Event Details


WHAT: The Cornell Latino Alumni Association (CLAA) is proud to present a virtual alumni panel on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This engaging and insightful event will explore what DEI really means, why it matters and what’s standing in the way. DEI experts will share their journey and how they have influenced DEI practices and policies. They will share what strategies they have found more successful in addressing DEI and how we can encourage organizations to embrace and promote DEI.

WHO: Our panelists are Cornell alumni who work with DEI daily and who have encountered practices that challenge DEI in their organizations or workplaces. They have been instrumental in encouraging their organizations to embrace and promote DEI. Our panelists will share their journeys—overcoming challenges, championing inclusivity, or advocating for change.

ATTENDEES: Cornell alumni, current students and families are invited.

WHEN: The 60-minute panel discussion is scheduled for May 21st, 2024, at 7 PM Eastern Time.

WHERE: This is a virtual event. The link to the event will be shared with registered participants closer to the date.

WHY: There are many voices against DEI. We believe that sharing unique experiences and insights can inspire others to find their voice and drive positive change within their community. This panel is an opportunity to learn from each other, foster a sense of belonging, and contribute to the ongoing conversation about DEI.


NAME: Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson
CLASS: Arts and Sciences BA ‘96, MA ‘02, PhD ‘03
CURRENT OCCUPATION: DEI Program Manager at the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind

“My definition of diversity is one that incorporates and respects the different lived experiences, characteristics, and backgrounds of all the members of a community, with the unequivocal acknowledgement that under-represented, under-served, and minority populations face unique systemic, economic, and social barriers and challenges.” — Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson

Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson is currently a DEI Program Manager at the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), a small cabinet agency under the Office of the Governor of Washington State. At DSB, Solórzano-Thompson leads DEI programs and training initiatives to ensure all communities in Washington State are equitably served by the agency whose mission is “inclusion, independence, and economic vitality for people with visual disabilities.” Before DSB, she worked as a DEI Learning Design and Delivery Professional for the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services, where she collaborated on a training program to ensure public servants provide inclusive services and achieve fair outcomes with cultural relevance and humility.

Prior to working for Washington State, Solórzano-Thompson served as an Associate Professor and Program Chair of Film Studies at Westminster College in Utah and as Spanish Department Chair at Whitman College in Washington State. Using theoretical frameworks derived from Chicana/o/x/e theory and Queer Studies, Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson’s published work contributed to our understanding of the multifaceted representations of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in Chicana/o/x/e, Latina/o/x/e, Iberian, and Latin American contemporary popular culture.

The daughter of immigrant parents, a Nicaraguan father and a Mexican mother, Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson grew up in Florida. Along with her spouse, Solórzano-Thompson is the proud guardian of Celi, a rescue dog, who enjoys running on the beach. She also loves to talk about movies, all of them, from world cinema to art-house to Marvel CU.

NAME: April Avilés
Founder/CEO, Advancing Racial Equity (ARE) Consulting

Dr. April Avilés (she/her/ella) is a public health leader dedicated to anti-racist public health practice. Over her 15+ years of experience in public health, April has been instrumental in infusing community-first, equity-centered approaches and values into various non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies. She firmly believes in challenging the status quo and advocates for transformative change in the public sector. Just because things “have always been done this way” doesn’t mean they need to stay that way. April channels her lived experiences and knowledge to push the DEI industry to move beyond surface-level work and into the deeper, uncomfortable work that is truly needed for change – at the individual and institutional levels.

Over the past few years, April has dedicated her efforts to cultivating psychologically safe work environments for public health professionals of color. She spearheaded a national survey during the COVID-19 pandemic to investigate racism-related stress and burnout among these professionals, shedding light on the unique challenges faced by people of color in the workplace. Leveraging this data, April continues to advance her work on psychological safety and facilitate ongoing discussions on institutional accountability within the public health sector.

April identifies as a Southern-grown, Puerto Rican and Peruvian Latina. She is a proud first-generation college graduate who earned her B.S. from Cornell University, MPH from UNC Chapel Hill and EdD from Columbia University, Teachers College. In her spare time, April enjoys indoor gardening and hiking with her three pups, Muenster, Manchego, and Burrata. Time spent with Pachamama gives her the joy, rest, and nourishment needed to continue in this work.

NAME: Jackie Garrido
Talent Development Leader and founder of Talent Accelerators Consulting

Jackie Garrido is a seasoned Talent Development Leader and the founder of Talent Accelerators Consulting. With over 25 years of experience in Fortune 500 companies, she specializes in culture initiatives, talent strategies, learning & development, and HR management. Throughout her career, Jackie has fostered exceptional team dynamics and led teams to deliver outstanding results. She is renowned for her strategic insight, collaborative spirit, and tangible record of success, particularly during periods of hypergrowth at Meta. Over the span of 12 years, she led scalable learning solutions, developed infrastructure, and managed complex company-wide initiatives that benefited over 70,000 employees. Notably, Jackie led the Learning and Development DEI Experiences Team at Meta, creating impactful learning experiences for employees at all levels to raise awareness and foster a deep understanding of why DEI matters.

Currently, Jackie supports clients in implementing talent management strategies and development programs, while also leading leadership development circles for professional women, including women in tech who identify as Latina.

Jackie holds a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and is a Gallup Strengths Performance Coach. Her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion is evident in her work and her commitment to empowering underrepresented groups in the professional world.