Speaker and Session Details


concurrent Session


Howard Rodriguez-Mori

Maria "Lunna" Garcia de la Noceda

Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel

Samí Haiman-Marrero


Session Title & Description

"A Multi-Dimensional Conversation on Creating Culturally Intelligent & Inclusive Workspaces for Diverse Employees"

At the foundation of Industrial/Organizational Psychology is the scholar-practitioner model, where robust research and sound application intersect in the workplace. In this 45-minute discussion, attendees will get a 4-for-1 of varied academic and professional perspectives that intersect to deliver tools, tips and techniques on cultural competency, communication and creating inclusive work environments to apply with diverse teams. Urbander speakers are a Foursome Force that include:

  • Dr. Howard Rodriguez-Mori, The Researcher: a leading researcher in multicultural communications, information acquisition and processing

  • Dr. Maria “Lunna” Garcia, The Organizational Management Guru: converging arts and creativity research for application to create more innovative and productive workplaces

  • Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel, MBA, The Work Passion PhD Student: business application of research on the antecedents, appraisal process and outcomes of employee work passion

  • Sami Haiman-Marrero, The Practitioner: a national expert on Diversity & Inclusion as well as multicultural marketing and business strategies for organizations in the nonprofit, corporate and governmental sectors

Attendees will get an interactive experience that blends their collective knowledge on cultural competency, information processing, arts and creativity, and work passion application. This discussion is ideal for audiences new to OD as well as seasoned professionals that want a fresh perspective on current OD topics.


Speaker Bios

Howard Rodriguez-Mori, PhD

The Researcher


Maria “Lunna” Garcia de la Noceda

The Organizational Management Guru


Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel, MBA

The Work Passion PhD Student

Samí Haiman-Marrero,

The Practitioner

College of Communication and Information, Florida State University; Urbander

Dr. Rodríguez-Mori has a Ph.D. in Information Studies, a Master’s in Library and Information Science, and another Master’s in Multicultural Communication. His dissertation (2009) explored the information-seeking behaviors of Puerto Ricans who relocated to Central Florida, and he recently conducted a longitudinal study of the role and influence of libraries, government agencies, religious, and nonprofit organizations on Latino and Puerto Rican newcomers in Central Florida. He has also been collaborating with SOS by Urbander since July 2018, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data collected through the SOS’ Talleres de Bienvenida (“Welcome Workshops) for Spanish-speaking recent arrivals, which he incorporated into his research. His current research explores Latino urban poverty in Central Florida to develop community-oriented intervention strategies and to break the cycle of persistent poverty among Latinos.

María “Lunna” García de la Noceda has a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management. With more than 15 years of management experience in diverse industries, including media, government, tourism, and pharmaceutical, she held various roles: the Director of the Arts, Culture, and Tourism Department with the Capital City of San Juan, Puerto Rico where she created important events such as the first San Juan Book and Arts Fair, Mayor’s Cup to the best typical Troubadour, Open-air band concerts, Fine Arts for the community, Jazz concerts, and others. She also organized massive activities such as the “Fiestas de San Sebastián”, “Campechada”, “SOFO Culinary Fest” and “Ferinart” and created and produced the “Alejandro Tapia y Rivera” awards.  Also, María Lunna was recruited by the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan to create the curriculum for the Events Production introductory class, and currently, she is an Adjunct Profession at Liberty University, School of Business in Lynchburg, VA.

Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel has over twenty (20) years of experience in Business and Hospital Administration. She entered the healthcare field as the Director, Purchasing and Inventory Control at the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Throughout her tenure, she demonstrated sound leadership earning her numerous Executive Management positions such as Vice President (VP) of Materials Management, VP of Strategic Planning & Marketing, Chief of Communications and Community Connectivity, to name a few. In 2013, she was recruited by her former CEO to work in Minnesota, and after a short stint in the academic setting, returned to healthcare where she discovered her passion for coaching and leveraging the strengths of each team member to create thriving workplace environments. As such, she earned her Life Coach Practitioner and Mastery Level Certifications with Learning Journey International School of Coaching. In 2017, Xaulanda moved to Orlando, Florida where she is currently the Senior Consultant for Urbander and pursuing a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Samí Haiman-Marrero  is the President/CEO of Urbander, a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) solution-based agency that assists the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors overcome their Diversity & Inclusion challenges. Samí earned a Master’s in Communications from the University of Puerto Rico, and has been interviewed by international, national and regional media such as The Wall Street Journal, El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), Huffington Post, MSNBC, Florida Trend magazine, NBCnews.com, and others regarding the Latino experience in the U.S.  Named one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in Central Florida in 2016 by VISION Magazine, she has served on several prestigious boards including Visit Orlando, the University of Central Florida’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) Community Engagement Council, among others. She’s currently a board member of United Arts and was appointed by Orange County Commissioner Maribel Cordero to Orange County’s Arts and Culture Council volunteering as Chair of the Sustainability Committee. Since 2014, Samí has facilitated the Talleres de Bienvenida or “Welcome Workshops”, a free admission program she co-founded to help recent arrivals from Puerto Rico and Spanish-speaking countries better navigate their new lives in Central Florida and integrate into the U.S. workforce without abandoning their cultural values.



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