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What Allies Can Do During Black History Month

Join Change Catalyst Founder & CEO Melinda Briana Epler with a conversation on ‘What Allies Can Do During Black History Month’ with Rachel Williams, Head of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity at X- the moonshot factory, Lionel Lee, Head of Diversity Engagement at Zillow Group and Almaz Negash, Founder & Executive Director at the African Diaspora Network.

In this episode, we talk about

  • How Black History month goes far beyond a month of celebration.
  • How Black history should be part of American history program in school.
  • The importance of reflection on policies and KPI within communities and workplaces.

The live show is made accessible thanks to Interpreter-Now and White Coat Captioning.

This episode is sponsored by AppDynamics – builders of the world’s only full-stack Business Observability platform. Join their team to help businesses thrive by turning performance into profit. Learn more at www.appdynamics.com/company/careers.

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“People talk about us without us. We need to be at the table. When people talk about our future, we must be at the table… Where are they talking about the continent, when I am from the continent, and I’m not even at the table?” – Almaz Negaz, Founder & Executive Director at The African Diaspora Network

“When I am talking about reflection, I’m talking about reflecting on yourself and your experience, and how you’ve interacted with the Black community.” – Lionel Lee, Head of Diversity Engagement at Zillow Group

“I would do away with the current set of history books we have all been learning and actually incorporate Black history as a part of American history because it is. To me, that acknowledgment would go a long way in actually helping with some of our equity, inclusion and diversity strategy, or the things and ills we are seeing inside the company and out in the world. Because you would have grown up knowing we are in fact builders and the foundation of this country. We are not separate. It is not a separate month or a separate education.” – Rachel Williams, Head of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity at X, the moonshot factory
Headshot of Almaz Negash, a Black woman with short hair and a red jacket.
Guest Speaker

Almaz Negash

Founder & CEO at African Diaspora Network

Almaz Negash is named as one of the 100 outstanding Silicon Valley Women of Influence for her work in social innovation. In 2010, Almaz founded the African Diaspora Network (ADN) to inform and engage Africans in the diaspora and facilitate direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders to invest and improve the lives of everyone on the continent and the communities where we live. Under her leadership and vision, ADN is now the home of The African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS), an annual convening in Silicon Valley, Builders of Africa’s Future, and Impact & Investment Forums.

Currently, Almaz is exploring ways to provide access to capital to Black led startups and SME’s via the newly program called: Builders of America’s Future. Whether creating market driven solutions to reduce homelessness and mental health with Pay for Success (a.k.a. Social Impact Bond) – a more than $28 million project in Santa Clara County, supporting women to gain financial security through microenterprise development, international trade, or engaging former heads of states on Global Leadership & Ethics, she’s a committed and inspiring social change agent.

Headshot of Lionel Lee, a Black man with glasses, with a shirt, and a grey suit.
Guest Speaker

Lionel Lee

Head of Diversity Engagement at Zillow Group

Lionel Lee is the head of diversity engagement at Zillow Group. He provides career development support to underrepresented employees and works with executives to foster equity and belonging practices to improve employee experiences. He also serves as a connector between employees and community organizations. Prior to joining Zillow Group, he ran a talent acquisition company, sourcing candidates across the technology industry.

Helping communities has been a constant throughout Lionel’s life. He created and developed community groups that promote health and wellness. He has worked with HIV/AIDS education groups, substance abuse addiction organizations as well as health groups for youth. Lionel also founded Yi Sport Tae Kwon Do, a school in Seattle that produced 54 U.S. Junior Olympic gold medals.

Lionel immigrated to the United States from Korea at age 5. His experiences growing up in South-Central Los Angeles and later in the projects of Honolulu, Hawaii, helped nurture his passion for community-building.

Headshot of Rachel Williams, a Black woman with long black hair and glasses
Guest Speaker

Rachel Williams

Head of Equity Inclusion & Diversity Talent Acquisition at X – the moonshot factory

Rachel Williams is a Bay Area native with more than 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley. Her experience spans human resources – recruiting, strategic employee relations and engagement, organizational change, culture & learning development, inclusion programming and implementation. Rachel is currently the Head of Equity Inclusion & Diversity Talent Acquisition for X – the moonshot factory.

Learn more about the host and creator of Leading With Empathy & Allyship, Melinda Briana Epler.