Championing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for HR Leaders

  • Sharing success stories and challenges faced in implementing DEI initiatives
  • Discussing the role of the HR Leader in driving DEI initiatives and the challenges faced in doing so
  • Exploring the impact of DEI initiatives on the workforce and the organization’s bottom line
  • Analyzing data and metrics to measure the success of DEI initiatives
  • Exploring future trends in DEI and how HR leaders can prepare for them

Jason Lioy
Chief People Officer
Dawn Foods

Jason leads a global team responsible for recruiting, developing, and celebrating diverse top talent. He is focused on building and maintaining a people-first culture for more than 3,500 team members across the world. He also helps cultivate a culture that attracts, motivates, and retains talented collaborators. He has been a People leader at Dawn since 2014.

Jason has a strong background in global HR and operations with companies including Philips, GE, and Armstrong World Industries. He continues to build on his experience of valuing intangibles for an organization like, culture, work environment, engagement, wellbeing, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Johné Battle
SVP & Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer
Dollar General Corporation

Dr. Johné Battle has been recognized by the LA Times as a Top 100 DEIA Leader, and twice by the National Diversity & Leadership Council has one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers for 2021 and 2022. He is renown as a global Business Executive and thought leader who brings the powerful combination of skillful talent development and human capital expertise. His deep understanding of human relations, personal branding, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and organizational performance have led to a successful track record of business transformation and human capital counseling.

He currently is the founding partner and CEO of The Greatness Factory, LLC, and the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for Dollar General Corporation, a $38+ billion-plus retailor with more than 18,000 convenient, easy-to-shop stores in 47 states. Dr. Battle owns the strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion for over 157,000 associates; working across the organization using belonging indexes, talent flow analysis, inclusive leader assessments and other data to make data-based decisions. Prior to joining Dollar General, Dr. Battle was a Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry where he led clients through large-scale cultural transformation and assisted with holistic DEI leadership development, employee engagement and employee branding efforts that enabled clients to
attract, develop and retain their talent while meeting their business goals.

As the Global Director of Talent Development for Johnson Controls, a $30 billion-plus global diversified technology and multi industrial leader, Dr. Battle was responsible for the development of global strategy related to career development; culture and employee engagement, including diversity and inclusion solutions; an external executive coaching program; performance management; and components of onboarding. He established the tools and approach to help employees navigate their careers successfully, ensuring leaders understand and fulfill their roles in the career development of their teams. As Senior Partner of J.E. Battle & Associates, LLC. Dr. Battle headed up talent development, leadership development and change management interventions for MTV Networks, SAIC and Clayton County Public Schools – Leadership Academy.

Earlier, Dr. Battle was with Walmart Stores, holding concurrent roles of Senior Human Resources Director, Merchandising and Distribution, and Co-Chairman of Talent Development, UNITY Associate Resource Group. He was recruited to be the strategic business partner and executive coach for three senior vice presidents and one vice president in the merchandising business unit, with a combined 30,000 associates and more than $100 billion in annual revenue. He partnered with executives to develop talent management strategies that are still in operation today.

At J Rushman Group, a boutique consulting firm operating exclusively in the retail sector, Dr. Battle was Senior Director of Strategic Processes and a Human Capital Consultant. His primary client was TJX, a multinational off-price retailer that owns T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods brands. He was leader of a team working closely with senior leadership on the Corporate University Global Strategy for Leadership Development.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Battle was Senior Vice President of Operations for Gridiron Technologies LLC. This was the first company to leverage the EA Sports John Madden video game technology to create virtual reality simulators to improve player/coach communication. The technology was launched with Louisiana State, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Colorado and the University of Maryland. After early success, the NFL adopted the technology with the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. Dr. Battle was recruited to oversee all operations in the U.S. and held P&L and budget responsibilities for $16 million and 17 direct reports. This position followed Dr. Battle’s time with MSL Combines LLC, a company that created on demand talent management technology to allow major colleges and universities to source for student-athletes to provide scholarships.

Prior to this, Dr. Battle was Director of Human Resources for L3 Technologies LLC, a professional technology firm. He began his career as Director of Artist Repertoire and Marketing with Warner Bros. Records, where he established artists such as Prince, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Eric Benet, and oversaw the soundtrack for “A Thin Line Between Love & Hate.” Dr. Battle’s community involvement is extensive, including being a Student Athlete Mentor for Georgia Institute of Technology, a Guide Right Program Coordinator for Kappa Alpha Psi, a Leader with Taskforce for Alignment at Goizueta Business School and a member of OCA Atlanta Chapter. He has been an Adjunct Professor at the UPENN CLO for Executives, Webster University Business School, and Mercer University Penfield College. He is also a guest lecturer, key note speaker, master facilitator, and a sought after speaker and thought leader at industry conferences on the topic of Intentionally Building Inclusive Leaders!

Dr. Battle received his doctorate in Work-Base Learning Leadership from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a Master of Education in Learning Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, a Master of Business Administration in Organizational Behavior from Emory University Goizueta Business School and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership from Mercer University. He holds several education and leadership certificates through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Anthony C. Hood
EVP, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer
First Horizon Bank

Dr. Anthony C. Hood serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for First Horizon Bank. In this role, he provides strategic leadership and executive oversight for the corporation’s enterprisewide DEI strategy. He also serves on the corporation’s Operating Committee.

He previously served as the Director of Civic Innovation in the Office of the President at UAB as well as an Tenured Associate Professor of Management in the Collat School of Business at UAB.

An electrical engineer by training, Dr. Hood enjoyed a 10 year career with BellSouth and AT&T supporting startup telecom companies in the firm’s wholesale division. He was honored with the Pinnacle Award, the company’s highest honor for productivity and leadership.

He left AT&T to pursue his PhD full time at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). Since completing his PhD in only 3 years, he has completed studies at the Harvard Business School, Stanford and the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Hood received his undergrad and MBA from UAB (Go Blazers!). In 2019, Dr. Hood was honored by the UAB Alumni Association with the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Hood is a board member of a number of organizations including the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Birmingham Education Foundation, and Urban Impact. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, the largest affordable housing provider in the state.

Marybeth Gray
SVP, Health Benefits Consulting
Trion, a Marsh & McLennan Agency

For more than 25 years, Marybeth Gray has worked on behalf of employers across the country to reduce the cost of healthcare and improve quality. Marybeth was recognized as a 2023 Top Women Leaders in Pennsylvania, and she was also awarded as Employee Benefit News’ 2017 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising: 30 leaders whose unique client management strategies, innovative data manipulation and other industry-leading skills are transforming the field. She has also been featured on the 2019 Marquis Whos’ Who Lifetime Achievement. Marquis Who’s Who identifies and endeavors to profile the leaders of American Society; those men and women who are influencing their nation’s development and influencing the people of today in their industry.

In her professional career, she has succeeded in reducing insurance costs and employer liability due to her deep understanding of the insurance marketplace. Marybeth currently serves as a Senior Vice President of Health and Welfare Benefits with Trion, a Marsh McLennan Agency, supervising the overall account management for her clients. Skilled at analyzing companies’ health care utilization data and cost trends in the benefit programs with a focus on pharmacy for large, self-insured clients. Marybeth is a key thought leader for Marsh McLennan Agency — presenting at more than ten national conferences each year.

One of the essential elements she brings to her clients is a special understanding of future key cost drivers. She helps employers understand the emerging cost implications of pharmacogenomics, new to market specialty medications, and gene therapies. Her goal is to improve member health in the population while lowering the cost of healthcare for both the members and the employer.

Prior to Marsh McLennan Agency, Marybeth was a Vice President with AON Consulting and a National Account Manager with Aetna, Inc. Marybeth was responsible for overall account management regarding financial and operational perspective for clients with more than 10,000 employees operating in multiple locations. She detailed plan design opportunities for clients as well as monitored the ongoing financial implications to plans. In her time at Aetna, she served on the Aetna Presidents Roundtable Committee, fostering communications between clients and the president’s office regarding suggested changes that would improve Aetna’s operational procedures.