Leading Inclusively: Transformative Change Across the Globe,  Session Panel

Building Inclusivity from the Ground Up

Thursday, October 13 | 2:00pm - 3:15pm

Global solutions require local action. For leadership to be effective, it takes leaders who have the courage to tackle issues seen in their own community. Gabrielle Claiborne, Soumaya Khalifa, and Dr. Gulshan Harjee will share their inspiring stories and enable attendees to connect with the initiatives spearheaded by these leaders.

Moderated by Dr. Heather Scott

Heather Scott, Ph.D. is the Assistant Dean for Inclusive Leadership Curriculum and Co-Curriculum, SUMMIT at Agnes Scott College. She has been awarded numerous fellowships to advance research in the areas of inclusive excellence and leadership and has been named as Associate Faculty for Kennesaw State’s Center for Africana Studies, a SUMMIT Fellow at Agnes Scott College, and a Division of Inclusive Excellence and Diversity Faculty Fellow at Kennesaw State University.

Heather holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education Administration from Mercer University, a Master of Education Degree in College Student Affairs Administration from The University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre from Agnes Scott College.

Dr. Heather Scott

Seeking to elevate the voices of historically underrepresented women leaders Dr. Scott has developed courses that explore and center stories of leadership from women leaders. She has also developed and led global immersion experiences to a diverse array of global locales including Ghana, West Africa, the Tuscan region of Italy, and the Gullah-Geechee community in the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Most recently Dr. Scott served as Co-PI for a grant that seeks to diversify the population of students who participate in global education experiences. In addition to authoring numerous articles and book chapters on leadership she is a sought-after leadership development facilitator who has led multiple leadership workshops on topics such as authentic leadership for BIPOC women and inclusive leadership. 

Dr. Scott lives by the tenant of leadership is service and is extensively involved in her community as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated (Douglas-Carroll-Paulding Alumnae Chapter), The Association of Junior Leagues International Incorporated (Douglas County), and Girl Scout Co-Troop Leader (Troop 6647). She is also a member of the Agnes Scott College Alumnae Executive Board. Heather is the proud mother to two beautiful and brilliant daughters, whom she delights in raising with her loving husband. They reside in metro Atlanta, Georgia along with their curious yet endearing Yorkshire Terrier. 

To learn more about Dr. Scott please visit her LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-heather-scott-b78843b2/

Photo of Gabrielle Claiborne

Gabrielle Claiborne is Co-founder and CEO of Transformation Journeys Worldwide,  an inclusion training and consulting firm with a transgender focus. She travels  extensively, helping cutting-edge organizations position themselves to attract and  retain the best talent, foster collaborative working environments, thus maximizing  innovation and directly impacting the bottom line by creating fully trans-inclusive  cultures. Some of her clients include Home Depot, Sun Life Financial, Royal Bank of  Canada, Comcast, Mercedes Benz, UPS, Kaiser Permanente, Cox Media,  WarnerMedia, AARP, New York City Pride, the Atlanta Hawks, IGLTA and the  Centers for Disease Control, among others.  

As an out and active transwoman since 2010, Gabrielle served on the  Executive Board of Atlanta Pride for 5 years, and currently serves as Co Chair of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s Trans & Gender  Expansive (TGX) Initiative, as Co-Chair of the Trans Affairs Committee  on the City of Atlanta’s LGBTQ Mayoral Advisory Council, as Secretary of the Out Georgia Business Alliance, as chair of Out Georgia Business Alliance’s  TGX360 Workplace and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and as a member of the  International LGBTQ+ Travel Association’s (IGLTA). 

In 2022, she received the Georgia  Diversity Council’s LGBTQ Leadership Award and in 2020, she published her memoir  meets self-help book Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity. In 2019, the Atlanta business Chronicle acknowledged her as their Diversity & Inclusion “Outstanding Voice” Award recipient, and she delivered a TEDx talk for Centennial  Park Women TEDx. In 2018, Gabrielle received the Georgia Small Business  Administration’s LGBT Small Business Champion Award in recognition of her efforts  in advancing LGBT business ownership. In 2015, Gabrielle was chosen as Atlanta’s  Best Trans Activist, and her work was featured in Forbes in 2018 and the Atlanta  Business Chronicle in 2017.  

Logo for Transformation Journeys Worldwide logo: Transgender-Focused Inclusion Training in Purple and gold text

Transformation Journeys Worldwide was honored to be chosen as the Out Georgia  Business Alliance 2018 Small Business of the Year, and to receive the Atlanta  Hawk’s prestigious 2019 True Comes in All Colors award for their cutting-edge  inclusion work.


Soumaya Khalifa, is the founder and executive director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta (ISB), one of the most distinguished community-building organizations in the area.  Soumaya is a frequently requested speaker, both as a consultant and ISB representative, and has a significant social and traditional media presence.  In addition to her work with the ISB, Soumaya is the President & CEO of Khalifa Consulting, is a highly-regarded coach, trainer and consultant, specializing in intercultural communications, diversity, equity and inclusion, and leadership development. 

In her role with ISB,  Soumaya connects American Muslim communities with a wide range of civic and faith-based groups, bringing Muslim voices to places where they have not been before. The ISB sends trained speakers to civic groups, churches and synagogues, law enforcement agencies, and schools, providing opportunities to learn about Islam and Muslims objectively through dialogue, outreach programs, presentations, and panels. 

Through her consulting firm, Soumaya provides corporate, non-profit, and governmental institutions with wide-ranging expertise and practical solutions to cross-cultural operations.  Using resources she developed to examine the impact of religious diversity in the workplace and the marketplace, Soumaya has seen her clients and their employees improve their work environments and increase productivity.

Prior to founding the ISB and launching her consulting practice, Soumaya had an exemplary career in Human Resources at Georgia Pacific.  While there,  Soumaya saw – and felt – the challenges faced by religious and ethnic minorities in the workplace and addressed those challenges by designing and implementing company-wide initiatives.  As a committed believer in “building bridges of understanding,” Soumaya is involved in a myriad of community activities, including sitting on the boards of  the Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center, Georgia 3R’s Advisory Council and  the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Since 2009, Soumaya has been an adjunct faculty member at Emory University’s Center for Continuing Education, offering courses on intercultural communication and Human Resources Certification. She has published numerous articles, reviews and blogposts on managing cultural differences, including contributing a chapter to Religious Diversity at Work (2016).  Along with her consulting, teaching and writing, she is the executive director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta.

Her work has brought her much recognition and too many significant honors to list here. Most recently, Soumaya received the 2021 Honorable Mention Power the Future award from The Forum on Workplace Inclusion.  She is a 2019 YWCA Woman of Achievement, was honored in Atlanta Magazine’s 2019 Women Making a Mark, and was presented with the prestigious Phoenix Award by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in 2017.

Dr. Gulshan Harjee a granddaughter of Indian Immigrants, was born in Tanzania and educated in Pakistan, Iran, and at Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. She built a thriving medical practice in Decatur, Georgia, and was recognized as Atlanta’s Top Doctor. While she co-founded the Clarkston Community Health Center (CCHC) in 2013, she made the decision in late 2016 to sell her practice in order to devote herself fully to treating patients at the CCHC. 

Throughout her life, she can recall person after person taking big risks on her, educationally and professionally, and she sees the Clarkston Community Health Center as being her statement of thanks to those who have enabled her to become who she is today.

Having been raised, herself, in a medically underserved African village of 500, she views her work with immigrants, refugees, and the marginalized as her opportunity and privilege to give back. Dr Harjee values her experiences of enduring war, religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, dodging near death and health crises during political turmoil in Iran, and finally the loss of her spouse to gun violence, all of which have made her a courageous spirit in the face of insurmountable losses and immense suffering. 

Dr. Harjee has leveraged her vast professional and community service network to establish strong collaborative partnerships with Emory University, Mercer University, Clayton State University and University of North Georgia, Emory University Healthcare, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University School of Medicine, Emory University 

School of Nursing, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and Institute for Healthcare Improvement. CCHC receives most of its staffing as in-kind support through volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, orthodontists, dentists, dental hygienists, phlebotomists, medical students, nursing and nurse practitioner students, and undergraduate and graduate students from non-medical disciplines. CCHC estimates that the total value of in-kind staffing support for all services is approximately $3 million, annually. Medical services provided include health screenings, preventive and primary care, women’s healthcare, mental wellness, vision, and dental healthcare, free laboratory diagnostics, and dispensing of prescription medicines. APPNA Georgia has supported their in-house pharmacy since its inception. 

Currently, Dr. Harjee devotes the majority of her time to CCHC. She used a portion of the proceeds of the sale of her medical practice to establish scholarship funds at Morehouse School of Medicine and for college-bound high school seniors. She also serves on the board of the Georgia Coalition for Breast Cancer (she is a 12-year cancer survivor). Her list of accolades is long. She chaired the first Cancer Summit for Asian Americans, served on the board of DeKalb Regional Health System( now Emory Decatur) for eighteen years, is a member of UNICEF Southeast Regional Board previously serving the Rialto Board and Health South Blood Banks. 

The following are only a few awards and recognitions for which Dr. Harjee has been nominated or received: 

  • Atlanta Global Philanthropy – Humanitarian Award 
  • Development in Literacy – Humanitarian Award 
  • Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting – Humanitarian Award
  • Medical Association of Georgia – Humanitarian Award 
  • Helping Hands Humanitarian Award 
  • Inspiring Hero – Global Village School Project 
  • The Georgia State Capitol Honored Dr Harjee Doctor of the day a total of six times 
  • Humanitarian Award Morehouse School of medicine Alumni Award 
  • DeKalb Medical Society Outstanding Achievement Award 
  • RAKSHA Community Service Award 
  • Outstanding Georgia Citizen of the Year, 2012 presented by congressman Keith Ellison
  • Georgia Trend Magazine 2011 Power Woman 
  • Indian Professional Network Community Service Award 
  • Be The Match and National Marrow Donor Program Hero Award 
  • Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Humanitarian Award 
  • APPNA Humanitarian Award 
  • Friend of Freedom Award, New American Pathways 
  • ISB ( Islamic Speakers Bureau) among 100 most influential Muslims of Georgia 
  • Point of Light Award established by President George W Bush Oct 2018 
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic 
  • Community Service Award, Emory Alumni Association 
  • L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Oct 2020 
  • Named 500 most Powerful Leaders in Atlanta Jan 2021 
  • Nikki Randall Yellow Rose Servant Leader March 2021 
  • A Resolution passed to the State Capitol of Georgia to Honor Dr Harjee 
  • Women Making a Mark in Georgia May 2021 
  • Nathaniel Mosby Humanitarian Award – 2022 
  • Atlanta Magazine Atlanta500 2022 
  • 2022 Community Impact Award – Emory Alumni Awards 
  • Pakistani American Friends of Atlanta – Woman of Substance Award 2022