Twitter Hosts The ELC’s 2016 Q1 Corporate Board Initiative Event
The Executive Leadership Council held its 2016 Q1 Corporate Board Initiative (CBI) Panel Discussion and Networking Reception on Thursday, March 3rd. The event was hosted by Twitter at their headquarters in San Francisco, CA. More than 70 ELC members, Twitter executives and invited guests gathered for this special event focused on “The Future of Diversity/Blacks in Silicon Valley.”
The evening kicked-off with a special Twitter tutorial session for ELC members hosted by Nola Weinstein, Head of Executive Engagement, Twitter. During the session, members learned how to Tweet a variety of content; and also learned how to leverage the Twitter platform for both personal and business use.
Following the tutorial session, the panel discussion got underway with welcome remarks delivered by ELC President & CEO Ronald C. Parker. Mr. Parker introduced Loretta Walker, VP, External Affairs, Employee Engagement & Communication, AT&T who provided remarks as a sponsor of The ELC’s Corporate Board Initiative. Twitter’s Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland then took the stage to provide an overview of diversity at Twitter. She discussed the company’s 2016 goals to increase the overall representation of women and underrepresented minorities and highlighted examples of Twitter’s programs and partnerships focused on women, Blacks, Hispanics, and the LGBTQ community.
The discussion continued with ELC member Monica Pool Knox, Twitter’s Head of HR, Global Sales & Brand Strategy, moderating a fireside chat with Omid Kordestani, Executive Chairman, Twitter. Kordestani recounted some of the career challenges he faced as an Israeli immigrant who moved to the United States at the age of 14. During the conversation, Kordestani acknowledged the lack of diversity within the tech industry and expressed his desire to increase the representation of women and other minorities at the C-suite level and in the boardroom. He offered the advice, “when seeking diversity on your boards, find talent on the rise, not when they are already on top.” He also listened intently as audience members offered recommendations for seeking more diverse talent by suggesting recruiters look beyond colleges and universities and consider talent from inner-city high schools and local at-risk youth who often possess untapped potential. Johnny Taylor, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, commented from the audience that African American youth already “know the influence of Black Twitter but we need them to know they can also be a Black executive at Twitter.”
CBI Chair Billy Dexter of Heidrick & Struggles, a Corporate Board Initiative Sponsor, provided closing remarks, including an update on The ELC’s recent board placements. In 2015, 36 ELC members have earned 40 board seats on 39 Boards of Directors, which totals a net increase of 25 board seats for ELC members since 2014.
The event later concluded with a post-event networking reception where guests continued the conversation on the future of diversity in Silicon Valley and identifying opportunities for inclusive leadership in the technology sector.
The ELC’s CBI program is designed to prepare black executives for service on corporate boards. It builds awareness, improves readiness and enhances the visibility of ELC members who are interested in and actively pursuing board service. The San Francisco event is first of several quarterly CBI events set to take place in 2016, including events in New York, London and Chicago.
ELC members participating in a special Twitter tutorial session hosted by Nola Weinstein, Head of Executive Engagement, Twitter
ELC President & CEO Ronald C. Parker giving welcome remarks at CBI Twitter
(l-R) ELC COO Brickson Diamond with ELC member Monica Pool Knox, Head of HR, Global Sales & Brand Strategy, Twitter; Omid Kordestani, Executive Chairman, Twitter; ELC Board Chair Rhonda Mims, Managing Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Paul Hastings, LLP; and ELC President & CEO Ronald C. Parker
Monica Pool Knox moderating the fireside chat with Omid Kordestani
Audience members engaged during the CBI Twitter panel discussion
ELC members and guests enjoying the post-event networking reception