Racial Equity in Corporate Governance Conference

The Racial Equity in Corporate Governance Conference convenes business leaders and top legal thinkers to explore board and C-suite diversity and pipeline generation as well as how corporate leaders can promote a more inclusive workforce and racial equity, among other topics.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Millstein Center, Howard University School of Law, the Institute for Law & Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, and the Stanford Center for Racial Justice at Stanford Law School.  

2023 Conference

The third annual Racial Equity in Corporate Governance conference occurred on March 7, 2023 and consisted of a panel discussion.

Navigating Change: How Can Companies Maintain their Commitments to Racial Equity in a Changing Legal Environment? - March 7, 2023 | Webinar

This panel examined the implications of litigation involving challenges to diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, including the pending Students for Fair Admissions cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment action before the Fifth Circuit, and California cases challenging state board diversity statutes.  The discussion also explored related anti-ESG pressures facing corporate leadership.  Lisa M. Fairfax (Presidential Professor; Co-Director, Institute for Law and EconomicsUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law) moderated the discussion, and panelists included:

  • Olatunde C. Johnson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg '59 Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Melonie D. Parker, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Google 
  • Eileen Schloss, Board Member, Alteryx, CCC IS, and Sprinklr; Human Capital Operations Advisor, Advent International Private Equity 

A recording of the panel can be found here.

2022 Conference

The second annual Racial Equity in Corporate Governance conference occurred on March 4, 2022 and consisted of three sessions.

The Role of the Public Company Board of Directors in Promoting Racial Equity in Corporate Governance - March 4, 2022 | Webinar

The first panel examined how public company boards of directors promote board diversity and an inclusive board culture, and how they oversee promotion of racial equity in the corporation.  George Brown (Executive Director, Stanford Center for Racial) moderated the discussion, and panelists included: 

  • Benjamin Colton, Global Head of Asset Stewardship, Voting & Engagement, State Street Global Advisors
  • Maria Elena Lagomasino, Lead Independent Director, The Coca-Cola Company; Director, The Walt Disney Company; CEO and Managing Partner, WE Family Offices
  • Barry Lawson Williams, Retired Investment Consultant and Corporate Director 

A recording of the panel can be found here.

Fireside Chat - March 4, 2022 | Webinar

The second session of the conference entailed a fireside chat with Joe Bae (Co-CEO, KKR) moderated by Professor Lisa Fairfax (Presidential Professor and Co-Director, Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania) regarding board leadership on racial equity across public and private companies.

A recording of the conversation can be found here

Opening the Door to Private Company Boardrooms - March 4, 2022 | Webinar

The third session examined board leadership on racial equity at private companies.  The discussion explored topics such as the key differences between private and public companies that bear on boardroom culture and leadership on racial equity, contractual and other market-driven diversity initiatives, and talent management and recruitment in the private company context.  Professor Kate Judge (Harvey J. Goldschmid Professor of Law, Columbia Law School) moderated the discussion, and panelists included:

  • Lyuba Goltser, Partner and Co-Head of Public Company Advisory Group, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Lisa Lambert, Director, UL and Laredo Petroleum; Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, National Grid, and Founder and President, National Grid Partners
  • Sean Mendy, Partner, Concrete Rose Capital
  • Ann Shepherd, Co-Founder and COO, Him For Her; Board Member, HoneyBook 
  • James D. White, Executive Chair, Air Protein; Board Chair, The Honest Company; Director, Schnuck Markets and Bay Club; Former Chair, CEO, and President, Jamba Juice 

A recording of the panel can be found here

2020-2021 Conference

Our inaugural conference comprised three installments held between October 2020 and January 2021.

Panel 1: How Can We Increase Racial Diversity in the C-Suite and Boardroom? - October 29, 2020 | Webinar

In the first installment, Chris Brummer (Agnes N. Williams Professor and Faculty Director, Institute of International Economic Law, Georgetown University Law Center) moderated a discussion on how to increase racial diversity in the C-suite and boardroom, with panelists Gilbert Casellas (Independent Director and Consultant), Janet Foutty (Executive Chair of the Board, Deloitte US), Paul Martin (Chief Diversity Officer, Sony Pictures Entertainment), Barry Lawson Williams (Retired Investment Consultant and Corporate Director), and Jessie Woolley-Wilson (CEO and President, DreamBox Learning).   

The session concluded with a "deep-dive" on statutory reform in the context of California's newly enacted statute requiring public companies to include on their boards directors from underrepresented communities.  Gillian Lester (Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, Columbia Law School) moderated a conversation between Joseph Grundfest (William A. Franke Professor of Law and Business, Stanford Law School and Senior Faculty, Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University) and Aaron Dhir (Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law, Yale Law School and Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School). 

Leo E. Strine, Jr. (Former Chief Justice, Delaware; Distinguished Fellow, Columbia and Penn Law Schools; Of Counsel, WLRK) delivered opening remarks.    

Panel 2: What Can the C-Suite and Boardroom Do to Promote a More Inclusive Workforce and Racial Equity? - November 16, 2020 | Webinar

The second installment of our inaugural conference examined strategies and best practices for how boards and executive leaders can advance progress at their companies on the critical issues of inclusion and racial equity.  Speakers included: Dane E. Holmes (CEO and Co-Founder, Eskalera; Former Executive Vice President, Partner and Global Head of Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs), Jonathan McBride (former Managing Director, Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, BlackRock; Advisor to Boards, CEOs and Executive Teams), Phuong Phillips (Chief Legal Officer, Zynga), and Pat Wadors (Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow; Former Senior Vice President, Global Talent, LinkedIn; Board Member Accolade and Zenefits).

Panel 3: What (If Anything) Can a Rebalanced System of Corporate Governance Do to Promote Racial Equity? - January 14, 2021 | Webinar

The third installment examined mechanisms and agents for rebalancing corporate governance in the interest of promoting racial equity.  Lisa Fairfax (Alexander Hamilton Professor of Business Law and Director of the GW Corporate Law and Governance Institute, George Washington University Law School) and Omari Scott Simmons (Howard L. Oleck Professor of Business Law and Director of Business Law Program, Wake Forest Law School) moderated the discussion with Keir Gumbs (Associate General Counsel, Global Corporate, M&A and Securities and Deputy Corporate Secretary, Uber Technologies, Inc.), Osagie Imasogie (Co-Founder and Senior Managing Partner, PIPV Capital), Erika James (Dean, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania), Jennifer Krevitt (Managing Director & Global Head, Human Capital Management, Consumer & Investment Management Division, Goldman Sachs), Anne Robinson (Managing Director, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Vanguard), and Kim Rucker (Director, Celanese Corporation, Lennox International, Inc., and Marathon Petroleum Corporation). 

You can find recordings of the sessions from the 2020-2021 conference here.