Cecilia Orellana-Rojas, Ph.D.
Cecilia Orellana-Rojas joined the National Diversity Council in 2013 as vice president of strategy and research. In this role, she provides direction for the NDC leadership by planning, defining, and articulating the execution of the organization’s strategic goals. She leads consulting efforts and innovative, high quality educational and research initiatives in diversity and inclusion. She is the creator of the DiversityFIRST™ Toolkit, a unique diversity reference portal and research consolidator, and the DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program curriculum, which prepares professionals for successful careers in the D&I space.
Cecilia brings 15 years of experience at AT&T, where she started as a manager in diversity marketing. She spent most of her career at the telecommunications giant as associate director and lead consultant of corporate diversity. In this role, she offered support in the formulation, implementation and direction of AT&T’s diversity and inclusion strategy including metrics, communications, and training. She also provided consulting in all aspects of workforce diversity. Prior to her corporate role, she worked as a journalist and later taught in academia for more than 10 years in the area of sociology, with emphasis on U.S. race relations, gender, Latin America, and research methods.
Cecilia is a passionate advocate for diversity. She was instrumental in the launch of the Texas Diversity Council and served as the first president of the San Antonio Advisory Board. As a founding member of the Texas Hispanic/Latino Summit, she played a leadership role in establishing the mission of the summit as a venue for Latino/a voices within the Texas Leadership and Diversity Conference. She has been recognized numerous times with the Diversity Champion Award and Diversity Leadership Award for her commitment and dedication to diversity business practices.
A native of Chile, Cecilia earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of New Mexico. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota. She resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Henry, and their son, Rodrigo.
Leon Fraser brings his versatile experience in the corporate, academic, and certification arenas to help organizations diagnose and resolve persistent team performance and interpersonal challenges.
He was formerly Director of Corporate Strategy at Verizon and has taught Corporate Strategy at Rutgers University. He earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification and thereby understands the importance of having a company’s HR and diversity initiatives to be fully in concert with a company’s overall strategy.
He has taught Managing Workforce Diversity at Rutgers University where he also received the Faculty Leader in Diversity Award. He is a Certified Diversity Professional by the National Diversity Council and teaches in the DiversityFIRST training program. He received the Most Engaged Leader Award from the Tri-State Diversity Council for delivery of diversity programs. He received the Mentor of the Year Award from National Black MBA Association New Jersey Chapter.
He has extensive consulting experience through a boutique firm which specializes in helping clients to address management and strategy issues. Not only does he have solid practical experience in consulting, he is the originator of the Management Consulting course at Rutgers, with proven techniques and sage case studies. On an individual basis, he is an Associate Certified Executive Coach per the International Coach Federation and has taught Executive Leadership at the graduate level.
In addition to Verizon, Leon has corporate experience in marketing and market research at Newsday and Aetna. He was also vice president of an international start-up and a legislative aide to two Congressional committees in Washington, DC. He earned a BA cum laude from Harvard University and MBA degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Yalitza Carrillo serves as supervisor of strategic initiatives at the National Diversity Council. She works closely with the Senior Vice President of Strategy to support the implementation of high-impact initiatives including the oversight of the NCD Certification Program, which prepares professionals for successful careers in the DEI space. Prior to this role, she managed the NDC Virtual Suite, which features learning solutions on a range of DEI topics, and the NDC Toolkit, a diversity reference portal.
Yalitza graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. She trained in anthropological methods, approaches, and theories to understand and appreciate cultural differences. She brings to the National Diversity Council nearly 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry as a Registered Dental Assistant and a patient health coordinator.
Yalitza is from Los Angeles, California, and currently resides in Prescott Valley, Arizona, with her husband and daughter, and their dogs.
Fargol has a B.A. and an M.S. in electronic engineering, and a Ph.D.. in Electronics, which she received from the University of Wollongong in Australia. She was also a research fellow there before moving to US. She has been teaching several engineering and programming courses at University of Wollongong since she started doing her Ph.D. there.
She has always been passionate about web development, and she is constantly seeking out new technologies and staying up to date on trends in the industry.
Jackie is a native of the Texas Gulf Coast region and currently lives in Houston, Texas. She has been working for the National Diversity Council since 2012. She also works as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Her design style is focused on illustration as a graphic design medium and its ability to create narrative driven projects.
Jackie graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor's degree in Art and a minor in Art History. Her personal interests include illustration, writing poems and short stories, genealogy, Southern Black folk culture, ghost stories, hiking, yoga, and most recently, a podcast called Juncture discussing films and dream interpretation.
Eboni is currently the Graphic Design Team Lead for the National Diversity Council (NDC) graphics department. She oversees national team projects, generates graphics for marketing campaigns, provides leadership, motivation, and mentoring to the Graphic Design Team, and supports departmental goals and performance management. Eboni began working with NDC in 2018, shortly after moving to Houston, TX, with her family. What initially brought Eboni to NDC was the opportunity to work as a contract graphic designer however, what has largely contributed to her commitment to the council years later is the aligning mission to be both a resource and an advocate in her community.
Before NDC, Eboni worked as the Lead Prepress Technician and Graphic Designer at ViaTech Publishing in Atlanta, Ga. As a Prepress Tech, Eboni onboarded new clients, managed digital assets, created templates, and prepared designs for brands such as Delta Air Lines, IBM, Doosan, YUM!, & SavaSeniorCare.
Eboni received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2013 from the Art Institute of Atlanta (AIA), majoring in Media Arts and Animation. When she is not designing, singing, or dancing, Eboni cooks and spends time with her husband, Martinez Arnold, and daughter, Amara Arnold. Eboni takes pride in being heavily involved in her daughters’ education and teaches her the importance of being smart, loving god, and being kind by leading by example.
As the Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Development and Training for the National Diversity Council (NDC), Sofia Anthony works with fellow leadership team members to ensure that the NDC caters to partners' needs and remains at the forefront of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) arena. She oversees 14 virtual team members who manage various initiatives and markets, including FL, GA, IL, MI, PA, OH, and Tri-State. Sofia leads the organization's 5-Year Strategic Plan via data collection and analysis and presents quarterly updates to the national Board of Directors. As the primary liaison to multiple Board of Director teams nationwide, she facilitates, manages, and leads Board meetings, strategic planning, brainstorming, and goal setting sessions. After developing the idea for the NDC to launch the National Coalition for Racial Justice & Equity in 2020, Sofia manages its operations, Board of Directors, grant reporting, and project teams.
Some of Sofia’s key contributions to the NDC over the past 11 years include securing over $1 million dollars in fundraising revenue recruiting, developing and growing the nationwide staff team spearheading the organization’s first five-year strategic plan launching and maintaining the Training & Development department implementing a holistic performance appraisal process and most recently, spearheading the launch of the National Coalition for Racial Justice & Equity.
Sofia graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a B.A. in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies and obtained an M.S. in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University. She has been recognized as a Top 20 Latino Leader by the Council for Latino Workplace Equity Top 100 Under 50 Emerging Leader in DEI by DiversityMBA a Next Generation Latino Philanthropy Leadership Fellow and HR Tampa’s Young Professional of the Year. Sofia is a DEI leader with NDC Certified Diversity Professional and Executive Diversity Professional credentials. She is also an HR leader certified as a PHR and SHRM-CP.
Sofia was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, yet spent the majority of her life in Tampa, Florida. She currently lives in Tampa, happily married to her soul mate and loves spending time with their sheltie, Bodhi.
Emily works as the Event Manager for the National Diversity Council. Through this role, Emily continues her work by transforming our community into an environment where individuals are valued for their talents and empowered to reach their fullest potential. She has since brought in over $400,000 in event revenue, being the top event revenue generator for the organization in 2019, 2020, and 2021. She oversees the Florida Diversity Council events which
includes over 7 half-day events a year ranging from 250-500 attendees, including Women in Leadership Symposiums, the LGBTQ+ Unity Summit, the Business of DEI Program, and educational programs ranging from a variety of DEI topics. She also spearheads the National Healthcare DEI Conference, National Latino Leadership Conference, Event Planning New-Hire Training and Onboarding.
At the age of five, Emily was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma - a rare, cancerous tumor affecting the retina of the eye. After surgery and treatment, her eye was removed and replaced with a prosthetic. Emily was honored to be officially published as a TED.com speaker for her TEDx talk “Limitless: cancer does not define who I am, perseverance does,” presented at the University of South Florida, an event that brought together the world’s best thinkers to promote inspiring ideas.
Additionally, she recently served as the Keynote Speaker for the Young Women’s Leadership Symposium, Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ Dance Marathon, and is a Certified Diversity Professional. In 2021, she graduated with her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Nova Southeastern University.
Darlene King began her career with the Michigan Diversity Council-MIDC (a division of the National Diversity Council) in 2015. As the Executive Director, her charge is working with corporations and organizations in developing Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, programs, processes and procedures. Growing the organization in the area of business development as well as growing the organization throughout the entire state of Michigan.
Prior to her tenure with the MIDC, she held the role as Director of Event/Consultant Services/Training and Development for all 34 school districts under the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency for over 10 years. Her territory covered implementation and execution of all workshops and conference as well as maintaining CEU’s for teachers and administrators within Wayne County MI. Although she managed more than 60+ consultants, county wide events such as the Teacher Job Fair, County K-12 Art Fair and the Cultural Collaborative for Learning were signature events managed by her department as well. Darlene was also an inaugural member of the Diversity Strategic Planning committee which rolled out a county wide Diversity plan for all districts. Darlene’s background is widespread. She spent 6 years as a national concert promoter, traveling around the world with some of today’s most popular artist in the industry. She has produced and promoted shows at every concert venue in Detroit and beyond.
In 2008 she launched her consulting company, Life’s Journey Training and Consulting. They are competing in today’s competitive global market – in industries ranging from education, automotive, medical, non-profits and manufacturing. Their area of expertise consist of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, marketing and public relations.
Life’s Journey has provided service deliverables to: Wayne County Head Start Programs, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, The Order of the Fisherman, The Detroit Medical Center, Revival Home Health Care, RTM Music Group, Real Times Media, Stonecrest Behavioral Health, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Universal Studios, Detroit Community Schools, MASCO Corporation, Diversity Lansing plus many more.
She is a native of Michigan and enjoys spending time with her family, nephews and niece. She says her faith in God, family, passion for people and her love of traveling and gardening are the dri Darlene has a passion for people and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Marketing from Wayne State University, Detroit MI. She has been operating in this capacity as well as education and organizational development for 25 years.
In December 2007, Mae was offered the opportunity to join the Texas Diversity Council (TXDC), a non-profit organization that promotes and advocates diversity and inclusion, as a Program and Event Coordinator. From 2009 to 2015, she served as the Program and Event Manager for the TXDC. In 2016, Mae was promoted to the position of Director of Programs, Events & Membership. She continues to be responsible for providing assistance and support relative to the planning, scheduling, facilitation, and implementation of meetings as well as quarterly and annual programs and events of the Council, and she is the primary staff point of contact for the Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio markets along with providing support for the Texas Board of Directors.
Mae retired from SBC/Southwestern Bell Telephone Company after having been employed with the same company for more than 31 years. She began her career as an Operator in Corpus Christi, Texas – her hometown. During the remainder of her career, she held numerous positions as a supervisor and manager in the business units of Network Administration and Network Services in Corpus Christi, Houston and Dallas. Prior to her retirement, Mae’s position was one of an Account Manager-Select Accounts in Industry Markets.
She has been an active community volunteer for more than three decades. Her service and involvement have included nonprofit, community-service organizations, such as the AT&T Pioneers Community NETwork, African American Telecommunications Professionals of AT&T (The NETwork) the Urban League Guild of Greater Dallas & North Central Texas United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Big Brothers/Big Sisters and The Bridge Homeless Assistance Shelter. She remains an active member of several organizations, where she participates in both leadership and support roles.
She is a graduate of Del Mar College (now Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) having achieved an Associate of Arts degree in Nursing. Mae completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Arlington in Business Administration, where her major was Business Management with a minor in Marketing.
On a family note, Mae is the very proud mother of one daughter, Krishna, fondly known as “Angel”, and the “Nana” of a granddaughter, Maya, and two grandsons, John and Maurice II.
Her hobbies include reading and traveling. Her passion is reaching out to help others.