"Building an Authentic and Scalable DEI Strategy" is the first in a special series of podcasts for Founders, Talent Acquisition Leaders and HR Leaders who are in a rapidly growing and evolving organization and are constantly looking to elevate or even build their DEI strategy and culture. What makes this event special is that it is being programmed, in part, by you. What do I mean by that? The presentation is based on questions posed by the panel moderator and by questions submitted by our network.
Topics explored in this podcast event include how business leaders and executives can:
- Foster environments of cultural relevance and responsiveness so that the work of DEI does not become performative and outdated.
- Create a value-driven DEI brand that doesn’t focus solely on program-driven initiatives, but people-centered initiatives that drive cultural transformation.
- Identify critical need areas to inform company-wide policies and solutions.
- By understanding the pain points and areas of growth, organizations are positioned to develop sustainable DEI strategies that have realistic metrics of success and accountability across business units.
- Foster environments of learning where training and coaching allow for an increased awareness of unconscious bias, microaggressions, and other forms of discrimination in order to promote a workplace where people can continue to have fearless dialogue while gaining practical tools of inclusion.
- Serve as allies and advocates against all of discrimination in order to demonstrate that your company is committed to going beyond a statement and willing promote diversity and acceptance internally and externally as the core to its business success.
Speakers during the event are:
Greg Fontus - Lead Consultant for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Proactive Talent
Seema Daryanani - Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader at Google
Marissa Huang - Head of Talent at Playground Global
ABOUT OUR GUESTS
Greg Fontus has over 10 years’ worth of knowledge and experience challenging and empowering others to be inclusively excellent. As a sought-after diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategist, trainer, thought leader, and motivator he has made it a mission to inspire and impact others to be positive agents of social change in order to create environments where all people matter and belong regardless of identity. Greg demonstrates exceptional communication skills due to an extensive public speaking and presentation experience to all age demographics, ethnicities, and professional levels. His ability to build trusting relationships, enthuse, and strategize towards practical business solutions and life applications has proven to be an invaluable asset to both organizations and people.
Greg’s working style is energetic, anecdotal, learner-focused, conscientious, social-justice oriented, and memorable as he desires to not just help others improve their knowledge levels, but to also exude confidence in their willingness and ability to apply what they’ve learned. He is the CEO and Principal Consultant of The Fontus Experience, LLC., a diversity and inclusion firm which focuses on growing leaders and empowering teams and organizations of all sizes to work towards becoming inclusively excellent.
Greg holds graduate degrees from the University of South Florida in Curriculum Instruction and from Vanderbilt University in Divinity. He also holds DEI certifications as a Cook Ross Unconscious Bias Trainer, a Green Dots Bystander Intervention Trainer, and a National Coalition Building Institute Trainer. As someone dedicated to the work of inclusion, equity, justice, and advocacy, Greg has accepted as his personal call to action the words of civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson who stated: “We are citizens of a country that does not yet exist. It is our duty to usher that country into existence.”
Seema brings her commitment to inclusion and belonging to both her professional and volunteer work. A trained crisis counselor, she has a demonstrated passion for helping people and teams identify both professional and personal roadblocks and unconscious biases, rewire patterns, and strengthen relationships. She is currently a Global Diversity Business Partner at Google. Prior to that was a DI&B global leader at Anaplan, forming diversity alliances and partnerships, focusing on fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging, and leading the Women's ERG. Prior to Anaplan, she recruited executive technical talent with a focus on diversity and inclusion at Autodesk and the U.S. Digital Service, a start-up created by the Obama administration that hires technical talent from Silicon Valley to modernize government technology. Seema's long-term commitment to equity and inclusion extends far beyond her professional life. She's been actively involved fighting against human trafficking with International Sanctuary as an ambassador and Executive Board member for more than a decade. Seema also serves on the advisory board of Model Expand -a D&I strategy firm focused on employer branding and talent acquisition, as well as on the Equity and Inclusion Strategy Committee at Katherine Delmar Burke School, a gender-inclusive school for girls.
Marissa Huang is the Head of Talent at Playground Global, an early stage investment firm that focuses on deep tech and life science companies -- ranging from automation and AI, next generation compute, and consumer and enterprise products focused on both software and hardware.
Prior to joining Playground, Marissa led the talent function at Niantic Labs, growing the team from 70 to 700 employees in four years. She changed the function, culture, and impact of talent operations across the company to support the company’s business goals and strategies as well as the needs and aspirations of its growing team.
Marissa's previous experience also includes executive search, managing talent teams, and managing talent and people operations at later stage companies like Asana, Facebook, and Google. Marissa was the first head of talent at Thumbtack and Figma. She has previously worked with many prominent leaders across Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, to build and manage talent operations that support and reflect their dynamic needs.
In her spare time, Marissa enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle, making pottery, flipping houses around the Bay Area, and spending time with her dog, cats, and husband at their home in San Francisco. She loves learning new things and is inherently curious about people and their stories. In her executive coaching practice, she supports startup founders, CEOs, and other senior executives on their journey to becoming stronger leaders who build diverse teams and successful products.