Diversity in Action is a Leader Like Me initiative and is presented in partnership with SummersDirect Conferences & Events.
This global online event has some remarkable speakers from across the globe. Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from these industry experts who will share stories, strategies and their own learnings on key topics such as how to build an anti-racist organisation, how to find and listen to stories that are often overlooked and how to look beyond someone’s disability plus much more. This is a great opportunity for leaders who want to learn more about diversity issues and be part of a growing movement towards inclusion.
This 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 and inclusion should be at all levels of the organization and that all individuals – regardless of ability, race, gender, or sexual preference – should be comfortable bringing their whole selves to personal and professional interactions. Studies have shown that this is not only good for society, but also good for business.
If you’re an action taker – come and join us!
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!
Interested in sponsoring? Contact us.
All Times are Listed in Eastern Time (UTC -4:00)
UK time, add 4 hours OR Convert your time zone here
8:30 – 8:55 a.m. Welcome and Trade Show Opens
8:55 – 9:05 a.m. Opening Remarks from the Chair: Priya Bates (she/her), Co-Founder, A Leader Like Me
9:05 – 9:50 a.m Opening Keynote – The Four Sacred Gifts – Indigenous Wisdom for this time
Anita L Sanchez (she/her), PhD Founder and CEO, Sanchez Tennis & Associates, LLC
A recent study and polls report that business is the most trusted institution in the world; 68% expect business to take the lead on fixing societal problems. As leaders, we are called to navigate intense challenges of social and racial inequities, distrust of government & politics, global warming, COVID, economic uncertainty, and more. How can we conduct business in productive, healthy, life-giving relationship with ourselves and others?
In “The Four Sacred Gifts”, Indigenous Elders from around the world share a call to action that asks all of humanity, from the living room to the board room, to remember their connection to all our relations. They tell us that vibrant community and experience of belonging can emerge when we individually and collectively embody four sacred gift.
- Discover how the indigenous world view of All My Relations teaches us about the interconnection of all we do in business and life.
- Learn how the four gifts, the power to forgive the unforgivable, power of unity, gift of healing and the gift of hope in action are essential leadership and life tools.
- Explore what these sacred gifts mean for you in your personal and work life.
9:50 – 10:40 a.m. Panel: Leading from the Top
Simone Roche (she/her), CEO & Founder, Northern Power Women,
Gemma McCall (she/her), CEO CultureShift,
Ben Reynolds (he/him), MD Gallagher
How can leaders build a truly inclusive culture where everyone can belong? Simone Roche will be asking this question to our panel of CEOs who are industry experts in their field. There will be discussions on what works, the challenges they’ve faced and the pitfalls to be aware of plus an opportunity for delegates to ask questions. Come and join the discussion and help take action!
10:40 – 11:00 a.m. NETWORKING BREAK + TRADESHOW
11:00 – 11:40 a.m. Storytelling for Social Change
Adena J. White (she/her), APR, Blackbelt Media LLC
The Blackbelt Voices podcast, recognized recently by “O, The Oprah Magazine” and “Vanity Fair,” strives to uncover the stories lived and the stories told of Black people often erased in narratives and histories of The South. The success of the podcast, and its foundational dream to change minds and attitudes, has been one of the highlights of 2020. Founder and chief storyteller Adena J. White will take us behind the scenes to share her process for uncovering stories for social change.
In this session, you will learn a three-step process for successful storytelling to support your diversity initiatives.
- Discover – How to find and listen to the diverse stories that are often overlooked
- Refine – How to use strategy and planning to use stories to drive actions and beliefs
- Amplify – How to use the right channels to share stories with the audiences who need to hear them
11:40 – 12:20 p.m. Overcoming Adversity to Passion
Madiha Jafri (she/her), PhD, Senior Scientist (Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity), Lockheed Martin, RMS Moorestown
Turning a passion for art into a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering (fully funded by NASA Langley) and a post-doctoral with a focus on electromagnetics and AI now means working as a scientist of Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence at Lockheed Martin. Hear about a journey with challenges matched only by a passion to disrupt the status quo.
- Making dreams into realities
- Bringing an artistic mindset to engineering for the benefit of all
- Identifying allies to support your journey
12:20 – 1:10 p.m. NETWORKING/LUNCH BREAK/TRADESHOW
1:10 – 2:00 p.m. Panel: Beyond my Disability
Mark Webb (him/his), Head of Comms Shift.ms
Jonathan Hassell, CEO/Founder, Hassell Inclusion
Kamna Narain, Internal Communications Advisor
& Shani Dhanda, Disability Specialist
2:00 – 2:20 p.m. NETWORKING BREAK + TRADESHOW
2:20 – 3:00 p.m. The Importance of Effective Communication – How to Communicate More Effectively and Rethinking Allyship
Jade Pichette (they/them), Manager of Programs, Pride at Work Canada
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.
- Rethinking allyship
- Becoming intersectional in our approaches to DEI
- Inclusive communications regarding gender identity and sexual orientation
3:00 – 3:10 p.m. STRETCH BREAK
3:10 – 3:50 p.m. How to build an anti-racist organization where all people can thrive
Dr. Leeno Karumanchery (him/his), Co-Founder & Head of Behavioural Sciences, MESH Diversity
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 – 4:20 p.m. NETWORKING BREAK + TRADESHOW
4:20 p.m. Conference Concludes
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|Priya Bates (she/her), 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.
|Anita L Sanchez (she/her), 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.|
|Simone Roche (she/her), 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.
Gemma McCall (she/her)
Gemma is a proud working mum of 2 and the CEO of Culture Shift, a tech-for-good business which she co-founded in 2018. We exist to lead a positive change in organisational culture and our products empower organisations to tackle harassment and bullying. Early in 2020 Gemma successfully led a £1.3 million fundraise for Culture Shift, and since then has tripled the size of her team.
Ben Reynolds (he/him)
Ben Reynolds leads the specialist employee communication practice at Gallagher, with a 150-strong global team of communications consultants, creatives, data analysts and digital experts.
During a career spanning more than 20 years, Ben’s passion for using internal communication as a platform to transform organisational performance has enabled brands across multiple sectors to engage their employees across a broad agenda including financial wellbeing, employee value proposition and organisational strategy. Shaped by Ben’s leadership and direction, Gallagher is on a mission to change the way people feel about work by elevating all aspects of the employee experience.
Loraine Thomas (she/her)
Director of People & Culture, Stonbury Ltd.
|Loraine Thomas PhD has gained extensive experience in Human Resources having worked in both the private and public sectors for a number of years. Since working for Stonbury, she has transformed this critical area of the business into a vibrant People and Culture team and has overall responsibility for People Services (incl. ER, Talent Acquisition, Reward, Learning and Development) SHEW (Safety, Health, Environment and Wellbeing) and Compliance. She is passionate about taking steps to address the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the water sector. Loraine has recently been named as a finalist in The Water Industry Awards 2021 ‘Woman of the Year’ category.|
|Adena J. White (she/her), APR, Founder, Blackbelt Media LLC||
Adena J. White, APR is an accredited public relations professional with more than a decade of experience leading communications efforts for nonprofits. She founded Blackbelt Media LLC in 2017 to help purpose-driven organizations advance progressive social change throughout the South through strategic communication and storytelling. Blackbelt Media produces the Blackbelt Voices podcast, which propagates the richness of Black Southern culture by telling stories from and about Black folks down South. Since it launched in September 2019, the podcast has been ranked among the Top 100 on Apple Podcasts and has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and Vanity Fair.
A lifelong Southerner, Adena was raised in the small town of Center Ridge, Arkansas, and attended Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and journalism with an emphasis in public relations. She later completed a master’s degree in applied communication studies from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 2013, she achieved her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) through the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She served on the board of directors for the Arkansas Chapter of PRSA for nine years and was elected president of the 100-member chapter in 2019, making history as the first Black person to hold this office.
|Madiha Jafri (she/her), 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 (him/his), 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.
|Shani Dhanda, Disability Specialist||
Shani Dhanda is a multi-award-winning disability specialist and social entrepreneur listed as one of the UK’s most influential disabled people and BBC’s 100 Women 2020 List.
As a keynote speaker and practitioner for inclusion across business, government, non-profit and wider society, Shani helps organisations break barriers and integrate inclusion into their business frameworks.
With her determination for creating everyday equality, Shani founded and leads three disruptive platforms all united by the common purpose of empowering underrepresented communities, Diversability, Asian Woman Festival, and Asian Disability Network
|Jonathan Hassell, CEO/Founder, Hassell Inclusion||
Jonathan is one of the world’s top digital usability & accessibility thought leaders. He has over 18 years’ experience in identifying new directions and challenges in digital accessibility, finding best practice process and technology solutions, authoring international standards and presenting best practices to conference audiences across the world.
He is passionate about digital accessibility and has just delivered the new International accessibility Standard ISO 30071-1, which is based on the British Accessibility Standards BS 8878 that he led in 2010. He leads Hassell Inclusion’s team of accessibility experts providing strategic accessibility transformation services to organisations worldwide.
Kamna Narain, Internal Communications Advisor | Career & Life Transitions Coach
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.
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.
|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 (him/his), 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)
(February 18 – March 23, 2021)
|Conference Ticket||$99.00 CAD
(approx. $75USD/ £58)
(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.