Cheryl has over 20 years of experience as corporate counsel advising closely-held companies throughout the full life cycle of their businesses. She guides clients through their business formations, especially around compliance with principles of corporate governance, choice of entity and drafting entity formation documents. She devotes much of her practice to helping small- and women-owned businesses navigate the legal system and launch their companies, including obtaining and leveraging appropriate certifications as Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), Small Business Enterprises (SBEs), Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), Veteran Businesses Enterprises (VBEs) and the like. Cheryl also handles mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances by negotiating terms and drafting ancillary documents needed to complete the transaction. In addition, Cheryl works with clients on business succession plans by coordinating estate planning for owners of single or multiple business ventures.
Gene C. Waddy is a visionary entrepreneur and owner of DIVERSANT LLC, the nation’s largest African-American owned IT staffing and solutions firm. In many ways, DIVERSANT is a reflection of Gene’s professional expertise, personal drive, and his commitment to helping others. The company has enjoyed dramatic growth, even during the economic downturn, and has developed a reputation for excellence among numerous Fortune 500 companies.
The son of two Harlemites, Gene was raised in New Jersey. Gene attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. A “Jersey Guy” at heart, Gene chose to stay in his home state where he now resides with his wife and children.
Prior to founding DIVERSANT, Gene was the National Practice Director for Infrastructure Services at Spherion Technology where he managed the provision of IT staffing and solutions for large clients nationwide. With an extensive background in the staffing and technology services industry, Gene now combines his business acumen with his desire to help others by developing transformative programs that promote diversity in the workforce and supply chain.
Erica Fields is President and majority owner of her Grain Marketing firm, Brooks Grain, LLC. She started the business in 2007 after working in the grain industry since 1974. Originally from Minneapolis MN, Erica and her wife, Patience Fields, moved to Louisville in February of 2017. The move was a result of the incredible growth of bourbon and rye whiskey, and the distilleries that Brooks Grain supplies. Erica has been supplying rye to the distilling industry since 1978, and spent a lot of time in Louisville over these last 40 years.
Brooks Grain, LLC is a certified LGBT business enterprise, and prior to their move to Kentucky, Erica was on the board of Twin Cities Quorum, the Minneapolis based chapter of the National Gay, Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. She has been an active member of the NGLCC for the past 4 years.
Erica is also active in other areas as well. She is a Rotarian, a past Club President, and for the last 3 years served as Assistant District Governor in her old district in Minnesota. She is in the process of joining the Rotary Club of Louisville.
Erica is also on the board of Gender Justice, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating gender bias.
Erica is looking forward to becoming an involved member of the Diverse Communities in Louisville.
Yamilca Rodriguez an innovative and creative design-thinker who helps organizations tackle experience-focused, human-centered, and strategic vision challenges—from orchestrating a highly complex global innovation strategy, to envisioning the future consumer needs within a number of consumer categories and developing user experiences across multiple channels, to improving the consumer adoption and desire for premium products and services.
Yamilca has held leadership roles in design across the Procter and Gamble Company, including work on brands like Olay, SK-II, DDF, Venus, and Oral Care. Throughout her career she has worked on total market strategy, consumer design, product innovation and brand identity, and has led more than 40 design thinking and creative brainstorming sessions across multiple countries, brands and categories. She led Scoppechio’s strategic thought leadership and developed deep consumer understanding driving insights into action and sharing best multicultural practices.
Yamilca Rodriguez has a Master’s of Business Administration from Thomas More, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).