Meet Our Team
The Team Behind it All
We are who we are today because of our team members. Our team is comprised of diversity practitioners from corporations and organizations throughout Central Ohio. Each of our team members moves CODC forward in helping us achieve our vision of collectively advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion by collaboration and knowledge transfer across organizations throughout Central Ohio.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS & OFFICERS
Get to know Adrian
Adrian Sullivan is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Worthington Industries, a leading global manufacturing company. His key responsibilities include the education and expansion of diversity, equity and inclusion best practices throughout Worthington Industries and its joint ventures.
Adrian works in concert with business segments on strategic programs and systems related to attracting, retaining and promoting a diverse workforce, while establishing an inclusive work environment in support of Worthington Industries’ corporate philosophy, values and practices. Adrian is also focused on creating a path forward for Business Resource Groups in multiple regions and locations for the organization. Adrian volunteers his time by serving as President of the Central Ohio Diversity Consortium and through his ministry with his local congregation. In addition to diversity and inclusion work, Adrian has a background in Affirmative Action Compliance and EEOC Governance, as well as Supplier Diversity.
Get to know Jeffrey
Jeffrey L. Hammonds Sr. is the Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) Manager in the Talent and Organizational Effectiveness organization at NiSource. He is currently responsible for the design and operations of the I&D strategy and tactical plans. This includes providing direction to seven Employee Resource Groups, 7 State I&D Councils with over 30 regional councils, as well as driving the I&D initiatives for the organization.
Jeffrey has been employed at NiSource since July of 2014 serving in an I&D capacity. He comes to NiSource from Battelle Memorial Institute where he served as the Diversity Consultant managing the diversity and inclusion efforts as well as the compliance of their Affirmative Action Programs.
Jeffrey is a member of the National Associations of Black Accountants, National Association of African American in Human Resources, and American Association of Blacks in Energy. Jeffrey currently serves on the advisory board for the African-American Leadership Academy and is a member of the Fundraising committee for Center for Healthy Families. Jeffrey is married to Priscilla Hammonds and has one son Jeffrey Jr. and two grandsons, Jeffrey III and Joshua.
Get to know Priscilla
As Assistant Vice President, Priscilla is leading the development and execution of an enterprise diversity and inclusion strategy to drive initiatives that impact the workforce, workplace, marketplace and community. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, facilitation and the launching of and providing oversight to Associate Resource Groups and Diversity and Inclusion Councils. She’s also given numerous presentations on inclusive leadership, generational differences and unconscious bias.
Prior to joining Grange Insurance, Priscilla held leadership roles at State Farm and Nationwide Insurance in the areas of diversity & inclusion, underwriting and agency operations.
Priscilla is an ambassador for United Way of Central Ohio Project Diversity and founding member and President of the Central Ohio Diversity Consortium. Priscilla is a graduate of the African American Leadership Academy, United Way of Central Ohio Project Diversity, is a United Way Key Club Member and recipient of the Licking County NAACP Diversity Award. She enjoys mentoring college students and young professionals.
Priscilla served on the boards of the National African American Insurance Association, United Negro College Fund, Columbus Neighborhood Housing Association, American Red Cross, Wright Choice Intern Program and Licking County Food Pantry Network.
Priscilla received her Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and her MBA from Ohio Dominican University. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Priscilla is married to Jeff Hammonds Sr.; has one son and two grandchildren.
Get to know Allison
Allison is the CFO of the Ohio School Boards Association. Allison and her team are responsible for accounting, budgeting and tax return preparation. Her division is also responsible for human resources, payroll and benefits administration. Prior to working at the Ohio School Boards Association, Allison worked as an Audit Senior at RSM US, LLP.
Get to know Lenore
Lenore is co-founder and chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA). As Chair, she is committed to building a workplace environment in which everyone feels valued, respected and included, and is treated with dignity. She is also a member of OSBA’s Diversity and Equity Committee where the goal is to increase the public’s understanding of poverty and its impact on student learning, reducing the achievement gap and increase our members understanding about the barriers in education.
Prior to joining OSBA in 2003, Winfrey directed the Speakers Bureau for the American Heart Association and she has held other political, management and diversity roles within the Franklin County government.
Get to know Jess
Get to know Margaret
Margaret D. Finley, CPEC, CDP is the Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Advanced Drainage Systems. Ms. Finley brings to her role more than fifteen years of experience collaborating with clients to help them understand their diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) business needs and implementing strategies to advance their DE&I journey.
Her background in learning and development, organizational development, and human capital development enables her to establish strong value-added partnerships with clients. Her work
primarily focuses on talent optimization strategies that include diversity, inclusion, engagement, and performance management training and consulting. Ms. Finley has worked in the non-profit
sector and corporate America. During her time at both JPMorgan Chase and Nationwide, she helped lead diversity and inclusion initiatives and their respective affinity groups, where she received awards and recognition for advancing diversity and inclusion. Ms. Finley is a certified
personal and executive coach, the founder of a non-profit MoveHERForward, and Principal of HERWay Forward Coaching and Consulting. She is a graduate of Leadership Columbus and United Way of Central Ohio Project Diversity. She also received the honor of being selected as
one of twelve women “WELDing The Way” by Women For Economic and Leadership
Development. Ms. Finley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in global management and communications from Wilberforce University. She also holds certifications in Emotional Intelligence from EBPSYCH, DISC Personalysis and Certified Diversity Professional from National Diversity Council – DiversityFIRST Certification Program.
Get to know Ralonda
Ralonda Hampton serves as the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC’s), Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement Officer. In this position, Hampton is part of MORPC’s Communications & Engagement team and responsible for the agency’s diversity & inclusion programs and initiatives.
Hampton also develops, conducts and reviews MORPC’s outreach strategies to ensure compliance with branding, public involvement and diversity policies. She works on the agency’s diversity plan and assist with implementing public relations strategies that reflect MORPC’s commitment to diversity & inclusion.
Ralonda first began her career in public service at The Ohio Treasurer of State. As a Program Manager in the Economic Development Department, Ralonda served on an intimate team responsible for managing the Treasury’s $800 million portfolio.
Prior to joining MORPC, Hampton served as a Legislative Aide at Columbus City Council. Hampton worked on the Diversity and Inclusion, Small and Minority Business, Economic Development, Housing and Recreation and Parks Committees.
Hampton has more than 13 years of experience in the public and private sectors spanning in human resources, diversity, inclusion, economic development and community engagement. Her background includes facilitating critical conversations and solving complex issues while interacting with constituents, elected officials, business leaders and community organizations.
Ralonda holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, from Kentucky State University. She resides in Columbus with her husband Kenny and two children, Kennedy and KJ.
Joy Kouns-Lewis, PhD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Get to know Joy
Raised in the Philippines and championing education while encouraging both grit and
gratitude, Joy began her career in the mining industry. After immigrating to the United States, she quickly rose through the ranks in human resources at the American Red Cross in Cleveland. Now an executive leader at @Children’s Hunger Alliance, Joy assists children and families who are food insecure.
Over the years, Joy has led teams of 16-60 in a wide range of public and private nonprofit organizations, often through difficult reorganizations and times of uncertainty.
She had to both triage and find opportunities while reminding everyone that “we can get through this!” Joy is the founder of The Joy of Coaching and is often invited to speak about career and executive coaching, human resources, diversity, and developing leadership opportunities for #women.
She serves on a volunteer capacity as the Executive Director of the Asian American Commerce Group @AACGOhio and created their biennial Ohio Asian Awards in 2014, an event that draws 700 attendees in recognition of those who make a positive impact on the Asian American community. In 2018, Joy was recognized as a Columbus Business First Outstanding Diversity Champion. Joy was one of the 2021 Women WELDing the Way Columbus Calendar.
Joy considers positivity, resiliency, and unflappability as core competencies for herself, her team, and her organizational culture. She is passionate about influencing others to recognize minorities and women and the gifts that they bring. Always adaptive, she strives to be a good example to emulate during tough times, unafraid to roll up her sleeves and jump in to help. Joy wants to live so that people will be better for having known her, and we certainly are at Children’s Hunger Alliance.
Get to know Jim
At Sarnova, Jim serves as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and guides the company culture toward the attraction, retention, and development of top talent aimed at supporting the sustainable, profitable growth of the organization. He wears many “hats” and helps lead the organization in DEI, acquisitions & integration, talent management, talent acquisition, succession planning, learning & development, employee relations, legal compliance, and compensation & benefits.
Throughout his career, Jim has held positions of increasing responsibility in multiple industries including medical device, distribution, and retail. Over time, he has had the honor of working for many great companies to include Venture Stores, Toys “R” Us, Gap (Old Navy), RVI (Value City), Shiseido Brands (Bare Minerals), and Sarnova. As part of the Sarnova family of companies, Jim also works internationally with Patricia Industries and Investor, AB.
Jim holds his Master of Business Administration – Human Resources Management/Personnel from the University of Phoenix, and his Bachelor of Science – Marketing from Indiana University Bloomington, with a minor in Sociology. Jim is a 2006 transplant to Central Ohio, and prior to joining CODC, he held a Board position with GETDOT; a professional networking organization which worked to serve Franklin County Children’s Services and other local children’s charities.
Get to know Jackie
Jackie Merkle is the Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion for Olentangy Local Schools. As supervisor, she is primarily responsible for supporting professional learning and community outreach for the district. Annually, Jackie oversees the implementation of the community-wide ONE COMMUNITY Conference, which hosts nearly 450 attendees for conversations around equity, diversity, mental health, and social justice.
Jackie is in her third year at Olentangy and recently finished her Ph.D. in Multicultural and Equity Studies from The Ohio State University.
Rhonda Talford Knight, PhD
Get to know Rhonda
Rhonda is the founder and CEO of The Knight Consulting Group, LLC with over 20 years of experience in diversity, equity and inclusion work. As a consultant and small business owner, she believes in building
relationships, understanding who her clients are and learning about their specific needs in order to provide them with the best products and services. She works with companies small and large, public and private to build and implement strategies to support diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces that foster a sense of
belonging in the communities they serve.
Focused on DEI, with a natural skill for strategizing and leadership, it has led Rhonda to spaces where she is the expert in the room with an expectation to provide transparency, truth telling and guidance on the DEI journey. Rhonda is focused on closing gaps for underrepresented populations and creating spaces of equity,
inclusion and belonging. In her work, she finds great meaning in being able to coach and support her clients in using data to develop sustainable DEI practices through strategy that reaches across their organization.
Rhonda holds a master’s degree with an endorsement in technology and a doctoral degree in Social Studies and Global Education, both from The Ohio State University. She spends some of her spare time serving on the board of The Childhood League Center and Women In Technology International (Columbus), Central Ohio
Diversity Consortium and serves on the Otterbein Alumni Council and the President’s Advisory Council on Race at Otterbein University. A few of her most recent acknowledgments include, being highlighted for her work in DEI in Columbus CEO Magazine (April 2021), 2019 receiving the Pacesetter Award from Otterbein University, her undergraduate alma mater, and being invited to join an elite group on Forbes Coaches Council.
She is the proud mother of two strong, intelligent and entrepreneurial minded teenage girls.
Get to know Sherrice
Sherrice Sledge-Thomas is the VP of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) at the Columbus Chamber where she’s focused on equipping Chamber members to take their DEIA practices to the next level.
Prior to joining the Chamber, she was with NiSource, one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States. Sherrice served as the Director of Change Management, leading the design and execution of innovative stakeholder engagement strategies with a keen focus on data analytics. She also led the Professional Development Committee for LEAD, the company’s African-American employee resource group. Sherrice spent 19 years at Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company, holding both leadership and individual contributor roles in Organization Effectiveness, Talent Management, and Leadership Development. She also served as the Vice President and Professional Development Chair for AWARE, the African-American women’s associate resource group.
As a first-generation college graduate, Sherrice holds a Master of Business Administration with a focus in Organizational Leadership and Management from Franklin University and a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University. She’s also published two books, The Balance Finder and Hot Like Fire.
Sherrice resides in Groveport with her husband Frederick and twin sons, David and Joseph AKA The Wonder Twins. Her eldest son has a family of his own, making Sherrice the proud grandmother of five. Ironically, two of her grandchildren are twins. In her free time, Sherrice cooks with her family, creates herbal medicine, participates in Peloton fitness classes, and practices yoga.
Get to know Ashley
Ashley has over 13 years of experience working in the non-profit sector as an Executive Assistant. She is extremely passionate about business, processes and systems, mental health, and serving the community, which is why the Central Ohio Diversity Consortium’s mission is so important to her.
Ashley grew up having a unique perspective on life and from that she became very independent, fierce, and resilient in adversity. She has turned her focus to her passion, which is, being a servant leader. Ashley is committed to furthering this necessary work in everything Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
She resides in Columbus, OH with her life partner of thirteen years, Jason Cosby, and her five beautiful children.