DE&I Awareness to Action: 10 Keys to that First Step

An all-star panel of thought leaders offer expert insights and advice on putting a DEI program into action.

Buffy Naylor, Senior Managing Editor

June 8, 2021

10 Slides

What’s so hard about moving from DE&I awareness to action? After all, it’s only one step. Why are so many companies hesitant to take it?

During the Channel Futures workshop, “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategies for Business Success,” a powerhouse panel of DE&I experts leaders considered the issue.


JS Group’s Michelle McBain


AWS’ Modupé Congleton


Union College’s Christa Grant

The all-star panel was moderated by Michelle McBain, vice president of global channel and digital strategy for JS Group. She is also a member of the Alliance of Channel Women (ACW) and the Allies of the Channel Council, which collaborated with Channel Futures on the session.


Cisco’s Michelle Witherspoon


CompTIA’s Yvette Steele


Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster

Joining McBain were five industry and DE&I thought leaders. Modupé Congleton is head of inclusion, diversity and equity sales and marketing at AWS. Dr. Christa Grant is assistant dean for intercultural affairs and chief diversity officer for student affairs at Union College. Gavriella Schuster is corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner at Microsoft. In November 2020, she presented the TEDx talk, “BeCOME an Ally: How to Achieve Gender Equality.” Yvette Steele is director of member communities and the diversity, equity and inclusion strategist at CompTIA. And Michelle Witherspoon is chief of culture, people, diversity and operations at Cisco.

During the 45-minute session, the panel discussed topics that included inspiring leaders to promote DE&I, common misconceptions about DE&I programs, the role of employee resource groups (ERGs) and women’s continuing struggle with gender inequity in the tech industry.

Our slideshow above offers the top 10 takeaways on the panel’s discussion of moving from DE&I awareness to action.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Buffy Naylor or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Senior Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is senior managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

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