Panelists' Bios

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 1-2:30 p.m.

Courageous Conversations: Women Championing Change in 2024 from Spaces of Leadership


Shani Dellimore Barrax

Principal Agent of Aurora Change Agency

Shani Dellimore Barrax (she/her/hers) is a strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner with more than 25 years of practical experience in organizational culture change and change leadership, training and development, strategic planning and execution, and coalition and capacity building. She serves as the principal of Aurora Change Agency, a consulting firm partnering with organizations to create intentionally inclusive and humane cultures of belonging characterized by psychological safety, self-inquiry, and the freedom to innovate. Most recently, she became a co-founder of the Ikoni Collective, a work well-being movement for Black Women. A trained mediator, Cornell Certified Diversity Practitioner/Advanced Practitioner, Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrator, and Prosci© Certified Change Management Practitioner, Shani has led and liaised with cross-functional teams across sectors — such as education, non-profit and professional associations, corporate entities and the arts — to increase individual and organizational capacities through change agency facilitation. Her skills include integration of cultural humility and self-reflection into learning and development strategy through innovative curriculum design and delivery, data storytelling for strategic road mapping, application of academic theory to practice, and inclusive leadership development.

Shani spent several years in higher education, most recently as an assistant vice president of diversity and inclusion at the University of North Texas (UNT) where she led a learning and development team, planned and delivered the UNT Equity and Diversity Conference, managed employee resource groups and diversity and inclusion councils, and developed strategic partnerships for the university. At both UNT and Tarrant County College District, a community college where she served as the chief diversity and inclusion officer, she led an institution-wide campus inclusion climate survey and strategic planning process leading to institutional diversity and inclusion infrastructure. She served in a similar capacity for Vizient, a for-profit health care performance improvement company where she led an emerging diversity and inclusion team and partnered with key stakeholders, such as human resources, to enhance policies and practices.

Her thought leadership includes piloting INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s Women of Color Need Courageous Allies In the Academy Series, and partnering with Viewfinder Campus-wide Climate Surveys for higher education data collection and analysis services. Her Coursera titled “Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Essentials” has become an international resource for DEIB capacity-building. A sought-after keynote speaker, facilitator, and presenter at numerous conferences events and organizations, her thought leadership contributions include the NAIS publication Diversity Work in Independent Schools: The Practice and the Practitioner and textbooks such as Quantum Realities: Educational Truth-telling in an Era of Alternative Facts and Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Student Affairs Practice: A Professional Competency-Based Approach.

A former city council candidate who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Shani has served on the boards of Child Care Group and North Texas Diversity Council, and is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated. Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, and proud of her Caribbean Vincy heritage, she is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a dance and UT Austin Mom, and cuddler to three cats.


Sheri Crosby-Wheeler

Leading Consultant

Sheri Crosby Wheeler is a diversity, equity and inclusion executive and employment lawyer. She has worked exclusively in the DEI space for almost a decade. Her professional and personal mission is to make spaces better for those that work and live in them. Sheri earned a bachelor's degree from Emory University and her law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law.


Teresita Hurtado Ramos

Manager of Inclusion and Culture for NonProfit HR

Teresita Hurtado Ramos, LMSW, is the inaugural manager of culture and inclusion at Nonprofit HR, a Black woman owned business that is the country’s leading and oldest firm focused exclusively on the talent management needs of the social sector.

Teresita served five years as the inaugural assistant director of diversity and inclusion at the University of North Texas (UNT). She also has over eight years of experience in child welfare working as the inaugural new volunteer training manager at Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and as a conservatorship worker and investigator for Child Protective Services in Dallas County.

She was the co-chair of the Disproportionality and Disparities Committee in Dallas County and certified trainer for “Knowing Who You Are,” a two-day workshop exploring race and ethnic identities and racial reconciliation. She served as an adjunct professor at TWU/UNT’s social work graduate program teaching Human Diversity and Multiculturalism. She also taught an upper division course on Gender/Race and Dialogue at Arizona State University, where she served as a coordinator for the Intergroup Relations Center.

Teresita received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at the University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in psychology and double minor in justice and family studies at Arizona State University. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of Texas. She believes there are two things no one could ever take away from her: her education and experiences. She enjoys traveling, attending cultural events and other educational opportunities with her spouse and child.


Aisha Torrey-Sawyer

Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Texas Christian University

Aisha Torrey-Sawyer is the director of diversity and inclusion initiatives at Texas Christian University. In this role, she works collaboratively with various campus departments to implement best practices for Inclusive Excellence. The TCU Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established in 2018, and over the past six years trainings and programs focused on inclusion have been developed and implemented for the campus community. This includes mitigating unconscious bias and interrupting microaggressions workshops, various speaker series, an increase in employee resource groups, and a partnership with Human Resources to create R.I.S.E., Responsible for Inclusion and Sustaining Excellence, a seven-month cohort-based program designed to provide participants with tools to advance personal and professional development in DEI. TCU has been awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (HEED) for six consecutive years from Insight Into Diversity Magazine.

Ms. Torrey-Sawyer began her career at TCU in 2001 in the Office of Admission, then moved to the Neeley School of Business as assistant director and was promoted to director of the Neeley Academic Advising Center. She has served as Staff Assembly chair and co-chair of the University Compensation and Advisory Committee, and for the 2016-2017 academic year, she served as the chancellor’s cabinet intern which allowed her to participate in TCU cabinet-level conversations and decisions. Ms. Torrey-Sawyer served as interim chief inclusion officer and senior advisor to the chancellor for 18 months.

Aisha received her Master of Education in student development administration from Seattle University and her undergraduate degree from Jackson State University.

She has presented at various higher education conferences, including National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in Education (NCORE), and Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference.

She believes every opportunity given to you is an opportunity to expand your knowledge, develop new skills and overcome your fears of uncertainty.