Virtual Events Series

Courageous Conversations is a virtual series produced by the Walter Kaitz Foundation. These virtual webcasts feature timely and informative discussions with experts and thought leaders in media and entertainment.

Episode 4 – “AI and DEI: A Brave New World”

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 – 4:00 – 5:15 pm ET (1:00 pm PT)

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Artificial intelligence is one of the most powerful technological transformations we’ve seen in recent times. As an industry, we face the critical task of accelerating its positive impact and minimizing the potential harms by ensuring DEI considerations are integrated at every step of its activation. A host of experts will discuss both the opportunities and pitfalls of AI and its impact on diverse communities. The conversation begins with a brief primer on AI in everyday language to set the stage for the in-depth discussion. A powerful keynote presentation by a leading technologist will help to demystify and “humanize” AI. What follows next is an enriching conversation that will examine algorithmic bias, governance, ethics, and best practices, including innovations in talent recruitment & retention and customer service technology.


Andreen Soley, Director of Public Interest Technology University Network, New America

Keynote Speaker: 

Afua Bruce, Chief Program Officer, DataKind


Shelly Gross, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Talent Solutions, Comcast NBCUniversal

Orlando Hampton, Chief Customer Officer, Afiniti

Brajesh Jha, SVP & Global Head, Media Publishing & Entertainment, Genpact

Raquelle Zuzarte, Founder & CMO, Equity Project for All


Episode 3 – “Disability Inclusion: Insights to Help Ensure Your DEI Efforts Include Accessibility”

Friday, March 26, 2021 – 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET (11:00 am PT)

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With renewed focus on racial equity, it is imperative that we do not lose sight of the full spectrum of inclusion. People with disabilities and consideration of the full range of human differences need to be incorporated to broaden the conversation around inclusion and equity.

In this webinar, you will hear from leaders of the disability community who are shifting societal norms in front of the camera, in consumer products & technology, as well as in corporate offices across the country. Be prepared to gain fresh insights that will empower you to engage in Courageous Conversations within your own company.

Attendees will leave this panel:

  1. Understanding the importance accessibility plays in organizations’ DEI efforts
  2. Having gained insights into a variety of specific implications posed by different disabilities and accessibility solutions
  3. With actionable steps to ensure accessibility is included in their organizations’ DEI strategies


MaryAnne Howland, Founder & CEO, Ibis Communications and Global Diversity Leadership Exchange


Candace Cable, Disability, Diversity & Equity Inclusion Consultant & Paralympian

Gail Williamson, Talent Agent, KMR Diversity Department

Billy Sanders, Communications Consultant, Bridges Consulting

Steve Raymond, Vice President Accessibility, Product and Technology, Charter Communications

Additional Resources:

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf:

Bureau of Labor Statistics “Persons With A Disability: Labor Force Characteristics”—2020:

Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity (TTIE):  #WriteInclusion: Tips for Accurate Representation-Disabled People

BroadFutures: on young people with learning disabilities

The Spectrum Access app gives the visually impaired audio description, on their phone, so no one misses a thing.

Episode 2 – “BROKERING REAL CHANGE: Roundtable Discussion on the Landmark CBS/NAACP Partnership”

December 18, 2020 – 2:00 pm ET (11:00 am PT)

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Special Event Edition in partnership with Entertainment Speakers Bureau

Changing the landscape of diversity and accountability in Hollywood is a social imperative.  This round-table conversation touched on a landmark new deal that represents real change.  We heard from two of the integral dealmakers behind the multi-year CBS/NAACP Production Partnership, national thought leaders Derrick Johnson, NAACP President & CEO, and Darrell D. Miller, Esq. Partner, Fox Rothschild, on the timeliness of the collaboration and significance of the deal. We topped off the discussion with newly installed president of the venture, Sheila Ducksworth, President, CBS/NAACP Production Partnership, who spoke on content initiatives and what the public can expect to see from the partnership. The discussion was moderated by Darold Cuba, Journalist & Center for Public Leadership Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School.

Speaker Bios:

Derrick Johnson, President & CEO, NAACP

Darrell D. Miller, Partner & Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Department, Fox Rothschild

Sheila Ducksworth, President, CBS/NAACP Production Partnership

Darold Cuba, Center For Public Leadership Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School (Moderator)

Episode 1 – “To be Young, Gifted & Black: Inclusivity in STEM” 

October 27, 2020 – 2:00 pm ET (11:00 am PT)

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The first episode featured Dr. Rahsaan Harris, CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City and Nicholas Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate in Operations Research at MIT and the first black Valedictorian at Princeton University.

Opening remarks were provided by Dr. David M. Porter, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.  Panelists spoke about their experiences in navigating STEM, highlight the many lessons learned and provide key takeaways for interns and young professionals alike.

Speaker Bios:

Dr. David M. Porter

Dr. Rahsaan Harris

Nicholas Johnson