Town of Cary, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Manager
Rashonda Harris is the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Manager at the Town of Cary. She is responsible for leading, planning, implementing, and evaluating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies and initiatives. She and her team approach the development of strategies and initiatives that focus on relationship building, raising awareness, expanding knowledge, and developing DEI leadership capacity. She also works in partnership with key stakeholders to develop and implement solutions that advance equity and enhance an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Rashonda has been with the Town of Cary for almost 10 years, working previously in human resources as a Sr. HR Strategic Partner. Rashonda has almost 20 years of state and municipal government human resources experience from her work with two Commonwealth of Virginia agencies – the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services and Department of Veterans Services and Durham County Government. Rashonda’s human resources experience has been in the areas of recruitment, employee relations, classification and compensation and training. Rashonda has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Virginia Tech. Rashonda is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Rashonda is passionate about creating a more inclusive and equitable world, building relationships and bridges across all divides, removing barriers, and creating opportunities where individuals can reach their full potential. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, listening to live music, and going to concerts.
Gold Medal Para Snowboarder & Disability Advocate
Brenna Huckaby, a three-time Paralympic gold medalist and five-time World Champion, was first introduced to para snowboarding in 2013, after losing her right leg to cancer at age 14. She quickly achieved success in the sport, landing her first World title only two years into her competitive career. In her Paralympic debut at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, Huckaby cemented her place at the top of the para snowboarding world, winning two gold medals, including the first ever gold won in the banked slalom discipline.
A leading voice in disability advocacy, Huckaby orchestrated a multi-faceted inclusivity campaign in the lead up to the 2022 Paralympic Games, for which she earned the right to compete in medal events initially limited to less impaired athletes. Huckaby went on to win gold and bronze at the Beijing Games and continues to advocate for increased disability representation and inclusion in all areas of society.
A mom of two young daughters, Huckaby uses her platform to speak openly about parenting, overcoming cancer, mental health and body positivity. She has been featured in national TV campaigns with brand partners and on covers of publications such as Parents and InRegister magazines. Huckaby recently partnered with female-empowerment leader Athleta as part of the Power of She Collective.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, VP, Strategy, Planning and Performance, Government Markets
As the Vice President, Strategy Planning and Performance, Government Markets, Alicia is accountable for Blue Cross NC’s Government Markets’ go to market strategy, market performance, marketing strategy, product and performance innovation, and portfolio delivery. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employee Program.
Prior to that, she was the Director of Insights & Innovation at Blue Cross NC, where she was responsible for helping drive the company’s enterprise strategy and providing strategic counsel to the organization’s leadership team. In this role, Alicia’s teams synthesized and delivered relevant market and competitive intelligence insights to Blue Cross NC leadership and driving the company’s enterprise innovation practice.
Prior to coming to Blue Cross NC, she worked at a large academic medical center in NC for almost a decade, where she primarily focused on working with providers to design and implement team based population health strategies that included primary care physicians, specialists, community resources, and a range of other players across the healthcare continuum—all committed to practicing coordinated, high quality, patient centered care to yield the best outcomes.
Alicia believes that the future of healthcare hinges on the collaborative efforts of thought leaders across the ecosystem placing a strict focus on affordability, quality, health outcomes, and an exceptional experience. Her prior experience collaborating with providers is critical to helping Blue Cross NC led the charge to transform the healthcare system.
SAS, Marketing Director for Artificial Intelligence
Marinela Profi is a Principal Marketing Strategy for Artificial Intelligence solutions. With a journey transitioning from a Data Scientist to a Product Strategist, Marinela brings a unique perspective that bridges the realms of technology and marketing, leading the product marketing and positioning for AI and Generative AI solutions at SAS.
Profi has a Bachelor’s in Econometrics, a Master of Science in Machine Learning and Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). On her LinkedIn and Youtube channels, she enjoys sharing her journey to inspire others to start a career in Data and AI.