Connect in authentic two-way dialogue
DIVE Buddies is a program at Hallmark that gives Employees the opportunity to connect in an authentic, two-way dialogue with other Hallmarkers from different generations, cultures, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, identity-based preferences, and significant life experiences. Come hear from DIVE Buddies participants as they share their experiences with the program, and participate in a Leadership Convention version of DIVE Buddies.
Part I will be an introduction to the program and an opportunity to be paired up with your Leadership Convention DIVE Buddy. In Part II, the participants will be brought back together to discuss their experiences and share what they learned from each other.
Don't miss the opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversation with a fellow convention attendee.
DIVE Buddies: Part I – Introduction
DIVE Buddies: Part II – Panel Discussion
Moderators & Panelists Bios
Speaker & Moderator
DIVE Buddies Part I & II
Rick Sakaguchi is a Sansei whose grandparents immigrated at the turn of the century but were interned in the relocation camps during WWII. Raised in South Bend, Indiana, Rick experienced a melting pot of cultures including: African American, Polish, Italian, Hungarian, German, Vietnamese and Mexican where food and celebration was common ground to exchange heritages. Sakaguchi has a Bachelor’s of Science from Purdue University (Engineering & Technology) and an MBA from the University of Louisville.
Rick and Linda have been married for 39 years and have twin daughters and one son-in-law.
Rick started his career with General Electric and after 13 years, moved to Kansas City to join Hallmark from which he recently retired after 27 years. At Hallmark, he held leadership roles in: Manufacturing, Distribution, Engineering, Procurement, Project Management and of course Diversity & inclusion. Prior certifications include Certified Purchasing Manager and Certified Supply Chain Professional.
Sakaguchi’s interests include indoor/outdoor rock climbing, hiking with Linda, helping his daughters with the joys of home ownership or apartment life, helping mom Yuki who is 96, woodturning, and volunteering with several non-profits.
Rick feels blessed to have had the opportunity to be a founding member of AARCH – Asian American Resource Community at Hallmark where he’s remained active since its inception in 2006. He also feels privileged to have been the DIVE Buddies Program Leader which kicked off in 2016. It was conceptualized and developed by a team of Professional Development Chairs from each of Hallmark’s ERGs. This program connects employees who seek to understand more about people who are different from themselves.
Rick is driven to represent those who may not have a voice or a seat at the table and generally, those who are underrepresented.
DIVE Buddies Part II
Natalie Gonzales has been with Hallmark Cards as an editor for two years now, and in that time has served on the HEART (Hallmark’s Hispanic ERG) steering committee, and is currently on the MERG (Hallmark’s Millennial ERG)’s steering committee. She serves on the Board of Directors for Rebuilding Together Shawnee and spends time volunteering at Growing Futures Early Education Center. Natalie interned with GTM Sportswear, The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, K-State Athletics, and Hallmark during her college career. She was involved in a variety of organizations at Kansas State University; spending a summer volunteering with the The DREAM Project in the Dominican Republic through K-State’s Staley School of Leadership’s International Service Team, welcoming prospective and new students as a volunteer in the Office of Admissions, and serving as a committee member of Public Relations Student Society of America. She was a member and position holder in Pi Beta Phi Fraternity and volunteered with her church outside of school. She is excited about the opportunities her career holds and is loving every minute of figuring out adulthood alongside her two kitties, Luna and Atticus.
DIVE Buddies Part I
Nick Wolf is a Project Management Consultant at Hallmark Cards. After graduating from the University of Kansas with an Economics degree, Nick has spent the last decade in a variety of different arenas, between construction, small business ownership, IT, and project management. Through those shifts, he’s become committed to learning new things and meeting new people.
That commitment led to engagement with the vibrant Diversity & Inclusion community at Hallmark. Finding constant inspiration from the ideas and experiences of the Hallmark community, Nick is a passionate advocate for inclusive cultures, and is currently co-chair of Hallmark’s young professional resource group.
DIVE Buddies Part I
Jenny Copeland is an IT Program Manager at Hallmark Cards where she bridges the gap between IT and the business chartering new project initiatives. With a career path that has bounced between IT and business for ten years, Jenny can “speak both languages” and connect the dots when things get lost in translation. With a passion for process improvement and user experience, she is constantly searching for efficiencies to help her team work faster and smarter.
Jenny believes to think outside the box, you must get rid of the box. Jenny is a diversity & inclusion advocate and a member of multiple employee resource groups. She believes that together we are better; we are stronger. Jenny seeks out new perspectives and connections by exploring the world. A wanderlust at heart, Jenny has visited over 25 countries and started Plan It to Planet, a travel blog, where she writes about her experiences and shares travel tips. She wants to inspire others to learn, connect, and engage with others. She joined Hallmark’s DIVE Buddies program with this passion and purpose.
Jenny holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Kansas State University, and recently completed her Master of Business Administration at Rockhurst University.
DIVE Buddies Part II
Gena Fitzgerald is a global procurement director at Hallmark, responsible for leading the procurement strategies for direct materials, indirect goods and services and procurement operations support. In this role, Gena is focused on excellence in strategic business partnering, evolving the digital capabilities of procurement and driving high value strategies through Hallmark’s extensive supply base. Under her leadership, the procurement division is implementing new SAP Ariba procurement capabilities and has recently completed an organization redesign which includes the development of an innovative buy desk.
Gena has spent her entire career leading and driving results throughout the supply chain at Hallmark Cards. Her experience is diverse, with over 25 years of leadership in 3 disciplines of the supply chain and over 12 different assignments throughout her career, including order distribution, global procurement, inventory management and Lean/continuous improvement.
She currently resides in Liberty, MO, with her husband, Barry, and two daughters, Mikayla and Madisyn.
Diversity Career Fair Sponsors
American Advertising Federation (AAF) - Kansas City • American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Kansas City • The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Kansas City • The Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City • International Relations Council • Kansas City Center for Inclusion • Kansas City Chinese Association •