5 Things I’m Grateful For This Year

January is a great month to pause and reflect on the past year. I hope 2017 brought you hope and a renewed sense of purpose. 

Here are some of my favorite moments from the past few months – I hope you’ll pour yourself your favorite beverage, kick back and take a minute or two to celebrate your favorite moments with me.

(Delivering my keynote at the Better Man Conference in San Francisco, CA, Sept 2017)

1. Favorite conference

Delivering the keynote at the Better Man Conference was one of the highlights of my year. It was incredible to be in a room with so many men who are doing the work around healthy masculinity and creating more inclusive workplaces. 

I was also honored to be joined on stage by the likes of Michael Kimmel, who delivered an incredible talk at TEDWomen called Why gender equality is good for everyone – men included, and David Smith, author of Athena Rising and a recent guest on The Will To Change podcast. 

In light of the #MeToo movement that has reached a crescendo in recent months, this early-Fall conference was a timely reminder: There are so many men who are intent on being part of the change – and that’s encouraging.

(Satya Nadella talking about his new book at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center in Redmond, WA, Sept 2017)

2. Favorite moment

One of my favorite moments was listening to Satya Nadella talk about his book Hit Refresh: The Quest To Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul & Imagine a Better Future for Everyone.

He recounted his experience on stage, one year earlier, at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, when he infamously told a predominantly female audience that, “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.” 

At his September book launch, he shared what the fallout from that PR disaster was like and the hard learning he had to do as a result, which led him to form the philosophy he writes about in Hit Refresh. I was moved by his commitment to growth and change and self-improvement, and how he took what he’d learned and shaped it into the manifesto which he hopes will go on to take Microsoft to the next level.

(Just some of the copious notes I took while reading Elissa Shevinsky’s “Lean Out” book)

3. Favorite book

I read so many great books this year, but I devoured Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture by Elissa Shevinsky. A collection of 25 stories from intersectional women who are fed up with the glacial pace of cultural change in America’s tech industry, the book demands we no longer ignore the voices of those who are ignored, harassed, and disrespected. 

I invited Elissa onto my podcast to discuss her perspective that gender and diversity inequality in organizations is often symptomatic of deeper problems, and you can listen to that here.


(Code Switch is a podcast by a team of journalists who are fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity, and culture)

4. Favorite podcasts

When people ask me, “How can I improve my inclusive behaviors and cross-cultural knowledge?” I often talk about the fact that we all have to fight against the temptation to only consume media that is written, hosted, or produced by people who look like us. 

This year, for me, that has meant broadening my cross-cultural competency by taking the time to find and listen to podcasts from diverse talent. 

One of my favorite go-to podcasts for that kind of learning is Code Switch, which is created by a team of journalists who are fascinated by how the themes of race, ethnicity and culture overlap and play out in our lives and communities.

Another is Still Processing, a culture conversation from two New York Times culture writers. A third is Pod Save The People, in which organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson takes you inside conversations about culture, social justice, and politics by exploring the history, language, and people who are shaping the struggle for progress.

And, of course, it has been a joy to conduct over 20 interviews for my podcast The Will To Change: True Stories of Diversity & Inclusion this year.

5. Favorite engagements

It was such an honor to lead an international banking and financial services company through a program for vets and leaders with diverse abilities earlier this year, and a real learning opportunity. We stretched our consulting team’s muscles, as we we explored how having a diverse identity can impact someone’s leadership journey in a really positive way.

We also embarked on a giant project with a Fortune 500 company, helping its leaders craft their diversity stories in order to invite others to do the same and help them share a message of inclusion and unity. 

What about you? What were some of your favorite moments from last year? Whatever last year looked like for you, we hope this year will be even better.