ELEVATE: The Diversity & Inclusion Career Institute


An Inclusive Community

An event created to broaden cultural awareness, competency and leadership knowledge in preparation for success in a global workforce.

ELEVATE is a space where our career community identifies ways to advance inclusion, equity, and diversity in professional spaces.

March 2023 Elevate Summary

2023 Agenda


  • Jocelyn Wimberly, Assistant Director for Diversity Initiatives Center for Career Exploration and Success
  • Valarie Jacobsen, Director of Employer Relations Center for Career Exploration and Success
  • Tekeia N. K. Howard, Director of DEI Programming, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion


Industry Leader Panel: All Things Considered

  • Moderator: D. Ellis Rates, Associate Director Intercultural Initiatives, Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion
  • Panelists noted below


  • Onyx - Equity and Access Student Organization Advisory Council DEI Mastermind Participants

Closing Remarks

  • Shayna M. Smith, Associate Director for Diversity Initiatives Center for Career Exploration and Success

2023 Attending Employers

PNC logoPaycor logoDeloitte logoEJ Gallo logoPhillips Edison and CompanyNorthwestern Mutual logoPlante Moran logoEW Scripps logofifth third bank logoCincinnati Insurance Companiesbridge logistics logo


Kristin Goins
Kristin Goins ’10

Kristin Goins is third-generation alumna of Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Business Legal Studies. In 2021, through Miami’s professional education program for alumnae, she completed the MiniMBA certification program.

Throughout her career, Kristin has worked as a human resources professional in various industries and sectors. Currently, she works for The E.W. Scripps Company (Scripps) as a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner.

As an active community advocate, Kristin sits on the City of Cincinnati’s Human Services Advisory Committee, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board for the Cincinnati Reds Organization, and the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center Young Professional Board. She is an active member of The Cincinnati Queen City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She also volunteers with local nonprofits in the Greater Cincinnati area.


Paaras Parker
Paaras Parker ’05

Paaras Parker holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. She is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Paycor based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is responsible for all areas of human resources, including recruitment, talent strategy, compensation and benefits, internal communications, training and development, diversity, equity and inclusion, organization design and associate engagement.

Throughout her career, Paaras has built her expertise in talent development and diversity and inclusion. He joined Paycor in 2022. She has extensive human resources experience at consumer brands such as Victoria's Secret, US Bank, and Global Lead. She also served as the Head of Human Resources for 84.51°, Kroger Technology & Digital, and Kroger Alternative Profit.

Paaras serves on the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the YWCA. She also Co-Chairs the Sycamore Advisory Council. In partnership with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, she created Power Squad, which focuses on the leadership development and progression of Women of Color in the workplace.


D. Ellis Rates
D. Ellis Rates ’14

D. Ellis Rates is a 2014 graduate of Miami University who earned his bachelor's degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies with a minor in Film. In 2020, he obtained his master's degree from Walsh University in Counseling and Human Development with a focus in Student Affairs in Higher Education. From there, he landed a role at Hiram College as the Director of Campus Involvement/Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

In 2022, D. Ellis returned to Miami to bring his insight, experience, and fun-loving attitude to the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. Try starting a conversation with him about movies, TV shows, video games, Cleveland sports, cartoons, music, and/or random pop culture trivia. You can also read more about his career journey on our blog.


Calvin Blackmon
Calvin Blackmon ’04

Calvin Blackmon is a 2004 Graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. His previous employment included Senior Operations Coordinator at RWI Transportation LLC. Calvin was the Director of Operations and Talent Acquisition at Riley Decker Companies from 2017 to 2021. He currently serves as Talent Acquisition Manager for Brider in the Cincinnati area. 

Calvin was a member of the Miami University Football Team from 2000 – 2003. Calvin’s passion for Football continues to this day. He is currently the Lakota West High School Football Coach. Calvin also provides training and development and team building to Black Progress Matters.



Jessica HuhnJessica Huhn

Jessica Huhn serves as Vice President, Manager Inclusion and Diversity Strategic Initiatives. She is responsible for the development and execution of an enterprise-wide strategy for inclusion and diversity. In this role she champions an inclusive and culturally competent work environment to better serve our employees, customers and communities.

Jessica previously served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Cintas Corporation, responsible for the company’s D&I strategy to include diverse talent acquisition solutions, employee business resource groups, customized learning and development offerings, compliance with Affirmative Action and EEO requirements, and growing a thriving Supplier Diversity program. She has over twenty years of experience in the areas of inclusion and diversity, learning and development, and HR compliance. Jessica has been certified to conduct Emotional Intelligence and Diversity training, 360 assessment reviews, and the HBDI Thinking Styles Assessment.

2023 Attending Student Organizations/Clubs

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha, Lambda Mu chapter
  • Black Student Action Association
  • Career Academy Participants
  • Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Mu Chapter
  • Diversity Affairs Council
  • Humanities And Social Science Scholars
  • Kappa Alpha Psi, Kappa Delta Chapter
  • Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
  • Love You Like A Sister
  • National Association of Black Accountants
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • O*STEM
  • Women In Business

Photo Archive: 2023

Elevate 2023 Panelists

Photo Archive: 2022

Elevate 2022

Photo Archive: 2019

Photo Archive: 2018