New Jersey’s most influential DEI leaders 2021: A to E

Hester Agudosi
Chief diversity officer
State of New Jersey
Oversees the state Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which has been established to ensure diversity in appointments, recruitment and the execution of diversity and inclusion strategies targeted toward greater utilization of minority-, women-, veteran- and LGBT-owned businesses. Agudosi, the state’s first chief diversity officer, has spent two decades working for the state, including time as director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Public Contract Assistance at the Department of Environmental Protection.

Michael Allison
Chief human resources officer
In a company where 70% of the employees are of color, a recent survey showed 91% “believe Burlington makes it easy for people from diverse backgrounds to fit in and be accepted.” Burlington has been consistently recognized as a Best Workplace for Diversity and a Best Workplace for Women — and receives high marks on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which acknowledges welcoming and affirming workplaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Valoria Armstrong; Sharon Manker
Chief inclusion officer; Senior diversity program lead
American Water
Armstrong’s responsibilities include creating a comprehensive and integrated strategy to drive diversity, equity, respect and inclusiveness across the organization; as well as engaging with stakeholders to increase awareness of American Water’s culture and values. Manker was recently honored nationally for leading various aspects of American Water’s Supplier Diversity Program, including policies, procedures, objectives, processes and communications, to increase opportunities for, and participation with, diverse suppliers.

Alison Banks-Moore
Chief diversity officer
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.J.
A well-respected thought leader with more than four decades of experience with numerous top companies in the state, Banks-Moore is an icon in this space — one who still brings the energy needed to help a dynamic organization support an inclusive, thriving and diverse workplace. She has helped the company win numerous awards — as well as being honored herself, including a recent selection as one of the Top 50 chief diversity officers in the country.

Enobong (Anna) Branch
Senior vice president for equity
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Branch ensures that Rutgers’ commitment to equity is reflected in the research, educational and public engagement efforts that occur throughout the university and the focus           extends to faculty, staff and students. She also oversees the Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement on the New Brunswick campus, championing the role of diversity and inclusion in achieving excellence and strengthening the institutional commitment to its diverse community on and off campus.  

Michelle Bodden
Chief diversity & inclusion officer
N.J. Economic Development Authority
The EDA’s first chief diversity & inclusion officer is charged with cultivating equity and inclusiveness both within the organization, as well as through the resources it provides to the state. Bodden has a long history driving D&I strategies, standards and policies. She was head of a supplier diversity program for a 200,000-person company — and furthered D&I-focused initiatives for the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization, advancing and ensuring the success of women-owned enterprises.

Jennifer Borek; Harris Freier
Co-chairs, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Genova Burns
Recently named co-chairs of the DEI committee at a firm long known for its commitment to diversity. In this role, they will help lead a number of initiatives, including mentoring, sponsorship of diverse organizations and a partnership with the Rutgers Association of Black Law Students.

Bill Bradshaw
Director of inclusion and diversity
Leads the firm’s inclusion and diversity initiatives and oversees its strategy and objectives, including attracting and advancing diverse leaders and fostering an inclusive, accessible and authentic workplace. Bradshaw collaborates with leadership and works closely with the firm’s employee resource groups. Is on the board of Garden State Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization, and recently taught Lead for Diversity, a weeklong journey by the American Conference on Diversity, to high school students.

Dale Caldwell
Chair, DEI Advisory Council
Fairleigh Dickinson University
The executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation, Caldwell has a long history in the DEI space. He founded a DEI consulting firm that has provided training and strategy to major national clients. He created the concept of Entrepreneur Zones to increase diversity, equity & inclusion at the community level through small business success and job creation. And he is chairing a working group on the subject created by Gov. Phil Murphy and the EDA.

Elizabeth Campbell
Director, diversity & inclusion, Snacks Division
Campbell Soup Co.
Named one of the Top 40 chief diversity officers in the country at the National Diversity and Leadership Conference, Campbell is recognized as an author, speaker and training facilitator on D&I and employment law-related topics. In her current role, she is responsible for the development and implementation of the inclusion and diversity aspects of the Campbell Snacks business strategy as a member of the talent and culture team.

Chris Campellone; Justin Lane
Business development manager; Manager, sales
AmeriHealth New Jersey
They co-chair AmeriHealth New Jersey’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, which provides a forum for safe, respectful and open discussion among associates. Throughout the year, the council organizes discussion and learning sessions for associates on a range of topics, including social and racial inequality, LGBTQ+ experiences in the workplace, microaggressions, unconscious bias, generational differences and code switching. 

Jenny Chung
Associate, Litigation Group
Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi
A leading voice on promoting initiatives being implemented at the local, state and federal levels to address inclusion, Chung recently completed her tenure as president of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the state’s only Pan-Asian bar association, where her role took on new meaning in light of the rise of anti-Asian hate incidents taking place across the state and nation.

Rina Desai
Vice chair, NJBIA Diversity & Inclusion Council
An experienced finance professional on financial reporting and analysis as well as change management, Desai also is passionate spreading awareness and education about diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives. Considered a thought leader, she recently was named to co-lead the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Council.

Claudia Dulac
Diversity & inclusion and employee satisfaction counsel
Bank of America
Responsible for community partnerships, sponsorships and philanthropy in New Jersey, Dulac works closely with New Jersey Market President Alberto Garofalo and local business leaders. Helps BofA deliver a focused and integrated local market to improve the bank’s ability to drive business integration and revenue growth, make a positive impact on economic mobility in the community, build connectivity and employee engagement, and deliver the bank’s brand commitment. 

Shirley Emehelu
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi
Has reinvigorated the firm’s commitment to the recruitment, development and retention of minority attorneys and professional staff as chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Emehelu is leading the charge on the firm’s powerful internal D&I communications program — which has helped keep CSG’s nearly 300 employees unified around the key values of diversity, equity & inclusion over the course of the remote work experience.

Click here for New Jersey’s most influential DEI leaders: F to L

Click here for New Jersey’s most influential DEI leaders: M to Z