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Erika Walker Thomas - Ayala & Young Associates, LLC


ERIKA has over 20 years of Diversity and Inclusion experience in school districts, colleges and corporations. As an experienced consultant she has expertise in coaching leaders around issues of race and ethnicity, especially in the complex issues of attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. Her clients include both US and global organizations. She is a regular columnist on diversity and coaching issues for the HR & Management journal in Latin America, Conocimiento Y Dirección. She speaks regularly at their human resource forums.

Erika has held consulting positions with Hewitt Associates, one of the leading human resource consulting firms in the world. She was a part of the team that led the effort to integrate diversity into Hewitt’s businesses focusing both on their workforce and the marketplace. The focus of her work was to design global learning strategies, address attraction, motivation, and retention issues for diverse populations, and resolve global workforce challenges. She has successfully delivered solutions to clients throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.


Erika is passionate about examining systemic issues and has conducted many of our Equity and Cultural Audit interviews and focus groups for several Illinois school districts and community colleges. Her work was especially crucial in introducing Elgin Community College to move forward on their Educational Equity Journey several years ago. She helped to design a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity full day program for the ECC leadership and faculty to highlight the accountabilities required to sustain the Equity Journey. She has also implemented Mentoring Programs for students in order to help create future leaders in the field of education. 


Erika graduated from  Howard University and Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. 

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