ISA Webinar Series | Past Webinars 2021 

“Racial Equity and Opportunity”

Recent events have compelled many executives and managers to grapple with evidence of systemic racism within their organizations. A long history of adverse policies and behaviors have created conditions that undermine the work experiences and career prospects of Black, Hispanic, and indigenous peoples. Moreover, members of these groups are underrepresented in high-level management in many industries, with organizations missing out on their creativity and insights. As these organizations take stock of the past and propose reforms, we anticipate that the industry context, location, history and internal dynamics are likely to affect the programs and policies adopted. This new ISA webinar series examines different industry and organizational responses – still emerging and hopefully sustained -- to the current visibility, awareness, and public pressure around these urgent issues of racial equity and opportunity.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | 12:00pm – 1:15pm ET

Board of Directors Diversity

Research suggests that corporate boards which incorporate and value perspectives from diverse participants gain meaningful insights that might otherwise be overlooked. A multiplicity of perspectives bringing knowledge on key stakeholder groups allows organizations to be more responsive to emerging market and workforce trends. According to the most recent report from ISS Analytics, Black people hold only 4.1% of board positions among Russell 3000 firms.  In this session, speakers will discuss current initiatives (such as Nasdaq’s new listing rules related to board diversity and disclosure) aimed at increasing the selection, participation and effectiveness of Black board members.


Barry Lawson Williams, Managing General Partner, Williams Pacific Ventures and Retired Corporate Board Director

Les Brun, Chairman and CEO, Sarr Group; Board Chairman of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and CDK Global, Inc.; Lead Director of Merck & Co., Inc.; and Board Member, Corning Incorporated and NXT Capital

Byron Loflin, Global Head of Board Engagement; NASDAQ Governance Solutions 

Resources for Increasing Board Inclusion-Click Here

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

Racial Equity in High-Tech Industries

High-technology industries generate tremendous innovation and wealth, yet Black people make up a small share of technical professionals, executives, founders, board members and venture capitalists.  The result is missed opportunity for Black professionals and employees to participate in the economic gains created by these industries, and a missed opportunity for tech companies to incorporate their skills, talents, and perspectives.  In this session, speakers will discuss the reasons that these barriers persist and highlight efforts to create opportunities for Black people in STEM education fields and in high-tech industry employment, management and ownership.


Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, Founder and President of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race (WISER)

Ifeoma Ozoma, Founder and Principal of Earthseed (works to address health misinformation), formerly held technology policy positions at Google, Facebook, and Pinterest

Maurice Blackwood, Vice President, Consumer Industry, IBM

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

Supporting Black Entrepreneurs

While the current attention to racial inequity has helped to shine a spotlight on Black entrepreneurs, they have historically faced challenges due to practices limiting their access to resources.  Bias makes it difficult for Black entrepreneurs to get in front of investors, given investor preferences to support founders similar to themselves.  Encouraging Black entrepreneurship on a local or regional level also requires systemic attention to eliminating barriers and providing access to funding and mentoring.  This session will discuss how current founders and investors, financial institutions, and community-based advocacy organizations can help Black entrepreneurs in their quest to be successful.


Melissa Bradley, Founder, Ureeka; Managing Partner, 1863 Ventures

Darrin Redus, Executive Director, Minority Business Accelerator; Vice-President, Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce

Brandon Watson, Founder,; Managing Partner, KOM Ventures

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap

Data from the Federal Reserve show that Black households have less than 15% the median wealth of White households. The gap has increased since the Great Recession and is likely to worsen further as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Research from Citigroup shows that Blacks are missing out on opportunities to generate savings and accumulate wealth through home ownership and financial investments, and to transfer that wealth to succeeding generations. These shortfalls lead to lower growth in the whole economy.  In this session, speakers will discuss the causes of the racial wealth gap, and ways in which it can be reduced. 


Mehrsa Baradaran, Professor of Law, University of California Irvine, author of “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

Dana Peterson, Executive Vice President & Chief Economist, The Conference Board, author of “Closing the Racial Inequality Wealth Gaps: The Economic Cost of Black Inequality in the U.S.”

John W. Rogers Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments