Economic & Social Equity in NY Virtual Event

August 04, 2020  
1:00PM - 4:00PM
The Path to a More Just and Equitable Place
Event Description

For many years New York has been one of most diverse and progressive cities in the world. Yet beneath those labels we see a city that has grown more and more unequal. The Covid-19 crisis and the murder of George Floyd have exposed a truth that many in power have been unwilling to confront; that years and years of systemic, racially insensitive policies have unduly harmed our communities of color. City & State is proud to present a virtual event called “Economic & Social Equity in New York”. Panelists and presenters will examine how New York can create a better culture for diversity in terms of hiring as well as procurement.

Jonnel Doris, Director
NYC Mayor’s Office for the MWBE
Jonnel Doris was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as the City’s first Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office for the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program. He is responsible for identifying strategic policy guidance, programs, services and accountability mechanisms to increase the number of awards to qualified M/WBEs. In addition, Mr. Doris works with agencies to improve utilization of the City’s M/WBEs and advise the Mayor and Administration on subjects pertaining to M/WBEs and awarding City contracts. Mr. Doris is responsible for implementing and overseeing the Mayor’s 30 % M/WBE utilization goal, OneNYC target of $20 Billion to M/WBEs and certification of 9,000 firms. In his role as Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of M/WBEs, Mr. Doris facilitates the city’s engagement with the M/WBE and business communities, the Administration and city agencies, and both state and city legislatures. Recently, the Mayor announced that the city awarded a historic $10 Billon to M/WBEs since 2015 or half the OneNYC goal. In addition, Mr. Doris recently led the city’s efforts to secure $41M investment from four city depository banks, Amalgamated, Bank of America, TD Bank and Union Bank. A portion of this investment was added to the city’s existing low interest $10M contract finance fund and $10M Emerging Developer Loan Fund. Mr. Doris previously served as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer for the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), which oversees New York State's $4.4 billion recovery allocation for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. At GOSR, Mr. Doris developed and implemented strategic initiatives resulting in increased utilization of State and Federal M/WBEs and Section 3 businesses. He pioneered the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity and developed the GOSR’s Local Workforce Opportunities Program and Web Portal, two resources which continue to increase employment, business opportunities and enable thousands of M/WBEs, small businesses and local residents to participate in New York’s rebuilding efforts. His professional career includes extensive experience in the energy, utility and government sectors working for Public Service Enterprise Group- Long Island (PSEG), Long Island Power Authority, KeySpan and in both State and City Government. He is also a former small business owner who understands firsthand the challenges M/WBEs face.
Michael J. Garner, VP & Chief Diversity Officer
Michael J. Garner, MBA, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), is a champion of the diversity market, making it his personal and professional mission to create a more diverse business industry, by empowering small businesses across New York State through educational programming and access to increased procurement opportunities. Since arriving at the MTA in 2010, Mr. Garner has designed one of the country’s leading MWDBE Business Development Programs. As architect of the MTA’s Small Business Development Program (SBDP), Mr. Garner has penetrated the largest transportation authority in North America with a pragmatic, results-driven construction mentoring program that continues to break the barriers for minority, women, disadvantaged and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in New York, that otherwise would not have contract opportunities in transportation. Through the MTA’s program, the results speak for themselves: to date, over 290 contracts have been awarded with a project value of over $274.1 million. Over $14 million in loans have been awarded and $50 million in single capacity surety bonds have been secured for contractors participating in the program. Over its history, the program has created over 6,500 new jobs. Additionally, since Mr. Garner’s arrival, more than $2.4 billion have been paid to New York State certified MWBEs.
Rodneyse Bichotte, Chairperson
Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBE's
Rodneyse Bichotte is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman / District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District. She is also the first Haitian-American woman elected in the city of New York. Assemblymember Bichotte holds the position of Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Assemblymember Bichotte is the Co-Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Workshops Committee, and has been appointed to Governor Cuomo’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, and appointed by Mayor de Blasio’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise. By her second legislative term, Assemblymember Bichotte introduced over 60 pieces of legislation, of which five became law. In addition, the Assemblymember co-sponsored over 200 pieces of legislation. She is notable for the High Profile Bill -The Elimination of the Personal Net Worth Cap. In addition to a business focus, Assemblymember Bichotte has given legislative attention to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematic (STEM) and criminal justice reform as well as resolutions on international human rights reform. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education and a BT in Electrical Engineering -- both from Buffalo State College.
Lawanna Kimbro, Chief Diversity and Equity Officer
NYC Dept of Social Services
Lawanna Kimbro serves as the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for the NYC Department of Social Services. She has more than 18 years of leadership experience within social service agencies and nonprofit organizations aimed at improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities. Prior to her current role, she served as Chief Program Delivery Officer for the Department of Homeless Services, Deputy Commissioner for Outreach, Rehousing and Landlord Management at the Human Resources Administration and Chief Program Officer at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Before these roles in New York City government, Lawanna worked for the federal government in the Administration for Children and Families as the budget administrator for Family Violence Prevention Services and the Compassion Capital Fund. As a staff attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative, she focused on anti-poverty and anti-discrimination initiatives that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in our country, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation. Lawanna has a Master of Public Administration in public policy and nonprofit management and a Master of Arts in mental health counseling from New York University as well as a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.
Suzanne S. Veira, Chief Diversity Officer
NYC School Construction Authority
Suzanne Veira is the New York City School Construction Authority’s (SCA) first Chief Diversity Officer. As the Agency’s Chief Diversity Officer, Ms. Veira is responsible for delivering innovative solutions to increase contract opportunities for minorities, women and local business enterprise. In this capacity, she is responsible for the Business Development Division (BDD) in the management of the SCA's Minority, Women and Locally Based Enterprise (MWLBE) programs; oversight and enforcement of compliance with the SCA’s MWLBE participation goals; the management of the Agency’s Internship programs; capacity building and technical assistance services for MWLBE firms; and in coordination with the Construction Management Division the oversight of the Agency's Mentor and Graduate Mentor Programs. Since joining the SCA in 2007, as the Director of Operations, Suzanne has been instrumental in developing new systems and procedures to streamline and improve accountability and transparency in the Division’s implementation and oversight of the SCA’s Business Development programs. Suzanne’s experience prior to joining the SCA includes over thirty (30) years of government experience in roles as Executive Director of Procurement Initiatives for the NYC Department of Small Business Services, the Director of Capital Budget for the NYC Department of Corrections and an Audit Analyst for the Mayor’s Office of Operations. She received her BA from the University of Maryland and Long Island University for her MPA.
Magalie D. Austin, Senior Advisor and Director
Mayor's Office of MWBE's
Sandra Jefferson Grannum, Esq., Chief Div. & Incl. Ofc
New York State OAG
Sandra Jefferson Grannum is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer of the New York State Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Her prior positions with the OAG were as follows: Legal Recruitment Bureau Chief (February 2007- July 2019), Acting Health Care Bureau Chief (January 2007 - May 2007) and Deputy Bureau Chief in the Health Care Bureau (November 2002 – January 2007). Her professional career covers a wide spectrum of experiences including judicial clerkships, corporate in-house counsel, teaching, and government and law firm litigation positions. More specifically, Ms. Grannum had the privilege of serving as the first senior law clerk for the late Honorable George Bundy Smith, Associate Judge, New York State Court of Appeals, and as his last law secretary at the Appellate Division, First Department. Prior to that, she clerked at the Appellate Term, First Department, and the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Some of her other professional experiences include serving as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in NYC and Washington, D.C., a litigation associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and Vice President of Corporate Legal Affairs at Avanti Corporate Health Systems. Ms. Grannum is admitted to practice law in New York and the District of Columbia. Ms. Grannum’s volunteer civic activities include the following: Commissioner, NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (1991 - 1995) (appointed by Mayor David Dinkins); Member, Governor’s Second Department Judicial Screening Committee (appointed by Chief Judge Judith Kaye) (1993 - 2006); Member, Appellate Division, First Department Character Committee (1996 - present); and Practicing Attorneys and Law Students (PALS). Ms. Grannum's non-legal community service activities include: Westchester County (NY) Chapter of The Links, Inc.; and Christian Children's Fund Sponsor. Ms. Grannum, a native of Washington, D.C., is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Johns Hopkins University.
Nupol Kiazolu, President
Black Lives Matter Greater New York
Nupol Kiazolu is a powerhouse in the field of activism, from being on the front lines of the Charlottesville protests to taping "Do I look suspicious?" behind her hoodie in the wake of Travyon Martin's death. Nupol Kiazolu is the President of Black Lives Matter Greater New York and Founder/CEO of her national campaign Vote2000. The Brooklyn-native has been a leading voice among Generation Z, focusing on civil rights, domestic and sexual violence, and homelessness.

Welcome and Introduction


Keynote Remarks Nupol Kiazolu, President, Black Lives Matter Greater New York


Building a Better New York

For many years New York has been one of most diverse and progressive cities in the world. Yet beneath those labels we see a city that has grown more and more unequal. From policies related to housing, education, health, policing, economic opportunities, and more, these vibrant and valuable communities have been disadvantaged and left behind. Our panel of experts will analyze strategies for creating a culture of diversity through recruitment and hiring strategies, social media campaigns, corporate diversity programs, and more. We will also examine public and private investment and new ideas that will better the community for communities of color.


  • Sandra Jefferson Grannum, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, New York State Office of the Attorney General
  • Michael Garner, Chief Diversity Officer, MTA
  • Lawanna Kimbro, Chief Diversity and Equity Officer, New York City Department of Social Services
  • Lindsay Greene, Chief Strategy Officer, NYC Economic Development Corp

Networking Q&A and Chat Opportunities for Attendees


Striving for Parity in New York

In every category – cases, hospitalization & deaths – COVID-19 hit African Americans & Latinos much harder than any other group in New York. COVID-19 also showcased the unequal impact on public schooling including lack of technology access and availability to lower income communities. What those in low-income communities of color have claimed all along – that there is a tremendous racial disparity- is finally out in the open. Movements like the #15PercentPledge are calling on major corporations to commit to making 15% of the products they stock come from black businesses. How can we make sure to conquer and support issues and movements like this? How can we make sure all procurement is equitable and fair? How can we make sure MWBE’s and small business services and products are utilized and taken advantage of?


  • Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair, Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and WomenOwned Business Enterprises
  • Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services
  • Suzanne Veira, Chief Diversity Officer, New York City School Construction Authority
  • Magalie Austin, Senior Advisor and Director, Mayor's Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

Networking Q&A and Chat Opportunities for Attendees

Gold Sponsors