Press Releases

JEDCO, Jefferson Chamber to host Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Panel

(AVONDALE, La) — Businesses and organizations across the country continue to re-examine their workplace policies and take important steps forward in their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. There has been a renewed movement to understand and develop strong, actionable strategies that will create safe, equitable working environments for all employees. JEDCO and the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce want to deepen conversations about race and inclusivity in the workplace as we head into the New Year.

JEDCO and the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce teamed up with The Slone Group to host a Prosper Jefferson Panel on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Our panel of local experts will dissect this essential subject matter and offer their advice and unique perspectives to help your business create safe, inclusive workplaces that provide opportunities for all.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 9:00am-10:30am

WHERE: JEDCO Conference Center – 701A Churchill Parkway, Avondale, LA 70094

Registration Link:

Please register in advance. A hot breakfast will be served.


Darryl Ward, Chairman
Jefferson Community Foundation Race Equity Reconciliation Committee

Darryl Ward is the President and CEO of Newcorp Development, LLC, a real estate development and property management company that specializes in affordable housing.

Prior to Newcorp, Darryl served for several decades as Chief Administrative Assistant under seven Jefferson Parish Presidents. He oversaw numerous government agencies including the Alario Center, Citizens’ Affairs, Community Development, JeffCAP, Library, Parks & Recreation, Transit, and Workforce Connection. During his tenure, he assisted in creating the Parish’s Employee Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, acting as a liaison between the administration and employees. The Diversity Board operates to ensure that all parish employees and residents are afforded equal opportunities in all areas of employment and equal access to all programs and services provided by Jefferson Parish.

Darryl volunteers on the board of directors for the Jefferson Community Foundation, appointed as Chairman of the Race Equity Reconciliation committee, and the Citizens National Bank New Orleans Market advisory board. He is a former board member of the New Orleans Sports Foundation and Past President of the New Orleans Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, whose mission is to lead in the creation of economic and intellectual wealth for the African American community.

Professional accomplishments include Finalist for the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Excellence in Government Awards Program. Darryl was elected Vice President and then President of the Louisiana Service Delivery Area’s Directors’ Association. He was also a recipient of the Minority Small Businessperson of the Year Award.

Academically, Darryl is a graduate of West Jefferson High School, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Southern University at New Orleans and earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix in 1998. Darryl is also a licensed real estate broker.

Ramona Graham, Advocate and Community Coordinator
CASA Jefferson

A native of the Greater New Orleans area, Ramona has been proudly serving children for over 20 years. After earning her degree in Psychology and Sociology at the University of New Orleans (1998), Ramona became a Probation Officer with the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Probation Department. She then served as a New Orleans Police Officer. In 2006, Ramona continued to pursue her passion for helping others by joining the CASA Jefferson team.

Currently, Ramona serves as a Darkness to Light Stewards of Children Facilitator and a supervisor of advocates. She has taken the lead on many of CASA’s Children’s Projects, including their annual school supply and holiday toy drives. Ramona has trained over 500 community members to react responsibly and pro-actively to child sexual abuse. Ramona uses her skills to build and maintain new community collaborations to bring awareness of child abuse. She has worked with the Department of Children and Family Services, One Heart Nola, AdoptUSkids and many others.

In 2014, Ramona was awarded the Louisiana CASA Program Staff Member of the Year for her commitment to children and volunteers. In 2020, she received the Adoption Excellence Award from the National Children’s Bureau. Ramona believes that each child deserves a safe, permanent home with parents that provide love and security. Ramona volunteers as the Community Advocate Artist Coordinator with the Seasons Center community organization. She works to help young adults thrive, appreciate their cultural heritage, and develop a healthy lifestyle. Ramona strives to find ways to build stronger communities by working alongside other dedicated agencies.

Ramona’s experience with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, include grassroots discussions, her podcast, Breaking Bread Infinity and her LLC, Respect Thyself that she has created with her son and facilitating classes on Cultural Competency. Her solutions-based podcast includes discussions based on unity and community. She works with her son to bridge the generation gap and address issues that the community has neglected. They push the envelope on topics that are “swept under the rug.”

Related to this, she has created gear that is rooted in Christianity with the messages:   Respect Thyself and We are All Connected.We need to understand diversity, inclusion and equity because we are all united in our humanity.” Ramona is truly an advocate for bringing her community together.

Germaine Townsend, Diversity Director
NOLA Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM-CP)

Germaine Townsend is a Certified Professional with the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM-CP) and an active member of both national and local SHRM organizations. Her professional career started in sales and marketing and after 10 years, she made a career change to Human Resources. She is the Human Resource Generalist at Advano, a local tech startup. With over 7 years of experience in a variety of HR functional areas, she successfully uses her human resources background and a blend of experience in various industries to affect positive change in the organizations where she works.

She is passionate about promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and serves on the NOLA SHRM Board as Diversity Director. She launched the organization’s first Diversity and Inclusion Book Club with the intent to proactively engage HR Professionals in dialogue that will prepare them to facilitate conversations around sensitive topics.

MODERATOR: Ronnie Slone, President
The Slone Group

Ronnie Slone founded The Slone Group, a consulting firm offering organizational development and training in the Greater New Orleans area. With over 30 years of operations management, human resources, training, and professional staffing with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, Ronnie has extensive experience in serving and guiding businesses and organizations. His expertise includes organizational development and training, executive coaching, business development and facilitation. Ronnie’s ability to challenge the way people think and behave has made him a sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator.

Ronnie is also a faculty member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Delgado Community College and the national cohorts at Babson College.

Besides training organizations and creating a ready workforce, Ronnie is passionate about creating a community where citizens can live, work, and raise their families. As a community volunteer, he has served the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Greater New Orleans, Inc., City Park New Orleans, CASA Jefferson, River Region Chamber of Commerce, Greater New Orleans area United Way, Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry, and Trinity Community Center in Hollygrove New Orleans.

Ronnie has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. He is also certified through Advanced Associated Emergenetics International.