Leadership & Professional Growth Solo Talks

Solo Talks: 10:25 AM – 10:55 AM



Job Search During COVID-19


Ketan Anjaria

Ketan Anjaria

“I’m the founder of HireClub where we help people succeed in their careers with empathetic, helpful career coaching. I’m an immigrant from India and love supporting people from different backgrounds reaching for their dreams.”



Negotiation is Self-Advocacy: How to Ask for More

Many underrepresented candidates avoid negotiating job offers. Whether because negotiation is considered taboo and we’re socialized against it, or we’re afraid of offers getting rescinded and managers thinking we’re difficult, we hold ourselves back.

The truth is that negotiation is an expected and important part of creating healthy employment relationships — not to mention that negotiation has a huge impact on future earnings and pay equality.

This talk explains exactly how to negotiate, including key phrases to use when talking with recruiters and hiring managers. What do you say when asked what you would like to earn? How do you counter a disappointingly low offer that you secretly would accept? How do you ensure that you don’t leave money on the table? Can you do all of this politely and effectively? Yes!

You’ll walk away from this talk with a specific plan for your next negotiation, and the confidence to advocate for yourself instead of holding back.


Lusen Mendel

Lusen Mendel
Interview and Negotiation Speaker
Candidate Planet

Lusen Mendel / they / them co-founded DangoorMendel to create entertaining educational videos that empower candidates (https://youtube.com/c/CandidatePlanet), and to work directly with candidates on their interviewing and negotiation skills. Lusen is also Director of Developer Relations at Karat, where they share interviewer best practices with interviewers around the world. Previously, Lusen managed engineering teams at Indiegogo and Rackspace, worked as a software engineer at a number of startups and research groups, and graduated with a couple Computer Science degrees from MIT.



Mindfulness & Healing in the Tech Space: From to Structural Inequality to Human Flourishing

The year 2019 marked the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to Virginia in 1619. This event and the resulting systems of inequality that produced dehumanization and entrenched disastrous social and economic policies are part of the historical forces we now wrestle with as we create a more inclusive tech industry. This talk draws on research from the fields of mindfulness, social-emotional learning, human flourishing and post-traumatic stress growth to reflect on how we can contend with intergenerational trauma and nurture intergenerational healing in the tech space. Takeaways: 1) How do deepen healing practices, 2) How to increase resilience, 3) How to think deeper about D&I.


Angel Acosta

Angel Acosta
Doctoral Candidate
Teachers College, Columbia University

Angel Acosta is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Teaching Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. For the last decade, he has worked to bridge the fields of leadership development, youth advocacy, social justice and mindfulness.

He’s a faculty member for the upcoming Mind and Life Institute’s Summer Research Institute. With an emphasis on contemplative and restorative practices, his consulting focuses on developing learning experiences that enable organizations to have heartfelt conversations about leadership, inequality and healing. As a former Trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, he participated as a discussant at the Asia Pacific Forum on Holistic Education in Kyoto, Japan. As he finishes his doctorate, Angel continues to consult for organizations like the NYC Department of Education, UNICEF, Columbia University and others.

His dissertation explores healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development and for addressing entrenched racial inequality in the U.S.A. His example as a servant leader was featured in the second edition of Kouzes and Pozner’s book The Student Leadership Challenge. He is a proud Dominican American from the Bronx, NY.


After much consideration, we have chosen to discontinue Tech Inclusion events. Empovia (formerly Change Catalyst) is now focusing exclusively on learning and development solutions that drive inclusive and sustainable change.

We have recently launched our new eLearning platform! Head to empovia.co to learn more about our empowered learning solutions.