DEIA in 2023: What You Need to Know

11:15 AM-12:15 PM ET – Breakout Session Round 1

Attendees Can Earn 1 CPE Credit

Much of the advice for under-represented groups in the workplace focuses on the need to lean in. But what about the barriers to doing so or the unequal rewards (and even penalties) when they do? Achieving diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, or DEIA, requires people to work together to tackle systemic and cultural challenges. In this session, you’ll learn about the major challenges that under-represented groups face in career advancement. We’ll also look at what individuals across genders and generations need to collaborate and create more equitable workplaces. This session is designed for both under-represented groups and allies.

Key Takeaway: From this session, you’ll walk away with practical strategies to create a more inclusive government.

Relevant Competencies: Building Coalitions


Mika Cross, Mika J. Cross is a widely acclaimed workplace expert, speaker, strategist and innovator specializing in interdisciplinary expertise among the areas of innovative global workplace initiatives, remote and distributed work, culture change, strategic communications, knowledge management, next generation workplace and future of work predictions and initiatives, performance/talent management, employee/labor relations, diversity, inclusion and employee engagement. Her career includes 20+ years of public service with assignments throughout the United States Intelligence Community and she is a veteran of the United States Army, having served as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer.

Mika is highly regarded as a thought leader for transformational workplace practices and is regularly featured as a professional speaker. Known as a Federal Workplace Expert, she is a featured guest on the nationally broadcast TV show, Government Matters. On behalf of the White House and the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) invited Mika to contribute to the “Workforce of 2020” strategy session to create a new business model for vetting future Federal employees into positions of national security. Mika serves as Vice Chair of the Governance and Innovation, Community of Change for the Senior Executives Association (SEA.)

During her work as a President’s Management Council (PMC) Interagency Fellow at OPM, she led government-wide projects affecting culture and process change. Her work in transformation initiatives resulted in winning numerous awards- the most recent being USDA named on the Forbes 500 Best American Workplace rankings.


Dr.  Theresa Horne is an experienced senior leader and executive advisor in DEIA, Human Capital, Training and Development who develops and aligns complex programs and business initiatives for the federal government and private companies. She has a 15+ year history of contributions to the government, military and private industries in operations, diversity and inclusion, human capital and adult learning. Dr. Horne has researched and developed comprehensive leadership development, culture action planning and career development programs impacting leaders on a global scale. She is an award-winning novelist, industry columnist and government leader that has spoken at multiple federal agencies, private organizations on the intersection of culture, leadership and strategic alignment. She has worked internationally and domestically and has garnered prestigious awards such as the Meritorious Service award for her ground-breaking culture work in Japan. She owns Dynamic Training Partners LLC as a minority, veteran and woman-owned organization. She is a proud Army veteran and enjoys reading, writing suspense novels, traveling and coaching youth sports.


Benjamin is AmeriCorps’ first chief diversity and inclusion officer. He joins AmeriCorps from the Department of Education, where he was deputy chief human capital officer and worked as a change strategist and executive leader for the agency’s operational functions. Benjamin was also the managing executive for the department’s diversity, equity, and inclusion program and led the agency’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Benjamin previously was appointed human capital director and deputy chief human capital officer at the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, during the Obama-Biden Administration. He directed the agency’s human capital strategy, workforce development and employee engagement initiatives, and directed the diversity and inclusion plan. Benjamin was also the deputy human resources officer for the T Family Bureaus at the U.S. Department of State. He led the civil service staff for three bureaus supporting its arms control and international security missions.

Over a 22-year career, Benjamin has served as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, a civil servant for the Department of Defense, and an adjunct instructor for several institutions of higher learning. Benjamin is a certified professional coach and executively trained in strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion management through Georgetown University. He has received several awards for his superior leadership, and notable results as a federal human resources change agent in diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

Benjamin is an alumnus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the University of Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University.


Michele Perez is a results-oriented leader with proven experience directing programs, operations, and resource management within federal agencies, and non-profit and philanthropic organizations. Demonstrated expertise in launching and leading meaningful strategies to cut through bureaucratic processes to make government a true partner in building stronger, healthier and more equitable communities.

Entrepreneurial management style that has improved front-line service provision and advanced national policy development and global program execution across a wide range of service-driven organizations, including: decreasing incidences of teen pregnancy, increasing affordable housing, ensuring the payment of prevailing wages, improving veterans’ access to healthcare, and tackling the world’s most critical development challenges.

Directed multi-million dollar budgets and assured continued customer satisfaction and organizational progress, while simultaneously aligning strategic partners and leveraging critical interdependencies that influence success. Accomplished record of delivering dynamic and innovative solutions through effective management and deployment of multi-disciplinary work teams.


Dr. Jay Snipes is the Diversity and Inclusion Officer (DIO) at U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service), where he leads the bureau’s culture improvement initiatives and strategic direction on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility matters.

Dr. Snipes has extensive experience leading transformational change –providing executive leadership on diversity, equity, inclusion, and also serves as the principal advisor for Fiscal Service on civil rights and diversity public policy planning – development, formulation, issuance, and policy evaluation.

Jay has made a personal commitment to diversity, inclusion, social justice, and mentoring that reflects in both his personal life and career. He has led various culture improvement initiatives and currently leads the Employee Inclusion Action Committee for Fiscal Service, with a purpose to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. He is a requested resource at conferences and speaking engagements to discuss various topics on diversity, equity, and inclusion; including the Annual Colloquium on Financial Management for National Governments, co-hosted by Canada, and the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Conference.

Dr. Snipes has his Doctorate in Business Administration and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Agile Professional (PMI-ACP). In 2022, Jay was selected as a Top 40 Under 40 in Birmingham, AL a designation for the city’s most influential leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Dr. Snipes was also selected to the White House Leadership Development Program sponsored by the Executive Office of the President and the President’s Management Council design to support the work of Cross Agency Priority teams.

True to his commitment to diversity, inclusion, social justice, and mentoring, Jay has established multiple non-profits to support youth and disadvantaged communities. He currently serves on the Executive Board of Childcare Resources, a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the quality care and education of children through education and assistance to families. Jay enjoys spending time with his family, and in his downtime, he can be seen chauffeuring his kids around to multiple sporting and school events.