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HBCU Career Talks™

HBCU Career Talks™ unpacks what it takes to go from college student to high-achieving professional. Through HBCU student-led forums, leading Black executives share their career journeys and tips along the way. All HBCU First events are exclusively for HBCU First interns.



3M — Turning a job into a career

This HBCU Career Talks™ focuses on learning from two standout leaders at 3M and covers their experiences climbing the corporate ladder.

Moriah Milner, honors Chemical Engineering student at North Carolina A&T State University and Events Team Lead at HBCU First and Carrington Lea, honors Bioengineering student at North Carolina A&T State University and Events Lead at HBCU First will moderate this 12th installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

The 3M Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation operating in the fields of industry, worker safety, US health care, and consumer goods. Today, more than 60,000 3M products — across 25 product categories — are used in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and other industries. A passionate team of nearly 93,000 employees works together to apply science in ways that make a positive impact on people’s lives around the globe. Learn more.

Farché Wilcox is a leader who has a strong background in manufacturing operations, process scale-up and project management. She is currently an Engineering Technology Manager for 3M, focused on control solutions for capitalized equipment.

Farché’s 3M career also includes experience as a Black Belt, outsourced manufacturing engineer and a process engineer.

Prior to 3M, Farché had experience at the Bemis Thermoforming Operations in Mankato as a Process Engineering Manager, and she worked in Austin’s Silicon Hills as a process & test engineer supporting semiconductor equipment & process start-ups for Samsung and DuPont Photomasks, Inc.

Farché has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, and has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated for over 25 years.

Reginald Wilcox is a leader with over 25 years of experience with 3M, who has a strong background in leading/championing manufacturing value streams and operations, new product/process scale-up/launches and project management.
He is currently a Global Lean Value Stream Manager for 3M supporting Display Solutions and Systems Division.

Reginald’s 3M career also includes experience as a Lean Six Black Belt, where he won the 2015 3M Quality Achievement Award and 2015 3M Process Technology Excellence Award, a product engineer, a process engineer and a process engineering supervisor.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University.



Northwestern Mutual — Financial Security & Innovation

Two standout leaders from Northwestern Mutual lead a discussion about financial security and innovation through customer & employee experience.

Moriah Milner, honors Chemical Engineering student at North Carolina A&T State University and People Etiquette Lead at HBCU First and Amil Bolden, Business Management student at Howard University and People Experience Lead at HBCU First will moderate this 11th installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Northwestern Mutual, a holistic financial planning company, has been protecting and helping people & businesses pursue their dreams for more than 160 years. With $200 billion in assets under management and $2 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services to almost 5 million people. Learn more.

Abim Kolawole VP, CX Integration and Promoting Journey at Northwestern Mutual. Abim leads the Promoting journey, which focuses on building capabilities that seamlessly enable and inspire our existing clients to promote their distinctive experiences with the company and ultimately enable us to reach and cultivate new clients.

Additionally, Abim will lead an effort to take our proven and unique approach to financial security (insurance + investments) and deeply embed this thinking across our business and processes.

Prior to this role Abim was Vice President Digital Innovation, led the Policy Benefits Department, and spent 11 years as a securities/corporate finance lawyer in NM’s law department. Previous to joining Northwestern Mutual in 2003, Abim worked as a securities/corporate finance lawyer at New York based law firms and served as a staff attorney with the enforcement division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in New York.

Abim received his J.D. cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in Boston.

Sharon Fletcher is a Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual. Sharon is part of a network of specialists offering a wide array of financial planning solutions, providing expert guidance, and innovative individualized plans to businesses and individual clients.
She began her professional career with Merrill Lynch in Boston and is also a graduate of one of the highest ranked Executive Leadership programs in the nation and is committed to life long relationships built on integrity, excellence, and trust.

Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Sharon served as a Vice President in Retirement and Institutional Services for a top ranked financial institution in the Washington DC Metro Area.

Sharon graduated valedictorian and earned her MBA in International Business from Florida Southern College.


Ecolab — Climbing the Organizational Ladder

Three standout leaders at Ecolab — a leader in making the world cleaner, safer and healthier — talk about their experience as Black professionals in places of high leadership. They'll discuss their career journeys and building on success.

Moriah Milner, honors Chemical Engineering student at North Carolina A&T State University and People Etiquette Lead at HBCU First will moderate this 10th installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Ecolab, is the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services, having nearly 3 million customer locations. With annual sales of $12 billion and more than 44,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights and personalized service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. Learn more.

Cerise Lewis is PMO Director for the North America Blend & Equipment and Global Institutional Supply Chain at Ecolab. Cerise is a strategic executive with demonstrated leadership in RD&E, operations, and talent development.

With over 25 years of increasing responsibilities, Cerise has a diverse portfolio of experiences in RD&E, Supply Chain, and the nonprofit sector. She utilizes her diverse corporate experiences and Black Belt training to drive continuous improvement, cost savings, project governance, strategy, and advocacy.

Cerise is a member of Ecolab’s Black Leaders Forum and EcoEssence. Previously, she served two years as the Twin Cities Chapter Lead for E3 and has served in multiple capacities at Ecolab as a mentor, coach and thought leader.

Cerise earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Hampton University.

Tiffany Atwell is Vice President of Government Relations at Ecolab. Prior to this role she was the VP of global government and industry affairs for Corteva Agriscience, where she had global responsibility for government and industry engagement strategies.
She started her business focused career at Abbott Laboratories where she had responsibility for developing external engagement strategies for India, Russia and China to promote market access for key products.

Growing up economically disadvantaged in North Carolina, her mom was the primary financial provider, working 3 jobs to keep her family afloat. This was a major inspiration for her love of giving back to society and helping people that face the same barriers she faced while working to achieve financial independence. She also cites the kindness she received from others that helped her be successful as the source of her desire to pay it forward by mentoring young professionals.

Ms. Tiffany graduated from 2 HBCUs — North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Political Science and Government and has an MPA from North Carolina Central University.


Calvin Emanuel Vice President of Strategy at Ecolab. Calvin is a skilled executive with a proven leadership in business management, people development, and sales in the petrochemical industry.
Since the start of Mr. Emanuel’s professional career, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in R&D, manufacturing, product management and marketing, and sales and business management with BASF and Shell Chemical. Calvin has a passion for science education and is board member of Chemical Education Foundation.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Auburn University, an MBA from University of Houston Clear Lake, and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Wayne State University.



3M — Navigating the Business of Science

A dynamic team from 3M — a global leader in applying science to improve lives daily — talks navigating the business of science. They'll discuss their career journeys and how to navigate STEM-based industries.

Maxximone McGlothian, a Cheatham White Scholar and Bioengineering Student at North Carolina A&T State University, and Malaika Lee, an incoming Mechanical Engineering student at North Carolina A&T State University, moderate this 9th installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

The 3M Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation operating in the fields of industry, worker safety, US health care, and consumer goods. Today, more than 60,000 3M products — across 25 product categories — are used in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and other industries. A passionate team of nearly 93,000 employees works together to apply science in ways that make a positive impact on people’s lives around the globe. Learn more.

Chase Qualls is the Western Region Sales Manager in the Facilities Care Solutions (FCS) business in the Commercial Solutions Division at 3M. His initial 3M experience began as one of 15 3M Frontline Sales Interns in 2003, leading to a full-time offer.

Chase worked as a single-sided tape rep for nearly eight years, in addition to completing his MBA. He left 3M to be a Service Sales Manager for Cintas for two years. An opportunity opened to return to 3M in his current division as a sales rep, selling 3M janitorial and sanitation (JanSan) products. After three years, he became the Western Region Channel Manager. Within a year, he was promoted to his current role.

Chase attended Southern University A&M, in Baton Rouge, LA, studying Marketing with a concentration in Professional Sales — a program sponsored by 3M.

Tiffany Hunter is a Senior Executive Sales Engineer at 3M. She has delivered $9M in new sales for 3M BioPharma while leading multiple teams cross functionally, including business and process development, procurement, and R&D for capital equipment (housing) and consumables (single use capsules and cartridges) to improve bioprocess engineering for pharmaceutical and biotech.
Tiffany is committed to developing the next generation of STEM. At 3M she has organized six (6) 3M volunteer events this year including career networking, a social justice hackathon, and STEM competitions at Morehouse College, Stanford, and UCLA. She serves on multiple 3M committees including 3M’s African American Network Leadership Development and Business Development Committees, Women’s Leadership Forum, and 3M’s 2021 LaunchPad Allyship team.

Tiffany graduated with honors from Spelman College and Georgia Tech’s Dual Degree Engineering program, obtaining Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.


Jamall Johnson is a Sales Excellence Trainer at 3M. In the start of Jamall’s professional career, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in with the leading pharmaceutical company Pfizer where he won multiple awards including Vice President’s Cabinet in both 2004 and 2008.
He began his time at 3M in 2009 as part of the Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division or IATD sales team.

One of his greatest accomplishments was endowing the “Johnson Family, Grambling State University Scholarship” in his hometown of Muskegon, MI. Jamall received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Grambling State University.


Ferrara — Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Food Manufacturing

A dynamic team from Ferrara — an undisputed leader in sweet snacking — talks diversity, equity & inclusion in food manufacturing. They'll discuss their career journeys and how to navigate a changing industry.

Ferrara, a company related to The Ferrero Group, is an emerging powerhouse in the North American confections and sweet snacking categories. A passionate team of nearly 6,000 employees works together to share delight in every bite through leading brands that have shaped the industry for more than 100 years.

Their diverse portfolio of nearly 35 brands includes SweeTARTS®, Trolli®, Brach's®, Black Forest® and NERDS®, along with iconic favorites like Lemonhead®, Red Hots® and Now and Later®. Ferrara also manages the Keebler® and Famous Amos® businesses for The Ferrero Group. Headquartered in Chicago, Ferrara has an operational network of 20 locations in North America that includes manufacturing, distribution and R&D facilities. Learn more.

Tola Alade-Lambo is a skilled executive with proven leadership in operations improvement, people development, and food safety in union and non-union environments.

With almost 15 years of progressive experience, Tola has a breadth of expertise in quality, continuous improvement and global operations at Nestle and Ferrara. She currently leads the Quality and Food Safety team in Ferrara and is passionate about delivering the best quality products and experience to consumers.

Tola holds a Bachelor of Science in Physiology/Neurobiology from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Environmental Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Natasha Miller Williams leads Ferrara’s diversity and inclusion strategy and is responsible for implementing and monitoring programs to promote diversity and foster an open and inclusive work environment.
Recognized as one of the Top 100 Executive Leaders and Top 100 Women of Influence by Diversity MBA Magazine, Natasha is a key thought leader. She has parlayed her love of mentorship and writing commentary on career planning and guidance as a contributing writer for several career and lifestyle magazines. Natasha has led keynotes, panels, and workshops for The Conference Board, Society for Human Resource Management, DiversityInc, DiversityMBA, Human Capital Institute, and many talent, inclusion and performance conferences, connecting with global audiences across industries.

Natasha received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Northern Illinois University and an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the
Jack Welch Management Institute.


Jeremiah Evans is an operations professional with extensive experience in manufacturing, network optimization, building high performing teams, business acquisition and integration, continuous improvement, and financial routines.
Since the start of Jeremiah’s professional career, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and operations with Abbott, Coca-Cola, and currently as Virtual Factory Manager for Ferrara. Jeremiah has volunteered with various community programs such as Robotics Explorer Post, Boy Scouts, Lumity, and Swish Dreams to promote the development of youth in Illinois.

Jeremiah received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University and an MBA in International Business from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


NielsenIQ — Career, Industry and Workplace Transformation

A dynamic team from NielsenIQ — who's mission is to deliver the complete truth — talks creating and navigating transformational change. They'll discuss the their career journeys and how to navigate an ever-changing world.

Shemaiah Mbetwa, a Presidential Scholar and Electrical Engineering student at Alabama A&M University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this 7th installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

NielsenIQ, a data & analytics company founded almost 100 years ago, is the leader in providing the most complete, unbiased view of consumer behavior, globally. Powered by a ground-breaking consumer data platform and fueled by rich analytic capabilities, NielsenIQ enables bold, confident decision-making for the world’s leading consumer goods companies and retailers.

NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in nearly 100 markets, covering more than 90% of the world’s population.

Krystal S. Dawson, Vice President, Client Development & Acquisition for the Innovation (BASES) division of NielsenIQ, manages a large portfolio of clients across the CPG, Retail, Telecom, and B2B sectors.

Additionally, Krystal serves as a mentor, BASES Global Leadership Team member, and leads the BASES Diversity Council aimed at connecting Diversity & Inclusion objectives to action and accountability with data. Krystal graduated from Butler University with honors, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and focus in Market Research.

Alicia Roebuck, M.B.A, serves as the North America Recruitment Leader at NielsenIQ and is a graduate of Florida A&M University’s Five year MBA program and studied Global Business during a semester abroad program at Shanghai University.
Outside of her 9-5, Alicia has created and delivered career development content to organizations in both Philadelphia and New York for more than 7 years. At the start of 2021, Alicia completed coach training through the Co-Active Training Institute and now assists persons with navigating their careers.


Lauren Harris, Talent Acquisition & Diversity Engagement Manager for the Innovation (BASES) division of NielsenIQ, develops customized programs to support a diverse, inclusive, and high-performing organization.
Lauren, a graduate of Spelman College, has rolled out several initiatives including an opportunities summit for African-American and Latinx university students, a mid-career level talent development program for diverse associates, and a Pro Bono Minority Business Consulting Initiative.


Northwestern Mutual — Navigating a career in the Financial Services Industry

A dynamic team from Northwestern Mutual — named one of the World's Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE magazine (for the 38th year) in 2021— talks navigating a career in the financial services industry. They'll discuss the challenges of serving their clients, employees, and community amid the global pandemic.

Nija Mackey, an honors Psychology student at Alabama A&M University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this sixth installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Northwestern Mutual, a holistic financial planning company, has been protecting and helping people & businesses pursue their dreams for more than 160 years. With $200 billion in assets under management and $2 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services to almost 5 million people.

Marcia Facey Drame, Senior Director of Competitive Intelligence in Northwestern Mutual’s (NM) Risk Products Department, leads a team delivering on the full scope of competitive research and analysis for NM’s risk products – life insurance, disability income, long term care insurance and annuities.

Prior to this role, she practiced law for 21 years, 15 of which were in the Law Department at NM, as a corporate and real estate lawyer. In addition, Marcia currently serves as the Program Lead for NM’s Sustained Action for Racial Equity Task Force and works closely with NM Chairman, President and CEO, John Schlifske, and other senior-level leaders across NM to lead and advance sustained action for racial equity, rallying around four pillars: (1) a Culture of Inclusion and Respect; (2) Talent; (3) Business Innovation and Financial Security; and (4) Partnerships and Community.

Carlton Triolo-Sapp serves as the Senior Director, Strategy, Planning and Operations (Chief of Staff) for the Data Science Analytics (DSA) division at Northwestern Mutual.
In this role Carlton is engaged in talent acquisition, annual strategic planning, OKR planning and monitoring, budget monitoring, and overall division health. Carlton’s career path has given him experiences in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Hailing from New York City and now living in Chicago, Carlton has a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, a Masters Degree from Rutgers University and a bachelors from SUNY Buffalo State College.


Leo Tucker, CLU®, CLF®, Managing Partner in Washington, DC, began his career with Northwestern Mutual 29 years ago and in 2003 became the company's first Black Managing Partner.
Leo is passionate about inclusion in the workplace and 2020, his DC firm was awarded by Northwestern Mutual for its long-standing efforts to Diversity and Inclusion by receiving the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award. In his off-hours, he is an active volunteer in the community serving on the boards of the Tiger Woods Foundation, The American College, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, and he enjoys playing golf and collecting wine.



Amivero — Navigating a career in Homeland Security

Consultants from Amivero LLC talk supporting national security initiatives as young IT professionals. They discuss working for a women-owned startup and navigating a career in government contracting.

Shanique Strickland, a pre-law student at Alcorn State University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this fifth installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Amivero, a government contracting company, is a woman-owned/HUBZone small business solving IT challenges for our Homeland and Law Enforcement community.

Sasha Sewell, MSAn is a Data Analyst at Amivero, where she is currently working with Federal Protective Services in their Financial Management Division.

She is an experienced Data Analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Sasha received her Master's degree from American University in business analytics.

Shauna Wright, MBA, CSM, CSPO is a Senior Business Analyst at Amivero, she attended Marymount University, a Catholic University in Arlington VA, majoring in Business Administration.
After finishing her degree her first job out of college was a receptionist at a Government Contracting company. She received her MBA in 2014, where she went on to start her government contracting career.



Tiffany & Co. — Navigating a career at an iconic luxury brand

On March 4th, a dynamic team of leaders from Tiffany & Co. discussed navigating a career at an iconic luxury brand. They shared insight into how they've managed to thrive at one of the most admired and recognized brands in the world.

Brooklyn Young, an honors journalism student at Hampton University, and Courtney Gray, founder at HBCU First, moderated this fourth installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Tiffany & Co. is an international icon of legendary style, bold artistry and innovative design.

Celeste Aarons-Jenkins, Brandon Clay and Jaye Thompson share their perspectives from the fields of merchandising, retail, and public relations.

Celeste Aarons-Jenkins is the Vice President of Demand Planning at Tiffany & Co. overseeing the team responsible for the global sales forecasting and purchase planning for the entire product portfolio.

Celeste has been with Tiffany & Co. for almost 32 years, serving as Vice President for the past 11 years. Prior to joining Tiffany, Celeste graduated from Bryn Mawr College, with a major in mathematics. In addition to her daily responsibilities, Celeste is a co-lead of the African Brilliance Employee Resource Group.

Brandon Clay is Store Director of D.C. City Center at Tiffany & Co. overseeing operations, merchandising, and customer experience.
In 2019, he opened the company’s first location in Washington, DC, and after their first full year of opening, he and the team were nominated for store of the year. Prior to arriving at Tiffany, Brandon held leadership positions with LVMH and was a regional training manager for the jewelry brand, David Yurman. His passion for diversity and inclusion stems from his experiences growing up in the deep south and the importance of what he calls, “removing the veil”.


Jaye Thompson is a Senior Director of Global Public Relations, Strategy & Development at Tiffany & Co. overseeing communications strategy and development.
Prior to joining Tiffany, Jaye led strategic communications at leading PR agencies in London, representing luxury clients across the fashion industry. He is also the former Executive Fashion Director for InStyle Magazine, the British edition. Jaye is an alum of London Metropolitan University where he studied communications and cultural theory.



Sherlock Biosciences talks biotech careers and better health

A dynamic team of leaders from Sherlock Biosciences talk access to careers in biotech. They’ll discuss their respective roles in bringing products to market that address some of the world’s most urgent human health challenges.

Kayla Braggs, an honors food sciences student at Florida A&M University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this third installment of HBCU Career Talks™ sponsored by Recruitomics Consulting.

Sherlock Biosciences, an engineering biology company, provides global access to the simplest and most accurate tests that empower individuals to control their own healthcare.

In 2020, after just over one year of operation, Sherlock made history with the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology for its CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit for the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Tiffany Summerville, Joel Mowatt and Fred Nyachieo discuss building a career in biotech and share their perspectives from the fields of science, human resources and academia.

Tiffany Summerville is the Executive Director, Head of Human Resources at Sherlock Biosciences.

She earned a B.S. in Communications from Bowie State University, and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Additionally, Tiffany serves as the President of the professional association, Women of Color in Corporate America.

Joel Mowatt is a Research Associate at Sherlock Biosciences, responsible for creating assays for various diseases using CRISPR as a detection method.
A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he obtained a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Joel is part of the Sherlock Biosciences team that made history with the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology for the Sherlock™ CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit for the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19.


Fred Nyachieo is a Lab Operations Manager with Sherlock Biosciences, where he oversees daily lab operations and ensures the company is positioned to optimize its lab performance.
Fred obtained a B.S. in Biology at Frostburg State University and an M.S. in Biotechnology Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus.



Women of Transformation at Reynolds American Inc.

Black senior executives from Reynolds American Inc. — Shay Mustafa and Candice Brown — share how they've entered traditionally white, male-dominated environments and managed to lead innovation and create opportunity.
Moderated by the FAMU Career & Professional Development Center, Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, and Marilyne Njuraita, a sociology student at Howard University, moderate this second installment of HBCU Career Talks™.
Reynolds American, a leading U.S. tobacco company, is focused on transforming the industry and the communities that it serves. Most recently, Reynolds received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index or CEI for its diverse and inclusive culture.
Watch on YouTube   Listen on Spotify   Listen on Apple Podcasts
Meet our Guests from Reynolds American
Sharonda (Shay) Mustafa is Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing with Reynolds American, Inc. where she leads the Modern Oral business unit. Shay’s professional background ranges from senior roles with Fortune 100 companies to co-founder of a technology start up
Candice Wooten Brown is Vice President, HR Business Partner for the organization’s Corporate Functions as well as its Scientific Research & Development function. In this role, Mrs. Brown is responsible for leading the people agenda across functions, to include the design and implementation of programs and initiatives to address the talent needs of each unique function.

Warner Music Group: From Intern to Executive

WMG executives from Atlantic Records, Asylum Records, and ADA take us on the journey of college intern to senior executive in a virtual, student-led forum hosted by Howard University. Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, and Kennedy Reid, an honors economics student at North Carolina A&T State University, moderate this first installment of HBCU Career Talks™.
Watch on YouTube   Listen on Spotify   Listen on Apple Podcasts
Meet our Guest Speakers from Warner Music Group

HBCU First's mission is to increase college success + career access for Black youth.

Increase college success + career access for Black youth.