61 Thought Leaders & Innovators in DEI to Follow
Who are the thought leaders currently pushing forward diversity and inclusion strategies, recruiting practices, and awareness around equitable solutions? Who’s getting in the trenches in different industries and building new ways to do business better? Who’s at the forefront of lifting up underrepresented communities and voices to showcase their offerings to the world?
Here they are. Get to know them and what they’re up to below.
Aiko Bethea is a seasoned executive coach helping organizations and leaders build diversity, equity, and inclusion frameworks. Bethea also supports individuals in underrepresented groups in organizations through her company RARE Coaching & Consulting.
Akilah Cadet runs Change Cadet to train companies and individuals to be “soldiers of change” in the workplace and to provide resources to support DEI initiatives, especially for women and people of color.
Arlan Hamilton runs Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm seeking to bridge funding gaps in tech industries by backing people of color, women, and LGBT founders. She’s also backed funds dedicated to black women founders.
Aubrey Blanche is a trusted advisor in the area of analyzing systems and structures that create imbalance, and redesigning them to provide more equitable workplace cultures. Blanche is currently the Director of Equitable Design & Impact at Culture Amp.
Named one of the “Top 40 Women in Tech Worth Following,” Avery Francis is a talent strategist focused on connecting start-ups with top hires, and helps them design equitable approaches for recruiting that focus on creating diverse teams.
Barb McAllister Whye
As Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Intel Corporation, Barb McAllister Whye has over twenty-five years of experience developing strategies for diversity and inclusion practices across the company, as well as initiatives for social impact.
The first Vice President of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion at New York Public Radio, Brenda Williams-Butts is responsible for bringing in new talent to the station, and has built relationships and new audiences all over New York City.
Byron L. Williams
Dedicated to staff development, strategy, and hands-on management, Byron L. Williams spent five years with the Peace Corp as their Diversity Outreach Specialist, designing national programs for underrepresented communities.
Considered one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Candice Morgan oversees strategies for investing capital in more diverse start-up founders as the Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Google Ventures.
Serving as the Chief Diversity Office at Workday, a cloud solutions provider, Carin Taylor has a long history in tech building strategies for diversity and inclusion initiatives, creating sponsorship programs for up-and-coming leaders, and diversity recruitment.
As Chief Inclusion Office at BCW Global, a communications agency, Carol Watson focuses on increasing diversity and inclusion awareness in order to transform marketing, advertising, and branding initiatives.
In her extensive career at Bank of America, where she is now the Chief Diversity and Inclusion and Talent Acquisition Officer, Cynthia Bowman creates strategies across the bank’s business units, ensuring that initiatives stay at the forefront of management decisions.
Cynthia Owyoung focuses on the impact of diversity, inclusion, and equity in her role as the Vice President of Inclusion, Culture, and Change at Charles Schwab. She is also a board member at AbilityPath, which provides programming for disabled individuals.
As the Chief Diversity Officer at creative agency TBWA, Doug Melville works to implement diversity and inclusion programming and practices across their North American office, as well as across the workforce and supply chain.
Dr. Freada Kapor Klein
Freada Kapor Klein is one of the founding partners of Kapor Capital, who seeks to back founders of color, those from underrepresented communities, and those from low income areas. She also founded the first organization to combat sexual harassment in 1976.
Dr. Sarah Saska
Dr. Sarah Saska is the co-founder and CEO of Feminuity, a company that helps workplaces implement equitable solutions and build diverse teams. Saska has also landed on Culture Amp’s list of “Diversity and Inclusion Leaders You Should Know.”
Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor at Fortune Magazine, has a long history of covering topics of race, inclusion, and diversity in her journalism career, and writes the daily award-winning newsletter “RaceAhead.”
As the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Cartier North America, Erica Lovett seeks to grow individuals and brands in their diversity efforts. Previous to Cartier, she was the Director of Inclusion and Diversity at Condé Nast.
Francisco Estrada creates diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and priorities in the world of sports and media, where he’s currently the Senior Manager of Talent Sourcing at Nike, focusing on executive-level searches for the corporate office.
With over two decades at IT services company TEKsystems, Franklin Reed is now the Director of Inclusion and Diversity, focusing on diverse recruiting practices, training programs and curriculum, and compiling inclusion and diversity scorecards.
Gabrielle Lyse Brown
Formerly the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the New York City Bar Association, Gabrielle Lyse Brown now heads Diversity and Inclusion at Morgan Stanley, where she implements strategies across finance, investment, and operations business units.
Iris Bohnet is the academic dean at Harvard Kennedy School and a behavioral economist whose research addresses ways to make workplaces fairer and more unbiased. Her book What Works: Gender Equality by Design provides best practices to de-bias workplaces.
Jay Bendett is the co-founder of DEI at Argo Collective, a consulting group that uses theories, frameworks, and data to help companies initiate change around inclusion, as well as the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Strategist at marketing agency Interpublic Group.
Speaker and trainer Joe Gerstandt seeks to help companies understand what diversity and inclusion is, and why it’s crucial for growth into the future. He’s published in HR Executive, The Diversity Factor, The American Diversity Report, and more.
Joelle Emerson is the founder and CEO of Paradigm, a firm that helps tech startups strategize data-driven diversity and inclusion initiatives, and before Paradigm, she served as a women’s rights employment lawyer.
With a career in media companies Scripps Networks and Discovery, Inc., Johnnie Pope is a recruiting specialist focusing on early career coaching within universities, and is enthusiastic about connecting the right people to the right organizations.
A self-proclaimed change agent and disrupter, and with a solid background in diversity and recruiting roles, Juliette Austin helps organizations understand and appreciate the value of differences in the workplace.
Karima-Catherine Goundiam is an entrepreneur who works to build relationships and create collaboration. She’s the CEO of Red Dot Digital, a strategy firm, and the founder of B2BeeMatch, a business match-making platform.
An early-stage angel investor, Katelin Holloway seeks to help founders create their inclusion strategies and build diverse teams. Holloway also hosts the All Hands podcast, focusing on building teams in tech.
Kathy J. Goss
Kathy J. Goss has devoted two decades to building strong cultures, teams, and strategies around diversity and inclusion. Goss is currently Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Recruiting at ServiceNow, working on creating better, more equitable systems for talent acquisition.
Laura I. Gómez
Laura I. Gómez looks to help businesses adopt machine learning into their recruiting practices and founded both Atipica, a diversity and inclusion analytics platform, and Project Include, a non-profit providing data-based inclusion solutions for tech companies.
Lauren Aguilar, PhD
Founder of Forshay, a recruiting consulting firm, and head of Inclusion and Diversity, Lauren Aguilar applies scientific insight and design thinking to help companies enact strategies for more inclusive workplaces and hiring.
An authoritative diversity strategist, Lenora Billings-Harris is the President and CEO of UbuntuGlobal, a consulting firm helping companies minimize unconscious bias in the workplace and become more successful by valuing differences.
A talent acquisition consultant, Lesa Bradshaw focuses on disability inclusion. She works with companies to assess their current approach to diversity in the workplace, and to help them build better strategies, practices, and culture around inclusion.
Lina Garzon is the Talent Acquisition Associate at New Visions for Public Schools in New York City, where she seeks to pull in diverse recruits for the school. Formerly, she oversaw diversity and inclusion for IPG Mediabrands.
As the Strategic Director and Facilitator at Collective DEI Lab, Matthew Yazzie brings experience in the DEI field to his work with helping millennial-run organizations build cultures and pipelines that support underrepresented talent.
Melinda Briana Epler
Melinda Briana Epler has over twenty-five years helping start-ups, NGOs, and Fortune 500 companies develop their diversity and inclusion strategies, and is the founder and CEO of Change Catalyst, a company that fosters inclusivity in tech.
Michelle Kim is an entrepreneur, speaker, and writer that seeks to educate companies around empowerment, social justice, and human rights, as well as the co-founder and CEO of Awaken, a company that trains workplaces to be more inclusive.
Minda Harts is an in-demand speaker on diversity, racial equity, and leadership, as well as the founder and CEO of the website The Memo (and author of the book The Memo), dedicated to helping women of color advance in their careers.
With a background in political campaign leadership, Mini Timmaraju now serves as the Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Comcast NBCUniversal, creating and implementing strategies for diversity and inclusion in media.
Myisha T. Hill
Myisha T. Hill is a mental health advocate, anti-racism educator, and founder of the Check Your Privilege project, which engages in dialogue around ways white women can support BIWOC and can become better allies.
Nichole Barnes Marshall
Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at L Brands, Nichole Barnes Marshall creates inclusive strategies for the well-known retailer, and has implemented diverse hiring strategies for its over 80,000 associates.
As the Senior Director of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Cornerstone OnDemand, which specializes in data-driven human resources development, Noel Hornsberry has implemented strategies for diversifying recruiting and cultural awareness.
Before joining Snap Inc. as the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Oona King served as the senior policy advisor on diversity to the UK Prime Minister, and oversaw equity, diversity, inclusion, and integrity strategy for Google.
Rachel Cheeks-Givan is a long-time professional and professor, and currently oversees diversity and inclusion efforts globally for Pfizer, where she’s initiated programs, overseen resource groups, and implemented more equitable systems and processes.
Speaker, author, and strategist Randi Bryant engages audiences around topics of race, gender, and sexual orientation in regards to inclusion, and provides training solutions to companies looking to expand their inclusion initiatives.
As Vice President of Global Inclusion and Diversity at VF Corporation, considered one of Forbes Magazine’s “Best Employers for Diversity in America,” Reginald Miller seeks to be a leader in embracing inclusion initiatives across the business’ global network.
As Foley Hoag’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Rosa Nunez is applying her history of implementing diversity and inclusion strategies to the law firm, co-chairing its Diversity Committee, and looking to revamp diversity recruitment.
A long-time consultant on diversity and inclusion with Turner/Time Warner, and a Diversity Operations Project Specialist at Randstad, Roshaunda Green seeks to promote the value of multicultural and diverse teams as critical to the success of a workplace.
Ryan Carson is the founder and CEO of Treehouse, which offers affordable and accessible coding classes, and that helps companies create more diverse, knowledgeable teams. Carson is also challenging workplace norms by having flats hierarchy and four-day workweeks.
Stacia Sherman Garr
A researcher on diversity and inclusion, people analytics, and human resources technology, Stacia Sherman Garr co-founded RedThread Research, a human capital advisory firm that creates better data-driven solutions for workplaces.
Devoted to creating a better, more equitable world, Steven Huang was the first HR analyst at Facebook. He’s since led diversity and inclusion initiatives at Square, Culture Amp, and Jumpstart, and is currently Managing Director of Collective DEI Lab.
Now the Vice President of Strategy at Jumpstart, a virtual recruiting platform, Tariq Meyers was the first Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Lyft, creating an environment of inclusion, and pioneering its Gender Inclusion and Affirmation Policy.
Coming from diversity and inclusion management roles at JetBlue, Twitter, and Verizon, Tasha Aoaeh is now the People Care Director at Audible, Inc., where she creates inclusive environments for its Customer Care employees.
Tequilla Lopez oversees talent recruiting strategies as the Director of Inclusion, Talent Planning, and Development at Best Buy, where she supports acquisition initiatives, and works to raise awareness around the importance of diversity and its opportunities.
Seeking to raise awareness around diversity and inclusion efforts in creative industries, Tiffany Edward was the first Engagement and Inclusion Director at Droga5 creative agency, and now oversees strategy as its Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion.
As Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Omnicom, a marketing communication company, Tiffany Warren is leading efforts to increase recruitment and retention of talent that includes women, people of color, and LGBTQ.
Tina Moore Gilbert
Tina Moore Gilbert is a leader in diversity and inclusion strategies in healthcare, tech, and pharmaceuticals, and is currently the Inclusion and Diversity Leader at Accolade, Inc., focusing on making more diverse business systems and operations.
With a long career creating inclusive recruiting programs and building diverse communities in tech and software, Tony Prophet is currently Chief Equality and Recruiting Officer at Salesforce, as well as head of its Ethical and Humane Use of Technology Initiative.
A consultant, author, and anti-racism educator, Torin Perez speaks on diversity, inclusive leadership, bias, and personal development, and is considered by Culture Amp as a “D&I Influencer You Should Know.”
Veronica S. Appleton
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at marketing firm TMA, Veronica S. Appleton drives strategy and innovation around recruiting, with a focus on inclusion around BIPOC, LGBTQ, and disabled communities.
Keep an eye on these changemakers as we’re confident they’ll continue to add to conversations around diversity and inclusion, recruiting strategies, and awareness around equitable solutions.