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Verna Myers      

Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix & Bestselling Author

Vernā Myers is the Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix and the Founder of The Vernā Myers Company, a Baltimore-based consulting firm dedicated to eradicating barriers to diversity in the workplace. She is a Harvard-trained lawyer, activist, author and cultural innovator committed to making the most difficult conversations around bias, cultural competence, and inclusion accessible to all.

Myers is an expert facilitator, motivational speaker, and strategic advisor to for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She has delivered keynotes at The World Bank, National Geographic, 21st Century Fox, NASA, Warner Bros., the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and tech companies such as Qualcomm.

Notably, Myers was a recipient of The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business.” Vernā’s appearances and message of power and possibility have touched millions of lives, including her TED talk, “How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them,” which has been viewed over 1.5 million times.

Author of the best-selling books Moving Diversity Forward: How to Move From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing and What If I Say the Wrong Thing? 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People, Vernā has touched over 1,000,000 people through her speeches, appearances and transformative message of power and possibility. Her inspiring TED talk, “How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them,” offers three ways any person can become an active participant in countering bias in ourselves and in others to create a more just world.

Currently, she serves on the board for two organizations - The Center for Urban Families, which addresses workforce development and family services, and UC Hastings College of Law’s Work-Life Law Program, which advocates for gender and racial equality in the workplace.

She joined Netflix in August 2018 in a newly-created role as the Vice President of Inclusion Strategy.

Myers is a visionary who teaches people how to understand, respect and include others so each person operates at his or her fullest capacity in society.

Speech Topics


Inclusive Leadership: Culture Matters

Best suited for: ?Leadership/executive/managing partners

Cultural Competency? isn’t just a buzzword, it's a critical characteristic of any successful leader. As organizations look to diversify their workforce and remain competitive and relevant in a constantly changing world and global marketplace, leaders must learn how to create inclusive, enriching, respectful environments for those around them. Effective leaders have honed the skill to motivate and manage a heterogeneous group of people, to get the best out of them and to allow their differences to positively impact the enterprise. This skill is called cultural competence - the ability to understand, recognize, and utilize knowledge and skills to engage effectively across differences.

This interactive, energetic Keynote will help leaders see themselves and those they work with as cultural beings, helps them to identify areas where culture may be affecting team effectiveness and gives them tools to build the type of culture and environment that will bring out the best in the people they are leading and serving.

What if I Say the Wrong Thing? Interrupting Bias in Ourselves and Others

Best suited for: ?All audiences

“OH NO, THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!” or “DON’T GET ME WRONG, BUT...”?

Every day in the media we see people “stepping in it”- trying to explain how some offensive thing they did or said wasn’t meant to be derogatory or disrespectful of a group of people. Even in meetings, at work, in the classroom and around the dining room table things get said or done that cause great pain, confusion, and disengagement. Some of us blunder forward, but many more of us withdraw from interacting across differences, fearing we will make a mistake. This paralysis makes it hard for us to work in diverse teams and live in diverse communities.

In this provocative and instructive Keynote, Vern? will help the audience learn not only how to address the verbal, written missteps and negative actions? of others, but what to do if they “step in it” themselves. This is a must heard Keynote for any person who is in a position where they can lead by example, even if they “stepped in it” themselves.

Leading Through Cultural Unrest - From the C-Suite to the Main Street? TM

Best Suited For:? Leadership, C-Suite, Management, Diversity Champions

No matter what side you’re on, current racial and social justice issues will effect your bottom line. The continued violence and uprisings in our country have increased attention on economic disparity and opened up difficult conversations across workplaces and boardrooms. Once removed from having to think about race and social justice issues?, company leaders are now being forced to consider the implications while working to protect their brand, grow market share, satisfy consumers, and diversify their workforce. Meanwhile, company employees struggle to keep focused on work, when the world around them feels more and more uneasy.

In this compelling, perspective-bending talk that can be tailored to leaders, employees or both, Vern? discusses the impact of the events that started in Ferguson, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas have had on our Main Streets, and then give practical tools that leaders and followers can use to create better, more productive workplaces.

Audiences will learn:

1) What specific root causes and cultural norms jeopardize our collective ability to move forward and how they can be addressed 2) Which existing authentic barriers exist and how they prevent certain groups from having access to equal opportunity 3) How to understand their company’s role as a societal actor and demonstrate leadership in helping cities and communities recover and prosper

Why We Miss Talent: How Unconscious Bias can Shortcut Merit

Best suited for: ?All audiences, especially talent development professionals, hiring managers and members of a team.

It is said that seeing is believing; but what about what we don’t realize we are seeing?

Despite all our good intentions and our desire to be fair and merit-based in our assessments of others, our unconscious biases? create blind spots. Decades of research by social scientists make it clear that our brains take short cuts to conclusions without telling us. They rely heavily on schemas- ideas and things that go together- to make evaluations. It can be an efficient system, but it can also be a faulty one, and cause us to misjudge and exclude people based on old societal stereotypes, preferences and our personal belief system.

This is not because we are bad people, it’s because we are people. If an organization wants to attract, retain and advance diverse talent and better understand and serve a diverse customer and client base, its people can’t be in denial. Instead they must get curious and start looking for the implicit biases? that are undermining their explicit beliefs, values and goals.

This disarmingly humorous and content rich Keynote explains how important it is for leaders, managers, teammates and colleagues to identify the biases in themselves and in the workplace and learn specific ways they can begin to counter their own behaviors.

What Would MLK Do: Bridge Builders Needed

Best suited for: ?All audiences

There is still a dream and you can be part of it.

Dr. Martin Luther King is one of the most revered leaders in the United States and the world. His vision and action and ultimate the sacrifice of his life was in pursuit of realizing a dream of equality and opportunity for Black Americans, but he also spoke about the importance of social justice? for all.

Recent civil protests and unrest ignited by the deaths of unarmed black men by police and citizens, the movements for immigrant rights, an end to mass incarcerations, marriage equality, transgender awareness, environmental justice, religious tolerance, refugees, among others, all remind us the MLK’s dream has not been fully realized, yet. As we consider the gap between the reality and the dream, and the pain, exclusion and even death of our fellow Americans and world citizens, what is our response?

This powerful and inspirational Keynote is a call to action for every individual, group and organization to become bridge builders and find ways each and every day to end the ignorance, unfairness, lack of opportunity, and violence against the marginalized groups in our world. As businesses, leaders, communities and organizations it is not enough to celebrate or revere MLK, we need to embody his compassion, unwavering insistence on dignity and freedom for all and his willingness to build bridges across differences. This speech will help motivate, inspire and direct in that direction.

Why Women Matter - How to Move Gender Equity Forward

Best suited for: ?All audiences or female centric

Decades of women in the workplace and graduate schools across many industries have proven that women are smart, capable, hardworking and committed to their families and their professions. Yet, ?gender inequality? ?still prevails in the C-suite, boardrooms, on teams and in politics. We have evidence that bias, explicit or unconscious, are still alive and well and creating barriers to opportunity and advancement every single day in most organizations. When women are well represented, respected and reflected in decision-making roles, studies suggests they bring certain invaluable qualities, approaches and capabilities that strengthen their organization’s performance.

For organizations and our society to thrive, women must thrive. If women are not allowed to realize their full potential, our businesses, families, communities and society as a whole will suffer.

This candid and motivational Keynote makes clear the value women bring to their organizations, what biases and structural barriers prevent their advancement, how women can use their power to overcome barriers including their own sometimes self-limiting behavior, and best practices for organizations moving women forward.

News


Netflix Hires Verna Myers as "Inclusion Strategy" Head | Hollywood ...

Netflix hires Verna Myers in a newly-created "inclusion strategy" role. The diversity consultant joins the streamer after the firing of its PR chief over the use of the ...

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