Meet the Lead the Way Faculty
Lead the Way Faculty are nationally recognized rock stars and experts in their respective fields. Many have founded and led purpose-driven organizations, served as Executive Directors in small-to-large social sector institutions, and facilitated transformation within organizations facing complex organizational development and growth issues.
Most importantly, all of them have an unwavering commitment to supporting and building the leadership skills of women of color working in the social sector.
Camino Public Relations
Owner and Executive Coach
Leadership Matters Consulting
Vice President, Executive Search
Koya Leadership Partners
Founder and Principal Strategist
Strategies for Social Change
Tanya Odom, Ed.M
Tanya M. Odom, Ed.M. is a global consultant, writer, coach, and diversity, equity, and inclusion and civil rights thought leader. She has worked globally for over 20 years, in over 40 countries, as a consultant, coach, storyteller, and facilitator focusing on areas including: Diversity and Inclusion, Inclusive Leadership, Race/Racism, Leadership Development, Challenging Conversations, Mindfulness, Innovation and Creativity, Gender/Gender Equality, and Educational Equity.
She is the co-author of “Evaluation in the Field of Education for Democracy, Human Rights and Tolerance.” Tanya is a contributor to the Huffington Post, where she has written posts about diversity, leadership, self-compassion, and mindfulness. Tanya also writes for cnn.com. Tanya’s work and commentary has also appeared in several publications including Diversity Woman Magazine, Bloomberg News, and The Village Voice.
Tanya was named by Diversity Best Practices as “A Diversity Thought Leader to Follow on Twitter.” Entrepreneur Magazine also featured Tanya as one of the “3 Women Entrepreneurs Who Unleash Their Energy for the Greater Good.”
Tanya has been trained as a coach by the Center for Creative Leadership and she is certified in the Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory. Tanya has also been trained in the Difficult Conversations methodology at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. As a mindfulness practitioner, Tanya weaves in mindfulness research and practice in her work with individuals and groups and connects it to leadership, teams, intentional inclusion, and the mitigating of unconscious bias.
A recent area of focus has been her work with the United Nations and U.N organizations focusing on gender equality. Tanya has worked with 15 UN entities in 8 countries on topics that include unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, and women in leadership.
Some of Tanya’s clients include: The Innocence Project, Twitter, DTCC, Google, Starbucks, Microsoft, The United Nations, UN Women, International Organization of Migration, The Center for Curatorial Leadership, Facebook, Philanthropy New York, WL Gore, Ogilvy, MEC, among others.
Based in New York City, Melissa works with local and national nonprofits and foundations to identify senior leaders, with focus on social justice and advocacy missions. She joined the Koya Leadership Partners team in 2015 and has led executive searches for organizations including Demos, Drug Policy Alliance, Foundation for a Just Society, and Arcus Foundation.
Melissa has first-hand understanding of the needs for a variety of nonprofit roles and organizational cultures through previous roles in development, operations, and program work. Prior to her work in executive search, Melissa served as the Deputy Director, Corporate Partnerships at UNICEF USA, where she managed the organization’s relationships with corporate foundations in the U.S. Earlier organizations include City Year New York, Cities of Service, and Safe Horizon.
Beyond her executive search functions at Koya, Melissa is an Advisory Council Member of Equity in the Center, a national initiative dedicated to creating a more diverse and equitable social sector talent pipeline. She regularly provides training around equitable hiring practices and navigating job searches, among other areas.
Melissa holds a Master of Social Work degree from the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, with a specific focus on philanthropy and nonprofit leadership. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Theatre Performance from Northeastern University.
Melissa and her family live in Brooklyn, NY.
Internationally recognized for her group facilitation and training skills, Inca A. Mohamed has many years of experience managing and working with nonprofit organizations addressing youth development, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equity, and, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Inca has helped hundreds of organizations create effective and powerful management and strategies for change.
Inca’s previous experience includes her role as the Executive Director for Management Assistance Group (MAG) where she spearheaded MAG’s initiative to go beyond one-on-one consulting with single organizations to providing leadership coaching as a stand-alone service, facilitating high-stakes meetings, and working with coalitions and other multi-organization groups. Inca’s approach to consulting is rooted in her experience as a Caribbean immigrant from a multi-ethnic family, “I had to develop ‘border-crossing’ skills to survive and thrive, and I know the power of cross-cultural learning. My experience taught me to listen deeply, honor what is distinct about each environment, and, when appropriate, translate experiences from one place to another.” Inca’s DEI work is informed by the understanding that an organization’s willingness and commitment to consistently and systematically address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to its health and its capacity for sustained impact.
Before joining MAG, Inca was a Program Officer for human development and reproductive health at the Ford Foundation where she oversaw a $60 million dollar portfolio aimed at strengthening youth development domestically and abroad. She stays connected to the philanthropic sector through her work as a consulting philanthropic advisor to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Her career has also included work in public education and advocacy, training, program design and management as well as individual and group professional coaching. She has held leadership positions at a diverse range of organizations including the YWCA of the USA, Hawaii Department of Health, The Door (comprehensive youth development center) and Alameda-San Francisco Planned Parenthood in San Francisco.
Inca’s clients have included: ColorOfChange.org, National Civil Rights Museum, Race Forward, SAGE, SisterSong, The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, The LGBT ED Institute, The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, The National LGBTQ Task Force, The National Women’s Heath Network, The W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity, Arcus Foundation, Counsel of New Jersey Grantmakers, Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, The Meyer Foundation, The North Star Fund, The Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and many more.
Inca has completed training through Visions, Inc., The Social Transformation Project (Robert Gass), the Interaction Institute for Social Change’s “Conversation about Racism” course and is certified in Community Coaching through Leadership That Works.
Elizabeth Toledo, President, Camino Communications
Elizabeth is the President of Camino, an award-winning strategic communications firm that specializes in controversy and social issues. Prior to launching Camino, she served as the Vice President of Communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Elizabeth has been a regular voice in the media for decades, both as a media guest and as a strategist for clients whose voices shape the media discourse. She is called on to discuss pressing issues such as sexual harassment and women’s health on top media outlets including NPR and CNN. Recent awards for her firm include crisis agency of the year, best small agency for corporate good works, diversity communications, and campaigns on a shoestring.
Elizabeth has a master’s degree in Business Administration from MIT and a certificate in risk communications from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Elsa Rios, Founder and Principal Strategist, Strategies for Social Change
Elsa A. Ríos is the Founder and Principal of Strategies for Social Change (SSC), a woman of color owned consulting and leadership coaching firm dedicated to serving social change organizations and movements. She has more than 25 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of management, grant writing, program design, community organizing and public policy analysis and writing. She has led numerous community organizing and social change initiatives addressing gender violence, HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice and child welfare reform, among others.
During her public service career she held several executive level management positions and engaged in extensive fundraising, program and policy development. Her accomplishments include having served as the Founding Director of the Violence Intervention Program, Director of Education for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund and Senor Policy Analyst for the NYC Mayor’s Office. Elsa has also served as an adjunct professor teaching leadership and management courses at Baruch College in the School of Public Affairs.
She holds a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law where she received the prestigious Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar Award in recognition of her outstanding public service achievements. She also holds a Master’s of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University and is a graduate of the Columbia University, Institute for Not-for-Profit Management sponsored by the Graduate School of Business.
Patricia Jerido - Owner and Executive Coach
Patricia Jerido is the Owner and Principle Consultant at Leadership. Matters Consulting providing executive coaching, strategy, training, and facilitation to organizations committed to making the world better. Leadership Matters Consulting works with nonprofits, foundations, and individuals. Clients include and have included: A Blade of Grass, Arcus Foundation, Auburn Seminary, BYP100, Center for Social Inclusion (now Race Forward), Creative Capital, Demos, Echoing Green, International Women’s Health Coalition, Ms. Foundation for Women, NY Women’s Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Planned Parenthood, Religious Institute, Sierra Club, and others. Patricia is a trained M.S.W., social worker, and has over 30 years experience in social justice work. She has worked as an advocate, board member, coach, community organizer, fundraiser, funder, individual and group work counselor, strategist, and trainer. As a program officer for Open Society Foundations and the Ms. Foundation for Women, Patricia has assessed and assisted social justice organizations in improving skills in communications, fundraising, board leadership, and program development having granted over a quarter of a billion dollars to nonprofits around the world. In addition, Patricia is the board chair for the Center for Artistic Activism and serves as an Advisory Member to the Participatory Budgeting Project.
Sonya Shields - Principal Advisor
Sonya Shields is a marketing, communications and fundraising nonprofit executive with over 25 years of experience raising funds and increasing the visibility and partnership opportunities to support progressive nonprofit organizations. Sonya currently works as a consultant with Rainbow Railroad, an international organization based in Toronto and NYC that helps LGBTQI individuals seek a safe have from state sponsored or enabled violence throughout the world. Prior to joining NELP, Sonya worked for six years as the Chief Officer for External Relations and Advancement at Brooklyn Community Services (BCS). BCS is one of the oldest and largest nonprofits in Brooklyn—servicing over 20,000 poor and low-income residents through 29 sites. Sonya brought vision and energy into the position and took the organization to another level of visibility—engaging celebrities, influencers, corporate executives, younger donors, and doubling its volunteer base to over 1,000.