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Keynote Session

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Presentation Details

Having a "Hack-a-thon" program does not make an Innovation Culture. 

Having a community kitchen space or even Diversity Training does not make an Inclusion Culture.


The secret to building (and sustaining!) either culture is – Leadership.

A deep dive into Innovation research and Inclusion research reveals an eye-opening discovery - the characteristics of a Leader who effectively builds an Innovation Culture, and those of a Leader who effectively builds an Inclusion Culture, are essentially the same.

Instead of disconnected strategies that place the full responsibility for Inclusion on the DEI function, Senior Leadership, Talent Development leaders and DEI practitioners can all join hands in a united effort to develop leaders with the necessary characteristics.

Choosing to develop leaders “from the inside out” will grow authentic leaders who demonstrate Character Strengths. We’ve promoted for skill, intelligence and drive in companies, but missed the critical piece – Character strengths.

Hear real-time stories and examples from corporate DEI leaders at progressive companies who are forging an Inclusive Culture through authentic leaders & cross-org partnership.


In this session, you will:

  • Learn the proven ROI of Character. According to the emerging field of Character Science, discover leadership character strengths that drive innovation and inclusion.

  • Hear how frontrunner companies are making Inclusion strides with partnerships between Talent, DEI and senior leaders.

  • Learn how you can help your company (and yourself) be more effective by embarking on a journey of self-awareness and authentic leadership.


Speaker Bio:

Valerie Jackson currently serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Future of Work at Zuora, the leading monetization platform for the world’s most innovative businesses. As an executive committee member who reports to Zuora’s Founder and CEO, Valerie leads a global team to help realize Zuora’s vision of "The World, Subscribed" as a truly inclusive, accessible, and sustainable world that we all want to subscribe to.


Valerie has built and led inclusive people and culture initiatives in global law firms and tech companies since 2007, after being recruited into the field by American politician Stacey Abrams. Prior to that, Valerie practiced as a corporate finance lawyer for a global law firm and as an international policy advisor and negotiator for the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. 

An executive coach and lifelong student of people and cultures, Valerie has lived in six countries and can communicate in several languages. She earned her undergraduate degree with honors in Government/International Relations from Harvard University and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Valerie is actively licensed to practice law in Georgia and is certified as a Reiki Master in California. 

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