Champions of Change 2023 Nominees

Join us for DivInc’s 5th Annual
Champions of Change Awards presented by Notley!

This special event recognizes and celebrates local individuals who champion diversity, equity and inclusion in the Austin ecosystem.

Champions of Change takes place on March 2, 2023 at Distribution Hall.

Space is limited - be sure to get your tickets early.

Get your tickets here!

Meet the 2023 Nominees

All nominees were carefully reviewed by a Selection Committee, comprised of diverse and distinguished leaders and advocates in Austin.

Executive of the Year

The Executive of the Year award recognizes an executive at a for-profit, or an established non-profit, who provides authentic leadership and engagement to their organization and team. They not only shine a light on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice but also drive that light forward with action and results.

Kana LiVolsi, CEO & Co-Founder at Dos Mundos Creative

Ricardo Martinez, CEO at Equality Texas

Shaleiah Fox, Chief Advancement Officer at The Thinkery

Shuronda Robinson, CEO of Adisa Communications and Austin Woman Magazine

Wendy Howell, Co-Founder & CEO at Executive Council Network

DEI Leader of the Year

The DEI Leader of the Year award recognizes a DEI professional - an individual in their company or organization, or a consultant who is working with a company or organization - who leads a team activating DEI initiatives that create significant impact and change in their organization and beyond.

Amy Maldonado, Global Inclusion Programs Coordinator at Indeed

Brion Oaks, Vice President of DEI and Operations at Charles Butt Foundation

Dr. Elizabeth Medina, Chief Diversity Officer for Civil Air Patrol and Former Inclusion & Accountability Director at Everly Health

Rachel Lauren Pierce, Vice-President of People & Culture at Dream.Org / Founding Partner @ Diversified Consulting Firm

River Holley, DBI Specialist, AMD

Young Leader of the Year

The Young Leader of the Year award celebrates an outstanding young leader, early in their impact career, who is already, exceptionally and impressively, driving outsized impact within their community, school, place of work, or otherwise.

Ash Hall, Founder & CEO at Justice Strategies, LLC

Azteca Sirias, Founder & Developer at Aztech Kidz Code

Alyse Gamble, Public Affairs D&I Content Specialist at HEB & IV League Fashion Model

Chastiny Brown, Programs Manager at 3 Day Startup

Corey Alan, Program Associate at 3 Day Startup, Community and Youth Engagement Consultant at OutYouth

Champion of the Year

The Champion of The Year award recognizes an absolute powerhouse of an individual who is making an outsized or novel impact in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice that is cross-functional, multi-faceted, and uncategorizable. They are a community leader, a changemaker, and a true champion.

Dr. Angela Valenzuela, Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin

Hailey Easley, Executive Director at Austin Asian Community Health Initiative

Maria Brown-Spence, Founder & CEO of Hearts2Heal and Director of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) at SThree.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, Judge, 459th District Court

Jaryn Holbrook Janeway, Director of Operations & Programs, Out Youth

Investor of the Year

The Investor of the Year award recognizes an individual who has implemented programs, partnerships, and/or equity investments with the intentional purpose of increasing the number of opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Andy Ambrose, Partner at TheFund Austin

Betty Wu Adams, Managing Director of Equity Investments at The Disability Opportunity Fund

Cat Dizon, Co-founder at Active Capital

Juan Thurman, Co-founder and Managing General Partner, SWAN Impact Fund

Sanika Bhave, VC at Capital Factory

Rising Star of the Year

The Rising Star of the Year award recognizes someone who has catalyzed their commitment to and impact toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. In the last year, this individual has had a recent rise in their influence in this space and is making a significant impact in their field. You can tell their impact is just getting started and with notable momentum.

Alyse Gamble, Public Affairs D&I Content Specialist at HEB & IV League Fashion Model

Daniela Silva, Consultant at Farmshare Austin

Dante Clemons, Co-Founder Origin Studio House

Jazz Mills, Founder and Director of Operations at Free Lunch

Nicole Cardoza, CEO at Reclamation Ventures

Nonprofit Leader of the Year

The Nonprofit Leader of the Year award recognizes an individual working at a nonprofit who is leading from their position, management, or staff, and is creating an outsized impact within their organization and for the communities they serve.

Diana Anzaldua, Founder & CEO at Contigo Wellness

Kelenne Blake-Fallon, Executive Director, Black Mamas ATX

Rockie Gonzalez, Deputy Director, Austin Justice Coalition

Timeka Walker, CEO at United Against Human Trafficking

Phyllis Everette, CEO/Founder at Saffron Trust Women’s Foundation

Startup Leader of the Year

The Startup Leader of the Year award recognizes a startup founder, team member, or ecosystem organizer in the early-stage entrepreneurial community whose work has advanced diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for historically excluded populations.

Carley Deardorff, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Capital Factory

Hans Scheri & Luis Gramajo, CMO/CEO, Wunderkeks LLC

Katrina Tolentino, Executive Director at Naturally Network

Sierra Pena, Co-Founder & CEO at Shelfleet

Sugar Tennon, Founder & CEO, Pink Sugar Treats & Eats

Spacemaker of the Year

The Spacemaker of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has, through their work, created or grown a unique community-gathering space, physical or virtual, powered by the principles of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice.

Diana Melendez, Esq., Co-Founder, Women of Color Collective; Attorney, Diana Melendez Law, PLLC

Dominique McLeggan Brown, Founder, The Sisters in Law LLC

Katrina and Eric Brooks, Owners, Black Pearl Books

Marissa Rivera, Founder & Community Curator, Ola Wellness _OFCOLOR

Natalie Sanders, Founder of House of LEPORE & the ORISHA mere project