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Gaurdie E. Banister Jr. 

Former President & CEO, Aera Energy LLC

Gaurdie Banister recently retired after serving eight years as president and CEO of Aera Energy LLC, an oil and gas exploration and production company jointly owned by Shell Oil Company and ExxonMobil, headquartered in California. Banister has 35 years of oil and gas experience, and prior to Aera served in executive level positions at Shell including technical vice president Upstream Asia Pacific and technical vice president Upstream Americas.

Banister joined Shell Oil in 1980 as an offshore facilities engineer in New Orleans, and throughout his career served in various production management assignments based in Louisiana, California, Texas and Asia. He became president USA and executive vice president of Shell Services EP Gas and Power in 1998. From 2001 to 2003 Banister served as vice president of Business Development and Technology. In 2003 he was named technical vice president, Upstream Americas and championed innovative capital cost approaches to major projects. From 2005 until 2007 Banister was technical vice president, Upstream Asia Pacific. In this role he oversaw drilling and development activities in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and established milestones and processes to safely execute major projects both onshore and offshore.

In 2007 Banister became president and CEO of Aera Energy. Aera is one of California's largest producers delivering 25 percent of the state's oil and operating more than 14,000 wells.

Banister was named to the board of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) in 2011 and currently serves as the lead independent director.  

He also serves as trustee of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology foundation. Banister previously served on the executive committee of the California Chamber of Commerce, the advisory board of the Chancellor of the California State University System and the board of the Western States Petroleum Association, and is a past chair of the board of the United Way of Kern County.

Banister holds a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He is a native of Casper, Wyoming.


Karen Aldridge-Eason

Certified Coach

Karen Aldridge-Eason is the first foundation liaison to a governor’s office in the United States, a position she accepted in 2003 as a loaned executive from the Foundation. Established through a joint agreement between Michigan foundations and the governor’s office, Aldridge-Eason assumed responsibility for the development of the new position, charged with bringing together state policymakers, foundation leaders and elected officials to explore and identify solutions to issues affecting Michigan’s children and their families. Aldridge-Eason joined Mott in 1993 as a program officer for the Flint Area team, becoming program director the following year.

In addition to serving as an administrator for a mission boarding school in Liberia, West Africa, she also held several governmental positions prior to becoming part of Mott’s staff. She served as budget director for the city of Flint and director of the Office of Health and Human Services within the Michigan Department of Management and Budget.

A graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Education, she also earned a master’s of Public Administration from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.



Amy Lazarus

Founder & CEO InclusionVentures

Amy Lazarus is the founder and CEO of InclusionVentures, LLC, making welcoming and effective spaces the norm in workplaces and communities toward faster systems change. Amy served as Executive Director at the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue for the past five years, first as the inaugural ED for the Campus Network and then for the Institute. Under her tenure, programs grew from serving 11 to 45 college campuses in the United States, Latin America, and Africa; expanded into workplaces focused on talent development, inclusion, and leadership; and earned revenue increased from 6% to 33%. Amy also founded PULSE, a neuroscience-based leadership retreat to catalyze inclusive talent.

Amy was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, earned an M.S. in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School, and founded Common Ground at Duke University. She is the Curator for the World Economic Forum Global Shaper DC Hub and is a recipient of USA Network’s Characters Unite Award, Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders, Facing History’s Upstander Award, the American Express NGen Leadership Fellowship, and was the youngest person inducted into her high school’s alumni hall of fame. Amy is cited in Bloomberg Businessweek, The Washington Post, Barrett Seaman’s Binge: What Your College Student Won’t Tell You, and Robert Thompson’s Beyond Reason and Tolerance: The Promise and Practice of Higher Education. From Shaker Heights, Ohio, Amy lives in Washington, DC and serves on the boards of Coro National and Operation Understanding DC. She is certified in administering the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the DiSC profile. Amy practices tai chi and has sung back up for Aretha Franklin.


Forrest Moore

Senior Research Scientist, Morris Strategy Group

Forrest Moore is a Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall. With over 20 years’ experience serving youth and their families, Dr. Moore provides strategic guidance on research and evidence use to youth-servicing agencies across a multitude of issues, including the overrepresentation of children and young people of color (and their families) in public systems like child welfare and justice. Dr. Moore specializes in designing and implementing feasible action plans to improve delivery of and outcomes associated with youth development programming, especially those focused on highly vulnerable subgroups of youth and young adults. Specific interests include disconnected (opportunity) youth, homeless youth, and youth transitioning from experiences within child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Dr. Moore has extensive expertise working with public and private decision makers, especially in community-based agencies. His approach emphasizes the use of evidence in decision making and the application of implementation science principles within systems, program and practice change efforts.

Prior to joining Chapin Hall, Dr. Moore most recently was an independent consultant focused on research, strategic planning, and project management for multiple youth serving organizations like Surge Institute, My Brother’s Keeper, SGA Chicago, Philanthropic Executive Alliance, and others. Dr. Moore has also served as the Executive VP for America’s Promise Alliance. There, he conceptualized and developed a new knowledge management department, which was focused on creating and managing technical systems that improve the ability to effectively deliver resources and services. He represented the organization as the Education liaison to the U.S. Department of Education, acting as a thought leader and advisor to the partnership on education-related issues. Dr. Moore also cocreated the Research and Practice Summit, a partnership between the Center for Promise and Stanford University, where he developed the agenda for the alliance, with the goal of enabling effective research and community practices.

Dr. Moore has a Ph.D. in Research Methodology from Loyola University in Chicago and a B.S. in Organizational Leadership from the Knoy School of Technology at Purdue University.


Sharon Orlopp

President, Orlopp Enterprise
Former Global Chief Diversity Office, Walmart

Sharon Orlopp, served as Global Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President at Walmart, and was responsible for advancing a diverse workforce with 2.1 million associates worldwide. Her former responsibilities include overseeing and leveraging global diversity and inclusion efforts, associate relations, and HR policy for the world’s largest retailer.

Sharon joined Walmart in 2003 as Vice President, People. In 2004, she was promoted to Senior Vice President, People – Sam’s Club. Prior to joining the company, Sharon was Vice President of Human Resources for Gart Sports, where she was responsible for compensation, benefits, training, recruiting, public relations, and investor relations. Sharon also spent 17 years with Foot Locker, where she held various leadership positions in Operations and Human Resources.

Sharon is an experienced human resource professional with a passion for diversity and for people. She has made it her mission to advance diversity initiatives, sponsor immersive learning trips and lead by example.

A lifelong advocate for inclusion, education and opportunity, Sharon considers it a privilege to serve as a member of the National Advisory Board with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), as a member of the Board of Women's Foodservice Forum and as a member of the Advisory Council for the Center for Entrepreneurship at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Denver, where she graduated magna cum laude.  She served as Director of Women's Foodservice Forum, Inc. Ms. Orlopp served as the Advisory Board for the Center for Business Women's Research, known as the leading authority on women business owners and their enterprises worldwide. She is also a Board Member for Northwest Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute, NARTI, and Future Business Leaders of America, FBLA.


Jorge Reina Schement

Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Rutgers University

Jorge is Vice President of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Rutgers University. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Communication Policy, and of Latino Studies, and chair of the Executive Committee for Rutgers’ 250th Anniversary Commemoration. Schement is author of over 250 books, papers, and articles. Previously, Schement served as Dean of the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers after teaching as a distinguished professor at Penn State University, where he cofounded the Institute for Information Policy. He joined the faculty at Penn State after serving as a communication professor at Rutgers, UCLA, the University of Southern California, and the University of Texas-Austin. Schement holds a Ph.D from Stanford University in Communication, an M.S. in marketing from the University of Illinois, and a B.A. from Southern Methodist University.

A Latino from South Texas, his research focuses on the social and policy implications of the production and consumption of information, especially as they relate to ethnic minorities. He conducted the first study of the impact of minority ownership in broadcasting, and conducted the original research that led to recognition of the Digital Divide. He introduced the idea of Universal Service as an evolving concept, a view adopted in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. His studies of minority ownership contributed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. F.C.C. et al.

He authored the telecommunications policy agenda for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and advised the FCC Transition Team for the Obama administration. He is a founding member of the FCC Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age. The movement to integrate community museums, libraries, and public broadcasting as Partners in Public Service began in a project he codirected. He has served on editorial boards of 18 academic journals, guest edited the Annual Review of Technology for the Aspen Institute, and is editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Communication and Information.

Schement has served on advisory boards for the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Office of Technology Assessment, United States Commission on Civil Rights, Centers for Disease Control, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Governor of California, Media Access Project, Libraries for the Future, Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, Center for Media Education, Internet Policy Institute, American Library Association, Minority Media Telecommunications Council, New Millennium Research Council, Open Society Institute, Advertising Council, Benton Foundation, Aspen Institute, MCI, Verizon, and Pew Project on Internet and American Life. He chaired the board of directors of TPRC Inc.


Beverly Schwartz

Vice President of Global Marketing, Ashoka

Beverly Schwartz currently works at Ashoka, the world’s largest community of social entrepreneurs. She has been Vice President of Global Marketing for the past eight years and is the author of Rippling; How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World, Wiley Jossey-Bass, April 2012.

By discipline, she is an “entrepreneurial” behavioral scientist and has made her career in the field of social change marketing. With the exception of a few non- social sector jobs in advertising and communications, she has devoted her career to working on some of the world’s most challenging social issues as diverse as drugs, children’s health, gender equity, girl’s education in developing countries, environmental reform, HIV/AID, and smoking prevention, including managing the non- advertising portion of the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign for the Executive Office of the White House in the late 90s, and the “America Responds to AIDS” campaign for the US Centers for Disease Control in the mid 80s. In her early career, she helped write and pass the first statewide non- smoking in public places law in the US in the mid- 1970s. (Minnesota)

She is a regular contributor at under their entrepreneurship column and a popular e-zine for entrepreneurs. Beverly is a dynamic speaker and workshop facilitator and will be the opening plenary speaker for the Society of Scholarly Publications meeting this September. Last year she was the closing session speaker for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national conference on Health Communications and Marketing. She is also on the Board of Trustees of the National Hospice Foundation.


Karl Sniady

Executive Coach and Senior Business Advisor

Karl Sniady is the former President & Chief Financial Officer of Coaches Training Institute (CTI), the largest in-person coach training school in the world and the only program to teach CTI’s ground-breaking Co-Active Coaching model in highly interactive courses. Sniady was introduced to Co-Active coaching when he was working as a CFO for a publicly traded company in Boston, and he joined a group of men that was facilitated by a CTI faculty member. Having had firsthand experience with how powerful the Co-Active model is, he was excited to have the opportunity to use his professional skills at CTI. 

About his move, Sniady stated, “I had never worked for a company as small as CTI; I’ve been working for large divisions of Fortune 500 companies or publicly traded companies in their own right… [but] it was the right time and place. CTI has always been a great organization, totally focused on who people are, and really not that focused on the type of business they are running. I brought my business skills and they in turn brought me into growing who I am as an individual and how I can bring my expertise to the work that they do in the world.”

Since his early work as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand, Sniady’s experience ranges from multinational and publicly traded companies to internet start-ups. In his professional life prior to CTI, he would “look for companies that I thought could make a lot of money, that had some kind of financial angle to what they were doing.” In his words, his experience has taught him “particular expertise about how to manage a business and where you go from there, but also that without a base of integrity and values and having a clear idea of what your mission and vision are, it doesn’t go anywhere.”

He launched his career at SHV Holdings, an international company based in the Netherlands with worldwide sales of over $6 billion. He held various positions over 10 years there: Financial Analyst; Internal Audit Director and CFO of SHV North America Corp.; and VP of Finance and CFO for Makro, Inc., a subsidiary selling a broad range of food and general merchandise in a superstore environment. Then, he served as VP of Finance and Administration and CFO of Auto Source, Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian Tire Corporation with sales of $60 million. He followed that position with one as VP of Finance and CFO at Performant Financial Corporation, a private equity-backed financial services company.

His next position was at Trend-Lines Inc, a public company with annual revenues of more than $300 million. There, he successfully completed a secondary common stock offering, restructured its bank credit facility and was responsible for human resources, IT, distribution and call center operations. He joined S&H Greenpoints, a venture-funded B2B marketing loyalty company, from there. As Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Sniady was responsible for the company’s growth through his management of all of S&H's financial administrative, human resources, legal, customer care, and fulfillment functions. He helped lead S & H from $2 million to $50 million in revenue.

Sniady found his post at CTI soon after moving to the Bay Area. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Cincinnatti and an MBA from Northeastern University. He has been a CPA since 1979. He and his wife Gwendolyn have a son, Matt, and a daughter, Maria, who both live in Los Angeles.