The first Indian-American woman to make partner at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman knows that women of color are often underrepresented at work and they may be one of the first, few, or only women of color at their company. But Deepa also knows that women of color are an incredibly powerful force for creativity and new ideas. Deepa uses her hands-on experience as a senior executive, specializing in diversity and equity, to teach us how to be inclusive leaders and to show women of color that their diversity is an amazing source of strength.
In the working world, women of color often receive the message that to be successful, they have to change who they are—leaving them feeling exhausted, frustrated, burned out, and isolated from their peers. Spending more than twenty years as a senior partner at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman experienced her own moments where she felt pressured to change who she was. She soon realized that her difference was a source of strength and power, and he was inspired to better understand the unique dynamics and challenges that women of color face in the workplace.
Deepa’s debut book—The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America—is a deeply personal call-to-action for women of color to find the power within themselves, to join together in community with each other, and advocate for a new kind of corporate world. Deepa’s mission is to help women of color navigate the complex structures of corporate life—she wants women to both take a seat at the table and to change the way the table is formed. Deepa recently brought her mission to life as the cofounder of nFormation: a first-of-its-kind community platform for women of color, by women of color. You can read more of Deepa’s groundbreaking insights in Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and The Huffington Post.
Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world.
Born and raised in Los Angeles and Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 FatherBoyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights. DoloresMission was the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration of gang activity in the city.
Father Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, he and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings.
In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to thousands of men and women who walkthrough its doors every year seeking a better life.
Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New YorkTimes-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His second book, Barking to the Choir: The Power of RadicalKinship, was published in 2017. And his new and third book is The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness that recently debuted in Fall of 2021.
He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, President Obama named Father Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics. Homeboy Industries was the recipient of the2020 Hilton Humanitarian Prize validating 32 years of Fr. Greg’s vision and work by the organization for over three decades.
Kevin Bradley is the Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion, and Community for HUB International. Joining the organization in 2021, he is responsible for crafting the company’s overarching D&I strategy and providing coaching and consultation to ensure the execution of the strategy on all levels or the organization and is a member of the Enterprise Leadership Group.
Mr. Bradley is a seasoned Diversity & Inclusion practitioner with over 30 years in Human Resources. He has been a recruiter, business partner, EEO/AA Compliance leader and D&I leader. Bradley has worked in various industries including manufacturing, aerospace, fast food, and financial services. Throughout his career, he has had the developed D&I strategies that includes building ERGs from the ground up, introducing D&I curriculum, and establishing external community partnerships. At times has managed both the diversity and compliance functions simultaneously, which has allowed him to leverage compliance initiatives to enhance diversity strategies. Bradley has always created collaborative internal coalitions with key internal leaders and stakeholders to create, establish and grow D&I strategies. His philosophical approach is that diversity & inclusion is part of every leader and employee’s jobs.
He is often asked to speak at events on the topic of diversity as a business driver and has received recognition for his work in advocating for diverse communities. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Access Living, a nationally renowned disability advocacy organization and locally with the Parents’ Alliance Employment Project. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Philharmonic. He has been asked to serve on the Chicago advisory committees for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and is on the DEI Advisory Committee for his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon,
Mr. Bradley earned his BA from Northeastern Illinois University and his MS from Villanova University.
As Newfront's Wellbeing Practice Lead, Robyn is a dedicated consultant with experience across multiple industries, especially technology. Robyn's interests lie in developing wellbeing initiatives to help employers cultivate a positive work environment while also managing costs related to employee engagement. Robyn has supported clients in developing health education campaigns, creating benefit communications, selecting vendor partners, leading training events and webinars, along with a host of other customized wellbeing initiatives.
Robyn brings more than 10 years of healthcare industry experience to the team - previously working as a Case Manager for Genentech, a dental Front Office Manager, a Pharmacy Technician at Rite-Aid, and a Collegiate Health Advocate for
R.E.A.C.H. for Wellness/Fulton County Department of Health. Since joining Newfront (formerly ABD) in 2015, Robyn initially focused on workers' compensation claims advocacy prior to her transition to the Employee Benefits department in 2021. Robyn brings each of these unique experiences as perspective to solve the challenges of her clients related to employee health and wellbeing.
Robyn is an active champion of Newfront's employee engagement initiatives and serves as the internal Wellbeing Committee Chair, is an inaugural member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, and Co-Founder of the Black Employee Resource Group.
The Liberty Company continues to raise the standard of doing good business in the world by taking great care of their Leaders, Staff, and Clients. A year ago they invested in adding a member to the Executive team with Anthony Dippolito, Chief Wellness Officer. Solidifying a unified growth mindset in the organization and supporting the team holistically with tools like Mindfulness, Meditation, Visualization, and Executive Coaching; Anthony brings a breadth and depth of knowledge guiding individuals and groups through whatever could be slowing them down mentally, physically, or spiritually.
Anthony’s mission as the Chief Wellness Officer of Liberty is to create opportunities for Team Members to activate their J-O-B or Joy of Being and believes that when an individual is operating from a place of Joy the quality of their work will be superior, the process they went through to create it will be sustainable and their energy will amplify good feelings overall.
Anthony is a graduate of the University of Southern California and refined his Leadership by managing and directing the careers of top Motion Picture and TV Talent as a Hollywood Agent. However, with a deep desire to help create greater lasting change in people's lives, Anthony earned his Masters in Neuropsychology with a focus on Neuro Linguistic Programming and has been utilizing his diverse skillset and life experience to support teams, groups, individuals, and couples to achieve what it is they are most desiring.
Cathline Fort is Vice President, Safety & Heath for the Southern California Regional Offices at Zenith Insurance Company, a Fairfax Company. She graduated from Stanford University with her degree in Industrial Engineering. A Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and an Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist (AFIS), Cathline’s diverse insurance background includes various managerial, technical and consulting roles.
Cathline joined the Zenith team in 2018. During her tenure with other large carriers she managed Western Region Territories that covered seven states, including parts of Southern California, AZ, CO, UT, NM, WY and ID.
Her policyholder expertise spans various industries and ranges in size from Global, National, Middle Market and Small Business.
Passionate about community, Cathline currently:
Represents Zenith on Fairfax Holdings’ Black Initiative ActionCommittee·
Chairs the Planning Commission for a local city agency
Volunteers as Student Success advisor for a non-profit university
Organizes various events to benefit people in need
Passionate about community, Cathline has also been:
Co-chair of a Black Insurance Professional’s Network
Member of the Board of Managers for a local YMCA
Board President for a high-performing school district
State Delegate for the California School Board Association
Coordinator of Ronald McDonald House community service for the Council of African AmericanParents (CAAP)
Mentored students at Leading Edge Learning Center (a college readiness program)
Annie is the Business Insurance Field Vice President for the Pacific region. She has responsibilities for leading the P&L results, including underwriting, sales and distribution strategies, for 11 Business Insurance units in CA and HI.
She began her career with Aetna Life & Casualty as a college intern and continued to develop her career in the Marketing department. In 1994, she joined St. Paul as a Technology Account Executive. At St. Paul and Travelers, she continued to take on increasing responsibilities and leadership roles in Technology, Global Accounts, Commercial Accounts, Inland Marine, Construction, Ocean Marine, Energy, Excess Casualty, Public Sector, National Property and Select (Small Commercial).
She has a passion for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the opportunities to drive innovation and competitive edge by promoting diversity of thought and celebrating differences. She also actively advocates for attracting, retaining, developing and advancing high potential diverse talent through mentorship, sponsorship, and diversity strategy leadership.
Annie earned her degree in Economics and Business from U.C.L.A. She and her husband, Paul, have two children and reside in Newport Beach, California.
Barbara L. Kornblau, JD, OTR/L, FAOTA, DASPE, CCM, CDMS, CPE is an attorney, an occupational therapist, a certified case manager, a certified disability management specialist, and a person with a disability. She is a Professor, and Program Director of Idaho State University’s Occupational Therapy Program and has been appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Individuals with Disabilities and Disasters by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Dr. Kornblau is a former Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in the U.S. Senate, where she worked on disability issues. She is a Past President of the American Occupational Therapy Association and a past chair of the AOTA Commission on Standards and Ethics. She is the current Advocacy and Policy Coordinator of AOTA’s Rehabilitation and Disability Special Interest Section. As an attorney, she litigated cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act, involving discrimination in employment, state and local government services, and health care services. Dr. Kornblau has presented nationally and internationally and is widely published.
Di-Keisha Peoples is the Human Resources Business Partner for the Northern California Region of Zenith Insurance Company. As a strategic partner to the business, Di-Keisha provides support in employee development, engagement, retention, and business goals through interpretation and application of California employee legislation.
With nearly 10 years spent in Human Resources across various sectors, Di-Keisha brings a unique approach to her work that focuses first on relationship building. Di-Keisha believes that healthy relationships set the stage for engaged people, which is fundamental for employee success. In her people-centric approach, Di-Keisha encourages and guides leaders in creating an environment where employees can bring their most authentic selves, further enhancing the culture that makes Zenith a great place to work.
Di-Keisha has spent the past three years growing her knowledge base and driving internal change to advance Zenith’s commitment to action in the DEIB space.
“DEIB is not an initiative, rather a journey that calls you to learn and unlearn, with an open mind and heart.” – Di-Keisha Peoples
Anna is the Head of Talent and Workforce Sustainability. In this role, Anna is responsible for enterprise planning and deliverables for Talent Acquisition, Talent Brand, Talent Management, Performance Development, Employee Engagement and Experience, and Diversity & Inclusion.
Anna began her career at Farmers in 2014 as a Core Compensation Programs Manager. She oversaw the core compensation programs including the global compensation management system, short term incentive and sales programs, as well as any employee related communications. In 2015, Anna was the Chief of Staff to the Head of Human Resources. In this role, she supported the Head of HR and the HR Leadership Team in the development and dissemination of people capital strategies, annual priorities and operating plans. In 2017, Anna was the Human Resources Business Partner, supporting Enterprise Marketing, Strategy & Execution, and the Chief Administrator’s Office. In this role, Anna was responsible for people initiatives within each line of business. In 2020, Anna was Director of Workforce Performance leading D&I, Engagement, CSR and Talent initiatives.
Prior to Farmers, Anna worked for Grant Thorton as an Audit Associate where she earned her Certified Public Accountant certificate (CPA). She then joined Princess Cruises where she worked in several areas of Human Resources including compensation, compliance, and project management supporting over 20,000 employees globally.
Anna earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in Human Resources from Pepperdine University.
Ronald Reeves, CDP is currently AIG’s Chief Diversity Officer. He has worked for AIG for 22 years. Prior to assuming the CDO role, Ronald was Head of Diversity & Inclusion for the United States, Canada, Latin America & Caribbean for four years. He is responsible for partnering with AIG’s leaders, managers, and employees to design, develop and implement a sustainable, measurable, and impactful DEI strategy that focuses on talent, workplace, and the marketplace. Ronald is a Certified Diversity Professional.
Under Ronald’s leadership, AIG has been named to the DiversityInc’s Top 50 List for the past four years. In 2021, AIG was ranked #37. AIG was ranked No. 38 in 2020, No. 39 in 2019 and No. 45 in 2018. AIG placed 5th on DiversityInc’s Top Companies for Employee Resource Groups list for 2021. AIG has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign for 10 consecutive years. AIG was also named one of the Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion in 2021. Ronald is a Board Member of Temple University’s Center for Ethics, Diversity & Workplace Culture. Ronald was also recognized as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers by the National Diversity Council in 2021 & 2022.
Ronald is a seasoned financial services industry training & leadership development professional. He has extensive global leadership and management development experience. He is a skilled presenter, facilitator, sales trainer, instructional designer, project manager, executive/sales/life coach & learning officer. He holds numerous learning & development certifications such as Achieve Global, DDI, Wilson Learning, Results Coaching Systems, MBTI, and Facet 5 to name a few.
Ronald also has experience writing state training grant proposals as well as administering million dollar grants. He is a former award winning Sales Agent & Sales Manager for Allstate Insurance Company. Ronald is passionate about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, leadership/executive development as well as improving sales revenue/production. He received his B.A. in Journalism from San Jose State University. Ronald resides in Los Angeles.
Vandana Sule is a Principal in Ernst & Young’s Consulting Services practice and leads the Insurance sector growth strategy in west region. She is primarily focused on the property & casualty Insurance sector leading large transformation programs and serving as trusted advisors to C-level executives of large tier Insurance Clients. Vandana has more than 22 years of experience in business transformation, operational efficiencies, technology enablement and delivery management primarily in insurance and finance services. Areas of expertise include business & IT transformation specializing in financial services, revenue and resource forecasting, contract negotiations & vendor management and client relations development & management.
Michael Thomas is a Principal in the Los Angeles office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Michael is a member of Jackson Lewis’ class action practice group and corporate diversity consulting practice group where he advises and works with employers in addressing the full spectrum of workplace diversity and inclusion related issues, including conducting root cause analysis and diversity diagnostics, conducting workplace trainings on unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, and inclusive leadership and how to collect, disclose and manage diversity related data. Michael has a BA from Bucknell University, a JD from Boston College Law School and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley, Walter A. Haas, School of Business. Michael also has a yoga certification from the Niroga Institute in Berkeley, California and has studied and published on the role of yoga, mindfulness and mediation on understanding trauma in the workplace. His approach to diversity and inclusion includes best practices, neuroscience, adult learning, experiential learning, dialogue, body awareness and mindfulness.
Lale is a Managing Director and Head of Credit at Swiss Re. In her role, she is responsible for steering the firm’s investments in global credit markets. She is also DEI ambassador for Swiss Re Asset Management. She comes to Swiss Re after spending three years as Senior Fund Manager and Head of Credit at J O Hambro Capital Management. Previously, she spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs in various leadership roles, where she invested across credit and equity markets. She started her career as a sell-side research analyst in 1999 at Goldman Sachs was named Managing Director in 2010. Lale earned a BA in Economics and Politics, cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College. She lives in Montclair, NJ with her wife and two children.