2021 Virtual NCDRL Speakers

2021 Virtual NCDRL Speakers

Caroline A. Wanga

Caroline A. Wanga is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Essence Communications Inc. (and Chief Growth Officer of Essence Ventures), the independent Black-owned consumer technology company focused on merging content, community, and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

Most recently, Wanga led Target's strategic intent to champion an inclusive society with accountability for inclusive guest experiences, a diverse and inclusive work environment and societal impact. As a cultural catalyst, she helped fuel Target's business objectives through the company's first-ever performance-based D&I goals, significantly improving areas including Supplier Diversity, Marketing, Philanthropy, Retention, Hiring, Representation and Engagement. She also had responsibility for reshaping Target's organizational culture.

Wanga began her Target career in supply chain, serving in a variety of transformational leadership roles, including modernizing Supply Chain, Business Intelligence, Digital and Strategy capabilities. Prior to that, she held several leadership roles in the non-profit sector.

Wanga earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from HBCU Texas College and is an inspirational thought leader and public speaker. She has been named a Top Executive in Corporate Diversity by Black Enterprise and one of Savoy's Most Powerful Women in Corporate America; is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the Talladega College Board of Trustees, and the Intersectionality, Culture, and Diversity Advisory Board for Twitter; and is former co-chair of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. Her greatest life accomplishment is her daughter, Cadence.

Tracie Ransom

Tracie Ransom is the founder of Ransom Strategies Group LLC. As the first Black woman partner in her former law firm, an AmLaw 200 firm, an adjunct law professor of Race and the Law at Washburn University School of Law, inclusive leadership instructor for The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs, former in-house counsel and department director in a Fortune 500 company and former federal appellate and district court judicial law clerk, Tracie leverages approximately two decades of career experience to serve as a trusted advisor and strategic business partner to law firms, businesses, organizations – and the women and people of color that fuel their success.

Tracie understands well the challenges that law firm partners and business leaders face in working to build more diverse and inclusive environments. She understands equally well the unique challenges that women and people of color face as they seek to not merely survive, but thrive in their careers. The challenges are particularly unique for women of color, who are at the intersection of these two groups. Yet, Tracie believes that every challenge, properly reframed, presents opportunities. Opportunities to think differently. To engage differently. And to employ different approaches until sustained results are achieved. From this belief, Ransom Strategies Group was born.

Prior to launching this firm, Tracie was Associate General Counsel and Director of Complaints for Edward Jones. She previously climbed the ranks from summer associate to litigation partner with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP. Tracie clerked for the Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Honorable James L. Graham, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio.

Active in the community, Tracie presently serves on the Board of Directors for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and was appointed by the Supreme Court of Missouri to serve on its Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness. She has previously served on several other boards. Among her many affiliations, she is a member of the National Bar Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a national public service organization. Tracie frequently speaks in schools and churches and has mentored countless middle and high school students over the course of her career.

Tracie earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration, cum laude, from the University of Alabama, in 2001 and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2004. When she's not serving her clients or the community, Tracie loves spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading, enjoying live music and taking in the arts, especially ballet, the symphony and theater.

Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

One of the nation's most prominent scholars, Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., is a passionate educator, author, political commentator, and public intellectual who examines the complex dynamics of the American experience. His writings, including "Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul", "In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America", and his most recent, the New York Times bestseller, "Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for our Own", takes an exhaustive look at Black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States and the challenges we face as a democracy. Of Baldwin, Glaude writes, "Baldwin's writing does not bear witness to the glory of America. It reveals the country's sins and the illusion of innocence that blinds us to the reality of others. Baldwin's vision requires a confrontation with our history (with slavery, Jim Crow segregation, with whiteness) to overcome its hold on us. Not to posit the greatness of America, but to establish the ground upon which to imagine the country anew."

A highly accomplished and respected scholar of religion, Glaude is a former president of the American Academy of Religion. His books on religion and philosophy include "An Uncommon Faith: A Pragmatic Approach to the Study of African American Religion", "African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction", and "Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America", which was awarded the Modern Language Association's William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize.

Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies, a program he first became involved with shaping as a doctoral candidate in Religion at Princeton. He is also on the Morehouse College Board of Trustees. He frequently appears in the media, as a columnist for TIME Magazine and as an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe and Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. He also regularly appears on Meet the Press on Sundays. Combining a scholar's knowledge of history, a political commentator's take on the latest events, and an activist's passion for social justice, Glaude challenges all of us to examine our collective American conscience.