2016 DEF Website Poster


royRoy Roper, President,  Blood Bank of Delmarva, joined BBD in December 2009 as Vice President of Administrative Services, and was named President and CEO in January, 2011.  Prior to joining BBD, Mr. Roper was President of Roper Consulting Group (RCG), and was also employed by AstraZeneca as the Director of Organizational Effectiveness for its U.S. operations.  He has served as Vice President of Business Development for a Wilmington, DE based technology start-up, and helped raise $20 million in venture capital funding. At United Healthcare’s Behavioral Health unit, he oversaw an Account Management organization.  Mr. Roper spent eight years with CIGNA, where he held a number of operational roles in its Employee Benefits Claims division. He has been an active volunteer with the Delaware YMCA serving as Chair of its Resource Center branch, and a member of the YMCA Statewide Association Board.  He has served as a Board Trustee for the National Blood Foundation (NBF), an Executive Committee member for the Blood Centers of America (BCA), and Board Chairman for the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers (FABC),  and a member of the Rotary Club of Wilmington. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organization Effectiveness from American University, has taught graduate level change management courses at Wilmington University, served as an Advisory Board member for the University of Delaware’s Masters in Organization Effectiveness and Change program, and a mentor of student development at both the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, where he was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees.


Wali RushdanWali W. Rushdan, II, Esquire is an attorney in the commercial litigation department of Fox Rothschild LLP’s Wilmington, Delaware office. Wali’s practice concentrates on commercial & residential real estate matters, intellectual property, entertainment law, fashion law, and general business counseling for both national and local companies.  In additional to managing his obligations as a lawyer at an Am Law 100 law firm, Wali focuses his extra time on mentoring young men and aspiring lawyers from diverse backgrounds. Wali regularly represents juveniles in Family Court proceedings as a guardian ad litem, serves on the organizing committee for the Delaware State Bar Association’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast & Statewide Day of Service, and is a member of the Delaware Access to Justice Commission.  Wali’s other community activities and recognition of his professional and civic commitments include:

  • Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Achievers, Inc.
  • Director of “Guide Right” for the Wilmington Alumni Chapter of KAY Fraternity, Inc.,
  • Co-Founder of the Ebony Tie Affair Youth Luncheon
  • Vice-President of the Delaware Barristers Association
  • Rutgers Law School Alumni Association Board
  • Manna Christian Fellowship Emerging Leader in the Law
  • Chains Inc.’s 2015 Delaware 40 Under 40 Honoree
  • 2016 Guide Right Director of the Year for the Northeastern Province of KAΨ

Wali is a proud graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Delaware and the Rutgers University School of Law (Camden). Before his career in the law, Wali served as a federal caseworker for United States Senator Thomas R. Carper

Nat'e GuytonDr.  Nat’e Guyton, RN, MSN, CPHIMS, NE-BC, joined the Society on November of 2015 and serves the Society as Chief Operations Officer.  Prior to SHM, Dr. Guyton served as a healthcare leader for over 13 years advancing through the ranks in nursing, technology, and healthcare administration. Dr. Guyton has a diverse skill set realized through various career experiences such as: Chief Clinical Informatics Officer at Mercy Health System-Trinity Health, Chief Nurse Officer at Mercy Suburban Hospital, Senior Director of Nursing Operations at St. Francis Hospital, and Nurse Manager of Cardiac Transplant and Telemetry at Temple University Hospital. Dr. Guyton holds a Doctorate in Management-Organizational Leadership, a Master’s degree in Nursing, a Post-Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration, a Post-Master’s degree in Healthcare Informatics, and a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

Rysheema DixonRysheema Dixon is the Chief Executive Officer & President of RD Innovative Planning, is a community development consulting business that she founded in September 2011 after completing her two terms of service in Public Allies Delaware, an AmeriCorps program of the University of Delaware Center for Community Research and Service. RD Innovative Planning is working toward creating a sustainable future for community members through organizing, projects and events to address their concerns and issues. RD Innovative Planning also advises entrepreneurs on how to start-up a small business and bring their idea to life. She is originally from Philadelphia, graduated in 2009 from University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and in 2013 graduated with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development/International Policy and Management from School for International Training. Rysheema is currently the Chair of the South Wilmington Planning Network and serves on several coalitions in New Castle County. She was honored as one of the top 36 Women in Business in December of 2014 by Delaware Today Magazine and Technically Delaware named her one of the top 12 Women in Delaware shaping the Technology Scene in 2014. Rysheema was a finalist for the “Outstanding Service by an Entrepreneur” Award by the Jefferson awards in April 2015. Rysheema is a candidate for Wilmington City Council At-Large for 2016 elections.

Pat BuhlerDr. Patricia M. Buhler (Pat), SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Professor of Management,  Goldey-Beacom College. She is a certified SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).  Pat teaches in the graduate and undergraduate programs specializing in management and human resource management.    She has received the institution’s Excellence in Teaching Award twice and was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers twice.  In addition, Pat was the 2005 recipient of Delaware’s Ron Shane Lifetime Achievement Award for Human Resources and the 2015 recipient of the Delaware Valley HR Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2011 she served as the Director of the Delaware State Council for SHRM. Pat is author of over 125 articles and has published six books including two SHRM published books: Destination Innovation: HR’s Role in Charting the Course and Up, Down, and Sideways: High Impact Verbal Communication for HR Professionals (with Dr. Joel Worden).

Marc BaxterMarc Baxter, M. Ed., Author and Speaker, Marc Baxter Inspires. He was raised in an impoverished community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child, Marc desired much more than his family could offer, which resulted in countless hours of dreaming and imagination. Marc found peace and acceptance in church and in playing football. As a result, Marc formed an unbreakable relationship with God and crafted his football abilities earning a full-scholarship to attend Temple University.  Marc eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and a minor in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Marc has been an award-winning therapist for 16-years and an entrepreneur, starting companies in real estate, vending and hosted a motivational talk show.  Presently, Marc is an author, motivational speaker, coach, and trainer. He is committed to empowering others by encouraging them to maximize their potential and by inspiring people to be the best version of themselves. Marc is a talented and gifted strategic leader who is motivated to positively impact the world.  Marc is known as a thought leader, an expert motivator and a high performance leadership coach with an emphasis on personal accountability, personal development and leveraging your abilities. Marc believes that everyone was born with greatness within and he gives life changing strategies in his book, “How to be One with greatness.” Marc’s motto is “He that master’s himself, the world has to bow down to him.”

Fatma Abdel-RaoufDr. Fatma Abdel-Raouf,  Professor of Economics and Finance, Goldey-Beacom College. She received her master and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany. She has over twenty years of teaching experience at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She taught at Cleveland State University, Myers University, University of Phoenix, Langston University, State University of New York at Albany, and Cairo University. She has publications in the Eastern Economic Journal, the Southwestern Economic Review, the International Advances in Economic Research, the International Journal of the Economic of Business, and the Journal of Business and Economic Studies. Further, Fatma co-authored Microeconomics Study Guide for Hubbard and O’Brien Economics Book, which is published by Pearson in 2014, and the Idiot’s Guide to Statistics third edition, which is published by Penguin Random House in 2016. In addition, she participated in numerous conferences as a presenter, a discussant, and a session chair. Fatma is a member of the editorial board of the Scientific Journals International, and a referee for the Eastern Economic Journal and the Southwestern Economic Review. Fatma has been awarded the Excellence in Teaching awards from Goldey-Beacom College and Langston University, and she is the Treasurer and an Executive Board Member of Delaware American Council on Education Women’s Network.

Ashley EkardAshley Eckard, M.S., Director of Human Resources,   Synchrony Group, LLC.  She has 8 years of Human Resources experience, holding several roles since starting her career, with oversight of employee relations, leadership development, compliance research, workers’ compensation, insurance, and recruitment. She served as an HR contact for a large healthcare company, serving as the main point of contact for employees concerning recruitment, on-boarding, payroll, benefits administration and compliance.  In 2012 she took on her first leadership role as the Director of HR for a privately owned and operated Long Term and Skilled Nursing facility. She worked directly with the leadership team on strategic and operational initiatives to move the business and the workforce forward.  In 2015 as Director of HR, Ashley built the Human Resources functions from the ground up at Pharmaceutical Communications in West Chester, Pennsylvanian.  Working directly with the C-suite leadership, she developed best practice policies and producers that will support the workforce and grow the business.  Ashley is an active member of Delaware Society for Human Resources Management (DESHRM) and currently sits on the Board of Directors as the Communications and Public Relations Chair.  Ashley has taught Human Resources Management at the collegiate level, and has served on several different Boards in the community because of her belief in the power of giving back to the healthcare industry and the HR profession.  In her spare time she enjoys cooking, traveling and showing horses.

Stewart BelshamStewart Belsham, Owner,  Symbiosys Consulting, is an IT entrepreneur with over 20 years experience consulting for both large and small corporations. He is the founder of Symbiosys, a 20 person consulting practice which has been offering technology services since 2002. More recently, he is a founder of Ramessys which is a digital rights management firm helping corporations protect proprietary data. He is passionate about building thriving, productive and inclusive teams of professionals.

Pat Troy-BrooksPat Troy-Brooks, President, WorkWise Group, is a highly acclaimed workforce strategist, motivational speaker and published author, with over 30 years of empowering people to create the lives they imagine through purposeful living, job readiness training, and life transitioning strategies.  Her company specializes in a broad array of services for corporations, schools, and nonprofits including: soft skills and customer service training; company restructuring and re-branding; team efficacy; crisis management; sales and marketing training; executive coaching, outplacement services, communications and public/client relations; motivational speaking, and much more. Pat owned one of the most celebrated Human Resource Management companies in the Delaware Valley. Her book, Your Job Search GPS™, Navigate to your career destination in 10 steps has helped thousands of people regain employment, shift career paths, reinvent themselves, become entrepreneurs and learn vital skills on navigating the complexities of the 21st century workplace.  Pat served as a liaison to President Obama’s Economic Recovery Workforce Advisory Board, and is the recipient of dozens of national and local awards, including the Delaware Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Strong, Smart and Bold Award from Girls Inc., the NAAACP Freedom Fund Award and the NAACP Visionary Leadership Award. She has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ebony, MBE Magazine, Enterprising Women’s Magazine, Essence, Black Enterprise, and Delaware’s News Journal. Pat is on the board of directors for the United Way of Delaware and is the Human Resource committee chairperson. She also serves on the board of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) and is the chair of the College relations/Workforce readiness committee.

Gina EdwardsGina Edwards, SHRM-CP, Consultant, T.H. Easter Consulting LLC, has served in the Human Capital Management field for over 25 years in Talent Acquisition and as an HR Business Partner in various industries.   She is a speaker, psalmist and author; preparing to publish her 2nd inspirational book entitled “Unearthing the Royalty from Within”.   Gina is an upcoming speaker at the New Castle Chamber Women’s Expo being held on November 17th at the Riverfront Chase Center.  She is also active in her church Word Alive Worship Center in Bear, Delaware.  Gina serves on various community boards; including DE SHRM, NAAAHR of DE Board and on the United Way HR Board.  Gina enjoys giving back to the community. She was an Adult Black Achiever Alumni through the YMCA and served as a Mentor through the United Way “Women in Action” Leadership Program. She received her Bachelors of Arts Degree at California State University in Business Administration and is a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University, 2017.

Brenda SnipesBrenda E. Snipes, ABD, MBA, MSHRM, is a career Human Resources Professional with over 25 years of diverse HR and other leadership experience. Brenda has worked in a variety of industries as both an internal and external consultant. Brenda’s industry experience includes Manufacturing, Financial Services, Media & Entertainment, State/Local Government, Healthcare and Academia.  Brenda has a MBA, Concentration in Organizational Leadership, MBA, Concentration in HealthCare Administration, and Master Science Human Resource Management from Wilmington University. Brenda has completed her Doctor Business Administration (DBA) course work, at Wilmington University, and is currently writing her Dissertation on How Attachment Theory prevalence in Workplace Relationships may influence Employee Retention. Brenda resides in Delaware and currently works for a large healthcare system in PA. Brenda has been a part of several leadership change initiatives including mergers, acquisitions, ERP systems implementations, organizational effectiveness, and culture shift/change management efforts. Brenda is also an Adjunct Professor, at Wilmington University, in the College of Business where she teaches Strategy in Organizations, Health Insurance and Reimbursement, Analysis of Decision Making and variety of other courses.
Jon McDowellJon McDowell, M.S., SHRM-SCP,
 Adjunct Instructor for both Wilmington and Villanova Universities. Jon instructs the SHRM Learning System preparing Human Resources Professionals for the SHRM CP/SCP National Certification Examination. At Wilmington University, he instructs graduate-level course in human resources, leadership and healthcare administration.  Prior to his post-retirement academic career, Jon the Human Resources Division of Bayhealth Medical Center. He began his career in as an accountant in 1974 but quickly discovered his passion for Human Resources management. He accepted the role as Assistance Director of Personnel at Crozer Keystone Health System where he gained expertise in compensation, employee and labor relations. In 1986, he was recruited to lead the human resources responsibilities at Kent General Hospital in Dover as an Assistant Hospital Administrator. Three years later, he accepted the opportunity to the State of Delaware Human Resources Office as Deputy Director for 12 years. Jon was the awarded the Delaware Award for Excellence and Commitment in State Government. Jon McDowell holds an A.A. in Accounting and Business Administration from Goldey Beacom College, a B.B.A. from Wilmington University and a M.S. in Human Resources Management from Widener University. He is active in Delaware SHRM Chapters and serves as Legislative Chair for the Delaware State Council. In 2014, he was awarded the Ron Shane Human Resources Lifetime Achievement Award.  He previously served on the Board for Del-One, Delaware Adolescent Pregnancy Program and Quality Insights of Delaware.

Kysha WoodsKysha Woods CEO of Keitt Media Agency, a Boutique Communication Management Firm which provides Concierge (hands-on management consultation) and project management services that include, but are not limited to: Business Development, Management, Technology, Talent Development, Public Relations, Marketing, Business/Media Branding Strategy, Consulting and Event Producing client list that includes CEOs, Real Estate brokers, Civic leaders, Grammy award winning Artists,  Producers, Singers, Songwriters, Actors, Designers, Photographers, Hairstylists, Make-up artists, Models, DJ’s, and others. Her expansive career includes radio and television. Ms. Woods is a socially conscious entrepreneur who engages clients in an exceptional manner. Her energetic expressive manner affords a business reach to extend tenfold over the past twenty years to include engagements with international markets. With a tenuous attitude to get the job done regardless of the circumstance, Ms. Woods has benefited from a trustworthy approach to business that maintains the vision of clients throughout the execution of the project.  Ms. Woods holds position on boards and associations, she has a special connection to established individuals and corporation.

dr-weberDr. Marguerite Weber, Vice President for Adult and Professional Programs at Cabrini College. She designs and builds new programs and services that focus on access, innovation, and mission by incorporating blended learning designs and adapted high impact practices for adult and part-time students. From 2006-2015, as the Director of Student Academic Affairs and Academic Initiatives at the University of Baltimore (UB), Dr. Weber provided leadership for student success research; systems design for persistence initiatives, including course redesign; and college readiness/early college programs.  She was the principal designer for the lower division when the University transitioned from a 2-year upper division institution to providing the full 4-year undergraduate program.   Prior to her work at UB, Marguerite served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Frederick Community College, the Dean of Academic Services at SUNY-Oneonta and a full-time faculty member in English at both Harrisburg Area Community College and Anne Arundel Community College. Weber earned a Doctor of Arts in Education and English from George Mason University; she also holds a Certificate of Graduate study in Institutional Research, an MA.Ed. in Adult Education, a Certificate of Graduate Study in Composition and Rhetoric, and an M.A. in English.  As an independent consultant and national speaker, Dr. Weber helps institutions to promote design thinking for institutional effectiveness, academic transformation for courses and programs, and faculty development in blended learning pedagogies and adapted high impact practices.

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Fox Rothschild Connolly Gallagher

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