Recap: Multicultural Women’s National Conference 2021

Multicultural women are a rich source of talent for organizations yet according to our research, nearly three quarters of multicultural women say having a mentor or sponsor would be helpful for their career but they don’t get that support. Given the tumultuous past year, the disproportionate socioeconomic impact on women of color, and the emotional toll of increasing racial tensions, the 2021 Multicultural Women’s National Conference reflected on the lessons learned in inclusion and leadership, and offer strategies for the future of the advancement of multicultural women in the workplace and beyond. 

Through leadership development workshops, best practices sharing, deep and insightful conversations about multicultural development, networking, and more,  this conference brought together women and their allies alongside DEI, HR and Talent practitioners from across industries. Click here to review the full agenda!

Opening Plenary: Welcome and Keynote


Opening Keynote: Taking Action From a Moment to a Movement
Speaker: Meena Harris /Founder and CEO of Phenomenal; NYT Bestselling author, Ambitious Girl

Intersectional Circles: Framing 
Facilitator: Eva Vega-Olds / Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Racial Equity and Community Connection Champion

Visual Notes by Dancing with Markers

Intersectional Circles: Part 1

During these open and honest conversations, attendees explored how their identity, race, and ethnicity creates unique challenges and opportunities for their professional advancement. 

Below are the recordings and visual notes taken at each of the self-identified breakout groups:
*Please only select the group with which you most identify

Asian Women:

Black Women:

Hispanic Women:

Native American Women:

White Women:

Men (As Allies):

Intersectional Circles: Part 2

In this cross-cultural session, attendees will discuss the outcomes and responses from Part 1 Intersectional Circles in small groups via video to share and hear insights and strategies on how we can become better allies

“Let’s Get Real” Race, Power and the Workplace & Afternoon Keynote: Power of Love

“Let’s Get Real” Race, Power & The Workplace

Moderator: Subha Barry / President / Seramount
Panelists: Wendy Garcia / Chief Diversity Officer / Office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer
Erin Chapple / Corporate Vice President, Azure Core / Microsoft
Cynthia Sugiyama / Senior Vice President, Head of HR Communications / Wells Fargo
Angela Guy / Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer / L’Oreal North America

Afternoon Keynote: Power of Love
Speaker: Valarie Kaur / Civil Rights Activist, Founder / Revolutionary Love Project; Author, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love

All in For Women in Tech


State of Women in Tech
Speaker: Emily Chang / Anchor and Executive Producer / Bloomberg Technology / and Author / Brotopia- Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley

All in For Women in Tech: Change Makers: Women in Tech Leadership Panel and Conversation
Moderator: Ginny Cheng / Recruiting Director / Zillow Group and Head of National Recruiting and Career Happiness Coach / Career Contessa
Panelists: Nitasha Chopra / Chief Of Staff and Director of Global Strategy, Internet of Things Group / Intel Corporation
Vanessa Feliberti/ Corporate Vice President, M365 Core Substrate Engineering / Microsoft
Dwana Franklin-Davis / Chief Executive Officer / Reboot Representation Tech Coalition
Annie Benitez Pelaez / General Manager – Elastic SIP Trunking / Twilio

Multicultural Women’s National Conference – DAY 2

Welcome: Best Companies Awards Celebration

Katie Mooney / Vice President, Diversity Best Practices / Seramount
Subha V. Barry / CEO / Seramount

Leadership & Practitioner Concurrent Sessions: Round 1

A. Leadership Discussion: Exploring the Bias Behind Imposter Syndrome

Moderator: Katie Mooney / Vice President, Diversity Best Practices / Seramount
Panelists: Jodi-Ann Burey / Speaker, Writer, Creator and Host of the podcast, Black Cancer
Ruchika Tulshyan / Founder / Candour; Author of The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace 

B. Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance

Facilitator: Erica Dhawan / CEO / Cotential

C. Practitioner Session: Strategies to Support Multicultural Women in 2021 and Beyond

Presenting Moderator: Felicity Hassan / President / Audeliss US
Presenters: Chelsea C. Williams / CEO / College Code l Workplace Strategist
Soniya Sheth / Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion / L’Oreal

D. All in For Women in Tech: Inclusive Tech Trends

Moderator: Alissa Hsu Lynch / Global Lead, MedTech Strategy and Solutions / Google 
Presenters: Amrita Sengupta / Senior Manager / Capgemini Research Institute
Sarah Hill / CEO & Chief Storyteller / Healium
Cierra McDonald / Principal Program Manager Lead / Xbox / Microsoft 

Leadership & Practitioner Concurrent Sessions: Round 2

A. Leadership StoryTalks: Staying the Course
Inspiring, motivational stories from Senior women and their best practices to get ahead.

Presenting Moderator: Shereese Floyd-Thompson / President & Founder / StoryMakers Consulting & Witness My Life Movement 
Panel: Erin Waters / Equity, Inclusion, & Diversity Consultant / Kaiser Permanente
Kathy Baird / Senior Director, Global Communications / NIKE, Inc.; Co-Chair Nike Native American Network

B. Leveraging Self-Advocacy, Influence and Position to Navigate the Changing Workplace
Co-Facilitators: Cate Luzio / Founder, CEO / Luminary
Marvell C. Allen / Owner, Principal / Millennium Career Advantage, LLC 

C. Practitioner Session: Accountability in D&I Leadership
Presenting Moderator: Claudia Schabel / President and CEO / Schabel Solutions, Inc
Presenters: Quinnie Wong / Global Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Branding, Communications, and Partnerships / Verizon
Erin Mitchell Richeson / Vice President, Inclusion & Diversity / Kimberly-Clark

D. All in For Women in Tech: Tech for Good

Presenting Moderator:  Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D. / Tech Evangelist, Amazon Web Services AI and Founder / 
Presenters: Merisa Heu-Weller / General Manager, Justice Reform Initiative Lead / Microsoft
Sabiha Rumani Malik / Founder and Executive President / The World Bee Project 
Deirdre G. Robinson / Senior Director Of Marketing / Verizon

Multicultural Women’s Legacy Award & Keynote


Introductions by: Subha V. Barry / President / Seramount
Legacy Honoree: Marley Dias / Activist, Executive Producer, and Author of Marley Dias Gets it Done And So Can You

“On Your Own” MCW On-Demand: Learnings & Solutions

This “On Your Own” session will offer up to seven, short On-Demand learning and development videos. These segments will feature a variety of formats and topics to give you a more well-rounded perspective, and a set of resources on what you’ll need to adapt in your changing workplaces.


  1. “Mind Your Money”: Financial Wellness Strategies


“Mind Your Money” empowers women to create their own economy by developing a healthy relationship with money. Learn top strategies on how to implement sustainable mental changes to enhance financial awareness and encourage new spending, savings, and earning habits.

Speaker: DeLayna M. Elliott / CEO, Certified Life and Financial Coach / W3 Women With Wealth

  1. “From Pigeon-Holed to Promoted”


Do you feel stuck? Do you want to have more impact in the organization? Gain key insights into how to create your roadmap to success in remote and virtual settings.

Speaker: Sharon Melnick, PhD / CEO / Horizon Point Inc

  1. “What’s Up with White Women? Strategies for Unpacking Sexism and White Privilege”


While White women face experiences of gender oppression, they also benefit from White privilege. White women are located in a societal hierarchy where White men make the rules, and White women frequently enforce them. Many strategies developed to navigate sexism in the workplace are maladaptive and can cause harm to People of Color. This On-Demand will highlight three patterns of behavior: perfectionism, control, and defensiveness, within the context of sexism and White privilege, and provide strategies to better work in multicultural partnerships.

Speakers: Ilsa Govan / Co-Founder / Cultures Connecting
Tilman Smith / Independent Consultant, Coach, Trainer / Tilman Smith Consulting

  1. How to be an Effective Storyteller & Communicator


Uncover and analyze how your experiences impact your growth and leadership, and leverage key tips to develop influence and the power of persuasion. 

Speaker: Shereese Floyd-Thompson / President & Founder / StoryMakers Consulting & Witness My Life Movement

  1. Mental Health Disparities and How Multicultural Women Can Navigate Stressors


This on-demand session will highlight the unique mental health disparities that women of color face in communities and in the workplace. Join this session to learn strategies on how to navigate stressors, new roles, and changes in a pandemic, while working to eradicate these health disparities.

Speaker: Jessica Isom, MD, MPH / Psychiatrist /Codman Square Health Center

  1. All in for Women in Tech: Navigating the Tech Workforce as a Multicultural Woman


Explore how to speak up for yourself in a corporate setting when you don’t think you fit the “mold” of a traditional employee and make calculated risks.

Speaker: Helen Huang / Co-Founder / Co.Lab

  1. All in for Women in Tech: Creative Networking Tips for Women in Tech


Networking can be daunting, especially if you consider yourself an introvert, if you are just starting your career or if you’re pivoting to a new career. And women of color in particular may find the application process for tech roles discouraging if they don’t receive enough feedback.

Learn about creative ways to connect with recruiters/managers in tech and get 1:1 meetings and explore online resources to set you up for professional success in the tech space. 

Speaker: Bedilia Ramirez / Technical Recruiter / NYC Tech Talent Pipeline