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Diversity is more than just a buzzword; it is a recipe for corporate success. Multiple studies have shown that a more diverse workforce in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity can bolster innovation and provide companies with a competitive advantage. But what exactly is a “culture of diversity and inclusion” and how do you build and sustain it in the workplace? Hear from established executives across multiple industries discuss cultures of inclusion and speak directly to how they’ve fostered D&I within their organizations for their session, “Building a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion” at ACEL’s Dynamics of Leadership Conference.

Steve Erickson (Moderator): Steve joined the Teach For America corps in 2005 where he taught 4th grade and 7th grade in west Phoenix.  After Steve’s corps experience, he joined the Teach For America national recruitment team where he was responsible for doubling the number of candidates joining Teach For America from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. In 2009, Steve joined Teach For America’s Phoenix regional staff where he has played various roles and led multiple functions, including fundraising, public/government affairs, partnerships, and alumni strategy. Currently, Steve is acting as Executive Director, responsible for the direction, impact, and ultimate success of Teach For America’s program across the Phoenix community.

Leonardo Loo (Panelist): Leonardo Loo is the Phoenix Office Managing Partner of the law firm of Quarles & Brady, LLP and was previously the Chair of the firm’s Phoenix office Business Law Group. He currently is member of the firm’s Business Law Group and International Services Group. He practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial financing, international transactions, securities, and general corporate law involving clients in a wide variety of industries. Loo has been honored as among the Most Admired Leaders by The Phoenix Business Journal, listed in The Best Lawyers in America, and as among the Top Minority Leaders in Arizona by Az Business Magazine multiple years.  He is deeply committed to serving his community and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., a non-profit community development corporation with operations in multiple states and abroad. He also serves on the board of directors for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has served on the board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, and as general counsel for the Black Chamber of Arizona, where he was honored with the 2015 Chairperson’s Award for his positive economic impact across the State of Arizona.

Dr. Clyne Namuo (Panelist): Dr. Clyne Namuo currently serves as the Interim President of Phoenix College. He most recently served as Vice President of Learning and Chief Academic Officer at South Mountain Community College (SMCC). At SMCC, he worked collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to develop a comprehensive academic plan that spawned a number of initiatives including an equity initiative, the creation of mediated classrooms, expansion of mobile technology across instruction, the creation of the construction trades institute, and more.  Prior to joining Maricopa Community Colleges, Dr. Namuo served in progressively responsible roles at Cochise College, a comprehensive community college in southeastern Arizona.  He is active in the community as the former Board President of Habitat for Humanity Sierra Vista, a commissioner for the Industrial Development Authority, a former member of the Sierra Vista City Council’s Citizen Advisory Commission, and as the current President of the Asian Pacific Islander Association constituency group within Maricopa County Community College District. Dr. Namuo is also an active peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission and currently serves as the chair of HLC’s diversity committee. Dr. Namuo is a published author who has written about the strategic direction of community colleges, fiscal constraints, and the strategic strengths of deeply-embedded community colleges.   

Mi-Ai Parrish (Panelist): Mi-Ai Parrish leads Arizona State University Media Enterprise and is the Professor for Media Innovation and Leadership at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is president and CEO of MAP Strategies Group, based in Phoenix. Ms. Parrish served as president and publisher of The Arizona Republic/ and market president at USA Today Network, where the team won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for “The Wall,” a multi-layered, multi-media examination of the southern border with Mexico. Prior to The Arizona Republic/USA Today Network, Ms. Parrish held similar leadership roles at the Kansas City Star, and (Boise) Idaho Statesman, and an array of newsroom roles at (Minneapolis) Star-Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Parrish was the first Korean-American publisher in mainstream media, first BIPOC publisher in Idaho, Kansas City and Phoenix, and first woman publisher in Kansas City. She continues work in diversity and inclusion in media, the weaponization of information, and coverage of justice and equity. She is the chairwoman of Poynter Institute Board of Directors, vice-chairwoman of Banner Foundation Board of Directors, and serves on the boards of the Associated Press, Common Sense Media, the O’Connor Institute for American Democracy, The 19th* News, Arizona Community Foundation, and others.

Thiru Thangarathinam (Panelist) Thiru Thangarathinam the founder and CEO of MST Solutions, a technology and services firm that specializes in transforming customer experience in today’s digitally connected world. Back in 2011, Thiru worked as Chief Architect at Apollo Group where he designed and implemented large-scale transformation programs. Although the work was respectable and left plenty of room for personal growth, Thiru was determined to chart his own destiny. A year later, without experience as an entrepreneur, he left the corporate world and started his own business out of his home office. Today, MST Solutions employs nearly 350 people globally and continues to expand its Chandler, Arizona headquarters. Throughout the years of rapid growth, Thiru focused on encouraging work-life balance and creating a workplace culture everyone could enjoy. Under his leadership, MST Solutions was awarded as one of the best places to work in the Phoenix area. And, due to his track record of founding a global software consulting organization, Thiru was recently recognized by Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Most Admired Leaders in the valley in addition to being a EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalist for 2019.

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Early Bird Rate Before 9/24/2021
General Registration After 9/24/2021
WELCOME RECEPTION: (Fri, 10/22, 5:00-8:00pm | Keynote Speaker: Albert Shen, Verizon) $30.00 $45.00
LEADERSHIP AWARDS GALA: (Sat., 10/23, 5:00-8:30pm | Keynote Speaker: Sue Ann Hong, CAPAW) $125.00 $175.00
DAY PASS: Friday Conference (Fri., 10/22) Access to 12 Workshops/Seminars, Lunch & Reception $225.00 $325.00
DAY PASS: Sat. Conference (Sat., 7/23) Access to 10 Workshops/Seminars & Lunch & Conference Gala $275.00 $375.00
ALL-INCLUSIVE PASS: Best Deal!** (Friday, October 22 – Saturday, October, 23)   Full Access to Reception, Conference and Gala Event $399.00 $499.00
Diversity Career Expo (Friday, October 22 – Saturday, October, 23) Register for our career expo. to meet with many inclusive companies in Arizona

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 October, 18 2021 to guarantee your seat.


Attending our ‪#‎ACEL2021 Conference, but need a hotel?

We have you covered when you reserve a room with DoubleTree Resort By Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley.

We have locked in that special pricing at $179/night!! This link will be available until September 20th, 2021. Make sure to book your room today!!!

Use this direct link provided by DoubleTree Resort By Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley:

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ACEL’s mission is to be the proving ground for Asian American 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