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Register for Spark 2022!


Spark Summit will be held on March 9, 2022, at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel (16 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen). Presented by Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield, this Summit offers a fresh take on leadership and management development to leaders and shakers from all industries across New York State and beyond. It features keynote speakers, eight break-out sessions, a final general session, and the opportunity to network with up to 100 attendees. The slate of programming seeks to engage, encourage, and educate rising leaders, veteran leaders, and the leader in each of us! Registration opens on January 10, 2022 and will close March 2, 2022. Stay tuned and check back for updated information regarding speakers and additional details! For additional information, please reach out to Abby Lane, Events Manager at (607) 535-4300 or



Shake it Up!
Focusing on creative solutions for solving the most pressing issues affecting the work place today. 


We are thrilled to announce our keynote speakers for the 2022 Spark Summit!

Sady Alvarado-FischerSady Alvarado-FischerCorporate Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Sady Alvarado-Fischer, CDP (she/her/ella) is a dynamic and highly sought-after, award-winning Queer, feminist, Latina speaker who is known for her energy and passion around social justice issues. As the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Sady develops, leads and executes the company’s DEI strategy. Sady is entrusted with challenging the status quo and creating a welcoming and equitable work culture. Under her leadership, DEI went from one department’s job to everyone’s responsibility to apply what she calls an “I.D.E.A. Mindset.” She has led the implementation of several policies, programs, and practices that are intentional about addressing and eliminating the impact of biases in all parts of the business. In addition to leading corporate key DEI goals, Sady works across all lines of business to identify and implement key divisional DEI-related goals. Some recent successes include: Juneteenth is a company holiday; all employee lock screens feature key monthly DEI messages; 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge brought inhouse; DEI commitment is included in every job posting; hiring practices include implicit bias training; new mentoring program increases visibility of diverse talent; pronouns included in standard company templates; racism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression, are acknowledged as necessary issues to address as a health plan. In 2021, Sady was one of 200 women featured in the Changemakers exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. She is a 2020 and 2019 Profiles in Diversity Journal, Diversity Leader Award Recipient. When she’s not shifting mindsets and breaking through stereotypes, she is spending quality time with her wife, Leslie, and their 3 children. “They’re my heart and motivate me to make a difference in the world!”

Session Title:
Shake It Up - One Intentional Step at a Time!

Session Description:
Many organizations want to do the right thing and are committed to implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies. Many are also asking themselves: Where do we start? Are we ready? What's our "why?" This session will offer tools and practical takeaways for assessing your organization’s internal capacity, readiness and culture for beginning DEI work so you too can shake it up!


Dr. Malika CarterDr. Malika Carter, Chief Diversity Officer, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Dr. Malika Carter joined ESF in 2017 as the College's first chief diversity officer (CDO). Dr. Carter has nearly two decades of experience developing policies and initiatives that address inclusion, diversity, and equity. Prior to joining ESF, she served as the CDO for the city of Worcester, MA, and director of multicultural student services at the University of North Dakota. Since beginning service at ESF, Carter has simultaneously served as Chief Diversity Officer (CDO)/Associate Vice President (AVP), SUNY Upstate Medical University and Interim Institutional Equity Officer and Interim Title IX Coordinator - Office of Institutional Equity, SUNY Upstate Medical University. She is the current chief executive officer of Passion4Pivot, a social justice consulting firm. Dr. Carter's newest scholarly contribution is nestled in the book "Black Women and Social Justice Education: Legacies and Lessons." Dr. Carter earned a Ph.D. in Institutional Analysis from North Dakota State University, a Master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont, a Bachelor’s in Middle Childhood Education from Cleveland State University, and an Associate’s in Stenography from Cuyahoga Community College. Dr. Carter is actively involved in numerous community groups and has earned awards for her efforts toward promoting equity, including the Harriet Tubman Freedom Fund Award on Juneteenth 2021. This presented annually to an individual whose extraordinary leadership and efforts have contributed to eradicating racial injustice, promoting social equity, and advancing and improving the community at large.


Presenters include experts in a variety of leadership areas, including:

Dr. Lizette RiveraDr. Lizette Rivera, Director of Student Inclusion Initiatives and Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity Officer, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Dr. Lizette Rivera joined the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in January 2020 as the new Director of Student Inclusion Initiatives and Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity Officer. Her position is a dual appointment in the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OIDE) and also the Division of Student Affairs. As of August 2021, she also serves as the Co-Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program which is an NSF grant program. She has a Bachelor’s from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in Public Administration from Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL. Dr. Rivera completed her Doctorate of Education from National Louis University, Chicago. Her dissertation title is Exploring the impact of the Mass Transfer program: A look at Latina/Latino student transfer success at a two-year Hispanic-Serving Institution into a four-year Non-Hispanic-Serving university in Massachusetts.Dr. Rivera has worked in higher education for more than 12 years in various positions. At SUNY ESF, she oversees the OIDE Student Inclusion Initiatives, which include the Men of Color Initiative, Women of Color Initiative, Native and Indigenous Student Initiative, Women in STEM Initiative, Veterans Initiative, LGBTQIA+ Initiative, and Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Initiative. Dr. Rivera also manages the Student Anti-Bias Training and Safe Zone LGBTQIA+ Ally Training. She serves on the College Retention Committee and the ESF Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee. Her role has an emphasis on students but also reaches out to faculty and staff.  Dr. Rivera is also a US Army Veteran and served under Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2003, she was deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. She served as a Military Justice Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC), Legal Assistance NCOIC, and an International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR) Liaison for the Army. Prior to this deployment, she served with the 384th Military Police Battalion, 91st Legal Support Organization, and the 391st Military Police Battalion as a Legal NCOIC and Legal Specialist (Paralegal).


The complete conference schedule will be available in February.



Member: $199
Non-member: $249



To attend the Spark Summit, please click here to register.  



Thank you to the following organizations who have stepped forward to sponsor the 2022 Spark Summit for leaders and shakers.

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Click here for current sponsorship opportunities. Details about opportunities for sponsorship may be discussed with Abby Lane (



For more information, please contact Abby Lane (607-535-4300 |


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