30 Career Champions to Follow in 2022

The secret to a thriving workplace is a community of diverse, qualified individuals. At Speak_, we help software engineers prepare for tech interviews and careers, but we also push for diversity in the workplace. We support professionals who are doing the same in their field.

Let's take a look at some innovative career champions who are shaking up the tech industry and how they use their talents to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion to help underrepresented communities achieve their goals!

(Listed in alphabetical order.)

1. Ahnjelica Blake

Supporting hiring managers and leaders is Ahnjelica Blake's goal in her field. As a Data Science Recruiter at Google, she works to bring purpose-driven professionals to Data Science & Product Analyst teams at Google and YouTube. She's had a long history of being a talent acquisition partner and recruiter for schools and universities, which makes her a great fit to help businesses find the right candidates and help productive candidates find their dream jobs. (LinkedIn)

2. Alechia Reese

Author, Speaker, and Transformation Coach Alechia Reese is a multi-faceted individual who uses her talents towards her inspiring goal: helping professionals take intentional action to grow in their careers and personal lives. Through her platform Tru3 Yoga Agency, she works with wellness leaders to maximize their businesses, and as the Founder of RGLP Group, she helps executives find their true purpose. She also co-hosts a podcast called Triggered AF, which helps her listeners identify their personal emotional triggers in order to heal them. (LinkedIn)

3. Amanda Reid

Amanda Reid is a skilled leader who's worked with several Fortune 500 global organizations to accomplish their business goals. She spends her time speaking at events and educating others on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. With her passion in DEI, Reid is currently a Global Director of Diversity Strategy & Programs at BNY Mellon and worked as a Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion Program Manager, gaining many years of experience in organizational change and diversity strategy. (LinkedIn)

4. Ashrita Tiwari

Ashrita Tiwari mixes hypnosis and leadership coaching to help aspiring female wellness entrepreneurs and leaders create financial success in their lives. Her proven AHA coaching methodology allows people to improve from the inside out, where they can reach their fullest potential in their businesses and their lives. She believes that all aspects of health - not just physical, but also mental, emotional, and financial - should be up-to-par in order to achieve their personal power. Tiwari also works to help software engineers prepare for the technical interview process and refine their job search management and communication skills. (LinkedIn)

5. Beatriz Albini

Beatriz Albini-Ruiz is on a mission to help professionals in tech overcome self-sabotage and find their leadership voice. She's the founder of Prime You Coaching, where she helps bridge the diversity gap in leadership ranks and inspires the next generation of women, BIPOC, and Latinx tech professionals to become highly influential leaders in the industry. Her experience in HR and recruiting and leadership coaching has helped Albini-Ruiz create unique approaches to help others land their dream jobs at their dream companies. (LinkedIn)

6. Catalina Peña

Speaker, founder, and diversity advocate Catalina Peña helps others take intentional action towards landing their dream career. Her Afro-Latina background has allowed her to focus on aiding Black and Brown professionals to create career confidence, financial freedom, and a work-life balance. This recruiting professional founded her own company called Catalyst Creation, where she has empowered thousands of professionals and helped them with their career needs. (LinkedIn)

7. Charlene Delapena

Charlene Delapena executes various strategies to attract early career talent to startup Gem, where she works as the Director of Early Talent & Campus Programs. She's building a high-performing and inclusive team in the recruiting industry. Having almost 10 years' worth of experience in the university and emerging talent recruiting space, she's managed programs not only at Gem, but also at BitGo, Robinhood, and Quora. Delapena's skills in customer service and recruiting have helped her give others a sense of purpose and real-life work experience. (LinkedIn)

8. Clara Angelina Diaz-Anderson

Clara Angelina Diaz-Anderson offers expert consultation to leaders and entrepreneurs to transform their lives with clarity and a positive mindset. As the Founder of ClaraFying Life & Business Wisdom, she strives to provide her clients with financial empowerment, independence, and abundance. She prides herself not only in uplifting individuals, but also guiding small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic at Small Business Strong. (LinkedIn)

9. Cristina Costa

Cristina Costa is helping job seekers find their sense of purpose in their careers. Her businesses, including Crista Costa Coaching and Women with Purpose, have educated professionals in networking and professional development, while helping them find confidence within themselves to jump-start their careers. Her various years of tech experience have catalyzed in her passion of diversifying the tech industry, and she's taking active steps to do just that. (LinkedIn)

10. Ian Buchanan

A driven leader, Ian Buchanan provides transformational coaching and consulting for people who want to become the best possible leaders they can be. Being the Founding President and CEO of Nia Education Group. has allowed him to offer instructional coaching and support to individuals and teams. Buchanan was selected to participate in the School Systems Leaders Fellowship (SSLF), a development program that prepared him for leadership, improving his skills in district management and political skill development. (LinkedIn)

11. Jason Stewart

Former NCAA basketball champion turned business talent recruiter, Jason Stewart understands that there’s more to building a team than just having highly qualified individuals. It's also about the chemistry among them and making sure that their personalities fit well together. This philosophy carries over to his sports coaching, where he recently led his high school basketball team to the school’s first championship in nearly 6 decades. His core values have contributed to his success in his career and on the basketball court. We've had the pleasure of working with Jason through our partnership with insurtech startup Socotra. (LinkedIn)

12. Jehron Petty

Mentor, Founder, and CEO of nonprofit ColorStack, Jehron Petty has made his life's work helping people reach their fullest potential. After turning down a full-time Product Manager job offer at Google, he's started ColorStack, where he helps Black and Latinx students land and succeed in their technical careers. In just 2 years, he's raised millions of dollars in grants, grown a community of over 1000 students, and launched programs that help students pursue their dream jobs. (LinkedIn)

13. Jennifer Cone

Jennifer Cone strives to bring diversity and inclusion in hiring practices. With over 20 years of experience, she’s worked her way up to Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Talent Acquisition at Intel, where she uses her skills in talent acquisition and strategy to improve hiring processes. With Cone's help, Intel has received 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. (LinkedIn)

14. Kapiolani Laronal

Kapiolani Laronal is an Indigenous educator whose consulting approach focuses on diversity and inclusion. She works with colleges, universities, nonprofits, and companies to improve staff recruitment and retention with strategic planning. While Laronal coaches in leadership development, she also coaches in health and fitness. Her passion for fitness has scored her great reviews as clients have described her as an “athletic inspiration” and “incredible leader”. Her track record in coaching has led her to support rising leaders and members of her community. (LinkedIn)

15. Kayla Maran Lee

Kayla Maran Lee is a strategic and fun creativity coach for tech founders and executives. Being the CEO of Beautiful Soapbox has allowed her to bring a fun approach to her coaching with strategic planning and risk-taking and to help improve the quality of others' personal and professional lives. Maran Lee helps exhausted leaders get un-stuck by empathetically helping them work on themselves and their business. (LinkedIn)

16. Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas is an experienced leadership & executive coach who has spent multiple years helping those with nontraditional backgrounds land their dream jobs by taking more initiative in their lives. Along with being a full-time Head of Organizational Development at LEADx, he started Pave Your Own Path to offer workshops and support in order to accelerate personal development in the lives of others. Thomas' organization has earned a Trauma-Informed Organization Certificate from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work, showing that he is more than capable of transforming people's lives. (LinkedIn)

17. Kvon Tucker

Kvon Tucker is helping people become the leaders they were destined to be. In fact, he's helped leaders at Netflix and Amazon do just that with his coaching. He's turned his passion into a business with Consciously, an executive and leadership coaching firm. He was also the Global Head of Manager and Leadership Development for recruiting at Google for almost 3 years. His career path was sparked early through his childhood curiosity of wanting to know why some people are treated differently than others. His life experience and studies gained him 17 years' worth of knowledge in human behavior. Tucker finds fulfillment using his knowledge to help others recognize themselves and their fulfillments. (LinkedIn)

18. Kyle Richey

Kyle Richey spends his time recruiting software engineers for Google's site reliability engineering (SRE) organization. He is determined to find committed individuals who are the right fit for Google Cloud. His work at various schools has not gone unnoticed as he's managed the hiring processes and day-to-day operations for 2 charter schools and 1 public school over a span of 8 years. (LinkedIn)

19. Leah Davis

Between helping Women of Color build generational wealth and advising others on how to reach their financial goals, Leah Davis teaches the tools to achieve wealth and wellness objectives. As a survivor of domestic abuse, she vowed to devote her time helping other Women of Color who have suffered domestic and narcissistic abuse heal their inner trauma. She teaches women how to live their abundant lives in her series Wealth and Wellness for Women of Color available on Facebook and YouTube. Davis' incredible self-transformation has given her the ability to effectively support BIWOC entrepreneurs and business owners. (LinkedIn)

20. Lesley Alegria

Lesley Alegria has a mission to help people grow in their careers and achieve their goals. Her extensive years of being a career coach and a recruiter have made her successful in project management, negotiation support, and screening resumes. She now runs a boutique consulting firm, Alegria HR Consulting, where she helps small- and mid-sized tech companies with recruiting and people operations. Between coaching clients to land jobs at Google and Airbnb and revamping resumes, Algeria has given many people confidence in their professional skills and excitement for new opportunities. (LinkedIn)

21. Maria Hernandez

With her skills in healthcare consulting, management consulting, and public speaking, Maria Hernandez promotes inclusive leadership and talent optimization within her field. As the President and Chief Operating Officer of Impact4Health, she advances population health through unique health interventions and supports healthcare facilities facing the demand of addressing health needs of vulnerable people. Hernandez co-hosts a podcast called Centering Health Equity, featuring conversations on reducing bias in healthcare. Her public benefit corporation LatinaVIDA prepares the next generation of Latina executives for success in the corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors. (LinkedIn)

22. Nick Curry

Nick Curry is providing technical career opportunities to diverse candidates, including those who are part of the military community. This stems from his experience in the US Navy Reserve where he spent 12 years working his way up to Senior Enlisted Leader. Now as Senior Manager of Emerging Talent Pipelines for Amazon Web Services, he leads several hiring and incubation programs, such as AWS Military Initiatives and Technical Apprenticeships. His efforts to bring diverse candidates to in-demand careers at Amazon have spanned over 5 years and has even landed him a feature on a podcast that focuses on recruitment, retention, and training. We've had the pleasure of working closely with Nick and his team through our partnership at Speak_. (LinkedIn)

23. Oscar Garcia

Oscar Garcia's journey to value his identity has led him to become an international speaker, founder, and professional development trainer. His Mexican American identity has opened his eyes to bias, opportunity gaps, and other obstacles that many face, and he successfully empowers these individuals through his company, Aspira Consulting. Garcia prides himself on providing culturally relevant professional development programs to train tens of thousands of individuals across 5 continents. Insurance agents, career service professionals, business owners, and others that he's worked with can all agree that he's a superb presenter in sales with engaging workshops and expert advice. (LinkedIn)

24. Phaon Spurlock

Phaon Spurlock is a marketing professional and entrepreneur who's passionate about building companies and connecting others around the world through marketing. His experience has not only led him to be an adjunct instructor for marketing courses at 2 accredited universities, but he's also the President & CEO of creative agency Prototype MKTG. He owns his own manufacturing brand BKLYN LEAGUE, which sells men's apparel, accessories, and home goods. His entrepreneurial journey was inspired by his great grandfather, grandfather, and father and has led him to take on various projects, like starting his own online magazine, LuxuriousPROTOTYPE. (LinkedIn)

25. Shannon Morales

Shannon Morales is an Afro-Latina who's passionate about helping employers find skilled and diverse talent. Her startup Tribaja provides content and programs that provide underrepresented communities the resources to succeed in their tech career. Between speaking at events such as the Diversitech Fest and consulting with businesses on strategic development, Morales helps employers and candidates of color connect to form a positive work relationship and grow together. (LinkedIn)

26. Sharon Drapeau

As the founder of Mark It Done Virtual Solutions and Drapeau Collective, Sharon Drapeau is paving the way for women entrepreneurs and creatives to be innovative and resourceful. She's a social media manager and creative consultant with 15 years of experience helping entrepreneurs build their online presence and better understand their audience so they can meet their needs. She also strives to help others recognize their self-worth and deal with emotional triggers in a healthy way. (LinkedIn)

27. Stephanie Nuesi

Stephanie Nuesi prides herself as a "first-gen" Latina who's helping the Latinx community achieve their dreams and become proud of their background. Even though she didn't know English when she first arrived in the US in 2015 and faced several rejections by tech employers, she did not let that stop her from continuing her journey toward a dream career. Nuesi's perseverance has landed her features on LinkedIn, ABC News, and Fox News, plus millions of views across her social media accounts. Her company Max Up works to help college students and professionals land their dream careers all while maximizing their potential. (LinkedIn)

28. Sue Joyce

Sue Joyce is a strategic HR leader who also has experience growing tech startup companies. As a Senior VP of People for Gravitee, she's responsible for full-cycle HR and has proven her gifts in combining business goals and HR initiatives. Now, Joyce is working hard to achieve equality through pay increases based on inflation and is proficient in employee relations and executing ambitious recruiting plans. (LinkedIn)

29. Steven Branch

Steven Branch is a Career Development and DEI Executive Coach and the Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at MIT Sloan's Career Development Office. This thought leader helps others improve their skills in strategic alignment, public speaking, and networking. Branch is changing the lens on corporate culture and affecting how the market recruits, retains, promotes, and develops underrepresented talent. He shares the magic that comes with finding the right way to approach career objectives and find alignment with your goals. His ultimate goal is to advocate for People of Color in the corporate world and help the BIPOC community develop in their careers. (LinkedIn)

30. Theresa Aristomene

Theresa Aristomene is the People & Organizational Development Manager of Kuehne+Nagel and a freelance life & leadership coach, working to help her clients in healthcare, education, tech, among others, improve performance and well-being in the workplace. Diversity and inclusivity are two practices that she advocates for, and she strives to leverage them in her coaching. She has powered through very tough moments, including her diagnosis of Lupus, and prides herself on her ability to thrive even in the lowest moments. (LinkedIn)

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