Virtual Summit:
Issues in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

April 2023 - Speaker Bios


Donna Maria Blancero is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Bentley University. She is a national speaker on issues of DEIJ. She focuses on race and issues related to Hispanic leadership. Areas of expertise include how cultural values affect one’s work experiences, as well as networking, implicit bias, mentoring, biculturalism, career success and work/personal balance. Former Chair of the Gender & Diversity Division of the Academy of Management.


Dr. Randy Blass is a senior lecturer in the Department of Management at Florida State University’s College of Business. He also is a senior research fellow in the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (and recently served on the Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities. Research interests are in power and influence in entrepreneurship, personal reputation and entrepreneurial effectiveness, and organizational socialization. Blass is a 25-year veteran of the United States Air Force.

Dr. Oscar Holmes IV is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Associate Professor, & Director, RUSE Program at Rutgers School of Business–Camden. Main research interests include examining how leaders can maximize productivity and well-being by fostering more inclusive environments that mitigate interpersonal and organizational threats. Specifically, his research investigates how people respond to social identity threats and construct positive identities as well as factors that lead to biased decision-making.


Laura M. Little is Professor of Management & Synovus Director of the Institute for Leadership Advancement at Terry College of Business, University of Georgia. Research interests include work-family Issues and self-regulation at work. Central to her research agenda is the topic of pregnancy in the workplace. She has written several papers, which have won awards and appeared in top management journals, about the difficulties women have while navigating pregnancy and employment.


Katina Sawyer is Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at Eller College, University of Arizona. Her research focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations, positive organizational scholarship, and employee well-being. She has received research grants from the National Science Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management. In alignment with her focus on practical impact, she was awarded the Presidential Scientist-Practitioner Distinction from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2019.


Alexis Smith Washington is Senior Inclusion Officer & Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University. She is a nationally recognized teacher, researcher and speaker on issues of gender, diversity, inclusion and bias in the workplace and the classroom. She said that since coming to Oklahoma State, she has witnessed the school’s forward momentum, but what’s needed now is the “centering” of inclusion in the school’s educational mission, activities and messaging.