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Multicultural people are often asked, “Which are you more of?” or “Which are you really?” Instead of having people focus on what you are missing, show people how each facet of your identity has a presence in how you approach leadership. Bernard Bass said, “The values, beliefs, norms and ideals embedded in a culture affect leadership behavior, goals, and strategies of organizations.” Our cultural backgrounds shape the type of leaders we are. Learn to uncover the unique perspectives and values that influence your personal leadership style. Remember, you are not half of something, you are the sum of all of the parts that make you a strong leader.

Kari Sanford (Moderator) began her career at General Dynamics Mission Systems as a business analyst in the IT department. Her biggest project was the domain migration for over 8,000 users. Kari set and adjusted the schedule for users to provide minimum disruption. Within GDMS, Kari transitioned to a new role as a program and performance management analyst. She managed the budget and schedule for several projects simultaneously. Kari recently started a new adventure with ZipRecruiter as a Revenue Operations Analyst. She is responsible for setting up the formal Project Management Office. Kari has already laid the foundation with the templates and process documentation she’s created. Now it’s time to put her work to the test. We can’t wait to hear about the success of her upcoming projects! Kari graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Engineering Management and a focus in Computer Science. Her coursework challenged her to use the “people first” approach to design user-centric (and sometimes, eccentric) products. In her senior year, Kari led an interdisciplinary team in developing a mobile app for NASA’s Psyche Mission.

Desiree Khalife (Panelist) was born in the Philippines but has lived in and loved Arizona for most of her life. As the Mom of two boys under two and a Goldendoodle Lincoln, she spends most of her days running around and wondering when the next time she’ll get a full night’s sleep is. She has a BA from the University of Arizona and has worked in marketing for over a decade, focusing on social media and brand. While most of her marketing career was in EdTech and IT, she branched off to be an independent contractor in the summer of 2021, affording her more freedom. But before exiting her last company, she launched an AAPI teammate resource group, to celebrate and support Asian Americans in the workplace. As a quarter Korean, quarter Filipino Asian American, she believes that being mixed in America is a unique experience of its own.

Michelle Matheus (Panelist) is an Arizona-based Implementation Project Manager in the Human Capital Management industry. She has been leading cross-functional, multicultural teams at multiple worksites for 15 years. Whether it’s addressing different working cultures, or finding a communication style that works for teammates working in multiple countries, Michelle has a passion for connecting people and finding intersections where people meet while addressing individual needs.

Kate King (Panelist) was born in Honolulu Hawaii, raised in Tucson, Arizona, and graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Psychology and two minors in English and Education. She has lived in 8 cities in the last 11 years including metros such as Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, and San Francisco. She began her career as a Manager-in-Training at Abercrombie & Fitch and worked her way up to Senior District Manager and Trainer before moving over to Target as a Human Resources Business Partner for Stores Culture, Growth, and Development. In her current role, she supports stores in their development of recruitment strategies, training plans, development opportunities, resource support, HR/Legal consultations, performance management, and talent planning. In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her little rescue dog Alvin. She is an avid traveler, golfer, food enthusiast, and book club member. She is currently studying to receive her MBA and loves finding ways to give back to her community.

Jessica Nielsen (Panelist) was born in Germany and grew up in Arizona, before making her way to the south where she graduated from Valdosta State University with dual degrees in Economics and Marketing. With a last name like Nielsen, she was quickly pulled into the media industry, beginning her career at NBC News in New York City at the iconic Rockefeller Center. Seeking to expand her knowledge of the media and advertising world, her career has spanned an ad agency in Pittsburgh, a Spanish-language TV group in Phoenix and brand-side at a small solar company and a direct-to-consumer e-commerce company in San Diego.  Along the way, she returned to expand her education by securing a Masters Degree in Business Analytics from Quinnipiac University. For the past three years, Jessica has been working for The E.W. Scripps Company, focused on the local broadcast television group. Her role covers audience measurement, product monetization, and cost optimization. Jessica also freelances as a consultant for a digital marketing agency. When not working, you can find her reading a book, keeping up her Yelp Elite status, or walking her pup, Miso. She is currently learning Korean and German for her future travels and loves to watch soccer.

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 ACEL Member Early Bird Rate Before 7/22/2022Early Bird Rate Before 7/22/2022General Registration After 7/22/2022
WELCOME RECEPTION: (Fri, 08/19, 5:00-8:00pm | Keynote Speaker: TBD)$30.00$35.00$45.00
Conference GALA: (Sat., 08/20, 5:00-8:30pm | Keynote Speaker: TBD)$150.00$175.00$225.00
DAY PASS: Friday Conference (Fri., 08/19) Access to 12 Workshops/Seminars, Lunch & Reception$285.00$325.00$425.00
DAY PASS: Sat. Conference (Sat., 08/20) Access to 12 Workshops/Seminars & Lunch & Conference Gala$335.00$375.00$475.00
ALL-INCLUSIVE PASS: Best Deal!** (Friday, August 19 - Saturday, August, 20)   Full Access to Reception, Conference and Gala Event$399.00$499.00$599.00
Diversity Career Expo (Friday, August 19 - Saturday, August, 20) Register for our career expo. to meet with many inclusive companies in ArizonaFreeFreeFree

Group Discounts are Available, please contact us for more information.

All conference registrations must be purchased online with a credit or debit card. Once you purchase your ticket you will receive a confirmation from Your registration will be confirmed by an email sent to the same address after we receive your payment. Please ensure that your email address is correct when registering.

Attire: Business professional/Semi-formal.
All purchases are non-refundable. All payments must receive by 4 p.m. on August 17, 2022 to guarantee your seat.

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ACEL’s mission is to be the proving ground for Asian American & Pacific Islander Professionals, forging leaders of tomorrow through professional development, cultural awareness, community service and mentorship. To learn more about our member benefits or if you would like to join the ACEL family, you can visit