Rhonda Talford Knight, PhD

Rhonda Talford Knight, PhD uses a business lens, grounded in diversity, inclusion, equity and advocacy to drive systemic change. She is a servant leader who utilizes leading practices and personal relationships to develop diverse teams. Rhonda is also known for her disciplined approach to executing complex tasks to completion.

A trailblazer in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, Rhonda is highly experienced in developing strategic initiatives, implementing aggressive action plans and measuring outcomes. She has assisted organizations in establishing recruitment and retention goals that align with their core values, and she works with leadership teams, boards, human resources personnel, employees and clients to ensure goals are clearly communicated and adopted.

With past experience in corporate banking, Rhonda understands and applies best practices, relevant market trends and human capital research within the service industry. Additionally, for more than two decades, Rhonda has served as the founder and CEO of The Knight Consulting Group, a diversity and inclusion resource to organizations of all sizes and industries.

Rhonda earned her doctorate degree from The Ohio State University. A spokesperson for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, Rhonda is frequently involved in planning and presenting at workshops, conferences and webinars, both nationally and internationally.

Professional & Community Activities

  • Leadership Committee Chair, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., 2016, 2017
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advocacy, Columbus School for Girls
  • Membership & Business Development Committee Member, COMTO, Columbus Chapter
  • Volunteer Consultant, Dress for Success
  • Co-Leader, Troop 1471, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland
  • Audit Committee Member, Treasurer, Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
  • Founding Member, Membership Committee Member, Matriots
  • Cleveland, Ohio, Local Conference Chair, 2016
  • Alumni Council Committee Member, Otterbein University
  • Board Member, Diversity & Programming, The Childhood League Center
  • Grant Reader, Gender by Us ad hoc Advisory, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
  • Campaign Cabinet Committee Member, Key Club Co-Chair, United Way
  • Board Member, Crisis Team Lead Board Member, WITI, Columbus Network
  • Treasurer, Crisis Team Coach, Women’s Small Business Accelerator

Presentations & Published Works

  • Panelist, Diversity Best Practices: Chief Diversity Officer Roundtable, 2020
  • Author, Starting a Deeper Conversation on Racial Identity and Racial Hierarchy, Towers Magazine, 2019
  • Panelist, Multicultural Women’s National Conference Executive Roundtable, 2018
  • Moderator, Making HerStory featuring Lilly Ledbetter, Women’s Fund Statehouse Day, 2018

Bar Admissions & Activities

  • Central Ohio Diversity Consortium
  • Cultural Proficiency Network
  • Diversity Best Practices
  • Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Equity Leaders, Great Lakes Equity Center
  • MBAC Advisory Board
  • Ohio Minority Business Peer Network

Awards & Recognition

  • Otterbein University: Alumni Pacesetter Award, 2019
  • Forbes Coaches Council, 2019
  • The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business, Black MBA: Legends Award, 2019
  • Who’s Who in Black Columbus, 2012, 2018, 2019
  • Otterbein Towers Featured Article, 2000, 2018
  • Women Worth Watching, Diversity Journal, 2018
  • African American Progressive Leadership Academy, 2016
  • National Association for Multicultural Education Agency of the Year, 2014


  • The Ohio State University (Doctor of Philosophy in Social Studies and Global Education)
  • The Ohio State University (Master of Education in Elementary Education)
  • Otterbein University (Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations)