DC Startup Week 2020 DC Startup Week 2020
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Beyond the Checkbox: Designing An Equitable and AntiRacist Workplace

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Aerica Shimizu Banks
Shiso LLC, Founder and Principal

Aerica Shimizu Banks is a tech policy expert, inclusion innovator, and champion of women of color entrepreneurs. She is the founder of Shiso, a consultancy that applies an intersectional equity lens to tech, policy, and business solutions. She advocates for women of color entrepreneurs by building communities of support and empowerment. She was named a Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine and a Forbes 30 Under 30 list Social Entrepreneur. She founded Pinterest’s DC office and led federal affairs; led diversity and equity initiatives on Google’s legal team and served as the Black small business liaison for the DC area; co-founded BEACON: The DC Women Founders Initiative; was a political appointee in the Obama Administration; and advanced environmental justice policies in Washington state. She holds a MSc in Environmental Policy from Oxford University and a BA in Environmental Studies and Public Affairs from Seattle University. Learn more about her at aerica.co.

Emily Rasowsky
Women in Tech Campaign, Founder and CEO

Emily Rasowsky is the CEO and Founder of the Women in Tech Campaign an organization helping Fortune 500 companies and their teams build equity into their culture specifically around gender and race. The signature program, UNMUTE: The conversation about race and work, is focused on helping colleagues and professionals connect with each other about race in the workplace to deconstruct systems of racism.

Emily has a strong background in technology ecosystem building and business and experience marketing. She has lead initiatives such as DC’s inaugural Inclusive Smart Cities Summit, 10,000 person activation during SXSW and marketing campaigns for Harvard, NASA, Booz Allen, and Honda, among others. She currently does marketing at Amazon.

Gary Williams
Creative Theory Agency, Co-Founder

As co-founder and creative powerhouse of Creative Theory Agency, a full service marketing agency specializing in diversity consulting and cultural storytelling, we help brands understand who they are, so they can add to the conversation, not the noise.

Over the course of the last decade, I've worked with a team of award-winning creatives to tell diverse stories, turning some of the top companies in the world into brands that bring value to the communities they serve. With a client list that includes Google, YouTube, UnderArmour, Marriott, Nike, BMW, Dick's Sporting Goods, Timex, and more, I've lead and created compelling content that is driven by inclusive ideation that results in authentic narratives.

While I'm proud of the impactful work of Creative Theory Agency, my greatest work occurs at home with my family, where I am a proud husband and father of two.

Gigi Gilliard
Gigi Gilliard Development, Founder
Amira El-Gawly
Manifesta and St. Plant, Founder + CEO

Amira El-Gawly is an entrepreneur, coach and writer with over 15 years

guiding executives and brands to design elevated and impactful experiences,

both internal and external, that are authentically aligned to their company's

mission and values. El-Gawly is the founder and CEO of Manifesta, a

leadership and workplace culture consultancy with a focus on team

alignment, wellbeing and performance. She speaks and coaches on a number

of topics, and is most known for her strategies on strengths-based leadership

and compassion at work. El-Gawly is also the founder of St. Plant, a business

designed to reconnect humans with nature through meaningful products and

experiences. Her favorite plant’s name is Dolly.


This year, the business community has been forced to confront the reality of inequity and injustice in the workplace. In this interactive conversation, you’ll hear from diversity, equity, and inclusion experts, creative entrepreneurs, and tech industry veterans to turn that national conversation into clear action. They’ll share their personal experiences of what works—and what doesn’t—so you can design a business model that makes space for all.

  • Learn the difference between diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice
  • See how to embed authenticity into your approach
  • Hear from experts who have worked with leading tech companies like Google and Pinterest