Diversity Leadership Summit


The Diversity Leadership Summit is a one-day conference for Kentucky College Students and prospective multicultural high school juniors and seniors.

The mission of this summit is to support, encourage, and inspire students to achieve the unexpected while establishing a standard of excellence in

all that they seek to accomplish through scholarship, leadership, professional development and service. This free conference consists of speakers,

workshops, and meals. We welcome any and all to attend.


College/Professional Conference Schedule 

8:30am    Registration and Breakfast 

9:50am    Welcome

10:00am  Keynote Speaker

11:00am  Breakout Session 1

12:00pm  Lunch & Keynote Speaker

1:30pm    Breakout Session 2

2:30pm    Breakout Session 3


Prospective Student Conference Schedule 

8:30am    Registration and Breakfast 

9:00am    Admissions Presentation

9:50am    Welcome

10:00am  Keynote Speaker

11:00am  Campus Tour

12:00pm  Lunch & Keynote Speaker

1:30pm    Departure



Prospective UK Students (High School) CLICK HERE to Register for the DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

Undergraduate, Graduate & Professional Students Click HERE to Register for the DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT


Keynotes & Breakout Session Presenters 


MrJeffDess is an author of five books with a Masters Degree in English Literature. Lenny Williams is a professor within the business departments at 4 different institutions, with an MBA.

Both men have traveled nationwide and abroad as public speakers, educators and co founders of their educational platform, Trill or Not Trill which focuses on culturally responsive leadership and student development.

With over 15 years of student affairs experience between, Lenny and Jeff have dedicated their lives towards changing lives and disrupting success. Between the two of them, they have appeared on CBS, Fox 5 New York, The Boston Globe, Ebony Magazine, Black Enterprise, The Root, and Hot 97.From working with and presenting at the NFL, TEDX, Twitter, Buzzfeed, NASPA, NCSL and The NSLS, these two have continually pushed the envelope when it comes to presenting and impacting all those they meet. 

Now we must say, Lenny is a Chicago Bulls Fan and Jeff continues to painfully root for the New York Knicks but for some reason they are still great friends and colleagues who are dedicated to changing the world of higher education and beyond. Their forthcoming book, “I  Wear Kicks to Work” creates a blueprint and develops strategies towards becoming more effective as culturally responsive educators and leaders.

LaToya Green found in speaking about issues that mattered.  Observing the ability of individuals to inspire change, from pulpits to community politics, LaToya was inspired to use her voice to pull people together.  Currently as the Director of Debate and professor in Human Communication at California State University Fullerton, as well as a lecturer in argumentation, performance and identity, LaToya finds herself at the forefront of emerging discussions among young people interested in discovering ways to meaningful engage the world around them.  

Born in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri to a single mother who worked deeply in the community to improve the quality of life for its citizens, particularly individuals who are underserved and stuck in a cycle of structural violence, LaToya learned early what it meant to invest in the people.  You get out of people what you put into them and getting people to "pour into themselves" is a strategy LaToya has embraced as most effective.  In a social climate that so desperately needs leadership and individuality, she has committed herself to helping individuals find and discover the purpose within themselves. 

David Edward Garcia is the only 5-language-speaking-motivational-comedian on the planet! David empathizes with diverse students who face challenges because he was once considered an “at-risk student” himself before defying the odds and graduating with a bachelor’s degree and then earning his Master’s Degree.

He has motivated children and mature adults in some of the greatest metropolitan cities of the world: Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paulo, Paris, and London.

His upbringing facilitated his multiculturalism/ multilingualism which make it easy to relate to diverse audiences. While his native languages are English, and Spanish, David’s has also presented in French, and Portuguese in his  international tours. (He also speaks Italian, bringing his language total to five—for now.)

Sydney Blocker  is a third year student at the University of Kentucky. She is majoring in Political Science and International Studies with minors in French and Francophone Studies and Arabic and Islamic Studies. In addition to her studies, Sydney has made a home at the University of Kentucky through her involvement on campus. She focuses on programs that are student centered with the goal of improving the lives of all students on campus--she is a Resident Advisor in the Lewis Honors College, an Ambassador for Inclusive Excellence, the Director of Campus Services within the Executive Branch of the Student Government Association, and the Co-Founder and Vice President of an organization supporting First Generation college students like herself. She is currently combining her interest in international politics with her passion for advocacy by contributing research to the 2019 Human Rights Report with the Department of State. 

Ruth González Jiménez is from Jalisco, México, but grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at UK in History in the College of Arts & Sciences, with a focus in Latin American and African American histories in May, 2017. During her time as a student, she was a founding member the Latino Student Union and a founding sister of UK’s Colony of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated. Ruth was also actively involved in serving the greater Lexington Latino/immigrant community, and held a position at Lexington’s only bilingual library (Village Branch). Upon graduating, Ruth was hired as the first Latino Student Community Specialist at the University of Kentucky. Through this role, she continues to serve as a resource to students, while advising the Latino Student Union, Collegiate Curls, & Leading Latinas: A Mentorship Program, and initiates programmatic efforts aimed at improving the sense of belonging and retention of Latino students through the seeAzul: Latino Student Programming Series.

Antonio Talamo is higher education professional with experience working in student activities and advisement.  He is the coordinator for commuter students and programs at Montclair State University.  He has grown from a go-to-class-go-home student to  professional who is passionate about giving students the best college experience at any level.  He is a huge sports fan who loves the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox and swears he is the reason the Red Sox broke the Bambino curse. 

Joseph Shepard, originally from San Diego, California, is currently pursing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Wichita State University. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in May 2016 from Wichita State. While in Kansas, Joseph has come to appreciate the unique challenges and opportunities that come with his diverse background. Joseph is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Community, Operations, Recovery Empowerment and currently serves as the Social Media Liaison for Brandon Johnson, Candidate for District 1 City Councilman. Joseph was elected as Student Body President of Wichita State University twice and has since been bestowed the Emeritus Status honor. He aspires to inspire youth and young adults to accomplish their goals despite the obstacles and setbacks that may occur in life. Through his recently established non-profit organization, Resilience Speaks, he aims to empower disadvantaged youth through social justice training, academic assistance and leadership development. Joseph Shepard, originally from San Diego, California, moved to Wichita in 2011 to attend Wichita State University. During his time as an undergraduate student, Joseph was highly involved on campus serving as the President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, President of the Multicultural Greek Council, Ambassador for Diversity and Inclusion and he served two terms as Student Body President. Joseph graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in May 2016. Upon graduating with his first degree, Joseph returned to Wichita State to pursue his Master’s degree and graduated in May 2018 with a Masters of Public Administration with a focus on non-profit management. Today, Joseph serves as the first Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life at Newman University. As a first generation college graduate, Joseph aspires to reach young people like him to help them excel in their educational and personal endeavors. Some of his most notable accomplishments include Wichita's 40 under 40 Award, Wichita's Emerging Leaders recognition, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated Young Achievers Award and Interfaith Ministries Light of Faith Award.

Tony Dontson oversees the Veterans Resource Center, providing services, resources, and support to promote success for military-connected students at UK.

In addition to his work with veteran students, Tony is the Chairman of the Kentucky Employer and Education Partnership for Veterans; he is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society; he is a UK 101 instructor and QPR trainer; and he is the go-to campus authority on all things military and veteran-related.

Tony grew up in Cleveland, VA and can often be found working on DIY projects, reading, drawing, playing basketball, and working on his ‘68 GTO.

Stephanie Nance is from Denver, Colorado. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Langston University, an historically black college and university in Oklahoma majoring in Psychology and her Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis in counseling.  Stephanie is married to Stafford Nance and has two boys, Cameron and Brandon.  She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.  She joined the Wichita State University family in April 2019 as the Student Success Coach for the College of Engineering.  She helps students transition successfully from high school to college, helps improve academic performance, and assists students with campus resources, supplemental instruction, tutoring and money management to name a few. Stephanie has worked in higher education for twenty years and is able to meet students where they are and propel them to where they need to be in order to reach their educational goals.  Her love is working with student with disabilities, focusing on their ABILITIES and being an advocate for equity and equality. 

Walter Malone is a current Staff Psychology Steps Fellow at the University of Kentucky Counseling Center, where he provides clients with various forms of psychological services, including individual and group therapy, as well as consultations and campus outreach. Walter is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at Western Michigan University. Walter enjoys working with students and assisting them with navigating the various challenges they face throughout their college career.  His experiences of growing up in Detroit, Michigan, and his work with underrepresented and minoritized populations in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has allowed him the opportunity to witness the systematic and oppressive challenges that people face in their communities and beyond. Walter is humbled by these real and often neglected issues and has commented his life to challenging, developing, empowering, educating, and supporting those who are most vulnerable, through his work as a Black, male, mental health agent.

Walter has held many positions during his professional careers, such as Executive Manager at Target Corporation, and Program Coordinator, and Assistant Director, of the Trio Upward Bound Program at Western Michigan University, and Director of a program that served conditionally admitted students to help increase their probability of success at WMU. Additionally, Walter also served as Vice President of Research and Evaluation for the Future 4 Teens program, which strives to help youth and young adults with social, emotional, educational, or financial needs become successful by providing mental health and educational services.

Dr. Adrianna Fisher-Willis is currently a Staff Psychologist at the University of Kentucky Counseling Center, where she assists clients with engaging in individual and group therapy, as well as psychological consultations and campus outreach services. As a Lexington native, she has truly enjoyed the opportunity to work at UK, assisting college students with navigating such a challenging phase of their lives. Dr. Fisher received her Doctor of Psychology degree at Adler University in Chicago, Illinois. Her work on the south and west sides of Chicago allowed her to the opportunity to see the many faces of poverty and systemic oppression, strengthening her passion to be a change agent in that system, given its heavy impact on the mental health for people of color.

The majority of Dr. Fisher’s clinical training has been in correctional settings such as Illinois Youth Center-St. Charles, Cook County Jail, and Federal Medical Center-Lexington. Dr. Fisher has also received clinical training from Gateway Foundation, a substance abuse recovery center in Chicago. Dr. Fisher’s clinical interests include issues surrounding trauma, substance use, anxiety and depression. She also enjoys using mindfulness meditation practices, feminist, Adlerian, and cognitive behavioral approaches, and working with college students facing issues surrounding cultural trauma, including work with ethnic, racial, sexual and gender minorities.

John Eric Novosel-Lingat  graduated from American University in Washington, DC with a B.A. in Community Development & International Relations and M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, focusing on Education Policy. John Eric previously served as an Assistant Principal at a dual-language school where he taught early childhood/elementary students and held leadership roles, including Teachers' Union Representative, Lead Teacher, Dean of Students, and Summer School Principal. John Eric has taught education courses in psychology, policy, and instruction. In addition, John Eric’s expertise include strategic planning, leadership development, language acquisition, and individualized learning (Response to Intervention, Special Education). His research interests include measurement, assessment, and evaluation related to cognition, performance, and achievement in education.