Tonya Cornileus is the vice president, development, inclusion and wellness at ESPN where she serves as an integral member of the Human Resources senior leadership team and regularly acts as an advisor to senior management at ESPN. Dr. Cornileus is responsible for learning and organization development, talent management, diversity & inclusion, and wellness. Dr. Cornileus joined ESPN in November of 2009.
Prior to joining ESPN, Dr. Cornileus served as director, executive development & organizational effectiveness for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. from 2004 to 2009 and vice president, training & organizational development for Aegis Communications Group, Inc. from 1998 to 2004. She began her career as an educator in various school systems from 1985 to 1996.
Dr. Cornileus is involved with several professional and civic organizations. She serves on the Women in Sports and Events (WISE) National Board of Directors, the boards for the T. Howard Foundation, the University of Florida Foundation (Chair for Talent Management and Diversity & Inclusion Committees) and Empower Her Network. Dr. Cornileus is a past board member and officer for the University of Georgia College of Education Board of Visitors and for the Urban League of Greater Hartford.
Dr. Cornileus has been recognized as one of the CableFax’s Most Influential Minorities in Cable every year since 2012, was also named to Diversity Journal’s 2021 Women Worth Watching in Leadership, Savoy Magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America and Pivot Magazine’s 2019 Pivotal Women. Dr. Cornileus was honored with the 2019 Career Achievement Award by the New England Chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications and with the University of Georgia College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement in 2014. Dr. Cornileus was profiled in the fall 2020 edition of the Chief Talent Development Officer Magazine, the March 2013 edition of CLO Magazine and was also named one of the National Diversity Council’s 2012 Most Powerful and Influential Women Leaders in Connecticut.
Dr. Cornileus’ philanthropic endeavors focus primarily on promoting access to education. In 2019, she established the Tonya Harris Cornileus CJC Diversity in Communications Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Florida and is a major donor to the Criterion’s Club Gwendolyn Pinkney Harris Scholarship in honor of her deceased mother. Dr. Cornileus mentors college students through the University of Georgia’s alumni mentor program and young professionals across various companies and industries. She has mentored high school students through the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education’s New Beginnings program, and actively supports several other community service organizations.
Dr. Cornileus is a lifelong learner. She earned her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Human Resources and Organizational Development from the University of Georgia and her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida. Dr. Cornileus received the Senior Certified Professional designation by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP) and the Professional Coaching certification by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC CPC). She is passionate about helping individuals and teams realize their full potential and regularly spends her time speaking, writing and reading on topics of personal and professional development.