University of Texas at Austin
Conference Participants

McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

Elevate Conference: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - Virtual Event - February 26, 2021

Equity in Action

Explore the roots, effects and impact of equity in business while learning how you can contribute to equitable actions. This year's conference will feature:

  • "What does inequality look like?" with Jarvis Sam, Vice President of Global Diversity & Inclusion at Nike
  • DEI in Design Thinking led by Dell
  • Keynote from Alicia Petross, Vice President of Talent Acquisition + Diversity & Inclusion + Employee Experience at The Hershey Company 



The Elevate: Diversity & Inclusion Conference at McCombs was founded in 2019 by Ashley Fox and DeAndrea Staes, two MBA alumnae from the Class of 2019 with a passion for diversity and inclusion. 

The 3rd annual Elevate Conference on February 26, 2021 will identify the key strategies that companies can use to implement "Equity in Action".  The conference seeks to uncover some of the strategies which are being used In the workplace and academia to successfully teach and demonstrate many of the frameworks implemented in some of the country's top organizations. The goal of the conference is to help develop the future leaders of America and to understand the benefit of leading with DE&I in mind.

The event welcomes distinguished leaders from national companies who are passionately involved in diversity initiatives. Together, industry leaders, students, and faculty will recognize, examine and inspire innovation through powerful discussion about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the business world.




This year's Elevate conference is free and open to all. 



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Dell logo

Deloitte logo

Disco logo

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Jessica Reese-White headshot

Jessica Reese-White (she/her)

Jessica Reese-White is an MBA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. She grew up in the Bronx, New York, and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Business Management. Prior to Business school, Jessica worked in software development ensuring high-quality software solutions and services at Accenture, Apple, and LeanDNA in the financial, educational, and manufacturing industries. She recently completed a summer MBA internship at Google where she worked with their Users & Products Localization team to help develop new efficiency and optimization strategies. She will be returning to Google full-time post-MBA to support similar efforts as a Solutions Consultant in the gTech organization.

As a student at McCombs Jessica has devoted her energies to DEI efforts on campus, in addition to the Elevate Conference she has served as the Diversity and Inclusion Representative of McCombs, Diversity and Inclusion lead of the McCombs Ambassador Committee, and VP of Alumni of the EQUAL MBAs. Outside of work and school, Jessica is preparing for her first child, plays board games and watches Isekai Anime.

Kyle Johnson headshot

Kyle Johnson (he/him)

Kyle hails from Northern VA and studied Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Supply Chain Management at Penn State. Prior to McCombs, he spent 7 years working for GE in various Supply Chain and Operations roles with their Power Production and Aviation businesses. This past Summer, Kyle interned with Danaher Corporation as a Marketing Intern and will be returning full-time as a Global Product Manager within their Life Sciences division.

Kyle's extracurricular involvement on campus includes the McCombs Ambassador Committee, the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Health Innovation Fellows, and the Graduate Business Adventure Team. In his personal time, you are likely to find Kyle exercising, building LEGOs, or watching movies.

Andie Parazo headshot

Andie Parazo (they/them)

Andie is originally from San Antonio, TX, and they have been living in Austin for almost five years. Prior to McCombs, Andie earned their B.A. from Rice University and Ed.M. from Harvard University. They have also worked as a teacher, researcher, and HR professional within education and as a Tech Recruiter here in Austin. This past summer, Andie worked as an HR Business Partner at Nike.

Andie is involved on campus in the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, the McCombs Ambassador Committee, Latin American and Hispanic MBAs (VP of Prospective Students), eQual MBAs (Co-President), and Graduate Women in Business. They also have the privilege of being a Consortium Fellow, ROMBA Fellow, and Forté Fellow. Andie's hobbies include distance running (with their dog,Tanner!), reading (with their three cats), and volunteering as a mentor.