A Free Webinar for the EE Industry

March 15, 1:30 - 3:00 pm


Among KEEA and EEA-NJ Members, how to best address diversity, equity and inclusion goals ranked among the top concerns and requests for programming solutions. The upcoming webinar “Diversify or Die: Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Success?” delivers the answer to this request.

Join us March 15 at 1:30-3 p.m. EST for this event featuring Mark Sebree, Director of Diverse Sourcing and Inclusion, Franklin Energy; Sharon Cruz, Sr. Supplier Diversity Manager, Kiewit Power Delivery; and Valerie Coyazo, Lead Supplier Diversity Manager, Evergy, along with moderator, Dena Jefferson, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Franklin Energy.

Stop worrying about the challenges of meeting your clients’ DEI goals or taking a “bare minimum” checkbox approach to diversity, and instead start your intentional journey toward a diverse supply chain. Learn how to enhance competitiveness, reduce risk, and deliver economic value to your firm and customers as you increase outreach and build relationships.

Presenters’ firms range in size from roughly 1400 staff to 25,000+ employees and include perspectives from both 40+ years of DEI leadership and newer, industry-awarded entrants. Don’t miss this hard-won advice and pragmatic guidance, along with some “keeping it real” prompts from our expert moderator.


This webinar is open to all. However, only employees of KEEA & EEA-NJ member firms will have access to the post-webinar recording. Please contact us to learn more about joining or check your membership status.

Our Speakers:

Valerie Coyazo

Valerie Coyazo

Lead Supplier Diversity Manager, Evergy

Valerie Coyazo has been Lead Supplier Diversity Manager for Evergy for over 18 years. She provides direction and leadership for the day-to-day operations of the Evergy Supplier Diversity Program. Valerie is responsible for promoting and facilitating the development of business relationships between Evergy’s Supply Chain, Internal Business Partners, and Diverse Suppliers doing business with Evergy. She is responsible for coordinating the establishment, implementation, and continuous evolution of Evergy’s Supplier Diversity program, enabling Sourcing to optimize diversity in its supply base and to improve supply chain performance, transparency, and accountability. Valerie champions Evergy’s external participation with diversity advocacy groups, such as: NMSDC, WBENC, NGLCC and their regional affiliates. Evergy’s Supplier Diversity team is “Committed to the Community” and best in class people practices that promote a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Valerie serves as a member of several boards which include the Chair for the Business Diversity Executive Advisory Committee for the Edison Electric Institute. Chair of the Hispanic Collaborative of Greater Kansas City, serves on the regional WBDC Certification committee, serves on the regional planning committee for FIRST Robotics, Co-Chair for the Supplier Diversity subcommittee for the Kansas City Procurement Roundtable, and on the Executive Board for the FBI Citizens Academy.

Valerie has received the Chairman’s Award from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity from Diversity, Inc. Magazine, MBE Coordinator of the Year award from the Mid America Minority Business Development Council for her work with minority suppliers, the Thomas E. Purcell Award from the Guadalupe Centers for outstanding contribution to the Guadalupe Center by a board member and was honored by the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City for making a difference in the lives of women and girls in our community.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources from Park College in Kansas City, Missouri.

Cruz Bio 112020

Sharon Cruz

Senior Supplier Diversity Manager, Kiewit Power Delivery

Sharon is a seasoned professional in human resources with considerable time in diversity and inclusion. She has an extensive background in general human resources functions, including experience in staffing, EEO, training, compensation, employee relations, legal compliance, and conflict resolution. Sharon has more than 20 years of experience in the electric and gas utility and transportation industry. She has 10 years of experience in supplier diversity/DBE program and compliance management. In addition, she served as the Director of Compliance for the Department of Justice on a race-based discrimination case in Public Accommodations. She managed the daily activities of the Defendant to ensure the organization followed the terms in the Consent Decree.

Upon joining Kiewit in 2015, she was tasked with developing a Supplier Diversity program from the bottom up. Sharon manages the Supplier Diversity, Mentorship and Workforce Development programs for Kiewit and their affiliated companies. In Supplier Diversity, Sharon oversees the development of small business subcontracting plans for clients in utilities, private investors, DOE, DOD, nuclear and industrial. That includes town hall and community outreach meetings to find qualified suppliers and subcontractors to ensure they have equal opportunities for participation on Kiewit projects. When working on Workforce Development she coordinates with project management teams to understand their workforce needs and timing for specific trades. She then works with local entities to ensure there are workers “on the bench” ready to go to work. A solid Workforce Plan requires understanding the construction activities to plan for the workforce needs and hire qualified employees, train, and be ready to work once the project moves forward with execution.


Mark Sebree

Director of Diverse Sourcing and Inclusion, Franklin Energy

With an impressive resume and proven track record of success and dedication, Mark Sebree has a reputation for changing paradigms in the DEI&B and Business Inclusion arena. Mark leads the company’s nation-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Roundtable. As the Director of Diverse Sourcing and Inclusion he is responsible for proving thought leadership and direction to promote DEI&B within the company’s employee base and vendor partnerships. Mark assists the recruitment team to identify and recruit diverse talent as well as supports the business development teams to identify and develop relationships with diverse businesses. Mark also promotes DEI&B and Supplier Diversity strategies, leading outreach efforts to various organizations, and collaborating across teams and departments to promote inclusion within the supply chain and talent acquisition.

Mark is past chair of the Edison Electric Institute Business Diversity taskforce and was instrumental in promoting the Business Inclusion value forward among the member utilities and associated prime contractors. Mark has served on over 15 business inclusion, utility industry board and associations, and he holds various certifications including a green belt certification in Six Sigma and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville.

Mark hopes this session will strengthen regional Supplier Diversity efforts through the collective thought leadership and commitment culminating In an Increase In diverse owned business utilization.

Under Mark’s leadership Franklin Energy has been the recipient of several awards including the Prime Supplier Diversity award by the Edison Electric Institute as well as the WE Succeed award of Distinction by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Great Lakes office.

Headshot of Dena Jefferson

Dena Jefferson (Moderator)

Director of Regulatory Affairs, Franklin Energy

Dena Jefferson serves as Director of Regulatory Affairs for Franklin Energy. She has over 20 years of Utility Regulation and Compliance experience, with focuses on Utility Rate Cases, Energy Efficiency, Electric Vehicles, Solar Interconnection, and Performance Based Ratemaking. While working for utilities, Dena saw became very active in DE&I efforts, serving on the executive board of internal Employee Resource Groups. She also served on the Executive Board of the Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE). Through this work, she has pushed for greater diversity in the utilities she works with.  

Dena holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law with a concentration in Environmental, Natural Resource, Utility and Administrative Law. She recently completed certification on Fostering Inclusion and Diversity from the Yale School of Management.