory Training Specialist for intercultural competence, diversity and inclusion (ICD&I) at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC. Esayas led a department that advised global leadership on intercultural competencies, creating more inclusive organizational cultures, supporting staff and Volunteers, and responding to crises. Esayas also led the development, delivery, and evaluation of ICD&I learning events in the agency’s 65 countries. In addition, Esayas served as the Diversity Outreach Specialist where he developed and implemented ongoing diversity and inclusion strategies and trainings for more than 100 recruiters in 8 locations, established and maintained external partnerships and contributed to a 3% increase in diverse applicants across the organization.
Esayas has more than a decade of experience in diversity and inclusion and enters the work at the intersection of youth development, training, social and organizational change and intercultural competence. Esayas is a Sudan-born Eritrean-American and has lived in multiple countries. Esayas received his B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in globalization and culture from Frostburg State University in Maryland and a Master’s degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Massachusetts.
SVETLANA YEDRESHTEYN, PSYD
Svetlana Yedreshteyn, PsyD is a Director of Learning & Development at Invesco, where she
provides leadership, talent, and organizational change solutions to help build a high-
performance culture and drive business strategy. Her current focus is on redesigning the
performance management approach throughout the firm, overseeing the executive coaching
practice, and providing L&D support to various business areas.
Prior to the integration with Invesco, Svetlana spent five years at OppenheimerFunds, as the Vice President of Learning & Development. She implemented multiple solutions across the firm, including launching a continuous feedback, no-ratings performance management approach. She designed and delivered management and leadership development programs, unconscious bias/inclusion training, built out a Core Competency model and worked with the HR team to integrate it into core HR processes. Svetlana has also revamped and lead the Talent Review and succession planning efforts while actively overseeing the firm’s external executive coaching practice. She has served as an L&D consultant in the Legal, Compliance, Risk, Finance, and Product client groups, delivered offsites, teambuilding events, and provided coaching services to leaders. She has also researched and presented on the Future of Work and the need to reskill our workforce.
Prior to OppenheimerFunds, Svetlana worked at NYU Langone Medical Center as a Senior OD and Training Specialist. Svetlana worked at Citigroup in the HR Strategy area as well as on the Executive Development team. She earned her Psy.D. in Organizational Psychology from Rutgers University in 2008. Svetlana is certified in Hogan, MBTI, DiSC, Caliper, Lominger VOICES, and Korn Ferry Interview and Leadership Architect.
Kathleen Zemaitis is senior vice president of Advisor Diversity and Inclusion for LPL Financial.
She is responsible for defining the firm’s vision for diversity and inclusion through thought
leadership, change management, and strategic programs that drive business growth. In her role,
Ms. Zemaitis leads the integration of diversity practices at the enterprise level, identifies trends
to shape LPL’s inclusion goals, builds strong relationships with clients and communities, and
executes programs at scale to enable financial advisors to grow their practices and support their
Ms. Zemaitis has held positions of increasing responsibility and led a variety of different strategic efforts within LPL Financial. Most recently, she served as senior vice president, Corporate Communication, where under her leadership, the team evolved into a consultative, business-aligned unit that successfully led communications for a number of key business, technology, and human capital projects and initiatives. Ms. Zemaitis also developed the firm’s overarching social responsibility strategy, which included launching the company’s first diversity and inclusion program. She joined LPL Financial in 2011 as vice president, community relations, where she oversaw the launch and management of the LPL Foundation. Before coming to LPL Financial, she worked as community relations director at TIAA-CREF, and previously served as a public relations and advertising consultant.
An advocate and champion for community service and philanthropy, Ms. Zemaitis has served as a board member and volunteer leader with several organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the University of Illinois Alumni Association, and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Zemaitis has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, IL.