Community Forum: Leading with Inclusion - What's Next?

Friday, October 29th 2021

We’re at an unprecedented juncture, having experienced a massive shift in how and where we do our jobs. We now have an opportunity to redesign our workplaces so they truly work for more employees. The pull toward old ways of thinking is still strong. But as our recent Watermark and Vox Media pandemic survey showed, women are driving the ‘great resignation' and change is imperative.

Now is the time for workplaces to courageously redesign work so that it works for women across all our identities, circumstances and life stages.

In this highly interactive forum, we'll hear from business leaders who are already implementing solutions for a new future, and then invite participants to join breakout rooms to capture and share their best ideas for creating workplaces that allow everyone to thrive.

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie is Lead Strategist, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the co-founder of the new Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. She advises the diversity and inclusion efforts at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and teaches executive education. She is the former Executive Director of Stanford University's Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Lori speaks globally at organizations such as the European Central Bank, the Watermark Conference for Women and the World Banking Group. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, BBC, San Francisco Chronicle, and Brand Eins. Lori was one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2017 and was interviewed for the 2018 documentary, Bias. Lori brings 20 years of business management experience from companies including Procter & Gamble, Apple, eBay and PayPal and is on the board of the Alliance for Girls. She has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Neha Sampat

Neha Sampat is CEO at Contentstack™ – a leading Content Management System (CMS) and Content Experience Platform (CXP). Neha also founded digital transformation consultancy Raw Engineering, which helps large organizations adopt API-first, cloud-native and SaaS technologies. Neha is a recognized industry leader, a proponent of diversity and an outspoken advocate for women in leadership. She can be found appearing on keynote stages or expert panels discussing her experiences as an entrepreneur, a female leader, or her company's role in the future of technology. Neha was named in “San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” in 2017, is a “San Francisco Business Times 40 under 40” honoree and one of “50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley” in 2015. Neha was most recently honored as “CEO of the Year” by Aragon Research in December 2018.

Rita Giacalone

Rita Giacalone, Ph.D., is Vice President, Culture, Diversity & Belonging, at Autodesk. In her role as a galvanizing and culture-shaping senior executive, she is committed to developing programs that ensure equitable opportunities for all people. With her support, Autodesk has been recognized for outstanding gender diversity on its board of directors, has established an executive team that is 45 percent women leaders, and has been named a 2021 Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality. Her initiatives to grow culture and belonging at Autodesk span organizations across more than 60 global locations encompassing more than 10,000 employees.

Rita’s work is underpinned by her background in clinical psychology and grounded in her belief in the fundamental dignity and value of every person. Prior to joining Autodesk, she worked with companies including Salesforce, Glassdoor, and SAP to optimize client engagement and productivity through executive and team coaching. Rita is a licensed clinical psychologist and is a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)-certified practitioner. She is also certified by the Center for Creative Leadership, Ideo University, Bridges Certified Trainers, and is an accredited facilitator and trainer with Wiley.

Rita received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her Ph.D. from the Wright Institute.

Sally Thornton

An instigator on how to thrive in the future of work, Sally is the CEO of Forshay, a firm that focuses on how people can do their best work through executive recruiting, project-based work, and improving the system of work through increased diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Forshay is proud to be a B Corporation, a for-profit community using business as a force for good.

Forshay was awarded #290 on the Inc. 5000 "Fastest-Growing Private Companies" list for 2015. Prior to founding Forshay, Sally co-founded and was CEO of Flexperience. Under her leadership, Flexperience grew into a nationally acclaimed firm, and was awarded “Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies” in 2010 by the San Francisco Business Times.

A speaker in two TEDx talks, Sally is a frequent keynote speaker on the future of work, women in leadership, diversity & inclusion, the science of work/life blend, applying design thinking to make work better, harnessing the value of a multi-generational workforce, and talent recruitment and engagement strategies. Sally has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, BBC, Forbes, YahooFinance, Huffington Post, KQED radio, NBC11 News, ABC7 News, among numerous other media publications.

Sally launched WorkLab in 2015, a design thinking community of action committed to making work better, based on her work with Stanford's "Redesigning and Redefining Work" project. She is committed to prototyping new workplace strategies and systems that align with the lives of today's workforce so companies can better harness talent for mutual success. WorkLab uses design thinking, lean start up, and storytelling skills to design, test, and scale experiments to #MakeWorkBetter.

Sally lectures regularly at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business as well as UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. She served for six years on the Advisory Council of Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

Solomon Wilkins

Solomon Wilkins is the Head of Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) at Synopsys and has global responsibility for the design, development, and execution of Synopsys’ I&D goals.

Solomon collaborates with Synopsys key stakeholders to define and build a culture that embraces One Synopsys, a vision, and a cultural behavior for the company. Solomon’s influence has been instrumental in launching Synopsys Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), a first for the leader in Electronic Design Automation.

Solomon is a veteran in the I&D space having started his journey in 2006 with He’s worked for fortune 100 companies such as Target and Amazon and prior to joining Synopsys, he was the Director of I&D for Western Digital. Prior to Western Digital, he served as a Sr. Manager of global I&D for Amazon, where he designed, developed, and implemented multiple successful I&D programs.

In addition to working in Corporate America, Solomon is an award-winning author, business strategist and keynote speaker where he’s keynoted events for companies such as Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, UC Berkeley and more.

Solomon holds a masters’ degree in Organizational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Humboldt State University.