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Speaker's Bio 

Empowering Workforces, Transforming Lives


 Melissa Pennington is a dynamic Global HR Director with over 20 years of experience in human resources, specializing in creating inclusive workplaces and fostering career development for diverse populations. Known for her engaging and insightful presentations, Melissa has spoken at numerous prestigious events, including NC State SHRM conferences, NC Center for Nonprofits, higher education conferences, and various local nonprofit organizations.

 As a bilingual professional and native Spanish speaker, Melissa brings a unique perspective to her work, championing diversity and inclusion in every aspect of her career. Her expertise spans across fair chance hiring practices, collaborations with corporations and SMBs, organizational and leadership development, and advocating for livable wages for individuals with challenging employment backgrounds.


 Melissa is deeply passionate about employee engagement and the power of people data, utilizing these tools to drive meaningful change within organizations. Her commitment to social justice and community impact is evident in her work, where she tirelessly advocates for fair opportunities and support for previously incarcerated individuals.

Topics Melissa Will Discuss:

  1. Fair Chance Hiring for Previous Offenders

    • Implementing fair chance hiring practices.

    • Removing barriers and biases from the hiring process.

    • Success stories and case studies.

  2. Collaborations with Corporations and SMBs

    • Engaging corporations and SMBs in reentry hiring programs.

    • Developing partnerships for training and job placement.

    • Examples of successful corporate collaborations.

  3. Organizational and Leadership Development

    • Creating supportive environments for previously incarcerated employees.

    • Training managers and leaders on inclusive leadership.

    • Implementing programs that foster growth and development.

  4. Finding Livable Wages for Hard-to-Employ Individuals

    • Strategies for negotiating fair wages.

    • Identifying industries and roles that offer sustainable employment.

    • Programs and initiatives supporting wage growth and career advancement.

  5. Inclusion of Latinos in the Workforce

    • Strategies for recruiting and retaining Latino talent.

    • Creating culturally competent workplaces.

    • Success stories and best practices.

  6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Diverse Hiring Strategies

    • Implementing effective DEI initiatives.

    • Building a diverse talent pipeline.

    • Overcoming challenges in diverse hiring.

  7. Accessibility and Inclusivity

    • Ensuring accessibility in the workplace for individuals with disabilities.

    • Creating inclusive policies and practices.

    • Examples of successful inclusivity programs.

  8. Employee Engagement and Increasing It

    • Strategies for boosting employee engagement.

    • Leveraging people data to improve engagement.

    • Creating a culture of recognition and feedback.

  9. HR and AI: The Future of Talent Management

    • How HR can utilize AI to enhance recruitment, retention, and employee engagement.

    • Current applications of AI in HR processes.

    • Balancing technology with human touch to create a positive employee experience.

  10. Creating an Inclusive Workplace

    • Implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

    • Building a culture of belonging and respect.

    • Measuring and tracking progress in diversity efforts.

  11. Intersectionality in the Workplace

    • Understanding the unique challenges faced by Black women and other intersecting identities in tech.

    • Promoting allyship and support networks.

    • Tailoring career development programs to address intersectional needs.

  12. Tech for Good: Leveraging Skills for Social Change

    • How Black tech professionals can drive community impact and social change.

    • Examples of tech-driven social initiatives and success stories.

    • Encouraging corporate social responsibility and community engagement.

  13. Navigating Microaggressions in the Workplace

    • Identifying and addressing microaggressions.

    • Developing strategies to mitigate microaggressions and foster a supportive environment.

    • Training and educating employees on cultural competency and sensitivity.

  14. Additional Speaking Topics for HR Professionals Across All Backgrounds and Industries

    • Strategic Workforce Planning: Aligning talent strategy with business goals.

    • Change Management: Leading organizations through transformation.

    • Talent Acquisition: Innovative strategies for attracting top talent.

    • Performance Management: Creating effective systems for employee evaluation.

    • Employee Wellness Programs: Promoting mental and physical health in the workplace.

Melissa’s insightful presentations provide actionable strategies and real-world examples, empowering organizations to create more inclusive and supportive work environments. Her dedication to transforming lives through employment opportunities makes her a sought-after speaker and a true advocate for positive change in the workplace.

Book Melissa Pennington for your next event to learn how to empower your workforce and drive social change through inclusive and innovative HR practices.





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