Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Conference

March 5 | St. Louis - Edward Jones South Campus

As employees and consumers alike are seeking out more socially responsible businesses, companies are taking intentional action to foster more diverse, equitable and inclusive work environments. Explore best practices with national experts and share frank discussion around these critical issues in an interactive, collaborative format.

Non-member rate: $300

Member rate: $225

Edward Jones South Campus exterior image at night.



This year’s DE&I Conference will be held at the beautiful facilities of EDWARD JONES at their South Campus located at: 12555 Manchester Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131.


A discounted block of rooms were available at nearby Courtyard by Marriott West County, 12815 Daylight Drive St Louis, Missouri 63131.

The block expired Feb. 15 but you can contact 314-339-7527 to inquire about availability. 


8:30 a.m.  Registration | Breakfast

9 a.m.  Welcome

9:15 a.m.  Bringing Trauma Sensitivity to the Workplace – Rachel Jones, Missouri Department of Mental Health

10:45 a.m.  Break

11 a.m.  Belonging at Work: Finding Common Ground Amid Chaos – Chalana Scales-Ferguson, Washington University in St. Louis

11:45 a.m.  Networking lunch

12:25 p.m.  Connecting with the Community – Moderated by Alvin Reid, St. Louis American; Laura Ellenhorn, Edward Jones; Ed Bryant, Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling; Regina Green, United Way of Greater St. Louis

1:10 p.m.  Creating a Diverse Team – Doria Holland and Raeann Benavente, Legacy 1106

1:55 p.m.  Break

2:10 p.m.  The Data is in: Employers Remain Committed to DEI Despite Backlash – Becky Christensen and Jennifer Chierek Znosko, Littler

3:10 p.m. Closing



Raeann has over 18 years of experience in the auto industry; one that is constantly changing and evolving. Raeann has a wealth of knowledge and experience in floor and internet sales. Her strength is training and selling products to meet the customer’s needs. She has rebuilt stores that were on the verge of closing and flipping them to become profitable and sustainable. Raeann has developed and facilitated training for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software packages. Throughout her years in the industry, she became trusted to step into the business development strategist position. In this role she built teams, departments and stores to become profitable. Her expertise is in analysis, strategy development, training, data-based systems and growth development.

As VP of Public Affairs and Communications for Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling, Ed Bryant oversees Heartland’s strategic stakeholder engagement, focusing on government relations, public relations, and corporate sponsorships. In addition, Ed oversees Heartland’s internal and external social media channels and consumer complaints. Ed also works closely with the three industry beverage associations (Illinois Beverage Association, Kansas Beverage Association, and Missouri Beverage Association) and the American Beverage Association to ensure that Heartland’s legislative priorities are advocated for at the local, state, and federal level.

One of the things Ed is focused on is making sure that Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling continues to build an exceptional reputation with all of our stakeholders. This means making sure that Heartland is recognized for how we exemplify our values, adhere to our mission, meet the needs of our customers, and help to build our communities.

Prior to joining Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling in August of 2021, Ed was VP of Stakeholder Engagement for the United Way of Greater St. Louis. In that role, he was responsible for overseeing the United Way’s three collective impact initiatives: Ready by 21 St. Louis, East Side Aligned, and the United Way’s Financial Stability programs. He also led the United Way’s government affairs work in Illinois and Missouri, with a particular emphasis on leading advocacy efforts to strengthen the social safety net of the greater St. Louis region.

He has over 20 years of experience in economic development, minority business development and supplier diversity, strategic stakeholder engagement, community engagement, and public relations.

Ed is a native of Memphis, TN and proud graduate of the University of Memphis (Go Tigers Go), with a degree in communications. He also holds a master’s degree in public policy and has completed graduate level coursework in urban planning and policy analysis. Ed is a certified diversity, equity, and inclusion facilitator, through NCCJSTL. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and both the Kansas City and St. Louis Diversity and Inclusion Consortiums.

He serves on several boards, including the Coke Company PACS Council, Focus St. Louis, the Carver Project St. Louis, the Center for Civic Research and Innovation, and currently chairs the Greater STL Inc’s Government Relations Council, where he also a member of Greater STL Inc’s Policy Advisory Board.

In his spare time Ed enjoys listening to and playing jazz. He also enjoys cycling.

As Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling moves into our next five years, and beyond, protecting our license to operate, while also promoting our company with our stakeholders will be his major focus.

Becky Christensen has successfully represented clients in federal, state, and appellate courts, as well as before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Becky litigates cases involving claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and unfair competition cases. She handles all facets of litigation including pretrial strategy, motion practice, taking and defending depositions, settlement negotiation, trial, and appeal. Becky also has extensive experience managing forensic investigations and large ESI/document review projects.

Prior to joining Littler, Becky worked at a mid-size firm in St. Louis assisting clients with employment matters and general litigation.

Jennifer C. Znosko is an experienced employment attorney who focuses her practice on advising clients on pay equity and drugs and alcohol issues. As a seasoned attorney and former human resources professional, Jen brings a unique and valuable perspective to any employment or personnel compliance challenges faced by her clients.

Jen is a core member of Littler’s Pay Equity Assessment team. She has extensive experience in conducting pay equity audits for employers in a broad range of industries, such as retail, technology, education, and manufacturing. Jen also provides general counseling advice related to compliance with state and federal pay equity claims, and addressing pay equity claims asserted by employees.

As a former human resources professional, Jen provides practical solutions to workforce management challenges encountered by employers. She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources® (PHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute.

In addition to her advice and counseling practice, Jen regularly litigates discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Missouri Human Rights Act, and the Illinois Human Rights Act in federal and state courts in Missouri and Illinois.

Laura Ellenhorn leads Community Impact, helping to design and build community-focused and trust enhancing strategies, infrastructure and systems to grow the firm’s positive impact on clients, colleagues, communities and society. She and the three teams she leads – Purpose, Community and Philanthropy – provide strategic direction and thought leadership in collaboration with enterprise and functional leaders, branch teams, as well as key stakeholders across the firm to create and support Community Impact strategic direction and plans. Laura serves in the Managing Partner’s Office, advising the managing partner and leading the Edward Jones Foundation, which for more than 30 years, has provided financial resources and support to help strengthen our communities and benefit society so more people can thrive.

Laura applies more than 25 years of firm leadership and legal experience as she has served in key roles within Compliance and Legal, including as General Counsel and Compliance Director for the firm’s United Kingdom affiliate. She also brings extensive community experience to amplify and sustain the firm’s positive impact and culture of caring across the thousands of communities Edward Jones serves, creating new value for clients, colleagues and communities, today and in the future. She was named an Edward Jones principal in 2008.

Laura is a member of Executive Committee of Edward Jones Political Action Committee and serves as president of the Edward Jones Disaster Relief Fund, which enables associates to offer hope and help to colleagues impacted by federally declared disasters in the United States. She is also the executive sponsor the firm’s inaugural Interfaith Business Resource Group, which celebrates, supports and fosters understanding of faiths, non-faith and spiritual diversity.

Laura is active in several organizations and serves as a vice chair of The Gateway Arch Park Foundation, as well as a member of the boards of directors for the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington and her juris doctorate and master’s in international studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a member of the Missouri Bar and was a licensed solicitor and member of the Law Society of England and Wales. She is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s Securities Industry Institute.

Regina L. Greer serves as the United Way of Greater St. Louis’ Chief Impact Officer. Regina has been a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis Leadership Team since December of 2009, formerly serving as the Sr. Vice President Community Partnerships and 2-1-1 Director for the organization.

An experienced Customer Service and Relationship Management professional and management consultant with strengths in strategic planning, service delivery,  training and development and business process improvement, Regina made the leap from private industry to nonprofit management in 2009, previously serving in corporate leadership settings with the former American Express Incentive Services, as their Director of Business Policy and Compliance and Director of Client Relationship Management; Watlow Electric as a Compliance and Training Consultant; and she has held multiple leadership roles at American Water Company, including national Call Center and Customer Relationship Management leads, and Directors of Business Process Improvement and Training and Development.

An avid innovator and proponent of going beyond the status quo, Regina is credited with creating and expanding services lines, improving organizational and team performance, strengthening processes, and increasing service levels in her current and prior positions through customized performance standards and developing high performing teams that have brought tangible return on investment, improved value proposition, and expanded recognition for each organization she has been a part of.

As the strategy lead for United Way’s Impact Team, Regina is driven by her passion to create lasting systems change and solutions for the communities’ most pressing needs.  Regina inspires performance achievement and supports a $40m+ investment portfolio, direct service, crisis response and systems change initiatives.  She oversees the organization’s impact efforts which include a core network of 162 member agencies, United Way 2-1-1 serving a 116-county footprint across Missouri and Illinois, grant-making, evaluation, capacity building and public policy efforts.   Regina is credited with deploying outcomes-producing regional strategies in response to systemic community issues such as the Greater St. Louis Community Information Exchange, United to Help Our Neighbors, United for Families, crisis response, homelessness and more.

Regina is well-respected voice and presence within the Greater St. Louis region and amongst her community of peers for her leadership, collaborative approach, integration, and systems level guidance as well as her continued push to never settle as long as needs unmet exist within our backyards.

Regina has a B.S. in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and a master’s in management and Leadership from Webster University.  She is a member of Victory Church St. Louis where she serves as the Elder of Finance.  Regina is also the Board Chair of the Delta Economic Development Corporation, operating the Delta Child Development Center.  A 1991 initiate and Lifetime Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Regina is a member and past president of the East St. Louis Alumnae Chapter, a member of the Midwest Region Leadership Team since 2009 and was appointed to serve as Delta’s National Convention Parliamentarian in 2019 and 2021.

Doria has 18 years of experience working in micro and macro industries ranging from non-profit and for-profit organizations, corporate and government agencies. She has an abundance of knowledge in working with people and organizational development. Her strength is in developing and facilitating training to fit the needs of the agency, human resources specialist, merging technology and people, building teams and managing change management practices. Her expertise is in HR resources, process improvement, culture strategy, merger and acquisition, recruit, hire and train.

Rachel Jones, LPC is Director of Trauma Services at Missouri Department of Mental Health. She provides trauma informed training, consultation and technical assistance with various projects to further implement trauma-informed knowledge, practices and treatment. She also guides the department in wellness and employee mental well-being initiatives. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and received Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Minor Degree in Black Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology from University of Missouri-Columbia.

Alvin Reid headshot

Alvin A. Reid is news editor of The St. Louis American, a multiple winner of the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest Gold Cup and General Excellence recognitions, including 2023. The American was honored as the nation’s Best African American Newspaper in 2021 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and has won its prestigious Russwurm Award eight times in the last decade.

Reid is also a panelist on the Nine Network PBS news discussion show “Donnybrook,” the highest-rated, locally produced show in the PBS network.


Chalana M. Scales-Ferguson, Esq. is higher education professional, educator, entrepreneur, and writer whose research and service centers the intersectionality of race and gender, specifically within workplace, educational, and family systems. Chalana is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar who currently serves as the inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor of Institutional Equity at Washington University in St. Louis. She recently returned to her hometown of St. Louis following a three year stint as the Director of Academic Success at the University of Missouri School of Law. Prior to transitioning to academia, Chalana was a practicing attorney at Lashly & Baer, P.C. in St. Louis where she represented corporations and school districts in education, employment and business law matters before founding Ferguson Law Group, LLC in 2015, where she was the Managing Attorney.

Chalana earned her Juris Doctorate degree with a concentration in employment law from Saint Louis University School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphases in Black Studies, Psychology and Women’s Studies. Chalana also earned a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE)® certification from the Institute of Diversity CertificationTM.

Prior to pursuing her legal education, Chalana gained professional experience in corporate and non-profit organizations, while devoting most of her time to raising her two daughters, Jazmyn and Raevyn.  Having aspired to become an attorney for most of her life, she returned to law school at a time when she felt she could achieve appropriate balance in her family and professional life.  Her daughters served as her inspiration for her completing law school and she knew she was setting an example for them of how to be committed to family while pursuing personal and professional goals.

Chalana is devoted to community and is a passionate and active servant leader who recognizes how important “the Village” is to her story. Recognizing that, “To whom much is given, much is required” she has engaged with civic organizations including the Women’s Leadership and Charmaine Chapman Society Cabinets for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Steering Committee, and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and Boys and Girls Club of St. Louis.  She has served on the board of directors for YWCA Metro St. Louis and Boys and Girls Club of the Columbia Area. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and currently serves as First Vice President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter. Chalana is also involved with the Mound City Bar Association as a member of the executive committee, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and board of governors of the National Bar Association.

In efforts to enhance her leadership and business acumen, Chalana matriculated through the FOCUS-St. Louis CoroTM Women in Leadership and Leadership St. Louis, as well as the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows programs.  Chalana has been recognized in the community for her service and leadership through awards including: St. Louis American Salute to Young Leaders, Ameren Community Lights, St. Louis Phenomenal Woman, DELUX Magazine Power 100 and Urban League Distinctive Young Leaders. During her tenure at the University of Missouri School of Law, she was the recipient of the Lloyd L. Gaines Award from the Black Law Students Association, the Faculty Excellence Award from the Board of Advocates, Carey Mae Carroll Award from the MU Women’s Law Association, and the MU Inclusive Excellence Award from the University-wide Staff Advisory Council.

Chalana and her husband, Lathon, co-founded, Marriage MasterMYnds, LLC a couples mentoring ministry and network, in which they promote healthy marriages and family life. Chalana is also the founder of MYnd Over Matter, Inc., a nonprofit organization in service of Black women’s wellness and development as they navigate their personal, familial, and professional journeys. Chalana is thrilled to use her professional and personal achievements to pour into others, especially young women and girls, through education, service, and mentoring.

Segment Sneak Peak

Trauma Informed Care is an organizational approach to understanding the science of stress and trauma and how it impacts individuals, teams, clients and service delivery. This presentation will provide an overview of trauma science, trauma informed principles and the Missouri Model Developmental Framework for Trauma Informed Approaches that businesses can use to shift their practices, programming and policies to create a trauma sensitive workplace culture.

Community engagement is crucial for businesses as it fosters positive relationships, builds trust and supports shared initiatives, which forms reputation. Hear from a group of professionals who have made it their lives’ work to be imbedded in their local communities. The candid conversation will cover how active participation in your communities can provide valuable insights, create a supportive network and demonstrate corporate social responsibility.


  • Alvin Reid, The St. Louis American


  • Ed Bryant, Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling
  • Laura Ellenhorn, Edward Jones
  • Regina Greer, United Way of Greater St. Louis

Creating a diverse workforce within your organization requires a holistic approach with the analysis of people and processes. Join Doria and Raeann of Legacy 1106 as they breakdown how to diversify your team. This engaging duo will walk through defining your organization’s culture, needs, brand and recruitment techniques to help build and grow your company while leaving a legacy.

Steps to include:

  • Define what diversity means to you and your organization.
  • Assess your organizations current state – does it meet your definition of diversity?
  • Identify what is missing.
  • How to fill the gaps.
  • Analyze your recruitment process.
  • Become aware of your brand.
  • Craft accurate messages and look for diverse talent in the right places.

Employers are being confronted with numerous legal and workplace complexities from the repercussions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions to roll back affirmative action college admissions policies. To gauge how employers are responding to what has become a critically important — and increasingly embattled — workplace issue, Littler surveyed more than 300 C-suite executives located across the United States. Becky Christensen and Jennifer Chierek Znosko, shareholders at Littler, join us to unpack the report’s findings and explore considerations for leaders as they navigate these business-critical issues.

Read the full report from Littler here.

In recent years, we have witnessed spirited, and often contentious, discourse around numerous policies, initiatives and programs designed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Amid legal developments including directives handed down by courts and legislative bodies, some are left to question what we can do to achieve the goals of creating equitable and inclusive workplaces. Chalana Scales-Ferguson, associate vice chancellor of institutional equity at Washington University in St. Louis, will offer insight into how framing our discussions and opening our minds to the principle of belonging can contribute to more welcoming workplace climates.

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Eligible for 4.5 PDCs

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Eligible for 5.7 total hours | 4.8 Ethics | 4.8 Elimination of Bias


If you’re interested in learning more you can click below to view our sponsorship opportunities or call 573-634-3511.








If you have questions about the event, contact Ashley Schwab.

Ashley Schwab

Director of Conference Development