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About Us
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Meet our Founder & CEO

Dr. Washington is an organizational psychologist and DEI expert with a wealth of experience through her involvement as the Founder and CEO of Ellavate Solutions, a Professor of Practice at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, the Co-host of Gallup's Center of Black Voices Cultural Competence Podcast, and the Author of "The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion". Dr. Washington continues to deepen her research pipeline and thought leadership as a Gallup Senior Scientist studying race, strengths and other DEI workplace topics.

Dr. Washington’s global human capital consulting experience has allowed her to impact clients across a myriad of industries including financial services, sports & entertainment, oil & gas, higher education and government. Previously, Dr. Washington led the Diversity and Inclusion function Gallup as a subject matter expert where she provided insight to clients on issues of inclusion, culture, strategic diversity and engagement. Her research and client work focuses on women in the workplace, barriers to inclusion for diverse groups, and working with organizations to build inclusive cultures. She has conducted inclusiveness audits, developed learning workshops, and facilitates strategic planning sessions with executive leadership teams who have goals of intentionally improving diversity and inclusion. 

These experiences inspired the 2016 founding of Ellavate Solutions, an integrated DEI strategy firm. Ellavate Solutions provides dynamic diversity and inclusion strategy and training for organizations looking to commit to systematic cultural changes in how they recruit, develop, engage and assess performance. Dr. Washington's in-depth experience in this area stems from both her research on racial and gender disparities in corporate leadership positions as well as her global DEI consulting experience with Fortune 100, government and non-profit organizations.

Growing up in Durham, North Carolina with a tight-knit family gave Dr. Washington her roots. She proudly attended Spelman College, a historically Black women’s institution in Atlanta which led to her passion for maximizing the success of women and minorities. After earning her PhD in 2014 at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, she moved to Washington, DC where she currently resides. Dr. Washington is passionate about teaching and she truly loves the impact that she is able to make on the lives of future business leaders every day as a professor at Georgetown. Her impact is powerful as she received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Georgetown's MBA Class of 2021.

While eagerly anticipating the publication of her first solo book published by the Harvard Business Review titled "The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion", Dr. Washington enjoys being active in her church, giving back to her local community, traveling the world and staying closely connected with loved ones.

Dr. Ella F. Washington
“MY MISSION IN LIFE IS NOT MERELY TO SURVIVE, BUT TO THRIVE; AND TO DO SO WITH SOME PASSION, SOME COMPASSION, SOME HUMOR, AND SOME STYLE.”
– MAYA ANGELOU
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Our Mission

Our Vision

To provide diversity, equity, and inclusion solutions that elevate leaders to be unbiased and ignite company cultures to be a place for all.

To create a workplace utopia where systems of conformity, bias and exclusion have been dismantled and replaced with solutions for elevating originality.

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Carolyn Adkerson
Vice President 

 

Carolyn earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Psychology from Spelman College in 2009. After spending a year teaching English in Spain, Carolyn returned to school to complete a Master in Business Administration at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management with a concentration in Marketing and a specialization in Brand Management in 2014. Carolyn is a Nashville native who is passionate about unifying, empowering, and investing in the Black community. Carolyn seeks to eradicate the systemic and economic constraints that plague the Black community. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and finding ways to be a change agent within the community. Spelman College gave Carolyn “The Choice to Change the World", Owen Graduate School of Management made Carolyn into a 'World Shaper’, and now Ellavate Solutions is allowing Carolyn to humbly live her purpose.

#WorkplaceUtopia™ is an environment that embraces innovation, cultivates my strengths, encourages a work-life balance, and empowers me to grow professionally and individually.
Dr. Rónké Òké
DEI STRATEGIST & SME 

Dr. Rónké Òké earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from Spelman College in 2005, her Master’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Memphis in 2009, and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Penn State University in 2015. Dr. Òké specializes in race and identity formation with a particular emphasis in the Critical Philosophy of Race, transnational conceptions of Blackness, and Afropolitanism. In the past, Dr. Òké’s research sought to reconstruct a philosophical account of lived experience that does justice to the experience of race. Dr. Òké has since departed from a specific focus on how race works in the US to consider how the racial imaginary operates on the African Continent and in African Diasporic communities. Her projects merge her interest in questions of race, citizenship, and identity with her love of African literature. Dr. Òké has taught at every level in the educational tier and has held faculty/teaching positions at West Chester University, Penn State University, Prince George’s Community College, Philadelphia Futures, and Walker Mill Middle School. As a forward-thinking DEI Strategist, Dr. Òké works with organizations at the leading edge of organizational change to scale their operations, create customized heuristics and technologies, and use the tools of DEIB/JEDI to solve social, people, and organizational problems. Dr. Òké is passionate about supporting new diversity professionals as they transition into DEI and helping employees navigate workplace pinch points. Merging her expertise in identity formation with the tools of DEI, Dr. Òké developed From Work to Worth, a workshop series exploring how our jobs shape our identities and well-being, and how diversity-based traumatic stress and discrimination impacts an employee's ability to contribute in meaningful ways at work. 

 

Dr. Òké’s work as an educator goes beyond the limits of teaching and is strongly influenced by her commitment to public philosophy and a continual striving to provide educational access for all. In 2016, Dr. Òké founded The African Literati, a public programming company that provides curated literary events for companies, community organizations and co-working spaces. During the pandemic, Dr. Òké led a weekly IG Live series -- #WritersBlockWednesday -- where she interviewed new BIPOC writers about their writing process and discussed how they overcome writer’s block. Dr. Òké is a proud Board Member of Philadelphia Futures, member of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Leaders Council, member of Philadelphia’s Contemporary’s Rising Wing, and an Organizational Strategist for the Society for Africans in the Diaspora (SAiD) Institute. Dr. Òké lives in Philadelphia where she enjoys travel, reading contemporary fiction, hiking, arts & cultural events, academic lectures, immersive experiences, and collecting identity stories. Dr. Òké is currently working on her first novel depicting a non-traditional coming-of-age story about love. 

#WorkplaceUtopia is a place that understands that I am a “human being, not a human doing”; understands that I need processing time; moves beyond best practices to really meet the needs of employees; encourages unapologetic self-expression, creative freedom, and free mobility; invests in my professional development; prioritizes innovation over consensus; and provides a platform for me to be the best professional version of myself.
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Hildana Haileyesus
DEI Jr Consultant 

Hildana is a DEI Consultant who is committed to education and action. At Ellavate Solutions, Hildana supports in DEI research, workshop development, workshop facilitation and client strategy. With a background in higher education, her experiences at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University as well as her role as an Admissions Officer have contributed to her broad DEI lens. Having experience with grassroots DEI approaches as well as working with organizational leadership to develop strong DEI policy from the top down, she is perfectly positioned to support DEI strategy for clients across the spectrum. 

 

With a strong belief in community building, equity and cultural understanding, Hildana sees DEI as an avenue for empowering humanity through strong business practices. She is grounded in the sociological lens through which she sees the impact of DEI locally and globally. In her time at Duke, she supported as a co-lead for an Anti-Racist Working Group and served on a University Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. 

 

Hildana received her B.A. in Sociology and German from Duke University and values working to offer clients custom strategy support on their DEI journeys. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Atlanta, GA, Hildana is strongly connected to her cultural heritage and simultaneously considers herself a Southerner at heart. She enjoys spending quality time with her sisters, road tripping with friends and is an avid movie theater lover.

 #WorkplaceUtopia™ is when the systems and culture of a workplace align to value the contributions of all employees and equally elicit an authentic commitment from team members to the goals and vision of the organization.
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Jayce Esposito
Executive Administrative Assistant & Operations Coordinator

 

Jayce is the Executive Administrative Assistant and Operations Coordinator at Ellavate Solutions. He graduated from the University of Maryland and Baltimore County (UMBC) with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2020. Outside of the classroom, Jayce spent a significant amount of the time in the pool swimming competitively with the rest of the team. After several years working in the clinical and behavioral psychology field, he transitioned into the field of business and is working on a Masters in I/O Psychology at UMBC. Jayce revels in the world of DEI with his passion for understanding individuals’ identities and valuing cultural differences.

#WorkplaceUtopia™ is a space where people can be their authentic selves while using their knowledge to facilitate change.