April 13, 2023

Tools for Building an Inclusive Workplace

LOCATION: Greenbrier Country Club, 1301 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake, VA 23320
Registration: 11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Luncheon and Networking: 11:30 a.m. – Noon
Chapter Meeting: 11:50 a.m.
Presentation: Noon – 1 p.m. (*NOTE: Due to HRCI guidelines lunch will not be available after Noon for in-person attendees.)

Register before April 6, 2023
Members: $35
Not Yet Members: $45

Register after April 6, 2023
Members: $45
Not Yet Members: $55
(You must login to register.)

HRCI and SHRM recertification credits pending.

Although many Human Resources and business professionals are aware of the acronym and the general principals of DEI, they often struggle to incorporate these important principals in their workplaces. In 2021, a survey of 656 employers by WorldatWork found that:

  • Approximately 83% of employers reported having taken action on DEI initiatives in 2021, which was a 13 point increase from 2020.
  • Of that 83%, more than a quarter of employers had only taken their first action on DEI initiatives in the past 12 months.
  • Of those who had taken action on DEI initiatives, only 56% had established a DEI strategy, while 41% were working on creating a DEI strategy.  

Please join us for a panel discussion featuring DEI change-makers in Hampton Roads. The discussion will focus on converting DEI principals into practice by highlighting companies that have successfully created and implemented DEI programs in the workplace. The goal of the program is to have an open discussion on what practices and strategies work, as well as, what lessons learned have been learned along the way.


  • Dana Beckton, Chief Diversity Officer at Sentara Healthcare
  • Christiana Perez, Training Superintendent at HRSD
  • Miranda Williams, EEO & Diversity Manager at Mission Technologies, Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Danyelle Saunders, Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion Office Lead at HII Newport News Shipbuilding


  • Kristina Vaquera, Director of Diversity for HRSHRM and Partner at Jackson Lewis, P.C.


Dana Beckton, Chief Diversity Officer at Sentara Healthcare

Dana Beckton (she/her/hers) joined Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia, as their first Chief Diversity Officer in 2019. At Sentara, Dana is responsible for engaging across the organization to set the vision and strategy to cultivate an inclusive work environment, where diversity is embraced and developed, and where all employees feel valued and have equal opportunities to succeed. Dana drives the alignment between the Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competency roadmap and Sentara’s business strategy.

Dana has participated in the National Association of Health Service Executives, first with the Delaware Valley Chapter’s advisory board and as a mentor to Early Careerists, and now as interim president of the Virginia chapter.   She has also served as a guest speaker on various diversity and inclusion topics for companies and non-profit organizations including the Health Management Academy, PA Diversity Council, New Castle Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Conference, Becker’s Hospital Women and Diversity Leadership Conference, and the National Diversity Conference. Dana currently serves on the boards of the Virginia Community College System and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

Dana was recently recognized by the National Diversity Council as a Top 100 Healthcare Diversity Officers. Dana has her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Temple University and her graduate degree in Organizational Development and Leadership from St. Joseph’s University. Dana uses both her education and experience to make an impact on each organization she is a part of.

Christiana Perez, Training Superintendent at HRSD

Christina Perez is the Training Superintendent at HRSD. Christina is the current co-lead for HRSD’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee and training facilitator for its employee development training program. Christina has a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.Eng. in Environmental Engineering from ODU and a M.Ed. in Adult and Lifelong Learning from Penn State. Christina is passionate about learning, inclusion, and helping employees realize their potential.

Miranda Williams, EEO & Diversity Manager at Mission Technologies, Division of Huntington Ingalls Industries

Miranda Williams is the manager of EEO and Diversity for HII’s Mission Technologies division. Miranda is responsible for the development and execution of the division’s global diversity and inclusion; EEO compliance; employee engagement; CliftonStrengths coaching; and community engagement. Previously, Miranda was a Senior Benefits Analyst working with employee health and welfare plans, disability leave, 401(k) plans, service awards, workplace giving, and diversity communications.

Prior to joining HII, Miranda was a team lead and performance coach developing high-performing, quality-oriented customer service teams for Alltel and Verizon Wireless. Miranda earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from Saint Leo University. She holds an MBA from the same university. Miranda is also the chairperson of the Hampton Roads Industry Liaison Group.

Danyelle Saunders, Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion Office Lead at HII Newport News Shipbuilding

Danyelle Lassiter Saunders is a woman of faith, integrity, servant leadership, an engineer, coach, DEI advocate, dance instructor, entrepreneur, mother of three and a native of Lumberton, North Carolina.

She moved to the Hampton Roads Virginia community and began working at Newport News Shipbuilding a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in 1998 with a technical background in Architectural Engineering studying at Spelman College and earning a bachelor of science degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with concentration in Design and Facilities Management. She also earned a certificate in Facilities Management from George Mason University, obtained OSHA Certification in Construction Safety and Health in 2018 and became a certified coach in Clifton Strengths in 2021.

Danyelle has built an impactful career at NNS with assignments increasing in responsibility and leadership. The first 20-years of her career was served in Plant Engineering as a facilities engineer, project manager and engineering manager with the responsibility of strategic and tactical planning, design and implementation of renovations and new construction projects for over 150 office facilities on 550 acres of property, impacting a work force of over 23,000 personnel.

Her leadership abilities led her to transition into people focus initiatives that impact employee culture, development and experience in 2018. Danyelle was selected by former VP of Trades Operations, to assist in the establishment of his strategy for leadership engagement and sustainability at every level. This concept grew into engagement champions throughout the waterfront, evolving into the establishment of the NNS Engagement Office in 2019.

Today, Danyelle has become a non-traditional HR Professional leading the company’s advocacy efforts in employee engagement, diversity and inclusion where she is responsible for the strategic planning and daily operations of the ED&I Office that helps to develop and empower a workforce of over 25,000 strong, and train ED&I Champions and Employee Resource Groups. She also manages HII enterprise-wide Employee Engagement efforts and contract partnership with Gallup, Inc.

Danyelle has received local and national awards in recognition for her professional impact, leadership and community outreach. With each special project, assignment and challenge, Danyelle is able to use her transferable skillsets and strengths to bring synergy, build high performing teams, bridge gaps and connect the dots so all members are valued, and understand the goal(s) and call for action.


Kristina Vaquera, Director of Diversity for HRSHRM and Partner at Jackson Lewis, P.C.

Kristina Vaquera

Kristina H. Vaquera is the office managing principal and office litigation manager of the Norfolk, Virginia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses exclusively on labor and employment counseling and litigation.

Kristina represents employers in federal and state court lawsuits and agency investigations and charges covering a wide range of statutes and subjects, including anti-discrimination and civil rights laws, wrongful termination claims, disability accommodation and access, wage and hour laws, covenants not to compete, leave of absence claims, negligent hire/retention, and breaches of fiduciary duty and contract, as well as traditional labor issues, including bargaining and negotiations. Kristina has litigated class and collective actions, including FLSA, FCRA, and discrimination class actions. She also represents clients in grievances, mediations, arbitrations, and charges before various national and state entities.

As part of Kristina’s counseling practice, she provides daily counseling and training to management to help employers avoid litigation. She assists clients with employment agreements, handbooks, background checks and drug testing issues, and disciplinary action. She represents employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Department of Labor, and numerous state agencies, such as the Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Virginia Department of Housing Discrimination, and Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission.

Kristina speaks extensively on various employment topics, including to the Virginia and Hampton Roads Society of Human Resource Managers, Virginia State Bar Labor and Employment Section, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Virginia Employment Commission, International Professional Managers Association, Virginia Government Contract Attorneys Association, Society of Designers and Architects, local chambers of commerce, Hampton Roads Industrial Liaison Group, PINK! Women Business Owners Conference, Public Media Business Association, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the Retail Association of Hampton Roads. She lives in Hampton Roads with her family.