Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke, JD, PhD
Menah Pratt-Clarke is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity, and Professor of Education (full professor with tenure) at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. With over thirty years of administrative, academic, legal, fundraising, advancement, and community engagement experience, Dr. Pratt-Clarke envisions, leads, and manages large-scale transformational strategic initiatives, including diversity and inclusion efforts, at public and private higher education institutions. At Virginia Tech, she oversees the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, the Office for Strategic Affairs, and the Council on Virginia Tech History. She was selected as the 2021 Inclusive Excellence Individual Leadership Award recipient by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.
Dr. Pratt-Clarke received a bachelor’s degree in English with high distinction (minors in Philosophy and African-American Studies) and a master’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Iowa. She earned a law degree, as well as a master’s and doctorate in Sociology, from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Pratt-Clarke’s teaching and research interests include issues of race, class, and gender in education, with a focus on the transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education. She has taught at Fisk University (English and African-American Literature); American Baptist College (English and Speech at the men’s and women’s prisons); Vanderbilt University (Sociology and College of Law); and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (African-American Studies and College of Law).
In addition to publishing several articles and book chapters, her first book was Critical Race, Feminism, and Education: A Social Justice Model. In 2017, Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy and A Promising Reality: Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba were published. A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about Race, Gender, and Class in America was awarded the 2018 American Education Studies Association Critics’ Choice Book Award for outstanding scholarship.
Dr. Pratt-Clarke previously served for almost ten years as Associate Chancellor for Strategic Affairs, Associate Provost for Diversity, and Title IX Officer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was also Associate Professor (with tenure) in the College of Education. Before joining Illinois, she worked at Vanderbilt University for eight years, as the first University Compliance Officer (including oversight of the Vanderbilt University and Medical Center),Assistant Secretary of the University, and University Counsel. Dr. Pratt-Clarke is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Tennessee. Her expertise includes real estate, commercial lending, public finance, construction, civil rights, affirmative action, and equal employment opportunity law.
She is committed to excellence and helping to actualize the potential of individuals and institutions to advance and serve humanity.
Dr. Judy Myers, PhD, MSN, RN
Judy Myers (now retired), grew up on a small farm in Kentucky. A first generation college student, she attended Murray State University (BSN, 1975) and the University of Kentucky (MSN, 1979, PhD, 2005). As a staff nurse at Veterans Hospital, she developed a passion for understanding the psycho-social aspects of health and healing in vulnerable populations. She received a National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship and became a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist with concentrations in community mental health and nursing education. She served as assistant professor at Berea College in Kentucky (1980-83) and then relocated to San Antonio Texas to trail-blaze a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist role in a large hospital system. She returned to Berea College in 1987 as public health nursing coordinator and for the next ten years, Judy focused her scholarship and service on women’s health in Appalachia and program development. Judy earned a PhD in Sociology with a concentration in Work, Gender and Inequality and for her dissertation she conducted a socio- historical analysis of the discourses surrounding the birth control movement in Kentucky 1933-1943.
Judy developed expertise in building sustainable, respectful partnerships between academia and community agencies, and this led her to Indiana University School of Nursing in 1997. Here she lead the transition to a community based curriculum at the IU Southeast regional campus. Over two decades, she worked with others to build lasting partnerships with various agencies to expand student exposure and University outreach to diverse populations; including the homeless, incarcerated women, domestic violence victims, public housing residents, as well as Ecuadorian and Amish communities. Judy has received numerous awards and recognition for community service in Appalachia and Southern Indiana. These include: Spectrum Nursing Excellence Award for Community Service, Southern Indiana Public Service Award, and Chancellor’s Diversity Award, National Merit Award for Program Innovation by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, IU Service Learning and Community Engagement Award.
Following a fellowship at the Center for Cancer Education and Research at the University of Louisville her interest in community engagement took a turn toward research. She served as primary investigator of a study to examine the Clinical and Biochemical Effects of Massage Therapy during Radiation Treatment for Breast Cancer. Funded by IU grants and a Patrick Barnes Grant for Nursing Research from the Daisy Foundation this clinical trial in a community hospital was viewed as an exemplar for community-engaged, collaborative research and resulted in Judy’s appointment as faculty fellow to the IU Academy for Leadership and Diversity. Here she served as the community-engagement research coordinator from 2010-2012. The findings from her collaborative research were presented at local, state, national and international meetings.
Judy is a certified Matrix-works teacher and she completed advanced training for health professionals at Georgetown University’s Center for Mind Body Medicine. In 1990 she developed a course called ‘Ancient Healing in the 21stCentury’ and she taught some version of this course on complementary therapies and healing practices for over 30 years. She currently serves on the Foundation for a Health Kentucky advisory board and is a trustee for Frontier Nursing University.
She lives in Lexington, Ky., with her husband Steve and dog Copper. She enjoys travel adventures with her daughter, house-boating, bowling, Pilates, girlfriend time and watching her garden grow.
Sarika Bhakta, CDE
As a multi-faceted executive with a multicultural immigrant background, Sarika (saah-ree-kaah) Bhakta (baak-taah) is the President of Nikeya Diversity Consulting. She was born in Gujarat, India and raised in the American Midwest. Adjusting to the American culture was extremely challenging for Sarika, inspiring her life’s legacy to empower leaders to live and lead authentically by leveraging their unique diversity as a value differentiator to deliver innovative results. She has over 20 years of experience empowering diverse talent and population groups to maximize their leadership potential while increasing their cultural competency and global perspective.
Prior to launching her consulting firm, Bhakta worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors across the US, with several entities who had significant international presence. She applied her expertise in leadership management, strategic planning, talent attraction/management, resource acquisition, business development, program design/delivery, community/economic development, event planning and parking management.
As a consultant, speaker, coach, community engager, podcaster, and author, Sarika drives impact through inspiring, interactive and engaging experiences. She focuses on bringing the diversity pendulum back into balance while showcasing the value of leveraging diverse human capital strategically via equity, inclusion, and engagement solutions.
Sarika co-authored “Power Up, Super Women”, an anthology book on women’s empowerment, and is the host of Diversity Straight Up podcast. Her name Sarika means hummingbird in Hindi (one of the official languages of India) and her astrological sign is a Taurus, hence her mantra in life is, “Hear you roar, see you soar!”
Kirsten Ivey-Colson, JD, LLM
Lynn Turner, MAT
The AntiRacist Table is a multidimensional platform that helps people bring antiracism into life as a daily practice, in large part through a curated free 30 Day Challenge. The AntiRacist Table has hosted presentations and workshops for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Ridgefield Library, DCPS Parent University, Children's National Hospital, Politics & Prose, and others. Numerous experts and thought leaders have joined The AntiRacist Table’s Conversations Around the Table to discuss race, racism, and antiracism. The AntiRacist Table has been featured on the Blue Zones,Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, Mindful, and WUSA9.
Kirsten Ivey-Colson (she/her), JD has an LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the George Washington University Law School and an undergraduate degree in African American Studies and English from the University of Virginia. She is the great-great-granddaughter of enslaved African Americans, the mother of a Black teenager, and highly motivated to contribute to a just and compassionate world. Kirsten is an active meditation practitioner and a student of nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, conflict coaching, neuroscience, happiness, and well-being. She has served as a union steward, conflict coach, mediator, and as a leader in her son’s school’s parent of Black students affinity group.
Lynn Turner (she/her) is a native Washingtonian, wife, and mother of two children and the proud descendant of enslaved people. She is a Lead Kindergarten Teacher and an active AntiRacism committee member in the school community where she teaches in Bethesda, MD. Lynn also serves on the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee. Lynn is passionate about teaching young children and supporting families, work that she has done for over ten years. Her BA in Fine Arts is from Sweet Briar College, her MAT in Early Childhood Education is from Trinity University and she has an Early Childhood TeachingCertificate from the Sunbridge Institute.
To find out more please visit www.theantiracisttable.com or email Kirsten and Lynn at info@TheAntiRacistTable.com.