Gradient: A Human Equity Think Tank

Robbin Thornton Hudson, MBA, CPDC

Leadership Consultant & Business Owner 20 Years of helping leaders and their organizations structure, scale and increase their community impact by building more diverse and inclusive internal culture and strategies.

Would you like to know how your organization can benefit and become an example of change and opportunity through DE&I? “I’m passionate about helping organizations create cultures of belonging.” Ask Robbin to help you build diversity in the workplace and create an inclusive environment – one where both your company and the individuals that work there can grow together. A bold and strategic visionary, relationship architect and social innovator, Robbin serves a higher calling: to eliminate poverty and eradicate racism wherever it turns up. For Robbin, this means understanding and utilizing grassroots efforts to build effective and open pathways for people and organizations to flourish. A proven leader in the business, government, nonprofit, and philanthropy sectors with over 20 years of experience, Robbin doesn’t just know what it takes – she has what it takes. In each sector she’s developed and managed countless innovative projects to support strategic growth and sustainability. She’s Robbin Thornton Hudson and she’s a Certified Professional Leadership and DE&I coach who understands that in this game, it’s not about the defense – it’s about the collective offense moving progress forward. Robbin holds an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management and a BA in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. Robbin is currently a Council on Foundations Career Pathways Fellow.

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Jerry E. Peña, CPDC

Social Justice Advocate & Business Owner 20 years of tackling critical social and cultural issues throughout the United States with impactful and strategic campaigns – creating meaningful conversations that produce action.

Do you need help building a social issues campaign that will impact and activate your audience, while at the same time establish your brand’s stance on current issues? “I help people find their voice in order to create new narratives that center equity.” Ask Jerry a question about organizational development, strategic planning and how to reach out to communities in order to further your cause. A calculated community organizer and social justice practitioner, Jerry has worked with unrelenting heart for over 20 years: Advocating for people of color and organizing to change policies that have impacted impoverished communities across the nation. A thought leader with contagious influence, Jerry is an agent of change who walks side by side with the people – giving voice to those who feel voiceless. Jerry has practiced his exceptional craft and worked on social issue campaigns like a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, restoration of rights for returning citizens, and advocating for crime survivors in communities of color all over the country. His influential footprint runs deep in states like Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Washington D.C., and California around strategy objectives and story-of-self techniques. Jerry holds a BA in Organizational Leadership from Baldwin Wallace University with a minor in Communications. He’s a fellow at the James Lawson Institute and a Network Builder at Neighborhood Connections and is the Founder of Estrategia, a consulting firm focused on Leadership Development, Strategies and Coaching.

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Victor A. Ruiz, M.ED, CPDC

Leadership Consultant and Business Owner A servant leader, coach and consultant with a 20-year history of enhancing the academic achievements and expanding opportunity for the Hispanic and Latino Community.

Would you like to know how your business or organization can begin turning the ship toward equity – creating benefit for all? “I help solve complex problems within people and organizations that hinder their ability to be their best and most equitable selves.” Ask Victor how to build engagement and to enhance opportunity in your organization for members of the Hispanic and Latino community. A servant leader, giver of opportunity, listener, challenger, and a passionate advocate for the Hispanic and Latino community, Victor’s body of work spans over two decades of life changing and community winning results. As the Executive Director of Esperanza, Inc. for more than ten years (an organization founded in 1983 to advocate on behalf of and improve the academic achievements of Hispanics in Greater Cleveland), the organization has grown tremendously under Victor’s guidance. Both a consultant and coach, Victor has made powerful strides for Cleveland’s Latinx community – addressing the educational needs and pushing for academic achievement. His coaching and consulting practice focuses on working with individuals and organizations to help them recognize their power and potential and to use it in order to benefit both themselves and their community. Victor holds a BA in English Language and Literature from Baldwin Wallace University and a Master of Education in Counseling Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services. He’s a Certified Professional Diversity Coach with a Certificate in Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management from Harvard Business School. He’s also a Crain’s 40 under 40, a 2021 Cleveland 500 Leaders, Doers, and Visionaries, as well as a Crain’s Power 150. Victor is also a recipient of the Roberto Clemente Service Award that was presented to him by the Cleveland Indians and MLB.

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