Keynotes, Workshops & Sessions

Interesting, relevent & timely messages that are intended to educate, entertain and challenge the attendees to reach new levels of achievement.

Keynote Address

Exhibit Hall A

Overcome Anything

Headshot of Alvin LawAlvin Law, Keynote Speaker, Author, Musician & Broadcaster

No matter who we are or what our job title is, one thing is true: we are all the leaders of our own lives. We are all creative problem solvers, and we all have unique value we bring to our personal and professional relationships. Thing is, we don't always remember this about ourselves...or about our friends, family, co-workers, employees and team members. Caught up in the day-to-day grind, it's pretty easy to forget.

Personal leadership? Responsibility? Resiliency? They are attitudes. And these attitudes can be learned by anyone. They can become habits we practice at work and at home, in our personal and professional relationships. And they can become tools we draw on to successfully face, and overcome, any challenge.

Combining lessons from his remarkable life of being born without arms with his unique insight into personal and workplace challenges, Alvin has developed a series of proven strategies for enhancing and sustaining attitudes of leadership, responsibility and resiliency both on the job and in your personal life. You'll learn how to apply these time-tested techniques to spark your creativity, recognize your value and the value of those around you, and step into your natural role as leader in your own life.

Keynote Address

Exhibit Hall A

Being Tolerant is for Cowards; Leadership Thinking to Disrupt the Status Quo with Purpose

Headshot of Craig ClaytonCraig Clayton, Sr. Partner, Executive Strategy, Talent Dimensions

Craig Clayton is an Executive Partner for Talent Dimensions and over his career his roles have included heading up the Institute for Diversity at the University of Houston. Craig's mission is to challenge organizations to enable the work of ERGs, BRGs and Councils in making a quantifiable impact at the top line, bottom line and in the pipeline.

His topic, Being Tolerant is for Cowards; Leadership Thinking to Disrupt the Status Quo with Purpose, based on his new book by the same title, urges every one of us to see beyond simply being tolerated, but to find our voice through being courageous in the work that we do and the roles that we hold. Truth is, we are exposed to derailing behaviors that impact respect and equity everyday in every venue and we have an opportunity to impact those behaviors using the courage to speak out. Join us as Craig provides insights and tools to build the courage it takes to make that difference. Every participant of the conference will receive an electronic version of Craig's new book Being Tolerant is for Cowards; Leadership Thinking to Disrupt the Status Quo with Purpose.

Keynote Address

Exhibit Hall A

Leading and Learning in Parallel, an interview with Mandy Carter

Headshot of Mandy CarterMandy Carter, Activist for Social Justice

Facilitated by: Lynn Cowart, COO, Talent Dimensions

Mandy Carter has been at the forefront of social justice activism since 1965 when the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee visited her high school in Schenectady, New York. That experience, followed closely by a role in the 1968 Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Poor People's Campaign sparked a fifty-plus year journey – a journey of activism and organizing – a journey that included major leadership roles in campaigns and organizations focused on raising the voices of underserved and marginalized groups. She is a co-founder of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), working for LGBTQ+ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender and sexuality in the South. In 2005, Mandy was nominated as one of the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize" recognizing the peace work of women from around the world. She co-edited We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, which Maya Angelou called "so this age and this climate of political posturing and posing." Mandy's work to transform cultures – to create just, equitable and inclusive environments – parallels the important work being done by councils, ERGs and BRGs. Her experiences offer a wealth of lessons learned about influencing others, tackling tough topics, building resilience and turning challenges into opportunities.

Please join us for an engaging interview where Mandy will share her journey and highlight what she has and continues to learn carrying the torch for just, equitable and inclusive societies.

Session #1

St. George #112

The Power of Inclusion

Headshot of Jackie HunterJackie Hunter, Sr. Director Diversity/Inclusion & Talent Pipeline at Banner Health

Jackie, fueled by the adversities and challenges she faced, is an advocate for inclusivity and ensuring every individual feels a sense of belonging. In her talk, audience will learn more about the shift in generational diversity and biases, conscious or unconscious, that it entails. Additionally, she will discuss the importance of creating a psychologically safe space and making room for underrepresented voices to be heard. All while encouraging vulnerability in and out of the workplace.

Learn how to create a safe space for people to discuss and share with each other regarding the following focus areas:

  • Generational Diversity Shift
  • Creating a psychological safe space
  • Importance of vulnerability (how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable)

Session #2

St. George #114

Grow, Contribute, & Belong: How BRGs Contribute to the Human Experience

Headshot of Rich Robles
Rich Robles
Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion at Novant Health

Headshot of Tanya Blackmon
Tanya Blackmon
Exec. VP & Chief Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Officer at Novant Health

Novant Health, a nationally recognized leader for diversity, inclusion and equity, has achieved success by creating a sense of belonging, encouraging a culture of engagement , and inviting diversity of thought and perspectives both in and outside of the workplace.

Key objectives:

  • Overview of how BRGs contribute to better solutions for our customers
  • Stimulating innovation in the development of products and services
  • Improving brand preference and choice
  • Addressing health care disparities
  • Increasing employee engagement

Session #3

Orange Blossom Ballroom

Empowering ERGs, BRGs and Councils Before, During and After Disasters

GADRA, the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration, is more than an Alliance - it is an emERGing social justice movement focused on identifying the greatest disability need before, during and after disasters, and matching that need with corporate and foundation resources in collaboration with disability-led organizations on a global/local "glocal" level.

Because traditional humanitarian relief organizations often ignore needs of people with disabilities - 15% of the world's population, 61 million Americans – GADRA Founders Circle join forces to highlight Promising Practices to participants of the 2021 ERG & Council Conference.

Discover what 1,540 disability leaders from 69 countries, across six continents say about GADRA and how engagement can help maximize results with this powerful market segment with $490 billion in purchasing power – that's more than the coveted teen market. Your ERG, BRG, Councils, plus employees and customers with disabilities can be a critical voice at your company to bring this issue to light and help ensure that your organizations' humanitarian efforts are inclusive of disability-led groups. We know you will greatly benefit from this dynamic presentation.

Session #4

St. George # 108

Gender Pronouns: Gen-der Z and Beyond

Headshot of Matthew FrenchMatthew French, Assistant Director for Employer Relations at UNC Charlotte

Gender pronouns are becoming commonplace in many email signatures and Zoom calls, but how do you integrate pronouns into your daily communication in the office or at the virtual table? In this session we will cover the basics around gender identity, pronouns and the changes coming down the pipeline with younger talent valuing a breaking down of gender norms. Learning objectives: Have actionable steps to integrating gender pronouns into your company culture, making a case for why pronouns in the workplace are important, and preparing your organization for Gen-der Z and their openness about gender expression.



Session #5

St. George #114

Supercharge ERG Efforts: Leveraging Intersectionality

Headshot of Anila JivanjiAnila Jivanji, Sr. Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIB) Specialist, Bell

Anila invites you join her in an interactive high energy session to discover how ERGs can minimize exclusions through employing the various intriguing facets of intersectionality.

Objectives of the Session

  • Understanding of intersectionality
  • How to apply it in programming ERG events
  • Relationship between Intersectionality and Allyship

Workshop #1

Orange Blossom Ballroom

What's In It for ME! - Leveraging Development Opportunities for ERG/Council Members and Leaders

Moderated by Headshot of Lynn CowartLynn Cowart, Chief Operations Officer, Talent Dimensions

ERGs and Councils are important resources for any organization, providing much needed support in its mission, vision and values. Equally important however are the resources and benefits that are available to the ERG/Council Members and Leaders in helping you to achieve your ultimate goals! What is in it for you to devote your time and talents voluntarily? Truth is that participating in ERGs and Councils are great opportunities to develop interests, skills and relationships that might not be readily accessible in your actual day jobs. Join us as we dive deeper into these opportunities and talk about how you can leverage this experience in ways that may not have been obvious before.

Workshop #2

St. George Room 114

Creating a Culture of Belonging

Headshot of Cile JohnsonCile Johnson, Chief Business Officer, Talent Dimensions

Creating cultures where individuals can bring their full selves to the workplace and ultimately feel they belong is not an easy task. It is not "a one size fits all" approach and requires everyone to understand their role in supporting an ethos where individuals feel included and engaged.

When individuals feel they have a voice in the workplace and can find meaning in the work they do, that is the secret sauce in creating belonging.

Join us for an engaging session where we will explore the key elements needed to create a culture of belonging and the role we all play in making it happen.

Workshop #3

St. George Room 112

Measuring & Tracking Metrics for Resource Groups

Headshot of Philip Berry
Philip Berry
Sr. Consultant, Talent Dimensions

Headshot of Michelle Brown
Dr. Michelle Brown
Program Manager, Global ERG Network

Join this interactive workshop with other ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils to learn how your resource group can measure and track planned initiatives. Learn how to track your successes, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in order to create your business case as a resource group.

Additionally, learn how the Global ERG Network can assist you by keeping your ERG, BRGs and Diversity Councils connected and informed with templates, trends, benchmarking data and as well as cross network with other resource groups like yours!

Workshop #4

St. George Room 108

Choosing Respect in Today's Environment

Headshot of Keith ArachikavitzKeith Arachikavitz,
Sr. Consultant, PRISM International, Inc.

Leading a company's ERGs and BRGs is a great opportunity to impact the bottom line, contribute to the company's growth, and develop skills and competencies that may not be readily available within one's 'day job'. Another outcome is the opportunity to lead and influence others during a truly unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with the Social Justice issues we experienced as a society, brought with it a new chance to lead the 'people component' of your teams in ways that may have been historically unimaginable.

Join us for this important and engaging discussion, as we explore:

  • Respect in the workplace pre, during and post pandemic, and throughout the social injustice situation
  • Updated effects on your culture, including new and latest statistics
  • Challenges facing ERGs/BRGs post 2020 and table-top discussion around strategies for overcoming them
  • ... looking ahead with best practices beyond this extraordinary time