The “Spotlight” feature was created to foster a culture that recognizes outstanding work, encourages peer support and promotes Black excellence. Each month we will highlight a Black I/O professional or student on our social media platforms. During the month, current and future members will have the opportunity to engage with Spotlight Members about IO experiences and what they are currently doing.
Lawrence Cole, a visionary tech and BizDev General Manager with over 12 years of experience in the dynamic tech industry, is a true force of transformation and innovation. With a remarkable track record of leading global business and organizational changes, Lawrence has consistently demonstrated his ability to drive growth and impact on a massive scale. As a thought leader and entrepreneurial builder, he has excelled in diverse industries such as advertising, ad-tech, retail, logistics, and software, while mastering various functions including sales, operations, marketing, and strategy. Lawrence's passion lies in accelerating and scaling opportunities, fixing and reforming existing systems, and reimagining the future. His strategic approach is underpinned by a keen awareness of the triple bottom line, encompassing people, profits, and society. Lawrence Cole is the catalyst for success and a true pioneer in shaping the future of tech and business.
Courtney Bryant Shelby, Ph.D. is a science practitioner that believes everyone deserves a workplace where they can be themselves. She engages in work as a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) professional, organizational consultant, and active researcher. In her current role as a Senior Specialist of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Ford Motor Company, she focuses on creating DEI learning and development strategies for the enterprise to continuously build a diverse and inclusive culture of belonging.
In April 2023 Courtney is launching Simply You Solutions, LLC., a firm that supports organizations to achieve a workplace where “you can simply be you!” She helps companies identify and eliminate barriers to equity and facilitates experiences that build DEI knowledge and skills. Her previous consulting focused on topics such as intersectionality and authenticity in the workplace.
Courtney earned her PhD in Organizational Psychology from Michigan State University in 2021 and is currently working with a team to expand the work in her dissertation, which was awarded the Michigan Psychological Association Foundation Dissertation Award and The Benjamin Schneider Scholarship from SIOP. It focused on the relationship between code switching, well-being and burnout for Black employees. Her work has been published in both peer-reviewed academic journals and practice focused publications such as the Harvard Business Review Online.
Courtney is the 2022-2024 Chair for the SIOP Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and is always interested in supporting racial and ethnic minorities. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® where she serves the community as the Chair of the HBCU Committee. As a newlywed of 7 months, Courtney likes to binge watch tv with her husband and French bulldog puppy. She also loves to discover new places both in her metro area and with travel.
Marla J. Albertie has lived on board a United States carrier therefore, she feels she is unstoppable. As a native of Jacksonville, Florida she loves to read, travel, and shop. Many of her travels have been on cruises as she has taken 16 thus far. Marla believes life is a journey and we all can create the life we want so why not; you only live this life once. She has a passion to see growth in people’s lives and wants others to pay it forward.
As an energetic visionary, she is the owner and founder of the TruthSpeaksGroup LLC , a multimedia company that creates strategies and solutions for work-life integration/harmony (WLI/H). She is also the founder of I/O for Teens Inc., (a skill, confidence, and career building organization teaching teens how to achieve their dreams based on the science of human behavior.)MJA Notary Services LLC., MJA Publishing LLC., and JEMA Holdings LLC.
Marla doesn’t believe in work-life balance as she believes all areas of our lives can be integrated and we can create harmony in our lives by means of I/O Psychology and Positive Psychology methodologies.
Marla’s mantra is to #TeachTrainEducate working women who desire to understand their truth and live a life of success defined on their own terms.
Marla is a certified professional career, executive, and life coach, trainer APTD (Associate Professional in Training and Development), Certified Chief Happiness Officer, Certified Positive Psychology Practitioner, Director of HR, Instructor, of Psychology, Amazon Best Selling author, and has over 25 years of business, coaching, and training experience. Marla holds a Master of Education in Adult Education, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management, and an Associate of Science in Financial Services. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Ms. Zainab A. Aderinwale is an impact-driven, goal-oriented, visionary & and innovative young leader with great enthusiasm. She also believes in helping other young leaders thrive. The world needs young people who see themselves not as a victim of a failed nation but as a solution to the problems they face; I am one of them. She's a Nigerian who is currently an international student in the USA. She had her bachelor's degree in Psychology and she's an aspirant in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology field with a research interest in Diversity and Inclusion, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Recruitment and Selection Processes, and Gender Equality in the workplace. She's one of the world's leading champions of personal development. She published an inspirational book titled "BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE." The book is full of uplifting and inspirational messages intended to assist youth in rising to their full potential. It can be found on Amazon. (https://www.amazon.com/BE-THE-YOU-Fulfilled-ebook/dp/B08QZVJ183). She is a founder of Eartco Counseling and Consulting Limited (Eartco) a Nigeria-based company that focuses on the process of connecting with, assessing, and selecting a diversity of individuals when hiring for companies. The company aimed to build exclusivity and diversity in companies through recruitment and selection.
Nchopia Nwokoma is an I-O Psychology practitioner who uses assessments to help individuals and organizations understand who they currently are, clarify who they’d like to be in the future to achieve business goals/fulfill purpose, and what they’ll need to do to get there. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work, a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in I-O Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is currently a Principal Assessment & Succession Consultant at Korn Ferry.
Having a broad curiosity, Nchopia enjoys a breadth of I-O related experience. Prior to joining Korn Ferry, Nchopia worked for boutique consulting firms focused on talent development and assessment while also serving as an adjunct psychology instructor at Salt Lake Community College. She facilitated leadership development programs, managed hi-potential programs, partnered with C-Suite leaders on annual strategic planning initiatives and goal cascade, defined leadership competencies, designed performance and recognition programs, designed and debriefed 360 assessments, designed and debriefed employee surveys, coached leaders on engaging employees, and helped students define career paths.
Her research interests include exploring the intersection of personality and race on workplace authenticity, engagement, and performance. She co-authored “Investigating the Implications of Code-Switching and Assimilating at Work for African-American Professionals” published in the Journal of Business Diversity.
Today, Nchopia’s work is focused on assessing and developing executive leaders in the oil & gas, financial services, tech, and luxury goods space. She plays an active role in Korn Ferry leadership, serving as co-chair of the firm’s D.C Office Steering Committee. She is also chair of the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology Early Career Practitioner Forum.
Vanessa Blake has focused much of her career in consulting and coaching roles as an internal and external consultant. Vanessa sees herself as a part of the dream team for individuals, teams, and organizations to help identify success and help them achieve it. She ultimately views the work she does as one of the ways she derives a sense of purpose and fulfillment in her life.
As an IO practitioner, Vanessa has a positive psychology approach to business, human resources, change management, organizational development, leadership development, executive coaching, people analytics, and talent management in government, private sector, and nonprofits. She is also a certified personal stylist and ICF coach who helps individuals work on their work style, brand, image, and reputation. In her spare time, she supports research by directly engaging in efforts to replicate psychological studies in top journals.
Previously, Vanessa served as a military All-Source Intelligence Analyst for nearly five years in the United States Army.
She holds an MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Walden University, an MBA from Nova Southeastern University, a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University, a Graduate Certificate in Positive Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a BA from Georgia Southern University. Her certifications include, being a certified ICF executive coach, Prosci Certified Change Practitioner, and Hogan Personality Assessments.
Brittney Brinkley is an I-O Psychology practitioner with a focus on promoting DEI in the workplace. Brittney received her Master of Science degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from St. Mary’s University and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside.
Brittney has worked in several industries including government, education, tech, and professional services. She has a wide range of experience completing projects in the areas of organizational development, assessment and selection, strategic/educational planning, employee relations, and D&I. Given we spend a third of our lives at work, feeling productive, valued, respected, and welcome at work is crucial, especially for people of color (POC) who experience less in their day-to-day lives. Given this fact, Brittney has investigated how various workplace attributes (e.g., supervisor-subordinate similarity, organizational diversity climate, perceptions of supervisor support) effect employee job satisfaction and worker outcomes (e.g., turnover intentions, absenteeism, organizational commitment). She believes this work will not only enhance the quality of life for POC in the workforce but also optimize organizations’ return on investment. Brittney is also interested in the unique experiences of employees with concealable stigmatized identities.
Brittney spent her early career assessing the fairness and validity of gamified assessments and advising on the potential legal risks and overall fairness of new products and machine learning instruments. Her current work has a more regulatory focus as she aids clients in their EEO compliance through federal reporting, AAP development, and strategic consulting. Brittney is experienced in conducting adverse impact studies, predictive validity studies, job analyses, return on investment analysis (e.g., recruiting dollars saved, diversity gains), and providing compliance guidance. She has also worked as an internal consultant, assisting with employee engagement surveys, setting D&I goals and policies, setting up ERGs, and leading the internal cultural committee as president.
Kayla describes her journey to people operations and I/O psychology as a long winding road. At a crossroads in college, she was feeling conflicted about her major and a mentor of hers helped her realize she had a passion for psychology. Once she got into her major classes and started exploring the science it all clicked. She realized her mentor was right! As a chronically ill child, she made it her mission to help others like her get through this very rough journey that is living with diabetes. This experience led her down a path of clinical psychology. She was enamored with the thought of walking people through their health journey and being the resource that she needed in her youth for others. Her experience after college, like most other Psychology majors, was a mixed bag as working as a mental health worker, a case manager, behavior therapist, special education teacher for a mental health system, you name it , she has probably worked the mental health related job. As a teacher during the pandemic, Kayla started to feel burnt out and questioned if she still wanted to take the clinical path. Her heart and mind were not aligned in that direction anymore. Although she has a love for psychology and processing the human mind, she no longer wanted to follow the career path in a clinical capacity. Kayla started to explore other subject areas in psychology and found Industrial/ Organizational psychology and it was love at first read. The more she dug into the specialty, the more useful and important she found it, especially in her experience as an educator and how that experience related to organizational culture. During the pandemic, Kayla had the opportunity to work in a human resources position and recognized the relevance of change management and its correlation to employee retention, specifically educators. She is an extrovert who loves nothing more than connecting with people, helping where and if she can, a stimulating conversation, a good book, a concert, a new eatery in town, or just simply being surrounded by laughter and good people. Kayla has been able to tie her job experiences and her passions together and make it all make sense, and she is excited to continue to explore the world of I/O psychology!
Dawn Gates is a 2nd-year student in an I-O Psychology master’s program with a focus on and devotion to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) issues. She hopes to use her I-O education to help shape and lead organizations that want to honor the needs of its most vital asset, their employees. She is a retired veteran of the Virginia Army National Guard where she served as the senior diversity leader for her unit and has trained and led military personnel through 3 overseas deployments. She also has a background in communications and recently began her coaching business focusing on transformational leadership.
Dawn is the chair for BIOP’s DEI Task Force and a member of SIOP’s External Relations committee. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and watching the world through her tiny giant son’s eyes. She hails from Fort Knox, KY, but presently resides in Maryland with her husband and son.
Kenyatta is extremely motivated and organized with first-hand experience in training and development. She is a passionate team player and loves to meet new people. She's creative and takes great pride in her work and prides herself in taking a vision and making it a reality through sound strategy development. Kenyatta intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organization, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking, and drives material business advantage. Her truest aspiration is to become an inspirational leader and IO professional. Respected as a credible voice in decision-making, Kenyatta tends to earn a seat at the table wherever she serves.
Dr. NaTasha Jordan, or Dr. J for short, is an IO Psychologist who stands at the center of Marketing, Psychology, and Org Design.As an IO Psychologist, she is a budding expert on how organizations can grow during uncertain times through building the right team, providing the right direction, and embodying shared and lived values. She has been recognized as the first black woman to be awarded the Consulting Psychology Presidential Citation. Chosen by James Orsini, President of The Sasha Group to work alongside Gary Vaynerchuk's handpicked leaders, Dr. J advises SMB leaders on designing their organization for the now helping her clients operationalize their strategies and turning their visions into reality through strategic organizational transformation.
Alicia Kumar is currently a 2nd-year student in the I-O Psychology M.S program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Her background in healthcare and I-O psychology helped shape her initial interest in the field of I-O. During her time at UTC, she has worked on projects that include organizing a food pantry for students and mentoring minority students as they prepared for higher education. Alicia also assisted with the development of inclusive teaching practices and facilitated discussions on student diversity within her department. She is currently working as a Manpower and Events intern for a manufacturing organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In her role, Alicia works on both the recruitment and DEI side to attract a diverse pool of talent and support employees during their time at the manufacturing organization. She is also a member of the PRIDE Employee Resource Group and the African-Americans Building Leadership Excellence (ABLE) Employee Resource Group, where she works to foster an inclusive work environment for employees from different backgrounds.
Her work and research interests include racial and gender equity initiatives, occupational health and safety, and mitigating organizational burnout.
Post-graduation, Alicia aims to work in the consulting field and guide various organizations in their efforts to implement DEI initiatives.
In her free time, Alicia likes to read, hike with friends, travel internationally, and spend time with her family.
Alexis Graham is an HR & Talent Operations manager for an Education Technology company. She is from the DMV area and has resided locally for all her life. She has a master’s degree in Psychology and is currently an I/O Psychology Ph.D. student with a concentration in Coaching. Working with corporations to assist in mitigating burnout and hiring biases is Alexis’ passion. Not only is she focusing her research on these topics, but she puts them in practice daily, volunteering for a Diversity Inclusion steering committee to ensure that interdepartmental policies remain equitable and fair for all. As a certified coach, Alexis recently started a growth coaching business and enjoys continuing to move the needle in the IO Psych space forward by helping clients see their full potential in the workspace.
In her free time, Alexis enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants. Whether throwing the ball with her pup Marley or enjoying an espresso martini on an international beach, Alexis truly takes pride in embodying work/life balance in everything she does.
Teresa "Terri" White is a lifelong resident of Central California with a small stint of time spent in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana. She is a mother of three awesome children Isaiah, Ambiance, and Daniel. Teresa started her journey into I/O Psychology in my Master's program where she learned that psychology could do more than help better understand the mind but also help relationships in our everyday lives. She is passionate about helping professionals from all walks of life find and thrive in their God-given gifts and talents. Currently, Teresa is pursuing a Ph.D. in I/O Psychology from Northcentral University. Her goal is to offer I/O services to organizations such as non-profits and faith-based organizations and congregations that would not normally have access to these services.
Shaneeta Dickens began her career in the Public Health field working as a Nutritionist for the state of Georgia and evolving into a Private Practitioner offering Wellness Coaching for individuals striving for an improved quality of life. She has worked in private mental health settings, community health, hospitals and corporate organizations as a hands-on facilitator, public speaker and business development consultant. She works with adolescent and adult clients focusing on stress management, wellness recovery plans, work-life balance and executive functioning.
She understands how important it is to identify all aspects of an individual’s life that impact their well-being including support systems, work/school environment, spirituality and life purpose. Under her consulting firm “Black Magenta Consulting” Shaneeta compassionately works with each of her clients by meeting them where they are and empowering them with new life skills during their journey.
Shaneeta enjoys gardening, traveling, music, and poetry. She loves meeting new people and spending quality time with her family and friends. She is also a dedicated breeder of English and French Bulldogs.