Continuing DEI Work During a Pandemic
Panel – 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM PT
Head of EID Talent Strategy
X – the moonshot factory
Rachel Williams is a Bay Area native with more than 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley. Her experience spans human resources – recruiting, strategic employee relations and engagement, organizational change, culture & learning development, inclusion programming and implementation. Rachel is currently the Head of Equity Inclusion & Diversity Talent Acquisition for X – the moonshot factory. X creates novel technology solutions to address the world’s most challenging problems.
Prior to X, Rachel held roles as the first Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at StubHub where she focused her efforts on bringing equity to the company’s workforce, workplace and marketplace to drive inclusion.
Rachel is passionate about developing unique programming to help build a culture of openness and belonging that embraces diversity as a dimension of a company’s overall talent strategy. Prior to StubHub, Rachel was the first Head of Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Recruiting at Yelp. Building Yelp’s diversity initiatives from the ground up to accelerate action, which led to a 10 percent increase in women in technical roles, as well as the creation of numerous employee resource and affinity groups that had more than 75 percent employee participation, among other accomplishments.
In addition to her roles within various corporations, Rachel lends her time to advise organizations dedicated to the improvement of diversity, equity and inclusion. As an early advisor to Diversity Advocates, a Kapor Capital empowered group that seeks to advance inclusion by providing resources, knowledge, and network to do pioneering work. As an Advisor to Village Capital, Rachel met with several founders of color to help with strategy and provide impactful feedback.
Rachel has spoken on her work and thought leadership at numerous conferences and universities like: Tech Inclusion Conference, SXSW, the White House, North Carolina A&T, Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management and MIT Sloan. Rachel graduated from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and enjoys spending time with her more than 300 family members whenever she can.
Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging
As a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion, Ulysses builds organization-wide DEI functions that drive social impact through product. In his role as the Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Blend, he drives leaders to think critically about the impact of diversity in their business functions, and develops strategies to create a more equitable consumer banking ecosystem. He is a graduate of Cornell University.
Founder and CEO
Jennifer Brown Consulting
JENNIFER BROWN is an award-winning entrepreneur, dynamic speaker and diversity and inclusion expert. She is the Founder and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting (JBC), a strategic leadership and diversity consulting firm that coaches business leaders worldwide on critical issues of talent and workplace strategy. Brown is a passionate advocate for social equality who delves into the “business case for diversity” as she helps businesses foster healthier, more productive workplace cultures. With over a decade of experience consulting to Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, Starbucks, and Capital One, Brown is a highly sought-after expert source on changing demographics, specific communities of identity including women, people of color, LGBT individuals, generations like Millennials, and the role of male leaders in change efforts. Brown has appeared in leading media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal, and on Fox News. In the past several years, she has been named Social Entrepreneur of the year by the NYC National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), a finalist for the Wells Fargo Business Owner of the Year Award, a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Winning Women Program, one of the Top 40 Outstanding Women by Stonewall Community Foundation, and NYC Controller Bill Thompson’s LGBT Business Owner of the Year. Most recently, she was named one of Databird’s Top Female Executives of the Year for Small Business (2019), and one of Hive Learning’s most influential D&I Leaders (2019). Brown’s book Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace & the Will to Change (2016) inspires leadership to embrace the opportunity that diversity represents and empower advocates at all levels to find their voice and be a driving force in creating more enlightened organizations that resonate in a fast-changing world. Her second book, How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive(2019), calls on allies and advocates everywhere to activate their voice, and is a Shortlist O.W.L. Award winner in Management & Culture, and a Nautilus Book Awards winner in Business & Leadership.
Melinda Briana Epler
Melinda Briana Epler has over 25 years of experience developing business innovation and inclusion strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies and global NGOs.
As CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda currently works with the tech industry to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for tech companies, tech hubs and governments around the world. She co-leads a series of global solutions-focused conferences called Tech Inclusion. Melinda is also Director of Program Development at Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm, where she develops startup curriculum and builds inclusive local and global entrepreneur ecosystems for underestimated founders.
Previously, Melinda was a Marketing and Culture Executive and award-winning documentary filmmaker – her film and television work includes projects that exposed the AIDS crisis in South Africa, explored women’s rights in Turkey, and prepared communities for the effects of climate change. She has worked on several television shows, including NBC’s The West Wing.
Melinda speaks, mentors and writes about diversity and inclusion in tech, allyship, social entrepreneurship, underrepresented entrepreneurs and investing.