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Blacks in I/O Psychology

Spotlight Member Series

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.

Submit a Nomination or Self-Nominate


Tiffany Day is a credentialing specialist and practitioner with over 13 years’ experience managing assessment planning, development, and validation projects for government agencies, private sector clients, credentialing organizations, and professional associations. Her span of expertise covers developing, deploying, and managing all aspects of the certification strategy (program planning, job/practice analysis, test/assessment development, form assembly, scoring, and reporting), and ensuring programs’ compliance with best practices and standards for assessment-based certificate programs and accreditation. Currently, she works as a Senior Research Scientist at the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and applying state-of-the-art assessment solutions and technologies to solve the real-world challenges facing private and public sector organizations and educational institutions.

Tiffany holds a M.S. in Educational Research, with concentration in assessment, evaluation, and testing, from George Mason University, and a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. In June 2021, she joined BIOP and is proud to be associated with a group of professionals committed to educating people about what IO psychologists do, and increasing visibility and representation of Blacks (and other minorities) in the growing IO field!

Riza Y. Leak is a Leadership Consultant at HPS. Graduated with her Masters in I/O Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago, she brings an invested interest in assisting organizations support, recognize, and empower their employees within their roles. She loves connecting with others and being a connector. Riza enjoys working on organizational change and development projects.

Riza has a passion for volunteering her time and talents to her church and in her board positions for local and national professional I/O Psychology organizations. For BIOP, she is the Program Lead for the Mentorship Program.


Melissa “MiMi” Peace is an Organizational Development Consultant partnering with corporations to engage employees with strategies to boost productivity, drive down costs, and foster a healthy organizational culture where people thrive. MiMi brings over 10 years of experience aligning people strategies with business goals. Her career has included roles within Capital One, Bank of America, Bank of Hawaii, and Central Pacific Bank amongst the many organizations she's had the honor to serve and create a positive lasting impact.

Ms. Peace became one of the 51.5 million adults experiencing a mental health condition annually when she was diagnosed with depression. As she recovered and evaluated her experience, she made it her mission to help leaders create mentally healthy workplaces where people have the tools to offer and seek support. Her article ‘Stop Workplace Stigma #Talkaboutit’ was featured in the Fall 2021 Work + Science magazine. View a free digital copy at workplacescience.org.

She combines her lived experience, career in Organizational Development, certifications including Mental Health First Aid Instructor and People Analytics in HR with continuing advanced education in Organizational Psychology to deliver solutions that produce positive change and improve productivity. Naturally, she's named her approach The Peace Process.

Derek James is an I/O Professional whose origins started as a seasoned IT professional with fortune 500 companies. Derek shifted from analyzing technology to analyzing the navigation of career development for BIPOC professionals.  As his career progresses, he identifies organizational deficiencies and proposes areas of improvement.

He is a PhD Candidate in I/O Psychology and holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science and a M.S. in Psychology. He also serves as the head coach for bowling at Stony Brook University where he specializes in physical and mental game development. 

Derek has a love for seafood, sushi, and travel and loves to combine them all when possible.

Dr. Gena Cox is an organizational psychologist, executive coach, and keynote speaker. She has worked with Fortune 500 leaders for over 20 years to enhance leader effectiveness and build work cultures in which all employees can thrive.

Gena imagines a day in which the term “diversity and inclusion” becomes just another name for "100% leadership”.  She encourages top leaders to lead this change, as explained in her recent Harvard Business Review, linked here. Gena is currently writing a book for C-suite leaders, board directors, and other leaders who want to build inclusive organizational cultures but lack clarity and confidence about their role in making this happen. The book will be published in Fall 2022.
Gena is a dynamic professional speaker whose speech and fireside chats educate leaders about the experience of Black women in the workplace and inspires them to support these women's career progression.

Areas of Focus

  • Future of Work: What effective leadership will need to look like
  • Inclusion Strategy: How executives can infuse diversity and inclusion into their organizations
  • Employee Opinions Matter: How leaders can better understand their employees: day-to-day experience


Dr. Jimmy Davis is AVP/Director of Assessment & Development for M&T Bank. In this role, he is responsible for the assessment and development strategy to be used across the enterprise to create a leadership pipeline that helps lead into the future. He brings expertise in leadership development, executive coaching, assessment, talent management, and diversity to organizations to help them build dynamic and talented leadership teams. In his previous roles, Jimmy has worked across industries including retail, consumer packaged goods, banking, finance, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, energy, and insurance.

Examples of Jimmy’s recent work include:

    • Working with a Fortune 50 consumer packaged goods organization to assess leadership talent for an organizational structure change.
    • Designing a leadership development plan for senior leaders at a Fortune 100 healthcare company.
    • Coaching and developing senior leaders at a Fortune 50 banking organization to improve leadership depth and effectiveness.

Prior to joining M&T Bank, Jimmy was an executive bench consultant for RHR International. Before that he was a principal consultant of his own independent consulting firm called Blacksmith Consulting Company.. He has held a wide variety of roles as an executive coach, consultant, and business leadership associate. As an associate professor, Jimmy has taught classes on industrial and organizational psychology, leadership, organizational behavior, and business policy and strategy at educational institutions including Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, New York University, and Baruch College.

Jimmy is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA), the Association of Black Psychologists, and CALIBR Global Leadership Network. He is president of board trustees at Create Your Dreams, a youth development program dedicated to nurturing the talents and dreams of students living in underserved areas.


University of Georgia,  PhD, Industrial-Organizational Psychology

University of Georgia, MS, Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Morehouse College, BA, Psychology

Dr. Rajanique "Nikki" Modeste is the founder and CEO of Vestigia Organizational Strategies, an Industrial and Organizational Consulting firm. Dr. Moeste is an I-O Psychologist consultant with over 15 years of Human Capital Management experience working for various government contractors in the DMV area. Her expertise includes leadership development, coaching, facilitating, organizational change management and DE&I. Dr. Modeste has a Ph.D., in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a Masters in Counseling. Her approach to Leadership Development, coaching and Organizational Transformation utilizes different methodologies such as Transformational Leadership, Positive psychology and Gestalt Theory. She is heavily involved in the social justice movement, helping police agencies reduce the deaths of Black Americans as well as creating an inclusive environment within the police department. Dr. Modeste teaches at the University of Maryland in the I/O department as an adjunct professor.

Shyriah Marshall is a doctoral student at Walden University where she is working to obtain her PhD in IO Psychology with a focus in Leadership and Coaching. Shyriah received a Masters of Philosophy in IO Psychology from Walden University. Previously, Shyriah obtained a Masters Degree in Organizational Management with a focus in Entrepreneurial and Economic Development from Peru State College where she also obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Performance and Systems Management. Shyriah’s love for education began at a very young age, studying IO Psychology has allowed her to build successful working relationships while helping clients and other professionals reach their goals as leaders and business owners.

Shyriah currently works as a Battery Program Specialist where she assists with managing and developing business relationships while helping to maintain, set, and achieve goals set within the organization. While in her current role Shyriah has volunteered for various roles and events such as Big Brothers Big Sisters serving as a lead for the Social Justice team, The Emerging Professionals Group - where she serves in leadership as a Support Specialist, and has assisted with leading teams for Bowl for Kids Sake, The ACS Making Strides Breast Cancer event, and lead a team for the virtual walk for the United Negro College Fund.

Shyriah enjoys working with organizations that desire to help their community through their work. Shyriah is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Blacks in IO, Psi Chi National Honor Society, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Shyriah is also the CEO and principal consultant of Marshall Career Consulting, LLC. where she assists her clients with interview preparation, resume editing, resume creating, and performance reviews. In addition, as a consultant, Shyriah helps entrepreneurs with developing business plans and best practices, leadership review, and various other projects. Post doctoral degree, Shyriah plans to use resources to create programs and events to help others succeed within the workplace or in their entrepreneurial desires.

Grayson Sturgis is a first-year I/O Psychology doctoral student at Bowling Green State University from Farmington Hills, Michigan, and is currently an active member of the Blacks in I/O Diversity Task Force special interest committee. As a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Honors College with a dual B.S. in Psychology and International Affairs, many of Grayson’s research interests tend to have an international spin. Some of these aforementioned interest areas include expatriate work adjustment, the role of Gelfand’s cultural tightness-looseness as a moderating variable in previously established variable relationships, and the continued study of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. A more diversity-related research interest of his relates to ways in which counterproductive work behavior is differentially perceived depending on the social identities of those involved. Post-graduation, Grayson currently plans to take the applied route and work as an organizational development consultant–preferably for a multinational organization, of course! As such, he is always open to and appreciative of sitting down with someone experienced in the consulting realm for some pointers, and is similarly happy to sit down and speak with any undergraduates considering a graduate education in I/O about the application and transition processes. He also would not mind a Japanese language conversational partner to keep him from getting rusty after his 6 years of study.

Dr. Bisi Atoba is an Instructional Assistant Professor and Director of the MS Psychological Sciences (Concentration in I-O) Program at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses primarily on work teams, leadership, and training. These endeavors have practical implications for organizations given the increasing complexity and competition they encounter. 

Bisi teaches the following graduate courses: Training, performance management, teams, and leadership. She recognizes that education is a privilege and not a routine expectation. Hence, she adopts an instructional style that empowers students to take an active role in their learning and skill acquisition.

Janelle King is an I/O Consultant and Certified Executive & Leadership Coach. After 5 years of coaching women one-on-one to uncover their purpose and align it with a fulfilling career, Janelle realized that there was a gap. A lot of women were working with her to uncover their purpose because they weren’t finding it in their careers. They were unaware of their purpose, and the organizations they were working at did nothing to foster organizational purpose, let alone the purpose of their employees. Therefore, there was a dual dissonance, disconnection, disengagement on both the individual and organizational level. That is why it is her mission to help organizations, teams, professionals, and people reimagine and redesign the way they do life and work through the power of purpose and the science and practice of industrial-organizational psychology.

Janelle lives out this mission through her I/O consulting practice, Excel Leadership, where she helps organizations create people-centric, purpose-driven organizational cultures that allow organizations, teams, and employees to engage and excel in meaningful work using data and insights from industrial-organizational, vocational, and positive psychology. Her areas of expertise are in organizational development, culture creation and transformation, purpose discovery and activation at the organizational, team, and individual level, employee experience, as well as executive, leadership, and career development/performance coaching. 

Janelle holds a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University, an ICF accredited life coaching certification through the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, and is currently earning her M.A. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. You can find and learn more about Janelle on her personal website janelleking.com. For more information on how your organization can excel in meaningful work, visit excelleadership.co to set up a complimentary consultation.

Nathan Price “The Academic I-O” is currently working as a Career Transition Specialist for Hawaii Job Corps. He has a vast background within Student Affairs, Leadership and Talent Development, Career Development, Culture Evaluation and Intervention, and Mentorship.

He is the committee lead for the Membership Engagement and Service Committee for Blacks in I-O. He is a volunteer for SIOP in the LGBT Committee focusing on their mentoring initiative. Currently focusing on developing a mentorship initiative for transitioning professionals for DreamBuilding Consulting. He is also collaborating to create a Social Justice Scorecard for I-O Graduate Programs and plans to present at this years SIOP Conference: An Inclusive Discussion about I-O Graduate Program Diversity and Social Justice.

Nathan holds a MPS in I-O psychology from the University of Maryland. He also holds a B.B.A in Business Management, and a B.S. in Psychology from Henderson State University. 


Brynee’ Dade is the Volunteer & Pro Bono Committee lead for Blacks in IO. She graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a concentration in Work and Organizational Psychology and has most recently obtained her Master’s from the University of Baltimore in I/O Psychology.


She has worked as a Federal Consultant for the past 2 years serving clients from the Smithsonian to DoD. Recently, she started a new position with a small firm, Coverent LLC, allowing her to take a deeper dive into her interest in survey development and data analytics. She uses is currently using Qualtrics, Tableau, and SQL to provide data insights to her current client.


Her background also includes training development, job analyses, and position classification. She is interested in learning more statistical packages (i.e. Python and R) and working with cross-cultural teams. Traveling out of the country in 2018 to the University of Barcelona and working with a global virtual team has ignited a desire to explore and learn more about cross-cultural differences and its impact on business relations. She further expressed her interest in cross-cultural by completing another study abroad trip in 2019 to France with sports management students from the University of Bordeaux.

Sertrice Grice received her B.S. in Psychology from Emporia State University in 2015 and her M.S. in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Radford University in 2017. She immediately began working at OrgVitality as a Project Manager after graduate school. She is now a full time Consultant at OrgVitality. 

Sertrice has experience coordinating employee engagement projects from start to finish for clients ranging in size from less than 1,000 employees to over 100,000 employees, and for both domestic and global clients. Her experience includes managing timelines and client relationships, working strategically to design unique items and tools to meet client needs, and analyzing results to present to executive teams. Sertrice works hard to ensure integrity of the project throughout the various stages of the process. She is passionate about interpreting data to help guide organizations toward improvements based on results.

Sertrice’s interests include inclusion and diversity (I&D) and leadership development. She developed a free Anti-Racist Organization survey for organizations to use to solicit employee feedback on the workplace culture, minority support, and racial relations within their organization. She has also led numerous webinars and presented at conferences on different I&D topics.

Sertrice is currently located in Southern California. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and has had multiple volunteer roles as an alumna. Presently, Sertrice is the Chair of the Business Development and Partnerships Committee for Blacks in IO and the Chair of the SIOP Institutional Research Committee Survey Oversight Sub-Committee.

Lexi Redmond is the social media lead with Blacks in IO. She recently received her Masters in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology graduate at Florida Institute of Technology with a concentration in International IO. 

Currently, she works as an Intern/Research Associate for Vantage Leadership Consulting, a consulting firm that focuses on building exceptional leadership capabilities, and as a Program Assistant with Race for Equity, a consulting firm focuses on building equitable organizations.

Before this, she received her B.S. degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration from Palm Beach Atlantic University where she was honored to be named the Department of Psychology’s 2018 Outstanding Graduate. Lexi also had the privilege of being named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow for her work in race relations and civic engagement on PBA’s campus. Her research interests include racial and ethnic diversity and its impact on team processes and leadership. She discusses these topics in her podcast Engaging Life. 

In her spare time, she enjoys acting and storytelling of any kind whether it’s a good book, movie, or a good musical. 

Dr. Simpson’s focus as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist is using research data and statistics to evaluate real work trends and relationships between individuals and their work. He uses analytics and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an business or organization to create and advance the business to sustain its vision and mission to serve its stakeholders. He is passionate about building and guiding both professional individuals and companies to be agile, innovative, valuable, and strategic to and through a fast changing and growth oriented  world. 

Dr. Simpson is also the creator and administrator of ConnectIO: A directory for industrial and organizational psychology professionals to connect to other professional individuals and work groups. This directory was created to invite professionals including human resources, government leaders, corporate leaders, small businesses, and professionals from all backgrounds to freely connect with industrial and organizational psychology to help solve their problems at work, connect for job in project opportunities, or just simply explore the world of I-O psychology with an experienced professional. 

Temea Simmons-Collins has over 22 years of experience working in law enforcement environments, which includes 17 years as an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and 5 years as a senior-level leader in human capital management.

As an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, Temea was Chief of the Promotions Assessment Branch within the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Personnel Research and Assessment Division.  She provided consultative support in organizational effectiveness and strategic planning; managed large-scale promotions testing programs; developed and validated competency models; managed the review, analysis, and dissemination of agency-wide employee surveys; and designed and managed assessments for leadership development programs.

Since 2015, Temea has served as the Deputy Executive Director leading talent acquisition and management for CBP’s approximately 63,000 employees.  Temea’s extensive years of human capital management and leadership experience enables her and her team to execute data-driven and innovative talent acquisition strategies that create robust hiring pipelines and meet organizational goals.

Temea believes that it is the responsibility of all leaders to commit to continuous self-improvement and to help brighten the pathways of others as they tap into their purposeful life.  As such, Temea serves as a human capital strategist, diversity and inclusion leader, performance and leadership coach, mentor, and life learner.

Temea is a strong advocate of Blacks in I/O!  She applauds the commitment of the organization to provide networking opportunities for its members and to explore further those issues and experiences in the workforce that have a great impact on African Americans.

Temea holds a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Radford University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University (“Aggie Pride”).

Preston Lindsay is an organizational psychologist and professor and who specializes in antiracist organizational development and change management with more than 10 years of executive leadership in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors.

Professor Lindsay is a professor of industrial-organizational psychology in the Masters of Professional Studies I/O Psychology program at the University of Maryland, College Park, and is on faculty at several other institutions. Professor Lindsay’s current research centers on human behavior and systems in the workplace. His research takes a phenomenological and constructivist approach to examining how organizational trauma influences worker performance.

Presently, Professor Lindsay serves also serves as Managing Partner and Principal Consultant of Conducere, an organizational development consulting firm that employs anti-racist, and anti-oppressive organizational development techniques to help our clients navigate complex and transformational organizational changes. In his personal time, Professor Lindsay offers his organizational development expertise by chairing a few boards of community-based, social justice organizations.

In order to appreciate the entirety of our journey, it is essential that we take the time to highlight our humble beginnings. Thus, here is the story of how ‘Blacks in I/O’ helped me attain a career goal I have been struggling to achieve.

Bethannie Jamerson received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hampton University in 2017. When the final semester of senior year arrived, there was room for one more elective and Intro to I/O Psychology happened to fit perfectly with her schedule. Being able to apply psychological theories and methods to resolve conflicts in the workplace and improve the overall well-being of employees was the ideal career to fulfill her purpose of serving others.

She went on to pursue her Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Valdosta State University. After she completed the program she felt like she was ready to start working in the field, but it seemed as if companies did not agree. She received rejection after rejection with the reason being “you just don’t have enough experience”… but that was the reason she was applying; to gain valuable experience. For a year post graduation, she was stuck in the loop hole of “you don’t have enough experience, but we also aren’t willing to take a chance on you and give you the experience”. That was until she stumbled upon ‘Blacks in IO’ on LinkedIn and immediately reached out to Macy Cheeks. They set up an appointment, talked over a few things relevant to the job search and her current situation and she received some great professional advice. The next week she received a job positing from Blacks in IO, sent her resume to the corresponding contact and received an interview. Within three days the Chief Learning Officer was calling back to extend a job offer.

Bethannie says: “We often hear “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know” and this was demonstrated in this case. I am so fortunate that I stumbled across this organization on LinkedIn and connected with Macy. With her help and the support of Blacks in IO, I was able to achieve something that I have been trying to achieve for a year, in less than 2 weeks. I am a proud member of this organization and looking forward to growing with such amazing professionals!”

Kyana Beckles is the CEO of Leverage Assessments. Her combined experience in recruitment, employment selection, organizational development projects and technology make for a unique suite of offerings.  She offers a unique perspective on the challenges of the selection systems.  Her expertise is a necessary compliment to your diversity goals.  

Kyana is the best person to call when you want to:

  • Want to replace your psychometrician
  • Evaluate your existing selection process
  • Need accreditation support recommendations

Kyana has a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, she is a certified Credentialing Specialist with the Institute of Credentialing Excellence.  She has 10+ plus years consulting organizations in business development, organizational restructuring, downsizing, turnover, transformative leadership, selection, assessment, entry level, promotions and executives assessments, exam management and recruitment.  

As the owner of Leverage Assessments, she leads a diverse team of psychometricians, clinicians, and technologists.  The company has serviced clients in a variety of states across the Americas and abroad; to include, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Illinois, Singapore and India.  Leverage Assessments solutions are scalable for companies small, large and in between. 


Mr. Kenny Jordan, a native of Lathrup Village, Michigan, has over five years of experience in transformational leadership, training development and statistical analysis.

Upon completing his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hampton University, he worked for American Red Cross National Headquarters focusing on program development for natural disaster prevention, diversity and inclusion for the workforce, and talent acquisition. During his tenure at American Red Cross, 

Kenny received his M.A. in Industrial Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC.

In 2017, Kenny accepted his current role as a Leadership Development Facilitator with Kaiser Permanente where he drives operational excellence and creates a culture of engagement for colleagues and patients.

Kenny is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, 2018 Kaiser Permanente recipient of the R.J. Erickson National Award for Diversity and Inclusion, and he holds a Change Management Certification from Prosci and the Change Management Learning Center.

Confirming her passion through the marriage of psychology and business with a hint of statistics, Alexis Avery, M.A. has an abundance of experience in employee engagement, organizational assessment, and data analytics.

Alexis elevated her I/O career by leading employee engagement, leadership development, and recruitment initiatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. •

After she earned her Masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology in 2017 from the University of Georgia, she moved to D.C. and now works in the Personnel Research and Assessment Division for U.S Customs and Border Protection managing the Border Patrol promotions assessment program, agency wide exit survey, job analysis, and other organizational transformative initiatives.

Alexis is a member of the Personnel Testing Council Metropolitan Washington and serves as the Vendor & Sponsorship chair on the conference planning committee for the International Personnel Assessment Council.

Dalyn Allen, M.S. has over 5 years of experience and an established wealth of knowledge in data analysis, data reporting, and data visualization.

Dalyn earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Morgan State University.

He is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and he holds a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

Jasmine Duke, MPS has been working in the I/O psychology field for 6 years with a focus and expertise on employee engagement and workplace culture transformation. Since receiving her Masters in I/O from UMBC in 2014, she has worked on the national employee engagement team for USPS headquarters and currently on the global employee engagement team for Lockheed Martin.

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