Change Conversations

Passionate co-hosts. Inspiring guests. Unfiltered conversations.

Co-hosts Jimmy Etheredge, CEO – North America, Accenture; and Emmanuel Acho, FS1 Sports Analyst, former NFL Linebacker, and The New York Times Bestselling Author & Host, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, tackle tough topics with purpose-driven leaders who are shaping a more equitable future. Hear from these change makers and leaders who are making a difference.

If we would just listen and talk to people that don't look like us, we could better understand where everyone is coming from.

— Emmanuel Acho

EPISODE 12

Can you be your authentic self at work?

This episode of Change Conversations will unpack the power of the personal narrative, and how it can be used to cultivate strong, authentic leadership.

The workplace is an arena where authenticity and individuality has traditionally been snuffed out. Uniformity was prized over cultivating personal strengths and appearing to have all the answers took precedence over lifelong learning. Today, more industry leaders are seeing the value in authenticity.

Being your authentic self means you have an awareness of who you are and what you stand for and expressing yourself honestly and consistently to the world.

Authentic leadership means leading with transparency and self-awareness, while processing differing viewpoints, and making ethical, purpose-driven decisions. Authentic leaders are open about their flaws, the motivation behind their decisions, and they create space where others feel comfortable doing the same.

Accenture’s new research, Omni-connected experiences, reveals that just a small fraction of any team—your team—feels like they are getting what they need and truly connecting on a human level.

Did you know, there’s a gap in what people need for experiences and engagement and what leaders provide.

  • 1 in 4 employees feel that their company cares about them.
  • 27% of employees feel like they truly belong and bring their authentic selves to the workplace.

This needs to be looked at - when people feel highly connected to each other, their leaders and their work, their companies stand to gain a 7.4% revenue growth boost per year – listen now to learn the importance of authentic leaders, relationships, engagement and culture.

Guests

Bozoma Saint John, Hall of Fame inducted Marketing Executive, author, entrepreneur and general badass.

More about the guests

Bozoma Saint John, Bozoma Saint John is a Hall of Fame Inducted Marketing Executive, Author, and Entrepreneur who is worthy of the Harvard Business School case study written about her career, titled “Leading with Authenticity and Urgency.”

Her brilliant career has spanned various industries and includes roles as the Global CMO of Netflix, CMO of Endeavor, CBO of Uber, Head of Marketing of Apple Music & iTunes and Head of Music and Entertainment Marketing at PepsiCo.

Bozoma’s work has been lauded and awarded with notable recognition including (but not limited to) induction into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement (2014), induction into Billboard’s Women in Music Hall of Fame (2018), induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame (2022); and has been included in Fast Company’s Most Creative People (2013), The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list (2018) and crowned as The World's Most Influential CMO by Forbes (2021). Her memoir, The Urgent Life is being published in 2023, while her successful online tutorials “The Badass Workshop” teach others to be their greatest selves. But by far her greatest achievement is in raising her daughter, Lael.

 

EPISODE 11

Mental health: checking in and changing the conversation

The aim of this discussion is to help leaders of all organizations understand the powerful roles they play, now and for the foreseeable future (i.e., mental health should always be a priority, and it shouldn’t just be a response to the current crises), in making mental health a priority.

Mental health is one of the most pressing – and most discussed – concerns in our lives today. Businesses are starting to put mental health support at the forefront of their health and wellness strategies and are offering more programs to help create working environments that are more compassionate.

What has been the domino effect on workforces? What are the leadership qualities needed? What are the programs and structures needed? How can we measure what programs are working? What more can be done so people believe that supporting mental health is as important as physical health?

Guests

Michelle Williams, Grammy Award Winning singer-songwriter, actress, mental health advocate

Christie Smith, global lead of Talent & Organization/Human Potential, Accenture

Up next:
June: a special episode of change conversations as we observe PRIDE, Juneteenth and work to create environments where people may be their authentic self.

More about the guests

Michelle Williams, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, TV host, and ambassador for the Office on Women's Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As a successful musician, author, actor and consumer product line owner, Michelle Williams exemplifies women’s empowerment. Her story—from Midwestern girl to award-winning, touring member of Destiny’s Child, one of the biggest groups of all time to coping with bouts of depression—has inspired countless thousands of others to follow their passions while providing them with key tips and lessons that can put them on their own path to personal and professional success.

An advocate for mental health and empowerment, Williams is an ambassador for the Office on Women's Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she promotes awareness for maintaining optimum physical and mental health through nutrition, exercise, and proper medical care.

Michelle Williams is a Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host, and member of one of the most successful recording groups of all time, Destiny’s Child. In 2018, Williams reunited with Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kelly Rowland for a long-awaited Destiny’s Child reunion performance during both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. She has also recorded four critically acclaimed albums as a solo artist, including Journey to Freedom whose song “Say Yes” was certified Gold.

Between recording projects, Williams made her theatrical stage debut as the title role of the hit Broad way musical Aida. Williams has since appeared in productions of The Color Purple, Broadway and London’s West End productions of Chicago. She also was featured in the acclaimed stage play What My Husband Doesn’t Know, and a national tour with the musical Fela! Williams also starred in the Oxygen network series Fix My Choir and has served as a guest host on talk shows such as The View, ET, The Real and many more. In 2019, after making it to the semi-final round, Michelle was revealed as “Butterfly” on the #1 rated FOX television show The Masked Singer!

 

Christie Smith, global lead of Talent & Organization/Human Potential, Accenture

Christie joined Accenture in 2020 to lead and expand the transformation offerings that address the complex change management challenges facing CEOs, C-suites and boards, and assumed leadership of global Talent & Organization/Human Potential in March 2021.

Previously, Christie was with Apple where she was the global vice president for Inclusion & Diversity (I&D), I&D business partners and I&D solutions. She managed the global expansion of the function and the team in all regions and countries where Apple had offices and retail stores. Her leadership at Apple was integral to iconic products such as Memoji, iPhone Camera and iOS software in multiple languages. In addition, at Apple, she was instrumental in the growth of female and underrepresented minorities, expansion of scalable solutions in recruiting, global pay equity and compensation, and development of leaders.

Prior to her role at Apple, Christie served as interim CHRO at Grail, a start-up cancer detection company, and was a principal with Deloitte Consulting. As a national Human Capital leader at Deloitte, she was responsible for working with global clients on their talent management, organizational design, workforce planning, compensation strategies, I&D and HR technology solutions. In this role, Christie led large-scale technology implementations, change management, risk and communication strategies.

She also has deep expertise in CEO consulting around global talent strategies, along with CEO succession and executive team structure, management and capability. As a strategist, she led new product offering strategies for Deloitte in the United States and global markets, including the development of customer strategy in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) countries. As part of her strategic framework, she leveraged deep data analytics to drive predictive socioeconomic and political factors that would impact business and market strategies.

Her leadership in business development and expansion includes being the west region managing principal of Deloitte Consulting, where she led growth in consulting, technology, human capital and strategy. She also led Deloitte’s west region Life Sciences industry practice. Christie was part of the leadership team that drove expansion of Deloitte Consulting into China and greater APAC.

Christie also was responsible for the founding and leadership of the Deloitte University Centers for Inclusion and Community Impact. In this capacity, she was responsible for building service offerings for I&D as well as Education and Veterans initiatives.

Christie received her doctorate in Clinical Social Work with a focus on I/O Psychology from New York University. She is a frequently sought-after speaker on leadership, strategy, I&D, and people analytics. She has been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Forbes and CNN. Christie has been recognized as a Most Influential Woman in San Francisco (2012-2015), Women to Watch from Diversity Magazine (2012), Top 50 Diversity Leader (2020) and a leader in Fast Company’s Queer 50 list (2021). She is a member of the Committee of 200 (C200) and World 50 Women and she sits on the board of ENDO International, a life sciences company.

 

EPISODE 10

Looking back: highlights from a year of Change Conversations

Inclusion & diversity, racism, the skills gap, shecession, representation, mentorship, invisible disabilities, health equity, mental health.

We've covered a lot of ground in the first year of Change Conversations.

Listen in as we share some of our favorite moments, some of the highlights over the course of the season.

PART 1

PART 2

Part 2 of our Highlights conversation: Inclusion & diversity, racism, the skills gap, shecession, representation, mentorship, invisible disabilities, health equity, mental health.

We've covered a lot of ground in the first year of Change Conversations.

Listen in as we share some of our favorite moments, some of the highlights over the course of the season.

Guests

Aly Reisman, gold medal gymnast, advocate, best-selling author

Angela F. Williams, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide

Bill Strahan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of AnitaB.org

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness, Walmart

Dee Poku-Spalding, Founder and CEO, The WIE Suite

Lisa Skeete Tatum, Founder and CEO, Landit

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, CEO, Dress for Success Worldwide, former Chief People & Culture officer at Major League Baseball

Rachel Thomas, Co-founder and CEO, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org

Steven Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International

Emmanuel Acho, author, athlete, sports analyst

Jimmy Etheredge, CEO Accenture North America

More about the guests

Aly Raisman, gold medal gymnast, advocate, best-selling author

Aly Raisman, team captain of the gold medal winning Women’s Gymnastics teams in 2012 and 2016, is the third most decorated American gymnast of all-time. The most decorated U.S. gymnast at the 2012 Games, Raisman captured the hearts of millions as she became the first American gymnast to win gold in the floor exercise. One of only three U.S. gymnasts to make back-to-back teams in more than 20 years, she helped guide the team to gold and landed a silver medal performance in the All-Around competition at the 2016 Games.

A leader on and off the floor, Raisman uses her platform to help normalize the conversation around mental health, encourage positive body image and promote the importance of self-care. In her New York Times best-selling memoir, Fierce, she shares the highs and lows of her journey, including her survival of sexual abuse. Inspired by an army of survivors, Raisman continues to advocate for systematic changes within the sport of gymnastics and the eradication of sexual abuse.

 

Angela F. Williams, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide
Angela is president and CEO of United Way Worldwide. A purpose-driven leader, she has more than 30 years of leadership experience across non-profits, business and government. She served on Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate Judiciary Committee staff as special counsel on criminal law, prosecutor on the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s National Church Arson Task Force, and an Assistant U.S. Attorney. She was named to Forbes’ 2021 List of Women 50 Over 50 Creating Social Change at Scale, and received a 2021 CEO Today Healthcare Award.

 

Bill Strahan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable

Bill leads the Human Resources function for Comcast Cable. He has responsibility for all aspects of Human Resources including talent, compensation, benefits, learning, employee, and labor relations.

Bill has been involved in various aspects of Human Resources work for over 35 years. He began his career with over a decade of work at Macy’s Department Stores and Riggs National Bank. The second decade of Bill’s work included practicing law in Washington, D.C. in the area of Compensation and Benefits – mostly in the context of mergers and acquisitions and in initial public offerings. For nine years, Bill was a consultant and manager at Mercer HR Consulting.

Bill holds a B.A. in Religion from Villanova University; and a Juris Doctorate from the George Mason University School of Law. He is an Active Member of the Virginia State Bar. Along with his wife and two sons, Bill resides in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

 

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of AnitaB.org

Brenda is an advocate for access, opportunity, and social justice for underrepresented communities in technology. She currently serves as the president and CEO of AnitaB.org, an organization that connects, inspires, and strives for greater equality for women technologists in business, academia, and government. She founded the original Computer Science for All program, building computer science classes into the curriculum for every student in the Chicago Public Schools, and serving as the inspiration for the Obama administration’s national CS For All initiatives

 

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness, Walmart

In this role, Cheryl will develop Walmart’s bold healthcare vision, leading Health & Wellness across the Walmart enterprise. She joins Walmart from Cambia Health Solutions where she was president of consumer health solutions and chief medical officer. There she was responsible for clinical and consumer strategy to increase access to affordable, equitable care. She directed platform consumer solutions including Journi, clinical services, pharmacy, provider and medical management activities.

After working in private practice for several years as a cardiologist, Cheryl joined Pfizer where she focused on the development of clinical protocols and early disease management programs. She also served at Aetna, where her work supported a focus on wellness, women's health, health equity initiatives and predictive analytics. Cheryl served as the first chief medical officer at Walgreens. Additionally, Cheryl is co-founder of A New Beat, an organization dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health and careers of women and under-represented minorities. She sits on the board of the American Heart Association and is the immediate past board chair for the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Cheryl received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University. Her medic al doctorate is from Weill Cornell Medical College, and she has a master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

 

Dee Poku-Spalding, Founder and CEO, The WIE Suite

Dee is founder and CEO of The WIE Suite, a private membership community and peer learning platform for women in leadership. A former Hollywood studio executive, Dee oversaw the international campaigns on numerous award-winning films. She serves on the Board of Directors of the British Academy of Film & Television (BAFTA) and the Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy. Dee is also an advisor to various startups, and a contributor to Forbes Women. She was named one of Marie Claire Magazine’s 50 women changing the world.

 

Lisa Skeete Tatum, Founder and CEO, Landit

Lisa is Founder and CEO of Landit, a personalized career pathing platform to increase the success of women and diverse groups in the workplace. Landit partners with Fortune 1000 companies around the globe to offer a turnkey solution to democratize success with a measurable ROI. Lisa serves on numerous public, high growth, and nonprofit boards, is a member of the 2012 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and a Harvard MBA. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Vanity Fair, Fortune, Inc., Black Enterprise, CNBC, BBC Business and named one of the Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs by Inc.

 

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, CEO, Dress for Success Worldwide,
former Chief People & Culture officer at Major League Baseball

Meyer-Shipp joins Dress for Success from Major League Baseball, where she served as Chief People & Culture Officer. While at MLB, she led the human resources, diversity and inclusion, and office operations functions for the League Office with an emphasis on launching new programs and policies to recruit and develop talent, advancing diversity and inclusion efforts, and enhancing workplace culture. Meyer-Shipp also served as a senior advisor to the Commissioner as well as leaders across 30 major league baseball teams and multiple Minor League teams.

Prior to MLB, Meyer-Shipp served as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at KPMG LLP, where she led programs and initiatives relating to talent recruitment, development and retention, supported the efforts of leaders across KPMG's 85+ national offices, and managed a portfolio of external strategic partnerships. Previously, she served as Global Chief Diversity Officer for both Prudential Financial and the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Do not include the numbers, just for reference Hauer & Feld LLP. Meyer-Shipp spent the first decade of her career practicing employment law in both the private and public sectors, where she advised clients on optimizing talent and equitable workplace initiatives. Meyer-Shipp is a graduate of Rutgers University and Seton Hall University School of Law.

 

Rachel Thomas, Co-founder and CEO, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org

Rachel is CEO of LeanIn.Org, the non-profit she co-founded with Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg to help women achieve their ambitions and create a more equal world. Under her leadership, Lean In has become a go-to resource for original research and data-backed tools to dismantle systemic bias at work, and the Lean In community has grown to include tens of thousands of small peer-support Circles in 188 countries. Rachel regularly speaks and writes on issues that affect women and is the host of Tilted, a LeanIn podcast.

 

Steven Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.

Prior to joining GII, Preston held leadership positions in the public and private sectors.

Preston served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, leading both federal agencies during times of national crisis. He orchestrated successful turnarounds as the CEO of two private corporations, Oakleaf Global Holdings and Livingston International. He was also the CFO of two Fortune 500 companies — Waste Management and ServiceMaster — during times of significant change and restructuring for each company.

Preston is a member of Fast Company’s Impact Council and has been featured in the Associated Press, Forbes, The New York Times, and in The Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared on ABC’s “Pandemic”, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar, CNBC, C-SPAN, FOX Business‘ “Varney & Co.”, and Yahoo! Finance Live in addition to appearing on numerous radio shows, podcasts and YouTube series, including AEI‘s Hardly Working, Working Nation, Future of Work, Indeed‘s Here to Help, and Partnering Leadership. Preston is a sought-after speaker on workforce development and skills for the future and has served as a keynote speaker for the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Conference: Business Solves, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Forward Conference, the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, and the Tugboat Institute Summit.

Preston graduated with Highest Distinction from Northwestern University and holds an MBA from The University of Chicago. Preston currently serves on the Partnership for Public Service and Wheaton College Board of Trustees.

 

Emmanuel Acho, FS1 Sports Analyst, former NFL Linebacker, and The New York Times Bestselling Author & Host, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

Emmanuel Acho, the son of Nigerian immigrant parents, grew up in Dallas with his three siblings. He is a New York Times Bestselling author and the Host/Producer of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.  His ground-breaking online series to drive meaningful dialogue around racial insensitivity and ignorance launched in June 2020 with more than 80 million views to date.

Emmanuel is a 2021 Sports Emmy winner, Fox Sports Analyst (Co-Host, FS1 “Speak for Yourself”) and television personality. He is a former NFL linebacker and has a master’s degree in Sports Psychology from the University of Texas.

 

Jimmy Etheredge, CEO – North America, Accenture

As chief executive officer for Accenture North America—the company’s largest market—Jimmy Etheredge inspires 65,000-plus Accenture people in the United States and Canada to harness technology and human ingenuity to drive value and responsible change for clients and communities. Passionate about doing well and doing good, Jimmy encourages businesses to improve business value while simultaneously using their power and platforms to create opportunity for all.

 

EPISODE 09

Mental health: An open conversation with gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman

Mental health: It’s OK to say you’re not OK.

Mental health has emerged as one of the most pressing issues in our lives today. And—more than ever—one of the most discussed. Business leaders are starting to speak openly about their own thoughts and struggles, putting this crisis at the top of agendas, and developing programs to create more supportive workplace mental health programs.

What has been the “trickle down” effect of this candor on employee mental health? How are leaders reaching the employees who need to hear the message? What more can be done so people think that supporting mental health is as important as physical health?

Guest: Aly Raisman, gold medal gymnast, advocate, best-selling author. Aly is a retired American artistic gymnast and two-time Olympian. The hope from this episode is that when business leaders, community leaders and influential public figures share their struggles, they pave the way for all of us to talk about mental health.

Guests

Aly Raisman, gold medal gymnast, advocate, best-selling author

More about the guests

Aly Raisman, gold medal gymnast, advocate, best-selling author

Aly Raisman, team captain of the gold medal winning Women’s Gymnastics teams in 2012 and 2016, is the third most decorated American gymnast of all-time. The most decorated U.S. gymnast at the 2012 Games, Raisman captured the hearts of millions as she became the first American gymnast to win gold in the floor exercise. One of only three U.S. gymnasts to make back-to-back teams in more than 20 years, she helped guide the team to gold and landed a silver medal performance in the All-Around competition at the 2016 Games.

A leader on and off the floor, Raisman uses her platform to help normalize the conversation around mental health, encourage positive body image and promote the importance of self-care. In her New York Times best-selling memoir, Fierce, she shares the highs and lows of her journey, including her survival of sexual abuse. Inspired by an army of survivors, Raisman continues to advocate for systematic changes within the sport of gymnastics and the eradication of sexual abuse.

 

EPISODE 08

Humanizing healthcare is good for people and for business

The COVID crisis underscored many cracks in our healthcare system, a system with longstanding inequities. It also showed us how interconnected we are, and that we can make powerful change when we work together to improve community health. The focus of this session is to explore the technology that will help close gaps in access to health care, especially for underserved communities. In fact, it's already happening.

We’ll talk with Comcast about their digital health programs for personalized and interactive health journeys for patients and their caregivers -transforming the way connected devices (IoT, etc.) and home monitoring can support home health care.

We’ll talk with Walmart about how they are bringing health equity to its communities by leveraging business capabilities and bringing whole systems of change to improve health outcomes.

Discover how leading companies and community organizations are taking meaningful action to bridge this gap, using technology to connect more people to the care they need.

Guests

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness, Walmart

Bill Strahan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable

More about the guests

Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness, Walmart

In this role, Cheryl will develop Walmart’s bold healthcare vision, leading Health & Wellness across the Walmart enterprise. She joins Walmart from Cambia Health Solutions where she was president of consumer health solutions and chief medical officer. There she was responsible for clinical and consumer strategy to increase access to affordable, equitable care. She directed platform consumer solutions including Journi, clinical services, pharmacy, provider and medical management activities.

After working in private practice for several years as a cardiologist, Cheryl joined Pfizer where she focused on the development of clinical protocols and early disease management programs. She also served at Aetna, where her work supported a focus on wellness, women's health, health equity initiatives and predictive analytics. Cheryl served as the first chief medical officer at Walgreens. Additionally, Cheryl is co-founder of A New Beat, an organization dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health and careers of women and under-represented minorities. She sits on the board of the American Heart Association and is the immediate past board chair for the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Cheryl received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University. Her medic al doctorate is from Weill Cornell Medical College, and she has a master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

 

Bill Strahan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable

Bill leads the Human Resources function for Comcast Cable. He has responsibility for all aspects of Human Resources including talent, compensation, benefits, learning, employee, and labor relations.

Bill has been involved in various aspects of Human Resources work for over 35 years. He began his career with over a decade of work at Macy’s Department Stores and Riggs National Bank. The second decade of Bill’s work included practicing law in Washington, D.C. in the area of Compensation and Benefits – mostly in the context of mergers and acquisitions and in initial public offerings. For nine years, Bill was a consultant and manager at Mercer HR Consulting.

Bill holds a B.A. in Religion from Villanova University; and a Juris Doctorate from the George Mason University School of Law. He is an Active Member of the Virginia State Bar. Along with his wife and two sons, Bill resides in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

 

EPISODE 07

Building a diverse talent pool – start with skills

There is a talent crisis in the US right now. We have workforces that don’t reflect our populations and are disproportionately impacted based on their race or ethnicity. We have people leaving the workforce at staggering levels, and we have companies looking to close the skills gap and advance equitable hiring. It seems there is a disconnect between people eager to work, people leaving the workforce, and companies unable to fill roles. We will share what leaders can do to bring the right people to the right positions—to improve hiring practices, build inclusive and diverse workforces, and discover new talent pools.

Join Jimmy & Emmanuel and experts

  • Steve Preston, president & CEO Goodwill, an American nonprofit that delivers job-training programs to people who face barriers to employment
  • Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president & CEO, AnitaB.org for Women and Technology, global nonprofit whose primary aim is to recruit, retain, and advance women in technology

as we change the conversation for the millions of people who are eager to work and have the ability to participate in the workforce, if only employers could find them.

Guests

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of AnitaB.org

Steven Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International

More about the guests

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of AnitaB.org

Brenda is an advocate for access, opportunity, and social justice for underrepresented communities in technology. She currently serves as the president and CEO of AnitaB.org, an organization that connects, inspires, and strives for greater equality for women technologists in business, academia, and government. She founded the original Computer Science for All program, building computer science classes into the curriculum for every student in the Chicago Public Schools, and serving as the inspiration for the Obama administration’s national CS For All initiatives

 

Steven Preston, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.

Prior to joining GII, Preston held leadership positions in the public and private sectors.

Preston served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, leading both federal agencies during times of national crisis. He orchestrated successful turnarounds as the CEO of two private corporations, Oakleaf Global Holdings and Livingston International. He was also the CFO of two Fortune 500 companies — Waste Management and ServiceMaster — during times of significant change and restructuring for each company.

Preston is a member of Fast Company’s Impact Council and has been featured in the Associated Press, Forbes, The New York Times, and in The Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared on ABC’s “Pandemic”, Bloomberg TV, Cheddar, CNBC, C-SPAN, FOX Business‘ “Varney & Co.”, and Yahoo! Finance Live in addition to appearing on numerous radio shows, podcasts and YouTube series, including AEI‘s Hardly Working, Working Nation, Future of Work, Indeed‘s Here to Help, and Partnering Leadership. Preston is a sought-after speaker on workforce development and skills for the future and has served as a keynote speaker for the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Conference: Business Solves, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Forward Conference, the Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, and the Tugboat Institute Summit.

Preston graduated with Highest Distinction from Northwestern University and holds an MBA from The University of Chicago. Preston currently serves on the Partnership for Public Service and Wheaton College Board of Trustees.

 

EPISODE 06

Actions Speak: building an inclusive culture

To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy, Jimmy and Emmanuel are joined by industry luminaries who are committed to building truly inclusive workplace cultures. Much progress has been made since the era of the Civil Rights Movement, but there is still more work to be done. And now more than ever, society is holding businesses to higher standards. Stakeholders, including investors and employees, expect organizations to deliver value responsibly and sustainably.

In this episode we will unpack how leaders can create lasting change from the corner office to the newest hire.

Guests

Debra Lee, Chairman & CEO Emeritus, BET Networks, Chair, Leading Women Defined Foundation and Co-Founder, Partner, The Monarchs Collective

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, CEO, Dress for Success Worldwide, former Chief People & Culture officer at Major League Baseball

More about the guests

Debra Lee, Chairman & CEO Emeritus, BET Networks, Chair, Leading Women Defined Foundation and Co-Founder, Partner, The Monarchs Collective
— With a trailblazing career spanning over 3 decades, Debra L. Lee is one of the most influential female voices in the entertainment industry. Up until May 2018, Lee served as the Chairman & CEO of BET Networks, the leading provider of entertainment for the African American audience and consumers of Black culture globally.

During her tenure, Lee helmed BET’s reinvigorated approach to corporate philanthropy & authentic programming that led to hits such as The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane, The BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors and many more.

In September 2009, Lee managed the launch of Centric, a 24-hour music and entertainment network. Under her guidance, Centric was rebranded in 2014 as the first network designed for Black women. She also oversees the company’s current growth initiatives, including international distribution of the brand in Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, France, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to her being named Chairman and CEO, Lee was President and COO of BET Networks for almost 10 years, during which she guided the company to consistent increases in viewership, revenue, and earnings. She first joined BET as Vice President and General Counsel in 1986 after serving more than five years as an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson, a Washington D. C. based corporate law firm. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Barrington Parker of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment and Billboard’s Power 100, Lee’s achievements in her 30+ year career in the industry have earned her numerous accolades from across the cable industry, as well as recognition as one of this country’s most respected business executives. Lee was honored with the Distinguished Leadership Vanguard Award by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.

 

Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, CEO, Dress for Success Worldwide, former Chief People & Culture officer at Major League Baseball
— Meyer-Shipp joins Dress for Success from Major League Baseball, where she served as Chief People & Culture Officer. While at MLB, she led the human resources, diversity and inclusion, and office operations functions for the League Office with an emphasis on launching new programs and policies to recruit and develop talent, advancing diversity and inclusion efforts, and enhancing workplace culture. Meyer-Shipp also served as a senior advisor to the Commissioner as well as leaders across 30 major league baseball teams and multiple Minor League teams.

Prior to MLB, Meyer-Shipp served as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at KPMG LLP, where she led programs and initiatives relating to talent recruitment, development and retention, supported the efforts of leaders across KPMG's 85+ national offices, and managed a portfolio of external strategic partnerships. Previously, she served as Global Chief Diversity Officer for both Prudential Financial and the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Do not include the numbers, just for reference Hauer & Feld LLP. Meyer-Shipp spent the first decade of her career practicing employment law in both the private and public sectors, where she advised clients on optimizing talent and equitable workplace initiatives. Meyer-Shipp is a graduate of Rutgers University and Seton Hall University School of Law.

 

EPISODE 05

Women, Work and COVID: Ending the Shecession

Women lost their jobs or left the workforce at significantly higher rates than men during the pandemic and have encountered more long-term barriers to reentry. As a result, this economic era has earned the nickname the “shecession.” The pandemic also eroded years of progress towards gender equality at work.

PART 1

In part 1 of this two-part episode, we will outline the social issues the pandemic has exposed and explore ways that employers can provide equitable skilling and meaningful employment to help women return to work.

PART 2

In part 2 of this two-part episode, we will outline the social issues the pandemic has exposed and explore ways that employers can provide equitable skilling and meaningful employment to help women return to work.

Guests

Dee Poku-Spalding, Founder and CEO, The WIE Suite

Lisa Skeete Tatum, Founder and CEO, Landit

Rachel Thomas, Co-founder and CEO, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org

Angela F. Williams, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide

More about the guests

Dee Poku-Spalding, Founder and CEO, The WIE Suite
— Dee is founder and CEO of The WIE Suite, a private membership community and peer learning platform for women in leadership. A former Hollywood studio executive, Dee oversaw the international campaigns on numerous award-winning films. She serves on the Board of Directors of the British Academy of Film & Television (BAFTA) and the Brooklyn Bridge Conservancy. Dee is also an advisor to various startups, and a contributor to Forbes Women. She was named one of Marie Claire Magazine’s 50 women changing the world.

 

Lisa Skeete Tatum, Founder and CEO, Landit
— Lisa is Founder and CEO of Landit, a personalized career pathing platform to increase the success of women and diverse groups in the workplace. Landit partners with Fortune 1000 companies around the globe to offer a turnkey solution to democratize success with a measurable ROI. Lisa serves on numerous public, high growth, and nonprofit boards, is a member of the 2012 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and a Harvard MBA. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Vanity Fair, Fortune, Inc., Black Enterprise, CNBC, BBC Business and named one of the Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs by Inc.

 

Rachel Thomas, Co-founder and CEO, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org
— Rachel is CEO of LeanIn.Org, the non-profit she co-founded with Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg to help women achieve their ambitions and create a more equal world. Under her leadership, Lean In has become a go-to resource for original research and data-backed tools to dismantle systemic bias at work, and the Lean In community has grown to include tens of thousands of small peer-support Circles in 188 countries. Rachel regularly speaks and writes on issues that affect women and is the host of Tilted, a LeanIn podcast.

 

Angela F. Williams, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide
— Angela is president and CEO of United Way Worldwide. A purpose-driven leader, she has more than 30 years of leadership experience across non-profits, business and government. She served on Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate Judiciary Committee staff as special counsel on criminal law, prosecutor on the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s National Church Arson Task Force, and an Assistant U.S. Attorney. She was named to Forbes’ 2021 List of Women 50 Over 50 Creating Social Change at Scale, and received a 2021 CEO Today Healthcare Award.

 

EPISODE 04

You have to see it to be it

Representation matters in sports, music, advertising and entertainment. When you see yourself on the big and small screen, in ad campaigns and leadership roles, it creates a wider sense of possibility; you can more fully envision that doors are open to you.

More diversity on screen, in ads, on stage and in decision-making positions goes a long way towards inspiring the next generation – the notion that we have to “see it to be it.” It also makes good business sense. Equity is not only important, it’s also good for the bottom line. It’s estimated that there are billions in untapped revenue given the lack of representation for all stories – and faces. So, what’s stopping these industries from achieving it?

Guests

Kevin Kwan, The New York Times Bestselling Author, Crazy Rich Asians; Executive Producer

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO, Dallas Mavericks

More about the guests

Kevin Kwan, The New York Times Bestselling Author, Crazy Rich Asians; Executive Producer
— Author of Crazy Rich Asians, the international bestselling novel that has been translated into more than 30 languages. China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems are the second and final books in the trilogy. For several weeks in 2018, the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy commanded the top three positions of The New York Times bestseller list - an almost unprecedented single-author trifecta, and the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians became Hollywood's highest grossing romantic comedy in over a decade.

 

Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO, Dallas Mavericks
— A dynamic force for inclusion and diversity within the Mavericks organization and over a 36-year career at AT&T. Widely recognized for her visionary leadership and ability to get things done, Marshall was touted as one of Adweek’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Sports and was selected as one of the 2019 Women of Power Legacy Award honorees by Black Enterprise. As the new CEO of the Mavericks in March 2018, she embarked on a culture transformation for the Mavs organization to become the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity.

 

EPISODE 03

Invisible disabilities

Invisible disabilities aren’t immediately apparent to others. They include developmental disabilities like autism and ADHD, visual or auditory impairment, and more. Because these disabilities can fly under the radar, a segment of the workforce lacks on-the-job support or, even worse, they can’t get their foot in the door because the hiring process just isn’t designed for them.

Companies are starting to understand how to break down employment barriers and retain different types of employees by highlighting their strengths and providing them with the support and accommodations they need to be successful. This episode will explore how to attract and retain job seekers with invisible disabilities – with a focus on underscoring the real value they bring to organizations.

Guests

Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft

Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialisterne & Specialisterne Foundation

More about the guests

Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft
— Jenny’s team is at the forefront of creating positive experiences that apply technology to make a difference in the world and the lives of individuals – from how Microsoft hires and supports people with disabilities in employment, to innovative technology that aims to revolutionize what’s possible for people with disabilities. Jenny was recognized as a “Disability Employment Champion of Change” by the White House in October 2014 and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2017.

Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialisterne and Specialisterne Foundation
— Thorkil Sonne founded Specialisterne in Denmark in 2004 after his youngest son was diagnosed with autism. The purpose was to create an environment in the workplace where autistic people can excel. Based on overwhelming international interest, Thorkil founded Specialisterne Foundation with the goal to enable one million jobs for autistic people by 2025. The foundation is associated with the UN Department of Public Information and the World Economic Forum.

EPISODE 02

Setting the stage for inclusion and innovation

Becoming an entrepreneur is tough. When it comes to launching new and innovative business ideas, you need the right types of support to turn dreams into reality. That’s why making inroads into industries like tech can be especially hard for African American, Black, Hispanic American and LatinX entrepreneurs. With less access to networks of mentors and investors, the odds of success are not in their favor.

This episode of Change Conversations was recorded at the Apollo Theater in New York City on June 17th, 2021, the day Juneteenth became a federal holiday in America and focuses on the systemic barriers to success that African American, Black, Hispanic American and LatinX entrepreneurs, creatives and founders continue to face… and what needs to be done to remove them.

Guests

Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer, Apollo Theater

Kathryn Ross, Global Open Innovation Lead and Black Founders Development Program Lead, Accenture

Pharrell Williams, Artist, Producer & Founder of Black Ambition

More about the guests

Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer, Apollo Theater
— Cofounder and artistic director of HiARTS, Kamilah Forbes, is an award-winning director and producer. In her diverse body of work, Forbes is noted for having a strong commitment to the development of creative works by, for, and about the Hip-Hop Generation. Her talent in the range of aforementioned endeavors has been said to “cast a vivid and evocative spell on both the national and international stage.”

Kathryn Ross, Global Open Innovation Lead and Black Founders Development Program Lead, Accenture
— Kathryn is the Global Open Innovation Lead where she works to connect Accenture’s Ecosystem partners to clients to drive growth, and to help clients innovate and rotate to the new. She is also the lead for the Accenture Black Founders Development Program, focused on elevating black entrepreneurs through investment and community. Kathryn is passionate about working with cutting edge technologies and has translated that interest into delivering innovative solutions for clients.

Pharrell Williams, Artist, Producer & Founder of Black Ambition
— Visionary recording artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams has been a creative force in the music industry and beyond for more than two decades. From his beginnings as a teenage prodigy and multi-instrumentalist in Virginia Beach back in the early ’90s, through enough hits to earn him Billboard’s Producer of the Decade in 2010, to his current status as multi-media superstar, Williams has never stopped creating.

EPISODE 01

Let’s get uncomfortable

Emmanuel Acho has changed the nature of conversations around race and equality in the US. Jimmy Etheredge has built his leadership agenda for Accenture North America on the commitment to doing well by doing good. In this mind-opening inaugural episode of Change Conversations, they get honest and real about their motivation and commitment to inspiring action from leaders, employees and communities that leads to equality for all. With a little humor and a lot of grit they show they are not afraid to tackle hard topics head on to build bridges, open hearts and minds, and inspire change.
And, it all starts with uncomfortable conversations.

More about the hosts

Jimmy Etheredge, CEO – North America, Accenture — As chief executive officer for Accenture North America—the company’s largest market—Jimmy Etheredge inspires 65,000-plus Accenture people in the United States and Canada to harness technology and human ingenuity to drive value and responsible change for clients and communities. Passionate about doing well and doing good, Jimmy encourages businesses to improve business value while simultaneously using their power and platforms to create opportunity for all.

Emmanuel Acho, FS1 Sports Analyst, former NFL Linebacker, and The New York Times Bestselling Author & Host, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man — Emmanuel Acho, the son of Nigerian immigrant parents, grew up in Dallas with his three siblings. He is a New York Times Bestselling author and the Host/Producer of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.  His ground-breaking online series to drive meaningful dialogue around racial insensitivity and ignorance launched in June 2020 with more than 80 million views to date. 

Emmanuel is a 2021 Sports Emmy winner, Fox Sports Analyst (Co-Host, FS1 “Speak for Yourself”) and television personality. He is a former NFL linebacker and has a master’s degree in Sports Psychology from the University of Texas.

Coming Soon

Here’s an upcoming conversation you can look forward to joining.

Looking back: highlights from a year of Change Conversations

Summertime is the perfect time to binge podcasts. Check out the the best of Change Conversations season one.