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Be the Rising Tide: Diversifying Your Workforce

  • Hotel Tucson 475 North Granada Avenue Tucson, AZ, 85701 United States (map)

Join Local First Arizona and Conscious Capitalism as we dive deeper into the most effective and best practices in diversifying your workforce within your business or organization.

This month we are pleased to have Huffington Post writer, Adiba Segal, as well as, Andres Portela, from Southwest Fair Housing Council, and Vicki Cuscino and Hailey Thoman, from DIRECT Center for Independence, presenting.

Featured Speakers


Adiba Nelson

Author, Screenwriter, Performer, Activist, Wife, Mother, Daughter, and most recently, subject of the Emmy winning documentary, The Full Nelson.

Often referred to as “inspirational”, Adiba Nelson wrote and self-published her first children’s book in 2013,  after not being able to find a children’s book that adequately and appropriately represented her daughter (African American, with special needs). Since then she has led numerous workshops/given keynote addresses around the country for educators and education professionals/paraprofessionals, focusing on disability inclusion and empowerment. Adiba has also partnered with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona to introduce a new inclusion patch program, Girl Scouts for ALL (which has now been replicated in California, Texas and soon to be Virginia)

More than just children’s literature, Adiba has also penned several articles for Huffington Post, Ravishly, Everyday Feminism, The Washington Post and My Brown Baby, focusing on issues around race, parenting, body image and womanhood. In 2017 she gave her first TEDx talk (Skating Downhill: The Art of Claiming Your Life), and joined Arizona Public Media as a regular contributor on Arizona Spotlight.

Andres Portela


Andres Portela was born and raised in Sierra Vista, AZ and a graduate from the University of Arizona. He currently serves as the Community, Outreach and Media coordinator for Southwest Fair Housing Council. His work includes advocating for those highlighted in the fair housing act but more specifically criminal histories, refugees, and disabilities. He is also a marketing, communication and branding consultant focused on providing nonprofits, small business, and education systems with support that will increase diversity and incorporation on every level. He serves on many advisory panels in Southern Arizona focused on tipping the balance of equity. His titles include marketing director, community organizer, US House of Representative hopeful, and his most important title is husband.

Vicki Cuscino

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Vicki Cuscino, M.S.W., has dedicated the last 22 years of her career to social justice, focusing on disability rights, eliminating health disparities, and ending violence against women. She has worked in disability rights for the past 19 years and currently serves as Executive Director of DIRECT Center for Independence. Vicki is an ADAPT activist and member of the University of Arizona Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling Program Advisory Board, Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP) Advisory Council, and the Sonoran UCEDD Advisory Council. She is dedicated to ensuring that people with all types of disabilities have equal opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of life in our communities.

Hailey Thoman

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Hailey Thoman is the Associate Director of DIRECT Center for Independence where she oversees the Center’s programs and direct services. Hailey formerly served for four years as Executive Director of Linkages, which recently merged with DIRECT. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and serves as a Board Member for the Autism Society of Southern Arizona and as a Commissioner on the Tucson Mayor and Council’s Commission on Disability Issues. Her other professional experience includes working as the Volunteer Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity Tucson and serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member at the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona.


7:30-8:00am : Check-in at Hotel Tucson. Grab a snack, a friend, and a seat to collaborate

8:00-9:30 : Each of our four presenters will share their eclectic knowledge with you. After the presentations we will have other organizations focused on diversity and inclusion within the community do a pop-corn style introduction and offer their resources to you. We recommend taking notes during the presentations so that you can ask questions during the Q&A.

Local First Arizona & Friends of Conscious Capitalism member tickets : $10

Non-Member tickets : $15

There are only 50 tickets available, so make sure to purchase yours early!

Local First AZ and Friends of Conscious Capitalism Member Registration

General Registration
Non-Member Registration

Earlier Event: September 18
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Later Event: September 25
Sustainability Series: SustainaBREW