Women recognized as trailblazers in their fields…
Valerie Rainford is a Managing Director with JPMorgan Chase on the Corporate Process Improvement team.
Prior to joining Chase, Valerie was a senior leader with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for 21 years.
Valerie is an avid executive supporter of diversity and equality in many circles. At Chase, she is a member of the firm’s Black Leaders Forum. She previously served as Chair of the Chase Mortgage Bank diversity council as well as on Chase’s firm wide Global Diversity Council.
Valerie’s commitment to the community is equally strong. She co-founded the Black Women of Influence network, is a Steering Committee member of the Black Women for Black Girls Giving Circle and is a member of the esteemed Executive Leadership Council.
For her professional achievements and community involvement, Valerie was honored in 2007 by the Network Journal magazine as one of “25 Influential Black Women in Business” and in 2009 by the Harlem YMCA as a “Black Achiever in Industry”. Valerie’s achievements have also been featured in Black Enterprise magazine.
Marsha Haygood is a highly respected motivational speaker and a dynamic career and personal coach with a solid career development track record in corporate America. She founded and is President of StepWise Associates, LLC, which offers professional and personal guidance to individuals, corporations and small business owners through coaching and motivational speaking.
Marsha speaks on topics which offer personal and professional success strategies. She offers practical tips that inspire clients and audiences to identify their passion, assess their skills and potential and craft a roadmap to reach their goals. She cultivated her coaching expertise during 25+ years as a Human Resources Executive where she advised Senior Management and coached employees at all levels.
In her last corporate position, Marsha was Executive Vice President – Human Resources and Administration at New Line Cinema, a division of Time Warner. She has been featured in a number of publications for her contributions to corporate America including USA Today, The New York Daily News, Essence, Ebony, Heart &Soul Magazine and was featured in the book, Speaking of Success. She is also the coauthor of The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women published by Random House/One World Press.
Marsha holds a BA degree from Lehman College in New York and Human Resource Training and Development Certification from New York University. She has won numerous awards for her accomplishments including the prestigious YMCA Black Achievement Award and The Trailblazer Award from The National Association of African Americans in Human Resources. The Network Journal also named Marsha one of the 25 Influential Black Women in Business. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for YouthBridge-NY, a non-profit high school leadership development organization, and is the cofounder of Black Woman of Influence.
Michelle Taylor-Jones holds a track record for successfully building strategic plans in the areas of Diversity and Inclusion, Community Relations, Sales, Marketing and Diversity Recruiting.
Founder and CEO of the Taylor Group, LLC a full service Diversity and Inclusion practice specifically targeting strategic solutions and execution management of all diversity and Inclusion components. A sought after leader in the area of corporate affinity groups, Taylor-Jones consults to many fortune 500 corporations on the ROI of doing business domestically and globally leveraging in house talent to influence: recruiting, retention, branding and building strategic partnerships.
Formerly, as Assistant Vice President, Diversity Recruiting and Strategy for Mass Mutual Financial Group, Taylor-Jones was responsible for the execution of both the short and long range diversity recruiting strategies to support talent needs for the organization, as well as build and manage strategic partnerships to support core business objectives and expand brand awareness to increase market share.
Prior to Joining Mass Mutual Financial, Taylor-Jones was a Senior Diversity Leader in The Office of Global Workforce Inclusion at EMC Corporation, her primary responsibilities were to create and implement strategies that influenced and empowered EMC’s employee’s globally through Affinity Group activities, expand EMC’s Global Diversity Recruiting efforts, while build and maintain key strategic alliances and partnerships externally to increase EMC’s market share.
In her previous role as Senior Vice President and Director of Segment Markets in the Community Investment Group at FleetBoston/Bank of America, Michelle brought forth a background that included extensive banking experience within Affinity Market Segmentation, Community/Economic Development, Strategic Planning and Finance. In addition, Michelle built The Women of Color Outreach Initiative from its inception at the former BankBoston and led the initiative with the support and sustainable commitment of FleetBoston. In this role, she was responsible for developing and implementing a long-term strategy that would incorporate product development, services and programs to meet the specific credit and financial services’ needs of emerging small business markets. Since its launch, The Women of Color Outreach Initiative assisted women of color with capital, resources and information to grow their businesses by partnering with local centers of influence and various community-based organizations. As a result of her strategic direction and vision, FleetBoston gained a first-mover position amongst women of color.
Prior to joining BankBoston in 1994, Michelle served seven years at Fleet Bank in various financial positions, including Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Planning and Analysis, Account Reconciliation and Accounts Payable.
Michelle graduated from Salem University with a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Accounting/Finance. With graduate studies in Strategic Marketing and Business Ethics from Harvard Business School, Strategic Negotiations from Simmons College, and Diversity Initiatives from Cornell University, her goal is to understand how to impact the customer/employee experience from a holistic approach.
Michelle is an honorary board member of Black Women Owned Enterprises; Long Island, New York; and has worked as a small business consultant for many community-based organizations in MA, Hartford, New York and New Jersey, Michelle has served on both television, radio and on numerous conference panels as a subject matter expert on women business owners of color.
Voted by her peers and The Network Journal, New York in 2003, Michelle was identified as one of the twenty-five most influential African-American women in business. Other honoraria’s include: Corporate Citizen of the Year by the Suitability Organization, NYC in 2001, The Caribbean American Association, MA in 1999, Honorary Citations from the Governor of MA for Outstanding Community Service by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1999.
Favorite Motivational Quote: Winston Churchill: “We can make a living by what we get; we can make a life by what we give.”