New Jersey’s most influential DEI leaders 2021: F to L

James Felton
Vice president for inclusive excellence
The College of New Jersey
Recognized as a national leader and scholar-practitioner in the field of diversity in higher education, Felton has contributed to the development of several diversity and strategic plans at TCNJ and on college campuses across the country. Recently appointed to the board of directors of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, he has been a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity since 2014. 

Charisse Fizer
Chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer and vice president, clinical services
Leads AtlantiCare’s interaction with the community — young and old. Fizer led a grassroots efforts campaign to vaccinate people 65 years and older from Black and brown communities. In addition, she helped AtlantiCare host special screenings of the documentary “Black Men in White Coats,” with local Boys & Girls Clubs to discuss health care careers as participants in the “Friday is Tie Day” mentorship programs.

Colleen Foy
Senior relationship manager
M&T Bank
A member of the leadership team for the New Jersey Equity Action group, Foy is working to effect positive social change in M&T’s internal work environment and the communities M&T serves (such as a recent partnership with the Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development). She is member (and past president) of M&T’s Women’s Interest Network and serves as chair of the board of trustees of Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, an arts education organization that prioritizes DEI principals.

Lloyd Freeman
Chief diversity & inclusion officer
Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney
A well-respected and an accomplished diversity & inclusion professional, Freeman is a thought leader on numerous topics, including the importance of diversity & inclusion, the impact of stigma and discrimination, implicit bias, allyship and imposter syndrome, among others. Formerly with Archer, he created the firm’s affinity group, L.E.A.D. (Lawyers Encouraging Archer’s Diversity), in 2012 and coordinated the firm’s summer associate program for two years after being the first intern to rise to partner.

Tammy Garnes Mata
Chief diversity & inclusion officer
Valley Bank
Leads the development, delivery and communication of a holistic diversity, equity & inclusion strategy for the bank. Garnes Mata partners closely with the executive leadership team and business lines, helping to drive awareness, commitment and accountability for Valley’s DEI initiatives, internally and externally. Prior to transitioning to the DEI field, Garnes Mata practiced employment law for 15 years, most recently as in-house counsel at a leading financial services firm. 

Angel Gonzalez
Chief diversity & inclusion officer
New Jersey City University
NJCU has long prided itself as perhaps the most diverse campus in the state. It now has a new chief diversity & inclusion officer to ensure the richness of its community is recognized. Gonzalez was named to the school’s senior leadership team and will be tasked with providing transformative leadership to advance equity, diversity and inclusion as part of NJCU’s core mission.

Khristina Gonzalez
Director, Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity
Princeton University
Heads center designed to provide all students, including those from first-generation, low-income and underrepresented backgrounds, with mentorship and academic enrichment to thrive at Princeton. The center’s programs include the Freshman Scholars Institute; the Scholars Institute Fellows Program; the University’s Programs for Transfer, Non-Traditional and Veteran Students; the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program; and the Princeton University Preparatory Program.

David Gould
Chief diversity & impact officer
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment
The leaders of HBSE, owners of the New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center and Philadelphia 76ers, among others, committed $20 million to the fight against systemic racism. Gould will oversee much of that, leading internal and external diversity & inclusion programs and initiatives across the organization. Among them, he will be charged with ensuring HBSE is providing more opportunities for minority-owned businesses and offering more career opportunities for members of underserved communities.

Paula Gutierrez
Director, diversity & inclusion and Babs Siperstein PROUD Center
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset
A strategic, systems-level thinker, Gutierrez manages internal and external diversity relations, employee network groups and diversity councils. Gutierrez has designed and implemented programs and strategies that foster diversity, equity & inclusion, such as addressing health inequities and social determinants of health in marginalized communities, as well as mitigating unconscious bias in hiring and promotion, mentoring, employee resource groups, diversity target setting and other inclusion practices.

Theresa Harrison
Global environmental social governance services leader
An award-winning and recognized leader in the industry, Harrison is a frequent public speaker and works to build awareness of the importance of supplier diversity both inside and outside of EY. At EY, she chairs the ESG Network that monitors and tracks procurement and oversees EY’s mission to create a distinctive experience for small, diverse and sustainable suppliers by teaming together to develop innovative solutions and strategies.

Wanda Hope
Chief diversity officer
Johnson & Johnson
A sought-after speaker and thought leader on advancing DEI to drive business performance and results, Hope has presented at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference and currently serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Equality and Inclusion. Her efforts are a main reason J&J routinely is at the top of national and global lists honoring companies for successful diversity & inclusion programs.

Carolynn Johnson; Luke Visconti
CEO; Chair
Johnson, a longtime exec, recently took over the CEO role from Visconti, the founder of an organization that touted the benefits of diversity long before the idea became a common theme in Corporate America. DiversityInc has decades-long relationships with major corporations because they find its data, products and services to be an invaluable asset in guiding the growth and prosperity of their companies.

Robert Johnson
Chief diversity officer
A highly regarded thought leader in this space, he leads the Gibbons Diversity Initiative. Johnson recently helped structure the Equitable Small Business Initiative, a joint venture between the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and New Jersey Community Capital that has made a $5 million commitment to give New Jersey Black business enterprises the resources necessary to establish, sustain, improve or expand their business operations — many of which struggled during the pandemic.

Rhonda Jordan
Chief human resources officer
Virtua Health
Led the development and introduction of Virtua’s “Culture of WE.” Jordan also helped
launch a comprehensive inclusion, diversity & equity initiative that includes ongoing employee education and affinity groups called Colleague Communities. She is guided by the principle that “inclusion and diversity within Virtua helps us create an environment where everyone belongs. It also allows us to better understand our communities’ needs and develop services to empower them.”

Armond Kinsey
Chief diversity officer
Atlantic Health System
Guides, integrates, monitors and evaluates diversity & inclusion efforts across Atlantic Health System. Kinsey takes the lead on diversity & inclusion strategy, the diversity council, supplier diversity, corporate social responsibility and other initiatives — with a special emphasis on diversity recruitment and retention efforts to ensure the staff represents the patients they care for.

David Kountz
Associate dean for diversity & equity
Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine
As co-chief academic officer and vice president for academic diversity at Hackensack Meridian Health, one of Kountz’s jobs is to ensure the incoming class of medical students looks like the population it will serve. The admitted class in 2020 does just that. Nearly half are female and identify as people of color, a quarter are from groups underrepresented in medicine, and the class as a whole speaks 33 languages in total.

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