ROI Influencers: People of Color 2021 — Difference Makers, D-F

Michellene Davis
Thought leader, speaker, board member
Various organizations

She left a top position at RWJBarnabas Health to become CEO at New York-based National Medical Fellowships, but she maintains a strong presence in the state, where she serves on numerous boards and continues her push for social justice and equity.

Sonia Delgado
Strategic adviser/lobbyist
Princeton Public Affairs Group

Trenton veteran provides key analysis and management of legislative and regulatory issues in public sector, corporate and health care settings.

Alfa Demmellash
Co-founder and CEO
Rising Tide Capital

Ahead-of-its-time supporters of women-led startups, Demmellash and Rising Tide announced they are adding four more regions to their network, expanding beyond urban cores.

Uli Diaz
Vice president of government affairs
Horizon BCBSNJ

The quintessential New Jersey political operative, Diaz is the highest-ranking Hispanic executive at the state’s largest insurer and plays a role in local politics in North Jersey, where he remains close to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.

Tara Dowdell
Founder and president
Tara Dowdell Group and TDG Speakers

A go-to communications strategist, Dowdell has slowly but surely been building her marketing and strategic communications firm into one of the finest in the state. 

Tanya Dunbar
Director, Risk Management Group

A key leader at Eisner, Dunbar has more than 15 years of technical consulting, auditing and accounting services experience, serving a variety of public and private entities. She develops and enhances the firm’s overall quality control and regulatory compliance structure.

Ashley Edwards
Founder and CEO
MindRight Health

A Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, Edwards heads a Newark-based tech startup with the mission of advancing health equity by making mental health care radically accessible, inclusive and culturally responsive — especially in underserved communities.

Shirley Emehelu
Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi

Emehelu, who joined CSG after an almost decadelong career as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, heads the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is advancing efforts to expand the firm’s pro bono, training and development programs.

Nariman Farvardin
Stevens Institute of Technology

University has improved in every important metric during Farvardin’s 10 years at the helm. The future looks even brighter, as Stevens is out in front on all things technology, including AI implementation and fintech.

Jeremy Farrell
Special counsel and senior managing director, government and community affairs

After serving as corporation counsel for Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Farrell now heads public policy for Newport, overseeing arguably the most valuable real estate development in Jersey City and the state.

Charisse Fizer
Chief diversity officer 

Longtime AtlantiCare executive has led efforts to ensure system is connecting with the communities it serves both clinically (she been a key in vaccine efforts) and socially (she helped organize screenings of “Black Men in White Coats.”)

Lloyd Freeman
Chief diversity officer
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

A champion of diversity initiatives throughout his career, Freeman has won numerous awards, including South Jerseyan of the Year by the Walter Rand Institute and Diverse Attorney of the Year by the New Jersey Law Journal.

Jeannine Frisby LaRue
Senior vice president
Kaufman Zita Group

She has a 50-year career that includes stints in government as well as prominent positions at some of New Jersey’s most prestigious health and higher education organizations. Larue may be the most well-known lobbyist and advocate for social and racial justice issues in the state.

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