Employer Advisory Board

VCU Career Services is seeking to enhance our partnerships through discussion and collaboration. Our goals are to enhance relationships among employers, Career Services and the university; to provide information to strengthen employer brand recognition efforts; and to solicit feedback for the effective delivery of career services to employers and students.

Topics may include:

  • Best practices regarding employer engagement and recruitment processes.
  • Guidance on the skill sets and employability factors students must possess to be successful in the workplace.
  • Current economic and business trends and how they relate to the recruitment process.
  • Experiential learning opportunities and programs.
  • Employer needs and perspectives and how a university can best meet these.
  • How to best prepare students to succeed during their internship and job search, plus expectations for success once they are hired.
  • Generating new ideas.

If you would like to learn more about the advisory board structure and benefits, please read through the Employer Advisory Board Outline. For questions about advisory board participation, please contact our employer relations and experiential development team at hirevcurams@vcu.edu.

2021-2022 board

Jimez Ashby Jr.
DiversifyEd Consulting, LLC

Jimez Ashby Jr. is a Partner & Consultant with DiversifyEd Consulting, LLC - a consulting firm that provides Human Capital (HR), Organizational Strategy & Development, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consulting and training services. Although a young professional, has 6 years of highly-progressive Human Resource and Diversity experience across multiple industries, in the private and federal sector, and covering everything from Full-Cycle Recruitment to Talent Development and Workforce Strategy & Development.

In addition to his Entrepreneurial aspect of life, Jimez still works corporately, serving as the Program Advisor, Diversity & Inclusion for the US Dept. of Defense – National Guard Bureau. He completed his studies of Learning & Development at George Mason University in May 2017 and shorty after relocated to Richmond.

Deanna Goldstein
Commonwealth of Virginia

Deanna Goldstein serves as the Workforce Development Director with the Department of Human Resource Management for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She supports workforce development by leading, promoting, and embedding a culture of continuous workplace learning, advancement, and growth supportive of individual, team, and organizational development. The Workforce Development team’s goal is to holistically support workforce development through the delivery of learning infrastructure, development programs, and key resources and learning content for Commonwealth of Virginia state government agencies.

Deanna’s experience includes Human Resources roles in various private sector organizations in financial services, insurance services, manufacturing, and the semiconductor industry. Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Management Science and a Master’s degree in Human Resources, formal coach training, and she is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Sumi Lanneau

Sumi Lanneau is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with an undergraduate degree in Information Systems and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Human Resource Management. After several years in the professional workforce, she pursued her Master in Human Resource Management from the University of Richmond. 

As her career moved forward, Sumi earned the Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) designation from Human Capital Institute, Strategic HR Business Partner (sHRBP) from Human Capital Institute and the SHRM Certified Professional designation (SHRM-CP) through SHRM. She has progressed through her career in a variety of roles marrying her IT and HR knowledge together.

Sumi's current role is with Altria as a Sr. Manager, Workforce Planning, leading the strategy for enterprise workforce planning. She has worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia (DHRM, VDOT, DHR, SCHEV, DEQ), Dominion, Federal Reserve Bank in a variety of roles ranging from analyst to director levels. Sumi married her college sweetheart and is the proud mother of two sons. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Suzanne Nicar
Dominion Care

Suzanne is the Talent Acquisition Manager for Dominion Care. She previously worked for a property management company and fell in love with recruiting in 2017. Suzanne is passionate about providing a positive candidate experience and helping hiring managers find their perfect hire. When she’s not recruiting, she loves spending time with her family, cooking, practicing yoga and absolutely adores musical theater.

Suzanne joined Dominion Care in May 2021 and was born and raised in Virginia.

Liz Reilly Brown
Liz Reilly-Brown
The Valentine

As the Director of Education and Engagement at the Valentine, Liz Reilly-Brown oversees educational programming and visitor experience for Richmond’s city history museum, designing and implementing visitor experiences that engage audiences of all ages in discovering Richmond’s diverse and complex history. Prior to joining Valentine, Liz was the Director of Programs and Communications at Church Street School, a non-profit community arts and music school in New York City. Liz holds a Master of Arts degree in Art History and Museum Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Florida.

Rachel Rodney
Rachel Rodney

Rachel Rodney (B.S. ’11) is currently the Program Manager for Leadership and Engagement at ChamberRVA, where she manages all programs and initiatives for the retention of young talent and leadership development in the Richmond region.

Prior to her role at ChamberRVA, Rachel served in various capacities in college student affairs across the country, most recently as an Assistant Director of Career Services at the University of Richmond. In her role at the Chamber, Rachel gets to combine her love of Richmond, talent and leadership development, and placemaking, in pursuit of making RVA a better place for all to live and work. 

Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master of Education in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Aaron Varella
Dominion Energy

Aaron Varella is currently the Lead Recruiter for Dominion Energy's Gas Distribution and Transmission business unit where he recruits diverse talent to the organization. He is a proud VCU alumnus, graduating in May 2019 with a B.S in Marketing and a minor in Human Resources. 

He currently serves as the youngest member of the VCU Alumni Board of Governors and also serves on the VCU Alumni Recent Grad Council. At the start of 2020, Aaron created Cove of Advice, an Instagram page where he aims to connect college students and young adults to growth opportunities while sharing lessons he's learned on his own path to growth. He answers questions related to life and career and has collaborated with teachers, business professionals and notable names like entrepreneur and Shark Daymond John. In 2020, Aaron was named to Richmond Inno’s Under 25 List honoring the area's most promising and notable entrepreneur and technologists who are 25 and under. 

Alongside his Bachelors from VCU, Aaron holds an Associate Professional Human Resource Certification(aPHR) and Certified ScrumMaster(CSM).

Kelsey Weissgold

Kelsey is currently the Process and Performance Manager for Global Early Professional Hiring at IBM, helping to bring improvements and standardization to IBM’s Intern and Early Professional hiring programs and strategies worldwide. Kelsey has been at IBM for about 4 years and has worn several different “Talent Acquisition” hats, including both Operations Manager for Early Professional Hiring in North America and University Relations Program Manager responsible for identifying and recruiting College/University talent into IBM.

Prior to her start at IBM, Kelsey began her career as a Federal Strategy and Operations Consultant at Deloitte and segued into Talent Acquisition as a University Recruiter at Grant Thornton. Kelsey is an active member of the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), having served on several committees and presented at two national conferences.

Kelsey graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in Marketing and Art/Art History. When not at work, Kelsey enjoys relaxing with a good book or exploring the Richmond, VA food scene. 

William Zak
William Zak
Pharmaceutical Product Development

William Zak is an Associate Group Leader for PPD (Pharmaceutical Product Development). He thrives in an environment that is challenging and enjoys providing support to those in need. He works in the Vaccine Sciences Department where he manages project deliverables in coordination with several other groups in order to meet client deadlines. He finds the most rewarding accomplishments through being a resource to and through teaching others. In his spare time, Will likes to spend time with his two Pembroke corgis and family, and enjoys playing video games.