Several Open Books


We are a collective of humans who believe and take action

to create positive change in our world and workplaces.



Kim Steppe






Marilyn Nagel

Chief Advocacy Officer



David S. Posner, PhD

Analytics & Strategy Specialist 




Erin Tselenchuk




Stacé Middlebrooks

Senior Diversity Consultant



Tom Tompkin, PhD

Facilitator & Senior Diversity Consultant 




Kim Steppe | Co-Founder & CEO

Kim is the CEO and oversees Partner and Client Relations for RISEQUITY, Inc., an organization that transforms and creates an equitable future for companies' diverse talent through innovative solutions, Kim’s passion is to identify opportunities within a company and bring innovative solutions to create diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces where every employee belongs.


Prior to RISEQUITY, Inc., Kim has a history of working in the nonprofit organization management industry. Kim was the Vice President of Sponsorship for Watermark, a women’s leadership nonprofit, and responsible for Watermark's revenue where she secured, managed and delivered on over 40 sponsor contracts, including Google, Juniper, VMware, Palo Alto Networks, Amazon, KPMG, and Bank of America. 


Kim is also an experienced Congressional Ambassador, having lobbied for Alzheimer's research funding and advocated at the federal and state level for public policies that improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer's disease and their families. She is currently a board member for the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California Northern Nevada, the Chair of the Public Policy Committee, and Co-Chair of the DE&I Committee. Kim graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in Microbiology.

Erin Tselenchuk | Co-Founder & President


Erin oversees Programming and Development, Operations, and Marketing for RISEQUITY, Inc., an organization that transforms and creates an equitable future for companies’ diverse talent through innovative solutions, Erin is a facilitator who oversees the workshops, equity forums, mentoring and advanced programs that empower participants to lead with confidence and impact a company’s revenue.


Most recently, Erin served as the Vice President of Marketing and Events for Watermark, having produced over 75 annual programs and working with leaders such as Tina Tchen, John Chambers, and more. While focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for everyone in the workplace, she provides support for anyone who identifies as a woman, their allies, and the companies working to create a more equitable workplace. She is also an advisor for the Gratitude Network. With a passion for innovative, experiential experiences and strategies, both cross-function and cross-industry, she has worked in fintech, education (on- and offline), legal, hospitality and app development, previously consulting for IBM, TechCrunch, Wildfire by Google, Capital One, (now Rock Content) and Galvanize. Erin also has a history of social activism, including local grassroots educational movements to larger global humanitarian aid engagements through Project Hope and Rotary International. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with a B.A. in Communications and study of Anthropology. 

Marilyn Nagel | Co-Founder & Chief Advocacy Officer


Marilyn has an unusual background including over 30 years of experience in the corporate world as a C-Suite executive, entrepreneur and executive coach. Marilyn is Co-founder and Chief Advocacy Officer of RISEQUITY, a company dedicated to empowering employees, developing leaders and transforming company cultures. She is also Chief Learning Officer of SAMI, a game-based leadership development company, and has had her own consulting firm Ready-Aim-Aspire. She is widely recognized in the field Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, as well as executive and board development, leadership and networking.

Prior to co-founding RISEQUITY, Marilyn served as CEO of Watermark launching their Conference for Women and created breakthrough programs while Chief Diversity Officer at Cisco. She was recognized as a thought leader in shifting the  focus on inclusion, launching the first Inclusion Index, flexible work practices, and developed the Maturity Model for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that has become an industry standard.  Marilyn has co-chaired the Conference Board Global Diversity Group, formed a consortium in Silicon Valley for Diversity Officers and was a senior advisor to the Center for Talent and Innovation.

Marilyn consults with pre and post IPO companies, fortune 500 and global multinational companies on developing and implementing diversity strategies. She is an internationally known speaker and workshop facilitator on topics such as Inclusive Leadership, Building Intentional Connections, Inclusive Hiring, Creating Influence, as well as Board Accountability and Women’s Leadership.  Marilyn develops programs for Diversity Woman Media and has produced the Women in Tech conference.  She has been a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and frequently contributes to numerous publications.

Marilyn is the speaker curator/producer of Sonoma TEDx, serves on the Board of Directors of Ceres Community Project and has served on the Board of Directors of Watermark, Professional Business Women of California (PBWC), the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), UPWARD, and Family and Children Services. Marilyn also currently serves on the Advisory Boards of YOL, The Everest Project, as well as the Advisory Council of Courageous Leadership.

Marilyn holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, a master’s degree in Social and Systemic Studies and a master’s in public administration MPA.  She is also ABD on a Doctorate in public administration.


Stacè Middlebrooks, M.A., PCCC, CBC is The Chief  Empowerment Officer of Purpose Powered Coaching + Consulting, a company focuses on helping women of color live and lead with purpose  and power and helping organizations create inclusive environments where all talent  can thrive. Stacè is an executive coach and consultant with a Master of Arts in  Sociology (Ethnic Relations) and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Performance Psychology. She  brings over 20 years of corporate experience in inclusion and diversity, human  resources, and sales to her coaching delivery. Stacè’s transformative coaching style  facilitates growth in inclusive leadership and conscious decision-making. Her unique  ability to help leaders step into the fullness of their identity, purpose, and power is a  catalyst for clients to live and lead with more intentionality and impact. She has  worked in key industries such as technology and telecommunications in global  leadership roles to cultivate inclusive, high performing organizations. Stacè has  worked with clients at leading companies like Cisco Systems, Sprint, Facebook, and  with clients in academia, social media, and chemical manufacturing industries. Her  ability to coach transformation, empowerment, and inclusion translates to a wide  variety of leaders. She has coached and consulted across geographies, generations,  and cultures. She is a certified Conscious Business Coach and Professional Certified  Career Coach. Stacè’s background, education, and experience have made her a  sought-after coach and consultant for leaders and emerging leaders with expertise in ED&I (Equity,  Diversity, &  Inclusion) strategy  consultation, Inclusive, Leadership and Coaching.


David S. Posner, PhD | Analytics and Strategy Specialist

Dr. David S. Posner’s recurring life question is, “how do we make this better?” He brings to this endeavor his multiple intelligences, raw creativity, and hard work. This question has driven him to earn his doctorate in Evolution & Ecology; build and manage the sole DEI metrics team for a multi-billion dollar global tech company; design novel programs for achieving practical equity; recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars through early e-learning research and management; design profit-focused standards and methods for Employee Resource Groups; participate in bold activism, both within, and beyond academia and the corporate world; and finally, to bring his wisdom and inspiration to life coaching. 

Tom Tonkin, PhD | Facilitator and Senior Diversity Consultant

Dr. Tom Tonkin PhD is an executive in Professional Services and Software Sales arena and has over 30 years of business and technology experience. He is currently serving as the CEO of the Conservatory Group as well as the Co-Founder and Dean of Students that the Sales Conservatory.  In addition, he is also the Head of Strategic Accounts at SAMI Games, the first crowd-sourced global solution for soft skills and the CRO at the Liderança Group offering consultative services that identify areas for sustainable growth with actionable strategies to ignite change. Dr. Tonkin holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA) as well as a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, with a focus on Leadership and Management from Regis University (Denver, CO). Dr. Tonkin holds multiple business certifications and is a leadership expert.  In addition, Dr. Tonkin was an Adjunct Professor at the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University where he taught Leadership in Organizations, Organizational Behavior and various other leadership and management courses.  Dr. Tonkin is an award-winning researcher and author with several blogs, articles, and interviews to his name focusing on Leadership, DE&I, Learning and Development, and Sales Acumen.



RISEQUITY is supported by the leaders and innovators that are working to change the world

Alexandra Carter

Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia Law School | Author, Ask for More

Beth Haggerty

Co-Founder & CEO, Declare

Annemarie Neal

Partner and Chief Talent Officer, Hellman & Friedman

Carin Taylor

Chief Diversity Officer, Workday, Inc.

Anthony Chavez

Social Impact Advocate and Speaker | External Relations Manager, Ed Trust West

Dr. Donna Hamlin

Founder & CEO, Boardwise, Inc.

Dr. Sheila Robinson

Owner & Publisher, Diversity Woman Media

Edward Murray Cook

Senior Partner, Kairos Software System, Inc.

W. Brad Johnson, Ph.D.

Professor, U.S. Navel Academy | Faculty Associate, Johns Hopkins University School of Education | Author, Athena Rising and The Good Guys

David Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology, Naval War College | Author, Athena Rising and The Good Guys