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Our Keynote Speakers
Global Chief Diversity Officer & VP of Community Engagement
For more than 40 years, Pat Harris served as an invaluable contributor to the success of McDonald’s Corporation. In her role as Global Chief Diversity Officer & VP of Community Engagement, Pat led the evolution of the company’s diversity and inclusion function. She documented its origin and transformational effect within McDonald’s in her book, “None of us is as good as all of us: How McDonald’s prospers by embracing inclusion and diversity.”
Under her leadership, McDonald’s has been widely recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. This recognition includes Fortune magazine’s “Top 50 Places for Minorities to Work,” Black Enterprise magazine’s “Top 40 Companies for Diversity,” Latina Style magazine’s “Best Companies for Latinas,” the "Corporate Leadership Award" by the Organization of Chinese Americans, the “Disability Diversity Award” by Work Life Matters magazine, the Catalyst Award, and the Human Rights Campaign’s recognition as the “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.”
A well-regarded trailblazer in the field of diversity and inclusion, Pat also has received numerous awards, is a sought-after speaker at high-profile events, and holds several leadership positions in key national organizations. She has also been featured in several national and local publications including the Chicago Tribune, as well as Black Enterprise, Essence, Diversity Woman and Chicago Woman magazines.
Pat is the Founder & CEO of the TBS Learning & Tennis Center which offers youth the opportunity to learn in a trusting, safe, and nurturing environment. The Center’s educational leadership program is designed to provide a positive, productive, and fun-loving environment. The Center is located in Pat’s hometown, McBee, SC, and is named in honor of her mother, Thelma Barnes Sowell, whom she credits with instilling in her the values of fairness and equality which have guided her throughout her life.
She serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Roosevelt University/Chicago, Board Co-Chair of PUSH/Excel, Board Member of SC USTA, as well as a trusted advisor to several diversity and community organizations.
Pat received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration/Personnel Administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She has also received three Honorary Doctorate Degrees from South Carolina State University, Coker College and Roosevelt University. Pat resides in Chicago, IL and McBee, SC, and has one son and one granddaughter.
Louisiana Center for the Blind
Ms. Allen currently serves as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind in Ruston, Louisiana. Prior to her appointment in 2001, Ms. Allen served as the Director of Youth Services for the Center. She is the First Vice-President of the National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest consumer-based advocacy organization for blind people. She is also the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana. She is the Vice-President of the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation Professionals. She was appointed by Governors Blanco and Jindal to serve on the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council and served as both its Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson. She is also a member of the Advisory Board and the Research Council of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University. She is also active in several community service organizations in Lincoln Parish and served as a Board member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Allen is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker at seminars for parents, educators, and administrators. She has written several articles on self-advocacy, empowerment, and disability awareness.
Ms. Allen received a B.A. in Psychology from Denison University, and her graduate work includes certification from Utah State University. She and her husband live in Ruston. She knows that blindness is simply a characteristic and does not stop a person from living the life they want.
Sarannette Frontaura-Duck, MBA, MA, LPC, NCC was born in New York City. Her parents were Argentinian and Puertorrican. At age 7 her father moved the family to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she finished high school (college prep). After her father’s death, her mother moved the family to Puerto Rico, where she completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. A few years later she completed an MBA in Marketing. She has over 20 years of corporate experience in different marketplaces (Puerto Rico, Houston, New Orleans, and Shreveport/Bossier) in a variety of industries and positions. After her youngest brother’s tragic death in 2000, she went back to school at Louisiana Tech where she completed her MA in Guidance and Counseling. She worked as a counselor for 3 years at a local psychiatric hospital and has been in private practice for the last 10 years at Interactional Services, Inc. in Shreveport. During her post-graduate studies at La Tech, she was a research assistant, interned at Overton Brooks, V.A. Medical Center, at LA Tech U. Counseling Center, at LA Tech’s Psychological Services Clinic, and at a Pretrial Diversion Program in Lincoln Parish. She was a Teaching Assistant for 2 years at LA Tech U. Ms. Frontaura-Duck is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. She taught Spanish courses at BPCC Continuing Education Program in 1997-1998 and 2002-2003. She is also the founder and facilitator of “In Memory of Daniel”, a support group for survivors of suicide which has been operating in the Shreveport/Bossier area since 2003. Ms. Frontaura-Duck, has done numerous conference presentations throughout the country, as well as media presentations in the Shreveport/Bossier area.