Heavy Hitters in Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Turn Out for 2013 Diversity Leadership Forum

L to R: J. Frank Brown, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, General Atlantic; Ravi Venkatesan, Director of Boards, Infosys & AB Volvo; John W. Conover IV, Senior VP & President, Ingersoll Rand

L to R: J. Frank Brown, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, General Atlantic; Ravi Venkatesan, Director of Boards, Infosys & AB Volvo; John W. Conover IV, Senior VP & President, Ingersoll Rand

25 Jun 2013
By Asia Society

One of a kind. That’s the phrase that was on everyone’s lips at the Fifth Annual Asia Society Diversity Leadership Forum and Awards Ceremony.

That’s because no other diversity forum is tailored so carefully towards Asian Pacific Americans working in the corporate sector. Having cemented their place in the corporate landscape, APA’s are seeking more inclusive workplaces that both cultivate talent and understand the importance of making everyone feel included and appreciated. And today’s leading companies are getting the message: Embrace diversity and inclusiveness and reap the benefits, or ignore it at your own peril.

But even well-meaning companies can struggle with how best to cultivate truly diverse and inclusive workplaces. This is why the DLF struck such a chord this year: its powerpacked agenda—replete with workshops covering everything from how to source talent in Asia to how to create meaningful and effective Business Resource Groups even on a small budget—catered not only to APA employees but also to employers looking to improve their diversity & inclusion practices. Among the more than 250 participants were leading experts and practitioners in diversity inclusion as well as CEO’s from across industries.

Other workshops covered such critical issues as sponsorship and mentorship, closing the gender gap in Asia Pacific countries, and how to land and prepare for a board seat.

Meanwhile, plenaries such as the Executive Round Table featured a jaw-dropping roster of speakers including J. Frank Brown of General Atlantic, John W. Conover IV of Ingersoll Rand, and Ravi Venkatesan of Infosys and AB Volvo; while the afternoon Young Leaders Round Table featured rising corporate stars Nina Godiwalla of Mindworks, Jess Lee of Polyvore, Soofian Zuberi of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Vishal Shah of the National Football League. For videos of these sessions and more click here.

Perhaps most talked about was keynote speaker Sara Mathew, who discussed her ascent from newly immigrated clerk at Procter & Gamble to her present position as Chairman & CEO at Dun & Bradstreet. Mathew urged a room packed with corporate leaders to take risks. “If you haven’t made a mistake,” she noted, “you haven’t pushed yourself.”

The forum concluded with an awards ceremony honoring companies identified as leaders in corporate diversity and inclusion. Taking home the top prize of “Overall Best Employer for Asian Pacific Americans” was Goldman Sachs. For a full listing of this year’s awardees and honorees click here.

Check out photos from the forum here.