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Utah Business

The annual Living Color Gala honors the individuals who are working toward a more equitable and inclusive future for our state. Here are the 2021 Living Color honorees!

Meet the winners of this year’s Living Color awards

In partnership with Living Color Utah, our third annual Living Color Gala honors the individuals and organizations who are working toward a more equitable and inclusive future for our state. Please congratulate the 2021 Living Color honorees!

Distinguished Leaders

Dr. Charles R. Rogers

Founder & President at the Colorectal Cancer Equity Foundation

Linkedin | Twitter

Dr. Charles Rogers, a 2021 Living Color honoree photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business
Dr. Charles Rogers, a 2021 Living Color honoree photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“More individuals have to step up to the plate to 1) transform the narrative of “what Utah looks like” and, 2) emphasize the great DEI work we are doing here. Too many individuals and governmental agencies with funding power are unacquainted with the fact that Utah has a minority share exceeding 20 percent―comparable to national averages. Moreover, those of us doing any work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism must be more vocal about showcasing our efforts to change the landscape of Utah across various sectors.”

Shauna Graves-Robertson

Judge at Salt Lake County Justice Court

Shauna Graves-Robertson, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“I am still the only African American woman to sit on the bench at any level in the state of Utah. I am in a court of limited jurisdiction. I see all kinds of people. I love the fact that no matter why a person is appearing in front of me, I can impact them in a positive way. I want to see the landscape of this state actually show the differences we claim to support.”

Simba Maponga

VP of Engineering at Goldman Sachs

LinkedIn

Simba Maponga, a 2021 Living Color Honoree photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Utah is truly a fantastic and vibrant state with a lot of collaboration and work going on to craft a narrative that attracts and retains top diverse talent. Personally, I’d like to see more diversity represented in top roles, running companies, and having a bigger voice to drive change.”

Inspirational Leadership

Dr. Tiana N. Rogers

Founder & CEO at Mended Hope

LinkedIn | Twitter

Dr. Tiana N. Rogers, a 2021 Living Color Honoree photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Black women inspire my company most because I believe that they are the most resilient group of people on the planet. Black women despite being consistently undervalued and unprotected, continue to be some of the highest achieving individuals in our society, leading out other groups in earning advanced degrees, launching businesses, and leading families.”

Hanifa Javadi

Founder & CEO at Free Women

Hanifa Javadi, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“This year, I directed a team of 26 refugee women from Afghanistan in order to fulfill a wholesale order of 10,000 cork pouches. The knowledge that this work is enabling them to become more financially independent continues to motivate me. The women I work with are refugees from Afghanistan―I know their situations and can relate to them because I have been in their shoes. Many of the women who are employed through Free Women are not able to work outside of the home. By giving women work-at-home options, it allows flexibility to earn money while also caring for their children. Diversity and inclusion means adapting our businesses to meet needs that might be different from our own.”

Kimmy Paluch

Managing Partner at Beta Boom

Kimmy Paluch | 2020 Women of the Year Honorees
Kimmy Paluch photographed by Justin Hackworth for the 2020 Women of The Year

LinkedIn | Twitter

“Beta Boom is heavily involved in changing the landscape for greater diversity and inclusion. Beyond our investment thesis which advances these objectives, we also co-lead a series of grant programs. As an immigrant, it’s important to me to address disparities and unlock unearthed opportunities in greater untapped regions beyond the US. I look forward to expanding our investment model globally.”

Stephanie Nguyen Draper

Co-founder of Project Black Girl

Stephanie Nguyen Draper, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Project Black Girl is inspired by those who are socially and culturally oppressed and their stories. I am heartbroken by those who do not get the opportunities to pursue their dreams because of the way they look, what they represent, or because of stereotypical molds. Some of the biggest challenges that I had to overcome is forgetting the haunting labels and stereotypes that were placed on me that made me feel like my voice was irrelevant. Overcoming this made me capable to represent and stand as a voice for these young Black girls.”

Community Involvement

Alicia and Camille Washington

Co-directors of Good Company Theatre

Facebook | Instagram

Alicia Washington, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Diversity is woven into the fabric of our organization. Our board of directors, advisory committee, and executive team have gender parity, and a minority-majority as it pertains to race and ethnicity. We were among the first to address “body neutrality” (i.e. white, cisgender, non-disabled people as default or neutral people) in auditioning practices, and we consistently produce more plays and musicals written by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community than the vast majority of live theatre producers in the state. This focus on a broader range of voices encourages a more diverse patron-base as well.”

Simi “Poteki” Malohifoou

Founder of KAVA Talks 

Facebook

Simi “Poteki” Malohifoou, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Violence affects everyone and every aspect of our lives whether you recognize it or not. KAVA Talks provides a space for Pacific Islander men to be better men, sons, fathers, grandpas, brothers, husbands, and employees by giving them the space to be educated, find and practice their voice, and hold each other responsible and accountable.”

Talia Keys (not pictured)

Music Director & musician at Talia Keys Music / Rock Camp SLC

Website | Twitter

“Our camp aims to bring marginalized genders to the forefront in the music industry. Less than 25 percent of the music industry identifies as female, even less trans and non-binary. We have kids coming to camp from all over and we aim to only diversify our camp more. The kids that I get to work with at Rock Camp SLC are so excited to learn music, make friends, and smash the patriarchy! They are bright, inclusive and ready to change the world.”

David Silos Aguirre

Founder & Artistic Director at Ballet Folklorico ECK Juvenil

Facebook

David Silos Aguirre , a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“My daughter Amilia told me how much she longed to be part of a Folkloric Ballet; I did not know that my professional career would take me to create my own ballet―that’s how in 2018, BALLET FOLKLÓRICO ECK JUVENIL emerged. What I want for my business is for it to grow into a ‘casa ECK.’ This will help provide help for all that may need it and convert it into a resource center and to keep the art of folklorico alive here in Utah.”

Education

Belinda Otukolo Saltiban

Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer at Utah Valley University

Belinda Otukolo Saltiban, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion fosters creativity, innovation and excellence in the global marketplace; understanding these benefits of DEI leads to other benefits, such as increased revenue and equitable outcomes in businesses and organizations, alike. For this reason, it is important that diversity, equity, and inclusion is not an “add on” or something “extra.” Rather, it is a key necessity that must be built into policies, practices, budgets, and the infrastructure of the organization to maximize its benefits.”

Dr. William A. Smith

Consultant at Changing Directions Consulting

LinkedIn | Twitter

Dr. William A. Smith, a 2021 Living Color Honoree photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“My company, Changing Directions Consulting, is trying to help people better understand systemic inequalities among racial, sexual, disability, and social class groups. We try to offer data with real-life examples of how our society continues to repeat past mistakes. Through lectures, presentations, and workshops, we engage our participants with opportunities to realize how they can become effective social justice allies. More importantly, we provide strategies through trauma-informed care for targets of racism and other forms of discrimination.”

Juliette Bautista

Director at Club Ability

Linkedin

Juliette Bautista, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“In Utah, tech occupations are less diverse in terms of standard race and ethnicity groups than tech workers nationwide. Utah has 16.8 percent of jobs occupied by minorities, nationally it is 36 percent. As a Latina woman with a background in tech, I want to be involved in the solutions. That’s why I love teaching coding to children―especially the seven to 10 year olds. They love to play video games and when they discover they are able to create their own video games and characters it’s a big moment.”

Health

Ariel Malan, MHA (she/her)

Program Coordinator at the University of Utah Health Transgender Health Program

LinkedIn

Ariel Malan, MHA, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“As the Transgender Health Program, our administrative team of three all identify as queer or trans and that representation means something to our communities. We’re creating the healthcare services and support that we deserve as a community. I want the visibility of queer and trans communities to be welcomed and for initiatives to be funded and supported at an institutional level. It’s important to know if our systems will support us even when it’s difficult.”

The Black Clinicians

@blackclinicians

The Black Clinicians, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“We came together with a vision to expand mental health knowledge, awareness, and resources for the Black community in the state of Utah. There have been many challenges to this, as we relate to the reality that the Black community tends to have lower utilization rates for therapy than other ethnic groups, while also having a more deleterious impact from untreated mental health than other ethnic groups. Being able to connect with the members of the Black community of Utah and provide them with resources to facilitate improving their mental health is our favorite part of the job.”

Government

Nubia Peña

Senior Advisor of Equity and Opportunity to Governor Cox and Director of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs

Nubia Peña, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“The Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs works to partner with nonprofits and grassroots organizations that are led by diverse leaders and support historically marginalized populations. We honor our community-based organizations who do so much, often with so little, consistently showcasing the resilient nature of our communities. We fully acknowledge that many of these frontline community-based organizations are often lifelines to their clients. They are trusted pillars, serving to amplify the needs and concerns of the most silenced and invisible. Working with these service providers consistently humbles us as we learn about the many ways they assist families in need and do so with respect, dignity, and compassion.”

Nonprofit

Gloria Mensah

Executive Director at the GK Folks Foundation

LinkedIn | Twitter

Gloria Mensah, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Our foundation provides financial support through scholarship funding to Black, African immigrants, and refugees. To date, over $60,000.00 in scholarship funds has been awarded to 150+ immigrants and people of color combined. The foundation is devoted to the educational growth and mental well-being of traditionally marginalized racial groups. We envision a world in which, due to everyone accepting people’s diversity and exhibiting inclusion strategies, minorities will have an equal opportunity to develop the skills necessary to bridge the gap and succeed in their place of work and multicultural communities.”

Oreta Masina Mapu-Tupola

Community Health Worker Section Program Coordinator at the Utah Public Health Association

Oreta Masina Mapu-Tupola, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“The community health work we have been spreading awareness of started at a grassroots level, but has made its way upstream to the very state government powers that have the ability to make true change happen. We have been engaged in meetings with key power players discussing policy change, re-evaluation of processes, and the true integration of equity and diversity when it comes to decision making in the state and statewide systems. Medicaid reform, immigration, language access, health access, and social determinants of health are just a few things we are working on and we are so excited to see these changes and more.”

Roberto Lopez

Treasurer & Board Member at Project Rainbow Utah

LinkedIn

Roberto Lopez, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“Our number one priority at Project Rainbow is advocacy through visibility. For that one child in the most rural parts of our state who is driving in the backseat of their parents car and passing a flag in their neighborhood, the one teen sneaking their mother’s heels to get that runway walk perfected, or the elderly couple that can sit on their porch watching that flag wave in their yard knowing that they made it… together. Providing these flags as beacons of hope spreads the message that we are here, that we are not alone, and that there is a community out here for everyone.”

Corporations

Adobe

LinkedIn

Archana Thiagarajan of Adobe, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“One of the most important things we can do is prepare the environment to welcome and receive new people with unique and diverse backgrounds into our tech community. And if we do this well, we can expect to see even more innovation, growth, and business success than we’ve already enjoyed. To achieve this, we’re creating an inclusive workplace through community-building, D&I training, and programs that continue to drive education and allyship.”

Zions Bank

Scott Anderson, president of Zions Bank, a 2021 Living Color Honoree, photographed by Ori Media for Utah Business

“In February, Zions Bank launched a supplier diversity program aimed at bringing more diverse businesses to its supply chain. The program helps identify businesses as owned by people in traditionally underrepresented groups―including minorities, women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, veterans, and people with disabilities―that may be able to offer products and services needed by the bank. 

The Cameron Williams Impact Award

In Memoriam

The annual Living Color Gala honors the individuals  who are working toward a more equitable and inclusive future for our state. Here are the 2021 Living Color honorees!
Cameron Williams, photographed by Ori Media in February 2019

Cameron Williams was the sort of person who could walk into a building, stumble upon a recruitment event, introduce himself as a viable candidate (even if he wasn’t), and walk out with a position at Goldman Sachs. That kind of charismatic, visionary personality allowed him to rise through the ranks at Goldman Sachs and eventually take on the tech world.

Cameron taught himself how to code on the weekends until he nabbed a job at Domo where he worked to create a business intelligence platform that would help companies grow and scale. Never content to settle, he became a multi-patented software architect, started his own transportation logistics company on the side, and used his spare time to provide a voice for others. 

Committed to making Utah a more diverse and inclusive place, he was recognized by Utah Business as one of our Forty Under Forty. He sat on the board and became chair of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce. He helped lead Living Color Utah and was the inspiration for their annual Living Color Gala.

Cameron accomplished everything he sought to do in just 33 years of life, and so much more. He left a legacy at home in Chicago, and here in Utah, and we are pleased to recognize him for his contributions posthumously. 

Learn more about our 2021 Living Color honorees by checking out the YouTube playlist below and downloading event photos here.

Utah Business provides award-winning, in-depth journalism on the tech and entrepreneurial businesses at the forefront of our nation's economy. Our print and digital publications reach millions of executives across the state and our live and in-person events provide deep-dive access into the industries shaping our future.

Comments (3)

  • Jani Iwamoto

    What amazing people and photos of those you chose to recognize. Congratulations! J

  • Megan Brewster

    Fantastic roundup, and great to meet some new change makers!

  • Talia Keys

    Honored to be among these amazing folks! Truly life saving and changing work being done in our community!

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