Matthew is the Diversity & Inclusion and Leadership Chair for Boston Consulting Group, and leads the Women@BCG program, which aims to improve women’s recruiting, retention, advancement and satisfaction at the firm. Under Matthew’s leadership, BCG has increased the proportion of women in entry level hires from 29% to 35%, women and men are retained at equal rates and the number of female partners has grown at three times the rate of male partners. He is involved in a number of organisations that promote women in business including Catalyst’s Board of Advisors, and The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. In 2016 and 2017, Matthew led TEDWomen workshops focused on promoting women’s inclusion and men’s role in advancing gender diversity, and frequently sits on panels on the topic. He has also authored many publications which have been shared in the press, with clients and in women’s forums including ‘How AI Could Help—or—Hinder Women in the Workforce’ (BCG May 2019), ‘Diversity Is Just the First Step. Inclusion Comes Next. (BCG April 2019)’, ‘Lightening the Mental Load that Holds Women Back (BCG April 2019)’ and ‘What Diversity and Inclusion Policies Do Employees Actually Want? (Harvard Business Review February 2019)’, among others.
Marc Benioff is Chairman, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Under Benioff’s leadership, Salesforce is the fastest-growing top-five enterprise software company and the #1 provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software globally. Benioff was named “Innovator of the Decade” by Forbes and is recognized as one of the World’s 25 Greatest Leaders by Fortune and one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review. For his leadership on equality, Benioff has been honored by GLAAD, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and Variety Magazine with its EmPOWerment Award. A member of the World Economic Forum (“WEF”) Board of Trustees, Benioff serves as the inaugural Chair of WEF’s Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. Benioff received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, where he is on its Board of Trustees.
Ajay has forged a company and culture at Mastercard where inclusion, opportunity and empowerment for women are global priorities. He’s made gender equality a central, guiding theme – not only for our diversity, inclusion and hiring efforts, but in Mastercard’s business strategy in general. Under Ajay’s guidance, Mastercard has created a global female leadership development programme to identify next generation talent and ensure they have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for broader roles within the company. Additionally, Mastercard’s Women’s Leadership Network has expanded to 31 chapters around the world, supporting the growth and development of 3,500 members. Ajay’s vision of Mastercard becoming a leader in products designed for women and his support in helping them get access to finance and funding shows up in many of the company’s programmes, including supply chain financing for microbusinesses and entrepreneurs in markets where women represent a large, underserved segment; and linking identification to payments to benefit the millions of women globally who lack formal ID. Ajay provided the pioneering vision for Girls4Tech™, the award-winning education programme developed in conjunction with top engineers and technologists to teach STEM foundations and principles to girls aged 8-13 around the world. Beyond Mastercard, Ajay is involved in global initiatives and organisations that encourage and empower women financially. He is an investor in Ellevest, has partnered with World Bank to help women in under-developed areas, and regularly speaks to executive groups and student groups on D&I.
Peter has been the leading force and champion of diversity and inclusion efforts at Bloomberg, holding the company’s business leaders accountable for the development and execution of business-specific diversity and inclusion plans. Under this leadership, Bloomberg expanded its Financial Services Gender-Equality Index in 2018 to launch its first sector-neutral version. The success of last year’s inaugural Bloomberg Equality Summit, part of the company’s cross-platform editorial initiative focused on supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workforce, has led to further events in New York, London and Mumbai. Bloomberg News’ New Voices initiative aims to increase the representation of women sources in both online and on-air content. Last year, Peter launched a ‘Chairman’s Challenge’, a firm-wide competition to encourage the development of innovative D&I initiatives. Externally, Peter is the Founding Chairman of the U.S. 30% Club, creating numerous initiatives focused on increasing the pipeline of female talent. Initiatives include a cross-company mentoring programme, a partnership with theBoardlist, and a Future Female Directors programme. Peter also serves as a mentor with Catalyst’s Women On Board programme.
Lou is currently the Executive Sponsor of State Street’s Professional Women’s Network (PWN), an ERG providing professional development opportunities to women across the company. As part of his work with PWN, Lou launched and continues to lead the PWN’s Global Advisory Board – a group of senior executives who advise on policies that drive diverse hiring and promotional practices. He also encourages colleagues and peers to participate in PWN events as he strongly believes that networking and conversations will help to drive a strong pipeline of female talent through the organisation. To help change the face of financial services, and make sure that the organisation reflects the communities where employees live and work, Lou is also an active champion of diverse hiring practices, and actively encourages his teams to bring in diverse slates of talent when making hiring decisions, which has resulted in hiring of several women for key leadership roles across State Street. Lou often presents on career management and talent management to give women the tools they need to advance their careers. He mentors many women throughout State Street, and is an active supporter of the Esperanza Academy, a tuition-free, independent middle school welcoming girls of diverse faiths, races and cultures in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
During his tenure leading State Street’s asset management arm, State Street Global Advisors, Ron’s stewardship team focused on gender diversity on boards, following research linking gender diversity to better business outcomes. In 2017 Ron and his team called on boards to ensure they were focusing on gender diversity as a reflection of board quality and overall cognitive diversity. They committed to voting against the member slates of those boards that had no women and no plan in place to add women. On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2017, Ron’s team placed the Fearless Girl statue in the centre of Wall Street as a symbolic call for more women on boards. Fearless Girl ignited a global conversation about the power of women in leadership and inspired companies around the world to add women to their boards. Since launching the campaign, 445 companies of the 1,265 identified have responded to the call to action by either adding a female director or committing to do so. As the CEO of State Street, Ron continues to be laser-focused on gender diversity, introducing company-wide diversity goals and comprehensively diverse talent slates, among other initiatives. Externally, Ron is a frequent speaker at important corporate governance/gender diversity events, and is a member of the 30% Club and the Boston Foundation Board of Directors.
Shruthi has established diversity and inclusion among the baseline values for Adapt Ready. Despite being a startup, she believes that establishing such values at the beginning will blend into the culture of the company. Last year, Shruthi’s team made a conscious decision to have women represent 50% not only on the board, but also among employees. The board goal has been met and the organisation is close to reaching the same ratio among employees. She believes that no matter how good the policies and governance are within companies, in order for them to effectively work, every organization has a responsibility to go further – and hence, at Adapt Ready, Shruthi also established a system of governance to constantly challenge biases towards gender, race, even functional roles among other diverse characteristics to influence change beyond the company. Despite being a startup, Adapt Ready is designing workforce policies to simplify the hiring and retaining of such talent, such as flexible hours and 50% remote work. In addition to championing these within the organisation, Shruthi took the initiative in sharing best practices with a community of startup founders and other organisations and communicating it to Adapt Ready’s advisors and board to create a ripple effect and close the gender gap. As a thought leader, Shruthi is frequently invited to speak on diversity & inclusion. She regularly mentors other women, particularly those thinking of starting their own business, and was recently named ‘Champion for Action’ by Grant Thornton International.
Christina co-leads Women @ MHUSA, Moet Hennessy USA’s internal initiative and the most celebrated pillar of MHUSA’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy. The program is based on three pillars – personal and professional development, creating meaningful connections (both internally and externally) and giving back to the community. In 2018, Women @ MHUSA organised and hosted 350+ participants at over 30 events and programmes in New York and across the United States. They also launched a Women in Leadership Speaker Series and created monthly author and panel discussions and networking events with best-selling authors in conversation with a diverse group of panellists about poignant and relevant topics. They have elevated their partnership with Women of the Vine and Spirits, and continued to foster Dress for Success corporate partnership for eight professional women’s group events. Christina is an active member of the nationally recognised Dress for Success organisation, and has participated in annual clothing drive collections as well as served as mentor during their Professional Women’s Group meetings; sharing insights and learnings about her own career to benefit the women who are part of the Dress for Success network.
KR has been a fierce advocate and leader for connecting underrepresented groups with disabilities throughout the technology industry. At Amazon, her passion is to continue to drive inclusion and awareness for people of all backgrounds with disabilities to have a voice to create change. Prior to Amazon, KR advised Google on several projects that focused on tech innovation in accessibility. Her main project, Live Caption was announced at Google I/O 2019 by Google CEO, Sundar Pichai. KR is on several boards such as, the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, Deaf Kids Code, and the World Wide Hearing Foundation, and SXSW to drive disability inclusion in product design and culture. She has been awarded a U.S. Congressional award; Silicon Valley’s Top 40 Under 40 and 2017 Women of Influence; and 2015 Women on the Move by Women’s Business Journal for her advocacy and accessibility work in technology and policy.
Kenesa Ahmad is an attorney and risk advisor, widely recognized as a leading expert in privacy, data protection and information security. In 2017, Kenesa co-founded Aleada, a boutique information privacy and security consulting firm based in San Francisco. She started the company with two fellow co-founders of Women in Security and Privacy (WISP), a non-profit organization established in 2014. Kenesa’s objective with Aleada is to put into practice the WISP mission – to advance women in the converging fields of privacy and security. Aleada has made a commitment to recruit and hire diverse individuals seeking to enter or transition into the privacy field. Aleada specifically focuses on providing career opportunities for individuals re-entering the workforce from caretaking or family rearing roles, second career job seekers, and new graduates.