Diversity Awareness Partnership

Our Team



Reena Hajat Carroll - DAP - Diversity Awareness Partnership

Reena Hajat Carroll, MSW

Executive Director

rhajat@dapstl.org • 314-246-3141

Prior to working with the Diversity Awareness Partnership, Reena was the Interim Executive Director of the Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls. Reena holds a Masters Degree in social work from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work with an emphasis on social and economic development. Currently, she serves on several boards in the St. Louis community including the Incarnate Word Foundation, Women’s Society of Washington University, Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board, and the ALIVE Magazine Editorial Board. She was also recently appointed by Governor Nixon to the Missouri Community Service Commission.

In addition to her formal board involvement, she serves on a host of task forces and awards committees.  Prior to moving to St. Louis more than ten years ago, she lived in Los Angeles and Chicago where she gained valuable experience working with youth and community organizations. Reena is the recipient of the St. Louis Business Journal’s Inclusive Leader Award, Bank of America’s Local Hero Award and the Brown School of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Additionally, she is a graduate of the CORO Women in Leadership Program and the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiatives Fellows Program.

Nikki McGruder

Nicole (Nikki) Smith-McGruder

Regional Manager, DAP–Columbia

nmcgruder@dapstl.org • 573-817-4354

Prior to joining DAP, Nikki worked with leading recruitment process outsourcing firm, Cielo, in the recruiting and hiring of top candidates for technology, pharmaceutical and finance positions. The bulk of her professional experience has been with Edward Jones Investments where Nikki served in various capacities over a 10 year time frame.

In her time with Edward Jones, Nikki was afforded the opportunity to work closely with the Inclusion initiative serving as a trainer and coach for minority advisors in the firm’s Cross Cultural Development five-day training program as well as with a team of professionals working diligently to improve the inclusion initiative for the recruitment and hiring of minority advisors.

Nikki received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Columbia College in Columbia, MO, and her MBA and Master of Arts in Human Resource Development from Webster University.

Tina Mahtani

Tina Mahtani

Director of Operations

tmahtani@dapstl.org • 314-246-3146

Tina serves as the Director of Operations for Diversity Awareness Partnership. In her role, Tina manages day-to-day organizational operations including financial accounting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, database management, human resource functions, and special fundraising initiatives and annual events.  Tina also oversees the DAP Connect Program.

Prior to working at DAP, Tina worked as a business entrepreneur in the hospitality industry for over fifteen years.  She is currently on the race committee with Girls on the Run.

Kenneth Pruitt(3)

Kenneth Pruitt

Director of Diversity Training

kpruitt@dapstl.org • 314-246-3142

As Director of Diversity Training, Kenneth is responsible for the Diversity Awareness Partnership’s training and consultation for a variety of organizations on topics of diversity and inclusion. Additionally, he oversees DAP’s education efforts via its interfaith work, as well as an assortment of panels, forums, and discussions. After receiving his master’s in education from St. John’s University, Kenneth became a classroom teacher for several years before taking this passion into nonprofit settings. Just previous to his work with DAP, he developed a model for contextualizing the group volunteer experience with education and advocacy on issues of poverty, diversity, and religion.

With the exception of a four-year stint in New York City, Kenneth has spent the last 20 years in St. Louis, having grown up in Nashville, Tennessee. He loves asking hard questions about the intersection of social justice and religion, and can frequently be found jogging a few miles on the sidewalks of South City.


Amber Norris

Diversity Training Manager

anorris@dapstl.org • 314-246-3122

Amber Norris is Diversity Awareness Partnership’s Diversity Training Manager, in which role she trains clients in diversity and inclusion and supports organizations in implementing diversity initiatives.

Early in her career, as a teacher in the Mississippi Delta, Amber developed an unrelenting passion for racial justice and race relations. While in Mississippi, Amber founded Bayou Community Magazine, a nonprofit publication with the mission of connecting community members across socioeconomic and racial lines. A grant writer and nonprofit professional, she led fundraising as Director of Development for CASA of Memphis & Shelby County. In 2013, Amber completed a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon, where she was named the 2013 winner of the Otto A. Davis Award for Commitment to Racial and Social Justice. She has also trained in Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work with the Interaction Institute of Social Change in Boston, MA.

New to St. Louis, Amber already loves the City Museum, Forest Park, and all the region has to offer.

Steve Parks

Steve Parks

Director of Programs

sparks@dapstl.org • 314-246-3143

Steve is responsible for leading DAP’s youth engagement programs such as the Diverse-City Art Competition, EXPLORE Career Immersion Program, and the Give Respect, Get Respect Program. He is also responsible for facilitating and leading diversity and inclusion discussions with youth and adults. Prior to joining DAP in this positon, Steve was the Director of Diversity for Ameren Corporation. He has served on and chaired the board of DAP and currently chairs the board of Cultural Leadership.

Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from Missouri S&T, and his MBA from Fontbonne University. Steve is a Senior Professional in Human Resources and is a graduate of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative and the Consortium for Leadership Development programs.

Alix Johnson

Alix Johnson

Youth Programs Manager

ajohnson@dapstl.org • 314-246-3145

Alix comes to DAP as the Youth Programs Manager with a passion for program facilitation and youth engagement. They most recently worked on the Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Giving team at Express Scripts. During their tenure at Express Scripts they received the HR Pinnacle Award for their contributions to the implementation of the company’s first Employee Resource Groups and development of new charitable giving initiatives.

They received their Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies and Industrial Psychology from Saint Louis University, at which time they were recognized with the Distinguished Graduate Award. In previous roles, Alix facilitated high and low ropes courses and team building programs during a year of AmeriCorps with Outward Bound Atlanta and has led similar programs for Wyman Center and the Girl Scouts.

Alix currently serves as President of the Board at Webster Childcare Center. In their free time Alix likes to sew, play soccer, volunteer with LGBT organizations, and spend time with their family.

Aalia Rahman Graphic Design Consultant

Aalia Rahman

Graphic Designer

aaliarahma@gmail.com • 314-315-7537

Aalia graduated with a degree in Studio art with an emphasis in Painting and Graphic Design from Saint Louis University in May 2014, allowing her to learn new techniques, while switching her form of painting from realism to surrealistic expressionism. Aalia has exhibited her artwork at art shows locally as well as internationally. In 2014, she exhibited her artwork at the All India Contemporary Art Exhibition in India and was published at their local e-zine. Earlier in 2015, she won the Special Recognition Award from Light, Space and Time Online Gallery and the Award of Excellence from Four Points Contemporary. Currently Aalia is a resident artist at MindWorks Gallery at Chesterfield Mall.

Through her digital medium, Aalia has interned at Yellow Brick Creative Studio and in 2015 was chosen as one of five finalists for the international Al Jazeera Community Challenge for her infographic on clinical depression. Aalia currently freelances for clients across the country, primarily in the education, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors.

Besides artwork, Aalia writes poetry, skateboards and reads nonfiction.