Keynote & Featured Speakers

Keynote: Kia Silver Hodge, SPHR

The Inclusion Factor

During one of the most polarizing and challenging times in the recent history of our country, a unique opportunity is being presented for all of us to be more introspective and intentional about how we show up in the world.  

As human beings, we have a core need to feel a sense of belonging. We want to feel connected, included and valued in our workplaces and the world.  When this need is met, it sets the stage for us to be and do our best.

In fact, research indicates that inclusive leaders are more likely to unlock the innovative potential of their teams, build stronger connections, and experience higher retention rates.  

In this session, we will explore the six key behaviors needed to cultivate inclusive environments. Attendees will also receive practical guidance and resources to support the integration of these key behaviors into your personal and professional lives. It’s not easy, but with intention, practice, and commitment, we can be the change we want to see.

Kia Silver Hodge is a Diversity & Inclusion Expert and Executive Coach with more than 15 years of
experience as a Human Resources leader within global companies. Kia has held senior leadership roles
within the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman, and Freddie Mac. In these roles, some of Kia’s primary responsibilities included:
• Developing and implementing enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion strategies
• Serving as a trusted advisor and coach to executives and managers on issues pertaining to diversity, inclusion and equity
• Leading and facilitating enterprise-wide inclusion-based learning initiatives for leaders
Throughout her experience in corporate America and leading her own consulting firm, Master Mine Consulting, Kia’s ability to create safe and non-judgmental spaces is something clients and colleagues have often cited as a key differentiator. She has coached numerous executives and managers on how to lead more inclusively and strengthen their cultural competency. As a skilled facilitator and speaker on topics including Inclusive Leadership, Unconscious Bias, Micro-Aggressions, and Courageous Conversations, Kia has served as a catalyst for educating thousands of individuals over the course of her career. Kia currently serves on the boards of two disability advocacy and service organizations. From 2018 - 2020, she served as President and Board Chair of The Arc Prince George’s County and now continues to serve as a board member. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the DC Metro Business Leadership Network. Kia has previously served as a board member for organizations including The National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAHR) and The Good Works Coalition. Kia is a proud military spouse and a lifelong resident of Maryland, where she resides with her husband and two daughters.
Education and Certifications:
BA, Broadcast Journalism, Howard University, Washington DC (1996)
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Human Resources Certification Institute (2020)
Certified Personal & Executive Coach, Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute (2018)
Intercultural Development Inventory Facilitator, IDI, LLC (2018)
EEO/AA Professional, Equal Employment Advisory Council (2014)

Featured: Justin Draeger, NASFAA President

Justin is President and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He serves as the primary voice of NASFAA and as the liaison between the association members, the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and the media. Most of Justin’s career has been devoted to assisting disadvantaged populations achieve their educational goals and better their communities. Since 2002, Justin has been engaged in either administering, interpreting, communicating, or developing student financial aid policy. His prior experiences include working as a financial aid director, regulatory and policy analyst, and spokesperson. He has held senior positions overseeing government relations, communications, and policy work. Justin is frequently quoted in the press and has appeared on The Today Show on NBC, National Public Radio, APM’s Marketplace, Fox Business News, CNBC, and C-SPAN, and is often quoted in national news outlets. Justin currently serves on the boards of directors of Baker College, the Association Mutual Health Insurance Company, the Northwood Education Foundation, and other organizations that promote health and education. He earned his undergraduate from Brigham Young University and his MBA from Baker College.


Featured: Brenda Hicks, NASFAA National Chair

Brenda Hicks, FAAC®, has served Southwestern College in both admissions and financial aid since 1991 and is currently the director of financial aid. Over the years she has been active in state, regional, and national professional associations as a trainer, board member, and committee chair. She has been a recipient of the NASFAA Leadership award and the KASFAA Meritorious Achievement award. She is a former RMASFAA and KASFAA president and has previously served on NASFAA's Board of Directors as a regional representative and representative-at-large. She has also been a member of the NASFAA Association Governance Committee and has served on several task forces, including the NASFAA 50th Anniversary Task Force, the State and Regional Alliance Task Force, and the Enhanced Loan Counseling Task Force. 




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