Racial Equity and Engagement Taskforce

The Mission of the PAR Racial Equity and Engagement Taskforce is to advocate for equitable pay, career and leadership opportunities, and statewide policy changes for historically marginalized and disenfranchised racial groups.

Betty Boyd, Chair

Vice President for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Division
[email protected]

Betty has been employed by Merakey for 32 years and has held various positions to include Director of Training and Staff Development, Director of Residential Services, Director of Transitional Services for newly acquired companies and now Vice President for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Division in Philadelphia, Chester and Delaware Counties.  In addition, she serves on various corporate committees to include the Merakey Diversity and Inclusion Council as well as the Transitional Services Core Team. Betty developed the first Consumer Advisory Group (CAG) in 1993, leading the way for others to formulate similar Advisory Boards. The Philadelphia CAG is still in existence today. She also developed a Life Enrichment Training series to assist staff in developing skills and finding resources to make their lives more meaningful and rewarding.

Betty is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, completing her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She has also completed master’s level study in Holistic Health and Spiritual Care with the desire to work with individuals seeking to bring unity to the body, mind, and soul. To that end, she launched a new business in the Spring of 2017, Infinite Wisdom Healing and Wellness Center, to promote health and wellness in all aspects of people’s lives. She uses these principles in her everyday interactions with individuals and staff.

In addition to her work at Merakey, Betty has been a volunteer big sister in the Big Brother Big Sister organization since 2010. As a former disc jockey and sound technician, she enjoys all genres of music and serves on the audio/visual team at The Center of Peace where she worships.  She and her spouse enjoy family gatherings, traveling and are avid cyclist. 

Melissa Richards, Chair

Chief Human Resources Officer 
[email protected]

Melissa B Richards currently serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Verland, a $35-million-dollar service provider. Verland serves 94 Intermediate Care Facility and another 140 residents in 43 group homes in southwestern PA. She joined Verland in January of 2020. Prior to joining Verland, she served as a Director and VP of Human Resources in the gaming industry for over 10 years and have been in the field of human resources for over 20 years. Melissa has served on several community based boards in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and Michigan. She is experienced in human resource management & strategic alignment, talent acquisition, learning and development, leadership development, organizational culture and engagement, benefit administration, employment law, and union labor relations. Melissa is a Pittsburgh native that boomeranged back to the area in 2017, and is a graduate of Penn State University.