Lead with Equity Team

We have some of the best facilitators and coaches in the industry. The average experience level of our team members is 15+ years facilitating training programs on topics of leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Each of us is unique in our style and approach and also brings a wealth of other professional experience. We will recommend the best facilitators for your team based on experience, team dynamics, and availability

Ernesto Benitez

Co-Founder & Strategic Advisor

Ernesto Benitez is an experienced Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the healthcare, hospitality, and shipping & logistics industries. He is skilled in customer service, operations management, quality assurance management, leadership, public speaking, logistics, and supply chain management. In 2020, he co-founded Lead with Equity after seeing the need for equity and inclusive management work in both his own career, and the broader society. Ernesto currently serves as a strategic advisor, weighing in on company direction, important client contracts, strategy, and key financial and personnel decisions. Ernesto holds a BS in Healthcare Administration from CUNY School of Professional Studies.

Kennette Banks

Facilitator, Curriculum Support

Kennette Banks (she/her/hers) is an executive leader with 16 years of experience in nonprofit management and school leadership. A systems nerd, Kennette has a track record of fusing systems and strategy to increase organizational impact, clarity and efficiency. As a Black woman who attended predominantly white institutions and who grew up with a mother who integrated a middle school in Baltimore, she is a strong advocate for equity and access in education. She has spent the majority of her professional career working to address the inequities in our education system, first in the Bay Area and then in NYC, where she led a high-performing charter school for six years. 

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Kennette serves on the Board of Trustees at Moorestown Friends School and is a founding Board Member of MPerfectly and Inclusive America, a D.C. based nonprofit working to make the government as diverse as the people of the United States.

Kennette holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors from Swarthmore College with a degree in Linguistics.

Haliday Douglas

Facilitator, Curriculum Support

Haliday Douglas is the Founder and CEO of Sons & Daughters of Saint Louis (SDSL), a 501 (c)(3) consulting organization that advises, provides technical support to nonprofits and social good initiatives to anchor impact programming in Deep Equity practices.

Prior to launching SDSL, Haliday worked as an embedded consultant, leading change on local and state levels, and in policy and practice across five states, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri and Tennessee. Haliday’s areas of expertise include: K-12 Education, Program Development, Metrics Design, Talent Management, Group Model-building, and DEI.

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Haliday holds a Bachelor’s in English Literature from Bowdoin College, and a Master’s in Education Policy and Performance Management from Harvard University.

Lillian Forsyth

Co-Founder & CEO, Facilitator, Coach, Curriculum Support

Lillian Forsyth is a coach, facilitator, and consultant focused on leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is Co-Founder & CEO at Lead with Equity, whose mission is to help leaders make space for the voices of historically marginalized people to drive change in organizations. Lillian has 15 years of experience leading operations and human resources for small and medium sized organizations, and 20 years of experience facilitating workshops on identity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Lillian has trained and coached leaders from organizations such as Goldman Sachs, Facebook, and IBM. Clients describe Lillian as authentic, engaging, kind, direct, and someone with a unique blend of intuition and analytical skills.

Aiyana Knowles


Aiyana has over 12 years of experience in the nonprofit and public sectors working directly with families and community-based organizations, creating sustainable change in communities of color, centered in social justice and racial equity.

Currently, Aiyana is a Senior Program Manager with the Alameda County Public Health Department focused on health promotion and community partnerships in alignment with COVID-19 mitigation, recovery and resiliency planning in neighborhoods most impacted by disproportionate COVID-19 outcomes.

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During her time in New York, Aiyana was the NY State Director of External Relations at Achievement First where she led the management of advocacy, community engagement, and student recruitment efforts for 23 schools (K-12) in Brooklyn. Before that, as the Associate Director of Advocacy at Success Academy Charter Schools, she transformed their parent leader engagement, working closely with schools, families, and other network teams to build strong school communities. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she has her BA in Liberal Studies with a focus in Recreation from California State University Hayward.

Salvatore Manzi

Facilitator, Coach

Salvatore Manzi is a speaker, facilitator and communications coach. He has worked with and led programs for the World Economic Forum, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox, Gap and Genentech.

Salvatore consults with business leaders to strategically improve leadership, organizational culture and individual engagement. As a diversity and inclusion facilitator, he helps organizations navigate difficult topics and create truly inclusive environments. He’s helped clients prepare talks at the United Nations and SXSW, pitches at Y Combinator and campaigns for political office.

Harris Mojadedi


Harris Mojadedi is a policy analyst at UC Berkeley with a Master’s Degree in Leadership. Harris brings a decade of experience facilitating workshops and panels on identity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging for a wide range of audiences, including senior university leadership, elected officials, and community members. Harris is one of Lead with Equity’s go-to facilitators for inclusive leadership programs.

Frederica Peterson

Facilitator, Coach, Curriculum Support

Frederica is a diversity and leadership consultant, coach, teacher and award-winning author. She is the Principal and CEO of her own leadership consultancy established in 2015 and has worked with some of the top organizations in the country; CNN, Facebook, Honeywell, NASA, United States Homeland Security, National Basketball Association, Audible and many more.

Described by her clients as passionate, charismatic, intuitive and result focused, she now leverages her expertise to help others sharpen their skills and increase their leadership effectiveness and diversity acumen. Frederica believes, “the heart of every organization is the effectiveness of their leaders; when leaders are strong teams are strong.”

Jessica Velasco

Facilitator, Curriculum Support

Jessica (she/her) is a consultant, educator, facilitator, and a lifetime learner on a mission to create an inclusive society, while empowering people of color to thrive in their personal and professional lives. Jessica brings over 10+ years of experience in the non-profit, education, and tech space, focusing on inclusive work cultures with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging lens. As a mission driven leader, Jessica allows executive leaders, managers, and individual contributors to lean into their vulnerability as she creates psychological safe spaces wherever she leads. Jessica has worked with clients globally expanding from Europe to Asia and all throughout the US.

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Today, Jessica is passionate about highlighting individuality, dismantling the status quo, and advocating mental health through coaching, mentoring, and developing talent. As a facilitator, Jessica allows individuals to feel welcomed and included by supporting individuals to let go of fear and develop a growth mindset together. Jessica spends her time and talents supporting AAPI entrepreneurs through ACE NextGen and FYLPRO (Filipino Youth Leaders Program). She is a proud mother to a four-year-old adopted Goldendoodle.

Ranieka Weston

Facilitator, Coach

Ranieka has more than 20 years of diverse professional experience as a business executive, board member, and talent leader, providing a unique perspective on critical issues facing leaders and teams. She is passionate about empowering underrepresented professionals who may struggle to contribute their opinions, ideas or ask for what they deserve. Her mission/purpose is to coach, mentor, and empower others to be the best versions of themselves.

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Ranieka is an adjunct faculty member of the American Management Association (AMA), coach and facilitator with the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), and Plink Leadership. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and a SHRM-SCP certified HR professional. Ranieka holds an MA in Strategic Communication and Leadership from Seton Hall University and a BA in Business Administration from Florida A&M University.

Nakia Winfield


Nakia Winfield is an antiracism educator, workshop facilitator and leadership coach who uses an interdisciplinary, anti-oppressive lens to examine power dynamics across social systems and help organizations and municipalities find effective solutions for their work. She uses her 7 years of Human Resource experience at Apple Inc, and her research in complexity theory to cultivate and sustain cohesive teams with a culture of trust, psychological safety, and play.

Nakia has worked with and facilitated for the City of Austin Equity Office, the Hogg Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter, Indiana Youth Group and RES-Q among others.  She also offers training for facilitators around principles, equity and Liberating Structures.