Conference Session Information
all times are listed in Eastern Standard (+5hrs for BST)
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks from the Chairperson
Advita Patel, Co-Founder, A Leader Like Me
9:10 – 9:50 a.m. Doing Diversity Differently: Becoming an Influencers for Inclusion
Kamna Narain, Internal Communications Advisory | Career & Life Transitions Coach
In today’s workplace and marketplace, companies large and small tout the importance of diversity, inclusion and culture initiatives. Yet, they often only bring in communicators to help “package” the image they are trying to convey, rather than focusing on activities, stories and practical solutions.
If you feel limited to ensuring representation in photos, facilitating translation and cultural competence of collateral and promoting affinity groups and heritage months, this session will inspire you to change it up! Kamna Narain uses her own experience as a woman with a disability to illustrate and demonstrate what inclusion should look and feel like, and what today’s companies are sorely lacking despite adherence to ADA standards.
Kamna offers an aspirational view of how internal communicators can use a more textured approach to diversity & inclusion, resulting in a truly inclusive employee experience that furthers greater employee engagement. She grounds new ideas in her expertise in internal communications but inspires others to think differently based on her own intersectional experience in the business world as a woman of color with a visual disability.
This presentation is ideal for anyone who wants to think differently about D&I and be an influencer at their organization. Come ready to discuss your own experiences, broaden your point of view and walk away with an action plan! While the speaker focuses on internal communications, the shift in perspective can also be applicable to marketing and external communications.
Kamna is an internal communications consultant and coach. She combines her skills and passion in these two areas to offer customized services through her practice, CK Consulting and acts as a thought partner for companies or individuals who want to think differently in order to make transformative changes leading to progress and improvement.
Over the last 20 years, Kamna has worked with a variety of companies including Blue Shield of California, Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, McKesson Corporation, Patelco Credit Union and various start-up companies. Kamna has held communications management roles with McKesson Corporation and Lumetra, a boutique, non-profit agency responsible for multi-million dollar contracts with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
With deep experience in employee communications, Kamna regularly partners with HR, change management and organizational design teams on initiatives ranging from organizational restructuring to leadership development to employee recognition.
She has spearheaded strategic and creative campaigns to introduce new employee policies and technological tools and produced interactive Town Halls and management conferences with a focus on employee engagement.
Kamna also applies her skills as a coach to create and manage employee councils and has developed curriculum for a diversity leadership program. As an individual with a visual disability, Kamna’s most recent focus has been on partnering with Diversity & Inclusion teams to serve the needs of employees from this growing demographic.
As a part of her coaching practice, Kamna works with individuals going through health transitions (permanent or temporary) and guides them on making adjustments to their personal and professional life in order to accommodate their health. Using her own life experience and a coping model she has created, Kamna also facilitates 8-week transition groups – privately and for organizations – called MyLife, MyChoice.
A graduate of U.C. Davis, Kamna is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and served as President of the San Francisco chapter (SF IABC) in 2016. Kamna is also a member of the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce.
Find Kamna on social media as @CoachKamna
9:50 – 10:40 a.m. Panel: Pride & Prejudice
Keith Riley (He/Him)
Kulbir Sandhu, Director, One Love
Nisha Spearman, Head of Communications, Savings United
Moderator: Dev Mistry, Internal Communications, Virgin Media
Hear from each panelist about their experiences. Moderated q&a to follow.
Kulbir Sandhu MCIPR (he / him) is founder and director of One Love www.onelovecommunciations.co.uk we work primarily in the healthcare, medical device and wellbeing space.
He is passionate about mental health and making sure all voices are heard. He volunteers for Sarbat – the charity for LGBTQ Sikh folk and for Taraki which works with Punjabi communities to reshape approaches to mental health. He’s worked in a range of communications and press roles at some of London’s largest hospitals and in the independent sector for The London Clinic
He was, until recently at least, a long suffering Liverpool FC fan. Kulbir lives in Dalston, yet his heart remains firmly up north!
10:40 - 11:00 a.m. Networking & Tradeshow Break
11:00 – 11:40 a.m. The New Language of Racism: How to be Anti-Racist
Sherhara Downing, Founder/Master Trainer, Level Comm
Ever heard of “Unconscious Bias” or “Microaggressions”? In this session you’ll be challenged on your knowledge and ability to identify egregious comments, statements, remarks, judgements and/or sayings that carry sentiments rooted in racism. By being a participant, you’ll also learn how to confidently navigate the sensitive subjects of racism and other ism’s like sexism, heterosexism, ageism etc.
This session enlightens participants in the following objectives:
• Identify commonly expressed microaggressions in the workplace
• Discover personal unconscious bias
• Differentiate Public vs Private Advocacy
• Employ active listening techniques
• Put into practice awareness “triggers”
The slogan for The Aziza Work Group is “We are the Why.” Michelle Watts is the what!
She is the bones and the blood of Public Relations, realizing this long before acquiring a degree in PR at the University of Toledo. Upon matriculating, Watts fleshed out positions at Essence Communications where she worked with the top names in Entertainment and learned the practices of PR, The Mayor’s Office of Communications – City of Cleveland where she acquired fearless mastery of the art & Universal/ Def Jam under the tutelage of Shawn (Jay-Z) Carter where she triumphed in the risk and rewards of the work and established herself as an industry leader. In 2012 the recognition of her talents demanded she open her own Public Relations practice.
The Aziza Work Group launched in Los Angeles with such force that within three years her clients in the world of Comedy alone; included but were not limited to; Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, Lil Rel Howery, Deon Cole (black-ish), HaHa Davis, Chris Redd (SNL) & DeRay Davis. The Aziza Work Group specializes in PR across multiple industries such as; film, fine arts, television, technology, major events, education, sports, law, children’s toys and music. T.A.W.G. is a phenomenon with a roster that rivals any! Their business motto is “it’s all about the work.” Hers is a specific brand of PR rooted in a cultural knowing and a truth told by few but which resonates with all. Watts has been a featured speaker for the premiere organization Ad Color, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences & BPRSLA. Hers is a fearless approach!
When Watts isn’t working, she is pursuing adventure and universal exploration. Michelle currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. As Leland Wigington, Kevin Hart’s business manager always states, “Michelle is the reason so many stars shine.”
11:40 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice.
Rohini Mukherji, VP, Integrated Communications, APEX PR (she/her)
Rohini will share her own experience – strategies, struggles and success to date in terms of finding her footing in this exciting space. The audience will get some hands-on strategies they can add into their own career development arsenal. How can they use their differences from the norm to their advantage? How can they position their strengths in terms of complementing a team vs. “fitting in?”
It’s great that in 2020, there is a heightened consciousness to grow more inclusive workplaces, but Rohini feels strongly that many employers don’t know where to begin. This is where Rohini feels communicators like us have the opportunity to help create the solution that goes far beyond buzzwords and tokenism and reaches deep into facilitating equity. Rohini will also touch on strategies for employers – from boutique agencies to Fortune 500 companies – to consider in their respective operational plans to grow truly equitable places to work. After all, there’s strong business sense in making that happen.
About two weeks into my PR agency career, I knew that I had been reeled in for the long haul. I have been lucky enough to work on both the B2C and B2B sides of the business, across sectors including insurance, banking, air transportation, fitness and food & beverage.
My instinct to nerd out on the industries in which my clients operate has served me well in building integrated programming that is just as successful as it is fun to execute as a team.
Outside the office, you can usually find me planning my next vacation, giving my colleagues dinner recommendations, taking a cooking class, or throwing competitive darts, just for fun. I also chair the Marketing subcommittee of the CPRS Foundation.
12:20 - 12:50 p.m. Snack/Lunch/Dinner Break
12:50 – 1:30 p.m. Go your own way: carving out your own destiny and career path
Matt Batten, Director of Communication & Outreach, Diocese of Llandaff, Church in Wales
When Matt was diagnosed with cancer his career in was put on hold and depression robbed him of his confidence. Matt will share his experience of living with a disability, overcoming cancer and what it takes use difficult times as a stepping stone to landing your dream job. Matt will also share his experience of being a gay senior leader in the church.
Matt joined Diocese of Llandaff in 2019 to lead their digital comms transformation programme. Matt has previously worked in policy and public relations for an equalites charity and has also worked in Organisational Development for a leading nursing organisation. Matt has a degree in Religious Studies and a Masters in Ecumenical Studies.
Matt tweets far too much at @CommsGuyMatt
1:30 – 2:20 p.m. Panel: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Shayoni Lynn, FCIPR CMPRCA, Director and Principal Consultant, Lynn PR
Teela Clayton, Former Educator, and Account Executive, SLBPR
Trudy Lewis, Chart PR, FCIPR Director, Lewis Communicate
Moderator: Priya Bates, Co-Founder A Leader Like Me
Hear from each panelist about their experiences. Moderated q&a to follow.
Shayoni Lynn, FCIPR, CMPRCA, is Director and Principal Consultant at award-winning strategic PR and behavioural insights consultancy, Lynn PR. Shayoni is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Chair of PRCA Cymru. She represents Wales at the UK PR Council where she is leading a workstream on ethics.
Shayoni is a founding member of CIPR’s Behavioural Insights Interest Group, and a committee member for CIPR Education & Skills, and the Government Communication Service (GCS) South West and Wales.
Trudy Lewis is a communication consultant and executive coach with a passion to help business leaders, professionals and their teams become more engaging and impactful through communications.
She has over 18 years’ experience in communications with a focus on strategic internal communications, employee engagement and communications for change programmes. Trudy founded Lewis Communicate in 2014 where she uses a blended approach to improve communications. She has an MA in Communication Management, and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), where she is also a board director and a Chartered PR practitioner.
2:20 - 2:30 p.m. Stretch Break
2:30 – 3:10 p.m. The Science of Navigating through Change
Diana Peltier, Director, DLP Advisors and former Global Head of Internal Communications for Ernst & Young (EY)
With all that is going on in the world today, the only constant seems to be change. As we’ve moved from crisis to crisis, it’s taken a toll. From the uncertainty of COVID, to adjusting to working remotely, navigating the blurred lines between work and home, and absorbing the social unrest and injustice around us, our ability to effectively operate and deliver continues to be impacted.
During this session, we will discuss the foundational elements and neuroscience of change. What it means, how we are affected, what we can expect next, and how we can navigate the journey ahead. Included will be tips and strategies for resiliency that we can use in our work, at home and in that undefined space that sits in between.
Diana Peltier has over 20 years of experience delivering on the people side of change through impactful communications. She has a demonstrated track record of engaging audiences, elevating the purpose and brand of organizations and making a meaningful difference in employees’ work lives. Diana has served in senior communications roles with Fortune 500 companies, non-profits and the Big 4 – including as the Global Head of Communications and Engagement for Ernst & Young (EY). Diana also has extensive change management experience, most recently as a Global Change Management Lead for the world’s largest SAP implementation
3:10 p.m. Closing Remarks from the Chair
3:15 - 4:15 p.m. Networking & Tradeshow Continues...