Diversity in Action is a Leader Like Me initiative and is presented in partnership with SummersDirect Conferences & Events.

Our conferences give leaders from under-represented communities a platform to share their stories, struggles, strategies and success with an inclusive audience that needs inspiration and seeks to understand real-life learned experiences. We hope the conference will inspire, motivate and encourage change across various organizations where under-represented groups still don’t feel like they belong. 

We believe that diversity at all levels of organizations is not only good for society, it is good for business and that all individuals – regardless of ability, race, gender, or sexual preference – should be comfortable bringing their whole selves to personal and professional interactions.



Interested in sponsoring? Contact us.

All Times are Listed in Eastern Time (UTC -5:00)

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8:30 – 8:55 a.m.   Welcome and Trade Show Opens  
8:55 – 9:05 a.m.  Priya Bates, Co-Founder, A Leader Like Me Opening Remarks from the Chair
9:05 – 9:50 a.m To be announced

Opening Keynote

9:50 – 10:40 a.m. Simone Roche, CEO & Founder, Northern Power Women

Panel: Leading out Loud

to be announced

10:40 – 11:00 a.m.  NETWORKING BREAK + TRADESHOW  
11:00 – 11:40 a.m.

Anita L Sanchez, PhD Founder and CEO, Sanchez Tennis & Associates, LLC

The Four Sacred Gifts – Indigenous Wisdom for this time

11:40 – 12:20 p.m.

Madiha Jafri, PhD, Senior Scientist (Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity), Lockheed Martin, RMS Moorestown

Overcoming Adversity to Passion

1:10 – 2:00 p.m. Mark Webb & guests

Panel: Beyond my Disability

To be announced

2:20 – 3:00 p.m.

Jade Pichette (they/them), Manager of Programs, Pride at Work Canada

The Importance of Effective Communication – How to Communicate More Effectively and Rethinking Allyship

Allyship is a term often utilized in inclusion and diversity circles however, often identifying as an ally rarely leads to concrete changes in actions. During this session Pride at Work Canada’s Manager of Programs will challenge the idea of allyship and provide new solutions to addressing one’s own privilege, unconscious biases, and lead to real actionable change. Utilizing intersectional examples from gender and sexual minority communities, we will unpack the ally.

3:00 – 3:10 p.m. STRETCH BREAK  
3:10 – 3:50 p.m. Dr. Leeno Karumanchery, Co-Founder & Head of Behavioural Sciences, MESH Diversity

How to build an anti-racist organization where all people can thrive

MESH/diversity empowers professionals with the strategic support, tools, metrics and data needed to drive success across their organizations.

With the present public discourse around racism, many organizations are professing their desire to be actively anti-racist. In this interactive session, you will be introduced to a framework and tools to drive success across your organization and build high performance teams where all your people can thrive:

  • Gain insight into your own leadership style
  • Understand tools that help you develop your people and empower your leaders
  • Drive real inclusive change
3:50 – 4:200 p.m. NETWORKING BREAK + TRADESHOW  
4:20 p.m.  Conference Concludes  



Priya Bates, Co-Founder, A Leader Like Me

Priya Bates is an award-winning professional communicator with a passion for driving strong performance from the inside out. As President and owner of Inner Strength Communication, Priya builds strategic internal communication, engagement, branding and transformational change plans that enable, engage and empower employees to deliver business results. Her clients include organizations and leaders across technology, retail, financial, healthcare, mining and manufacturing sectors looking to build strategic internal communication expertise.

As co-founder for A Leader Like Me, Priya creates an empowered community for women of colour to help them build skills, define strategies, and find support to grow in their careers.

Simone Roche, CEO & Founder, Northern Power Women

Simone Roche MBE has developed a specialist network of impactful women and men and curated a portfolio of campaigns, events and award winning podcasts which reach globally. Simone is proud of her Liverpool roots and lives by paying it forward. Simone is passionate about Liverpool and the North, paying it forward by championing talent and believes in the ‘art of the possible’. Simone was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2018 for services to gender equality and appointed Honorary Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy in June 2020. She has also been recognised on the Yahoo Finance Heroes List 2018, 19, 20 and awarded the IOD NW Chairs award for excellence in 2020. 

Simone has grown Northern Power Women and Northern Power Futures into a community in excess of 60,000 across all sectors, genders and socio-economic groups and in 2020 created the Power Platform to better connect people with opportunities. Founded on the principals of paying it forward, being generous and making a difference the platform helps individuals to expand their network meaningfully and signpost opportunities. A hub of trailblazers, go-getters and role models, the Power Platform will continue to innovate and adapt to ensure impactful positive change. 

Anita L Sanchez, PhD Founder and CEO, Sanchez Tennis & Associates, LLC Anita Sanchez, PhD in Organization Development, Aztec and Latina, trainer, consultant, speaker, and author of the international award-winning book, The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times.  Anita inspires people to discover and trust their gifts so that they become a life-giving connection to all, people and the earth.  For decades, she has provided support to business and non-profit leaders and their teams focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, engagement, strategic planning, culture change, undoing unconscious bias, and applied neurophysiology.  Dr. Sanchez was named Conscious Company Media’s 2020 World-Changing Woman and awarded 2020 Woman of the Hour – #SheismyHero by The World Woman Foundation. 
Madiha Jafri, PhD, Senior Scientist (Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity), Lockheed Martin, RMS Moorestown

Dr. Madiha Jafri received a BSc in Computer Engineering, MSc in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Old Dominion University in 2003, 2004 and 2007, respectively. Fully funded by the NASA headquarters, her accelerated PhD studies became the first pioneering work that used artificial intelligence to predict electromagnetic interference patterns on commercial aircraft.  While pursuing her doctorate, Dr. Jafri also completed post doctoral research in Biomedical Engineering at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center in Hartford, CT in 2007.  There, she studied fMRI data and brain behavior and generated models for classification of Schizophrenia using artificial intelligence. 

Outside of work, Dr. Jafri is a proud mom of two children (9 and 11 yrs old) and a STEM advocate, volunteering, mentoring and giving motivational talks on overcoming adversity and embracing diversity in STEM careers.

Mark Webb, Head of Comms Shift.ms, PR Consultant and D&I campaigner

Mark has held senior roles in PR at Disneyland Paris (as part of the launch team), David Lloyd Leisure, Dixons Retail and Dixons Carphone.

It was during his time at Dixons that he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As his condition progressed, he moved to a part-time role and focused on social media.

He is now Head of Comms for charity and social network Shift.ms and blogs at onemanandhiscatheters.com In his spare time he plays Wheelchair Rugby, badly.

Jade Pichette (they/them), Manager of Programs, Pride at Work Canada

Jade Pichette (they/them) is an inclusion, and diversity professional based in Tkaranto/Toronto. Currently Jade serves as the Manager of Programs at Pride at Work Canada where they work with over 150 large employers across Canada around sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression inclusion. Previously Jade served as the Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at the ArQuives, the Education Programs Coordinator at Kind Space, and they continue to run an independent inclusion and diversity consulting business. They were one of the authors of the Transitioning Employers: A survey of policies and practices for trans inclusive workplaces. Jade is also a Ásatrú Gythia (priestess) of Vindisir Kindred. They have been involved in many interfaith, and anti-discrimination initiatives including being the first  trans-feminine person to present at the Parliament of World Religions in 2018.

Dr. Leeno Karumanchery, Co-Founder & Head of Behavioural Sciences, MESH Diversity

A sociologist, Dr. Leeno Karumanchery is recognized as one of North America’s preeminent Diversity and Inclusion practitioners. Widely published in the field, Leeno is co-author of Removing the Margins (CSP, 2000), Playing the Race Card (Peter Lang, 2004), both critically acclaimed texts in the field of diversity & inclusion. As the Chief Diversity Officer of MESH Diversity, Leeno is focused on supporting organizations interested in bringing Emotional Intelligence and Diversity into the mainstream of their culture and approach. Leeno is sought out as much for his expertise as he is for his style as a communicator and his ability to enable people to reach their potential as effective leaders in their diversifying workplaces and communities.

Leeno combines his extensive experience in training, research and management strategy to help organizational leaders, staff and stakeholders work towards the development of meaningful, pragmatic and profitable D&I plans.

2021 Conference Pricing

  Early Bird Rate
(until February 17, 2021)
Regular Rate
(February 18 – March 23, 2021)
Conference Ticket $99.00 CAD
(approx. $75USD/ £58)
$149.00 CAD
(approx. $115USD/ £87)



Cancellation & Refund Policy

Substitution of delegates is permissible without prior notification. Refunds will be given for cancellations received in writing no later than 15 days prior to the conference date subject to an administration fee of $50 plus $5 for GST. After this time, you are liable for the full registration fee even if you do not attend the conference. If you register during this 15 day period, you are also liable for the full fee. A Leader Like Me & SummersDirect Inc. reserve the right to change program date, meeting place or content without further notice and assumes no liability for these changes.