Speaker Bios

Cory Booker

After graduating from Yale Law School, U.S. Senator Cory Booker moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he provided free legal services for low-income families. In 1998, at age 29, Booker was elected to the Newark City Council, during which time he advocated for improved economic security for city residents, access to healthcare and public safety. He served as mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013 and, under his leadership, the city saw significant economic growth, more affordable housing for city residents and increased educational opportunities. 

Since being elected to the U.S. Senate for the state of New Jersey in 2013, Booker continues to provide a passionate voice for underrepresented Americans and is a social justice advocate for issues facing New Jersey and the U.S. He has led efforts for social justice reform and economic policy that increases opportunity and wages, and addresses corporate practices that keep wages down, among many other significant achievements. 

Booker is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and the Small Business Committee.

Erika Irish Brown

Erika Irish Brown is Citi’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and global head of talent, responsible for developing global diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and driving Citi’s agenda on talent planning, succession planning and leadership development.

Prior to joining Citi, Brown was chief diversity officer at Goldman Sachs from 2018 to 2021 and global head of diversity and inclusion at Bloomberg from 2015 to 2018. Prior to this, she led executive and diversity hiring efforts at Bank of America and Lehman Brothers. Brown's background includes a range of banking and finance roles, including head of business development for Black Entertainment Television, senior associate in high-yield capital markets at Morgan Stanley and senior policy analyst for domestic finance for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She began her career as an analyst in public finance at Lehman Brothers.

She is vice chair of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and serves on the board of the Riverside Hawks. Erika earned a BS in economics from the State University of New York at Albany and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall, event emcee and Lew Klein College of Media and Communication graduate, is a two-time Emmy Award-winning TV host, journalist, author and philanthropist. She is the host and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated daytime television show Tamron Hall Show. For her work on the show’s first season, Hall won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host. Also in its first season, the show was awarded the prestigious Gracie Award, which recognizes exemplary programming created by women.

In fall 2021, Hall released her first novel, and in 2022, she partnered with CourtTV to host an original true-crime series, Someone They Knew With Tamron Hall, which tells stories from the point of view of the people impacted by the case. Most recently, Hall’s work earned her a second Gracie Award for On-air Talent in National Entertainment TV in 2022, as well as her second Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host.

Hall was the first African American female co-host of TODAY and served as the anchor for MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall. She received the 2015 Edward R. Murrow Award for her TODAY segment on domestic violence.

Since 2015, she has served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and in 2014, she received the Lew Klein Alumni in Media award.


2021 Grammy winner Ledisi is a 14-time Grammy-nominated powerhouse vocalist with a career spanning almost two decades. Over her career, she’s garnered three Soul Train Music awards, an NAACP Theater Award and 13 NAACP Image Award nominations. Most recently, Ledisi received two LA Alliance Ovation Award nominations, one for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Born in New Orleans and raised in Oakland, California, she has truly earned a place in the pantheon of the greatest singers of her generation. Ledisi is a favorite of Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as a long list of icons including the late Prince, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and many more. No stranger to the film and television world, in 2008, Ledisi landed a role in her first feature, singing in the George Clooney directed film, Leatherheads. In 2015, she portrayed the great Mahalia Jackson in the Oscar-nominated movie, Selma, and had a notable performance in Gabourney Sidibe’s Shatterbox Anthology film, The Tale Of Four. Ledisi secured her first television role playing the legendary Patti LaBelle on the hit BET series, American Soul. She also starred in the BET+ plus drama, Twice Bitten. This year Ledisi landed the starring role in the film Remember Me: The Story of Mahalia Jackson. To cap off an amazing year, she will also portray the incomparable Gladys Knight in the long awaited film based on Neil Bogart’s career, Spinning Gold, the story of Casablanca Records.

Reginald J. Miller

As McDonald’s vice president, global chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Reginald J. Miller oversees the company’s global DEI strategy with a focus on transformational change around the world.

Miller began his career at McDonald’s in November 2020. He joined McDonald’s from VF Corporation, where he served as vice president, global inclusion and diversity, building the company’s first inclusion and diversity strategy, and turning it into an award-winning program.

Miller has worked in a variety of disciplines including supply chain, merchandising, international project management and multiple specialties within human resources. Prior to joining VF Corporation, he was a diversity and inclusion leader at Walmart, where he was responsible for diversity and inclusion strategy, reporting and consultation for all Walmart stores in the U.S. as well as a talent acquisition and diversity and inclusion/talent acquisition leader at Tyson Foods. He also was an instructor and faculty administrator for the University of Phoenix for several years.

A U.S. Army veteran, he served as a supply sergeant with deployments to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. In addition, he holds a BS degree in education and human resources development as well as an MS in education and workforce development from the University of Arkansas. He received his MBA from Webster University.

Miller serves on many boards including, but not limited to the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, Camber Outdoors, Unidos, and Paradigm for Parity. The National Diversity Council listed Reggie on the Top 50 Chief Diversity Officer list in 2020 and Top 100 Chief Diversity Officer list in 2021 and most recently, he was named to the Power List for Chief Diversity Officers by Color Magazine.

M. Night Shyamalan

A longtime Philadelphia resident, M. Night Shyamalan has been a screenwriter, director and producer for more than two decades. He has written and directed multiple films, including The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Visit and Split.

In 2001, he established the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, which supports emerging leaders working to eliminate barriers created by poverty and social injustice in their communities. Shyamalan believes that identifying global disparities allows for  increased opportunity for individuals, families and communities to realize their dreams.

Maxine Williams

Maxine Williams is the chief diversity officer at Meta, formerly Facebook, and she serves as a member of Meta’s most senior executive leadership team under the CEO.

Williams’ team works to increase cognitive diversity—different ways of thinking based on different backgrounds, experiences and information—of all Meta teams and integrate diverse perspectives into policy and product development. Williams and her team also develop strategies to attract, retain and support the growth of underrepresented people at the company.

Prior to Meta, Williams served as the director of diversity for a global law firm. She has worked as an attorney in criminal, civil and industrial courts in her native Trinidad and Tobago, and in the U.K. at the Privy Council. Williams has also worked with multiple international organizations on development and human rights issues and had a career as a broadcast journalist, actress and on-air presenter. She is an independent director on the board of the publicly traded Massy Group of Companies. Williams graduated from Yale University before receiving her law degree with first class honors from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar.