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Diversity & Inclusion Speakers

 

Companies flourish and transform when enlivened through diverse personnel and inclusive environments. In keynotes, these diversity and inclusion speakers show you the practical steps to employing diversity, and how you can implement them in any environment.

28
Diversity & Inclusion
Speakers
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Negin Farsad

Social Justice Comedian, Director of The Muslims Are Coming!

Negin Farsad is at the forefront of social justice comedy—a field that she insists totally exists (or should). A TED Senior Fellow and author of How to Make White People Laugh, Farsad is one of few Iranian-American Muslim female filmmakers to use humor—ridiculous humor—to bridge the racial, religious, social, and immigrant gap. The Wall Street Journal calls her work “smart, funny, and fascinating.”
 
Nikole Hannah-Jones

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Creator of The 1619 Project | New York Times Magazine Staff Writer | MacArthur Genius | Winner of the National Magazine Award

Nikole Hannah-Jones was named a MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow (one of only 24 people chosen, globally) for “reshaping national conversations around education reform” and for her reporting on racial re-segregation in our schools. This is the latest honor in a growing list: she’s won a Peabody, a Polk, and a National Magazine Award for her story on choosing a school for her daughter in a segregated city.
Deepa Purushothaman

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leader | Former Senior Partner at Deloitte | Author of The First, the Few, the Only (forthcoming)

Despite being one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, women of color remain underrepresented—often among the first, few, or only ones in a department or The first Indian-American woman to make partner at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman knows this first-hand. Today, she uses her experience as a senior executive specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion, to provide disruptive solutions for businesses that need to evolve. Her empowering talks, as well as her upcoming book, help us redefine power and profitability in corporate America.
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

Founder of theBoardlist | Former President of StubHub | Author of Choose Possibility (Forthcoming)

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is one of the most well-respected female tech executives in Silicon Valley. She’s served as president of StubHub, helped scale companies like Google and Amazon, and founded theBoardlist: a premium talent marketplace for diverse leaders. But despite her success, her path hasn’t always been linear. In her new book Choose Possibility, Singh Cassidy reveals the poor choices, misfires, and unexpected headwinds she’s encountered along her path—providing a thoughtful new perspective on risk-taking: what it is, what it isn’t, and how to master it to achieve lasting success.
Greg Hoffman

Nike's Former Chief Marketing Officer

Creative and empowering—these are the qualities today’s leaders need to thrive in the post-pandemic future. As the former Chief Marketing Officer at Nike, Greg Hoffman stood at the helm of one of the world’s most innovative companies as they redefined the meaning of brand authenticity. Under his creative leadership, Nike drove themes of equality, sustainability, and empowerment through sport—meaningful work, inspired in part by Hoffman’s role as a leader of the Nike Black Employee network. In timely and engaging talks, Hoffman reveals how we can both cultivate a diverse and creative culture in our organizations, and leave a positive cultural impact on the world around us.

 

Stephanie Mehta

Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company | Former Deputy Editor at Vanity Fair

What makes the world’s most creative people—and companies—tick? The most qualified person to answer the question is Stephanie Mehta. As Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company—the influential magazine championing creativity, innovation, and inclusive workplace cultures for a new generation of business— Mehta is the rare editor who talks to pure creatives and corporate leaders in equal measure. She draws on her decades in business journalism to show us how to transform our organizations, starting with its people.
Ellen Bennett

Founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett | Author of Dream First, Details Later

 At 25 years old, Ellen Bennett was a cook at a 2-Michelin-Star restaurant in LA; yet she was still tying on the same $5 apron found in every diner and pub. So she took her modest $300 savings and turned it into the largest gourmet apron manufacturer in the world. The same go-getter attitude that helped her launch Hedley & Bennett—a multi-million-dollar brand beloved by Martha Stewart and Momofuku’s David Chang—is also what allowed her to rapidly pivot in the wake of the pandemic. In her inspiring, actionable talks, as well as her new book, Bennett reveals what you need to get out of your head and launch into action, even during a crisis.
Heather McGhee

Author of New York Times Bestseller The Sum of Us

What if, in the middle of your live TV appearance, someone called in and asked for advice in overcoming racial prejudice? For public policy expert and speaker Heather C. McGhee, the response was natural—she helped. In the wake of that exchange (viewed more than 8 million times), Starbucks approached her to institute a company-wide anti-bias training program.
 
Radhika Dirks

CEO & Co-Founder of XLabs | Physicist & Entrepreneur

What is the true cost of lack of diversity in AI? It's not just symbolic. Lack of diversity costs companies, it stalls innovation, and it is setting AI and other tech industries back. As a woman leading a cutting-edge AI company, Dr. Radhika Dirks uses her on-the-ground experience to consider how we can address the gender diversity problem and solve some of today's biggest challenges in the process.  
Jelani Cobb

New Yorker Staff Writer | Speaker on Race, History, Politics and Culture in America

Against the backdrop of a pandemic disproportionately killing Black people, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparked a renewed push for racial justice. In his recently released documentary Policing the Police 2020, FRONTLINE correspondent, historian, and New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb examines the enormous complexities of race and policing in America. His talks use a blend of historical knowledge and current events to help us solve structural challenges and create an equitable and inclusive society.
Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Co-Founder of The Sadie Collective | Researcher and Speaker on Diversity and the Future of Work

Economists have been answering questions that shape our world for centuries. Unfortunately, Black women have historically been excluded from the profession, absent among the decision-makers who bear incredible power over the world’s economy. Working hard to address the diversity problem in the field is Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman: the co-founder of the only non-profit organization tackling the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in economics, finance, and policy. In her eye-opening talks, she reveals how empowering Black women is an essential step in creating economic agency for everyone.  
Shivani Siroya

Founder and CEO of Tala

As the Founder and CEO of microfinance company Tala, Shivani Siroya delivers credit to customers with little to no formal borrowing history—helping them start and expand small businesses. The company has disbursed more than one billion dollars to customers in East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, leading Forbes to name it one of the Top 50 FinTech companies in the world. Believing that financial visibility is crucial to living to our full potential, Siroya shows us why radical trust will be the currency of the future—and how we can leverage it to create a financial system that works for everyone.
Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School

Widely known as one of the most influential authorities on racial justice in America, Khalil Gibran Muhammad is redefining our understanding of diversity; with his work featured in the likes of the New York Times’  landmark 1619 Project, and Ava DuVernay’s 13th. As Harvard Kennedy School Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, he explains how “bias education”—race education—can help individuals and institutions reconcile the past within the present, and move towards greater equity, together.
Sarah Kaplan

Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy at Rotman School of Management | Author of The 360° Corporation

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, many companies today are making the “business case”: arguing that gender equality—a social ideal—is also a source of competitive advantage and growth. In her book The 360° Corporation, as well as her work at the Institute for Gender and the Economy, Rotman professor Sarah Kaplan explains why this type of “win-win” logic can become a trap that blocks progress, and what we can do to actually eradicate discrimination and promote diversity in the workplace.
Wajahat Ali

Daily Beast Columnist | Political Commentator | TED Speaker

Wajahat Ali—a New York Times contributing op-ed writer who regularly appears on CNN to discuss politics—is a new kind of public intellectual: young, exuberant, and optimistic. He speaks on the multifaceted American experience, covering our growing need for cultural unity, racial diversity and inclusion. 
Soraya Chemaly

Journalist & Author of Rage Becomes Her | Co-Founder and Director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project

Being human means playing host to a variety of emotions—and it’s not optional. To award-winning author and viral TED speaker Soraya Chemaly, the trick is learning to see them as vital signals, critical to how well our organizations function. Chemaly speaks with crackling lucidity to the wealth of data that our emotions provide us with—at work, at home, and in the world at large.
 
Ashton Applewhite

Anti-Ageism Activist | Author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

Ashton Applewhite is a leading voice in an emerging movement dedicated to dismantling ageism and making age a criterion for diversity. The author of This Chair Rocks, she reveals the untapped possibilities of late life—in our communities, at work, and in ourselves.
Anthony Jack

Assistant Prof. of Ed. at Harvard University | Author of The Privileged Poor

A student from a low-income background attends an elite university on scholarship, and finds themself burdened by that status. Upheaval like this will be addressed when modern institutions revise the policies of subtle, and not-so-subtle, exclusion that harden these divisions between students. In the ongoing dialogue about race, inclusion, and social justice, Jack’s talks provide a firm foundation for that conversation. 
Margot Lee Shetterly

Author of Hidden Figures: the #1 New York Times bestseller, and inspiration for the #1 movie.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures—a #1 NYT bestseller and inspiration for a #1 movie in America—is the true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. In talks, Shetterly celebrates these unsung heroes, teasing out issues of race, gender, science, and innovation against the backdrop of WWII and the Civil Rights Era.
 
Gabby Rivera

Author of Juliet Takes a Breath and the Marvel Comic Series America

Gabby Rivera is an outgoing, outspoken creator invested in fostering better dialogue, inspiring radical creativity, and improving our most vulnerable communities. The author of Juliet Takes a Breath, she’s also the writer of the Marvel series America—featuring the first queer, Latinx teen-girl superheroever.
 
Bill Strickland

An Extraordinary Business and Community Leader

Bill Strickland created an empire by stoking genius in those who believed they had nothing. The Founder and Chairman of Manchester Bidwell—an arts and training center with a $10 million annual budget—Strickland fuels hope, generates jobs, and empowers underprivileged citizens to become experts in any field. With his company tied with Apple for most Harvard Business Review case studies (four), Strickland confidently shows us how to pursue social restoration and profit with a conscience.
 
Susan Pinker

Psychologist and Author of The Village Effect and The Sexual Paradox

Award-winning author and psychologist Susan Pinker examines the endless paradoxes of the human condition, and the way it affects our personal relationships, our workplaces, and our educational institutions. A keen observer of modern life, she applies her data-driven behavioral insights to help us relate to one another, celebrating our differences and diversity.

 

David Kong

Director of MIT Media Lab’s Community Biotechnology Initiative

At the MIT Media Lab, David Kong is a passionate, brilliant exponent of biotechnology: the next major scientific innovation to transform life as we know it. But to start the revolution—and for human creativity to flourish—we need STEM to be inclusive: fusing tech with art, granting all people access to advanced science, and re-visioning what labs, classrooms, and companies look like.  
Minette Norman

Transformative Leadership Consultant | Former VP of Engineering Practice, Autodesk

At Autodesk—a world leader in software tech—the most qualified person to lead 3,500 engineers and transform company culture isn’t yet another male engineer. It’s Minette Norman, a Liberal Arts major and living proof that women are transformative leaders. In talks, she demonstrates how radical empathy and diverse teams can demolish silos and unlock entrenched attitudes—especially in the STEM fields.
 
David Fleischer

Director of Leadership Lab | Community Activist

Prejudice is on the rise. Isn’t it? If so, then speaker David Fleischer is doing the impossible: reducing prejudice by knocking on strangers’ doors and offering them the opportunity to form new opinions. The effect is tangible—real, data-verified change. And he’ll teach you how to make it happen, too.
 
András Tilcsik

Co-Author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It

Due to their incredible complexity, our modern systems—from healthcare to travel, finance to media—are primed for failure. And things are only getting worse. In his National Business Book Award-winning Meltdown, András Tilcsik offers a timely remedy. Not only a convincing diagnosis of why complexity creates failure in systems, it’s a practical guidebook to preventing the next disaster—before it strikes.
 
Erin Meyer

INSEAD Professor | Author of The Culture Map and No Rules Rules

In today’s business world, where teams are spread across the planet and most of our communication takes place virtually, how do we work effectively in the face of cross-cultural complexity? Erin Meyer explains how to dramatically increase business success by understanding—and making the best possible use of—cultural drivers. 
 
Ellen Ochoa

The first Latina in Space | Dir. of NASA Johnson Space Center (2013-2018)

Ellen Ochoa is the first Latina ever to go to space. She’s also only the second female Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center—where she led the human space flight enterprise for the nation from 2013 to 2018. As an in-demand speaker, she touches on resonant issues that have defined her historic career: What can we learn about change, innovation, and the culture of teams from her time at the upper reaches of NASA’s leadership?