Get to know the expert panel for our October 19th speaker event, Imagining A More Equitable Future of Work. They will be sharing their thoughts on what employers, workers, and the workforce system will have to do to make diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace a reality.
President-elect, wa State Labor council, afl-cio
April Sims was recently named President-Elect of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO by its affiliated unions. She was previously elected as Secretary-Treasurer in December 2018, beginning her four-year term on Jan. 5, 2019. At that time, Sims was the first woman of color and the first black person to be elected as a WSLC executive officer.
Prior to her elections, Sims had served as the WSLC’s Political and Strategic Campaign Director since November 2017. She first joined the WSLC in September 2015 as Field Mobilization Director.
Sims firmly believes in the power of working people organizing together, and has dedicated her working life to affirming that power. For her, the importance of union membership is personal; it was her mother’s union position as a psychiatric security attendant at Western State Hospital that allowed her family to move off welfare and build a sense of financial security.
CEO, Diversity Window
Jiquanda Nelson is the CEO of Diversity Window, working with organizations across many industries on building meaningful Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals. Her team is committed to connecting people with opportunities at work and in their community, while building spaces where everyone feels like they belong. Her career journey, which has earned her a 40 under 40 recognition, has included a little bit of leading teams and initiatives across 40 countries and six continents, transforming healthcare, impacting 11,000+ retail stores, and bringing joy to many areas of nutrition—all mixed with Black Girl Magic. She prides herself with being a true DEI practitioner and her team’s data-driven, action-oriented approach to creating true change for organizations.
A wife, mother, distance runner, and champion for community transformation, Jiquanda truly is inspiration personified. People can find her on LinkedIn (Jiquanda Nelson), sharing her experiences and folx she admires, and Instagram (@just_jiquanda) where she’s putting the learning from her recent Intro to Reels course to use.
Chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Swedish health services
Mardia A. Shands is a multi-disciplinary Human Resources leader with extensive experience in workforce development, social impact, and diversity, equity, and inclusion across multiple industries including healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain, and IT. Her career has spanned from multi-national global corporations to small not-for-profits across North America and Africa.
She is an Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellow and is also a Venue Magazine 2019 Woman of Influence. She is a sought-after speaker on the topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Workforce Development.
Ms. Shands earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations also from the University of Cincinnati. She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources designation from the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Senior Certified Professional certificate from the Society of Human Resources Management.