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You Diversify Your Portfolio, You Should Diversify Your Company, Too!!

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Diversity and inclusion in the workforce are talked about a lot these days. What does it mean and how does it differ from the well-known EEOC requirements that we aim to meet during our hiring process? What does a diverse and inclusive workforce look like? How does the workforce interact? Is it really that different? Most of all, how do we know when we have “arrived”?

Our panel includes representatives from companies which have embraced diversity and inclusion as part of their culture and they are here to share their experiences and business impacts which resulted from this shift.

Areas covered include:

  • What were the biggest challenges when deciding to embrace diversity and inclusion? Was there any one thing which made the transition seem insurmountable?
  • What were the reactions if employees, partners, and vendors? Do you require partners and vendors to subscribe to the concept of diversity and inclusion? Why or why not?
  • What has been the biggest reward(s) from initiative? How has it impacted the workplace?
  • Ideas on how companies can promote/encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace and partner relationship.


Courtney Karnes
Director, Access to Innovation
Silicon Valley Bank

Courtney Karnes is the director of SVB’s Access to Innovation program, an initiative aimed to transform lives through creating opportunities in the innovation economy. With a deep passion for mission-driven work, Courtney thrives on assisting multiple stakeholders for the betterment of all. She benefits her community by helping underserved and underrepresented groups find paths to success in the tech industry, and in doing so, expanding pools of talent available to SVB as well as the clients they serve.

Courtney has a long-standing passion for building strategic partnerships that solve big problems. Prior to joining SVB in 2017, she spent her earlier career working in the nonprofit sector raising money to cure cancer. Serving the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, most recently as executive director of the Silicon Valley Chapter, she devoted her talents to major gifts fundraising, business development and culture transformation. During this time, she was often inspired by therapeutic advancements in cancer research; now, she finds it extremely gratifying that her work could potentially help discover and mentor the next generation of game-changers in the field. Courtney holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Davis.


Aubrey Blanche
Global Head of Diversity & Belonging

Aubrey Blanche is the Global Head of Diversity & Belonging at Atlassian. There, she works with teams across the business to provide greater opportunities for everyone to join Atlassian and do the best work of their lives there. Her work spans the talent lifecycle from increasing access to technical education for underrepresented minorities through recruiting, retention, and advancement of all Atlassians. She relies heavily on empirical social science in her work and has developed a new team-level paradigm for external diversity reporting. She believes that leading with empathy is the key to driving meaningful, sustainable change and creating highly effective teams.

In all areas of her work, she seeks to design effective interventions, programs, and talent practices that create equal opportunities for all Atlassians, and for the global tech industry. She is heavily involved in multiple industry groups seeking to define new standards for company transparency, reporting, and investment in diversity & inclusion. She is an advisor to SheStarts, a Sydney-based accelerator focused exclusively on supporting female founders, Joonko, and

Sarah Nichols
HR Attorney
Nichols Law, P.C.

Ms. Nichols is an attorney with more than 20 years of experience in HR/employment law. She provides effective legal representation and advice to employers and employees. Her advice is measured, concise and tailored based upon the needs of the client. A subject matter expert, aware of trends in business and law, her solutions are innovative but always practical.

Sarah partners with in-house counsel, HR and operations executives to provide advice and counsel on compliance, risk and crisis management, investigations, employment contracts, HR policies and litigation. In over 20 years, Sarah has guided hundreds of organizations from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies as they defend individual and class action claims.

Sarah represents individuals in relation to their discrimination, retaliation, and wage and hour claims. She assists employees negotiating their exits from their employers. She is a tough and conscientious advocate for her clients and believes having experience on both sides makes her a better advocate.

Sarah is a skilled public speaker, author, coach and HR expert. She has taught at both Berkeley and Hastings Law Schools, is a frequent speaker for associations as well as private employers and provides compliance and liability prevention training for managers. She is passionate about different cultures in the workplace, closing the pay gap and involved in the community through her work on the boards of Youth Speaks, an educational non-profit empowering youth through spoken word.


Hyma Menath
Talking Cranes

Talking Cranes works with organizations around the world to advance women in leadership and help companies build a stronger, more inclusive and equitable workplace.

As a founder and passionate diversity advocate, Hyma brings both vision and strong executive skills at her current venture at Talking Cranes. With early adopters such as Walmart, SAP, Visa, and others, she is on a mission to disrupt the existing power base and help companies include more women in positions of influence and power. She believes that building and managing diverse inclusive teams is the only way to foster an innovative culture to thrive in the current and future economies. Talking Cranes services are used by companies to build a pipeline of high potential women leaders, create professional women’s networks internally, and build high performing diverse teams.

Hyma also has over two decades of product development and global business development experience in content technologies, e-learning, scientific and educational publishing. She speaks on D&I topics and mentors young women in tech to advance their careers. She is also a member of the diversity committee at the Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton where she continues to commit to her passion for infusing diversity into all modes of learning content – whether it is in companies, in educational institutions or in the community.






Event Information

5:30 Hosted cocktail hour
6:30 Dinner and Speaker

Meal Type

Plated Dinner


Registration Policy

  • Qualified Potential Members may attend once as a guest and one additional time with guest fee (which may be applied to membership fee within 60 days).
  • Scholarship Alumni winners can attend once a year for free.
  • Non-members who do not qualify for membership may attend once a year, must be referred by an active member and pay the guest fee.
  • Partners may invite guests in accordance with the Partner Arrangement.


CPE Credits

One and a half (1.5) CPE credits available. Field of Study: Personnel/HR

FEI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Questions regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website,



Registration is closed, please contact Micky at [email protected] for questions.