Techstars Foundercon 2020 Techstars Foundercon 2020

How to Get Started: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Workplace


Andrea Perdomo
Techstars, Network Catalyst - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Andrea is the Network Catalyst, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Techstars. At Techstars her role is to plan, coordinate and ignite diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives across the Techstars network and entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is crucial that we break down those barriers and begin to work together to support our communities of innovators and entrepreneurs. We need to develop the next generation of tech leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors. And we are. Before joining Techstars, she was the co-founder and CMO at Revolar a 2015 & 2016 Techstars company. While at Revolar Andrea built a full stack team of hardware, software, sales and operations members that successfully launched 2 hardware products and sold over 20,000 units in 16 months. Andrea is a Graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sage Franch
Crescendo, CEO & Co-founder - Techstars Montreal AI 2018

Sage Franch is the CEO and co-founder of Crescendo, the inclusion platform for global companies. Prior to Crescendo, Sage worked in emerging technologies at Microsoft, where she led projects building conversational AI and blockchain-based solutions alongside startups and non-profits across North America. A long-time advocate for underrepresented groups in STEM, Sage is on the board of trustees of the Bishop Strachan School Foundation and speaks internationally on diversity and inclusion, the future of work, and building ethical technology.

Dr. Akilah Cadet
Change Cadet, Founder + CEO + Executive Coach

Dr. Akilah Cadet is the founder of Change Cadet consulting firm, which offers a broad array of anti-racism and diversity services including executive coaching, strategic planning, crisis rebuilding, advising, and facilitation. Cadet is a French term that means soldier (and happens to be Akilah's last name). As it's often an uphill battle for BIPOC, women, and underrepresented communities to achieve success and equity in the workplace, Change Cadet prepares soldiers of change to overcome these continuous battles to be their best selves. Akilah has 15+ years of experience working in various organizations, with both private and public sector companies. She literally has all the degrees, lives in Oakland, has a rare heart condition, and is a proud Beyoncé advocate.

Melinda Briana Epler
Change Catalyst, Founder & CEO

Melinda Briana Epler has 25 years of experience elevating brands and developing business innovation strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies and global NGOs.

As CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda works with her clients and partners to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling, behavior science and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for tech companies, innovation hubs and governments around the world. She also co-leads a series of global solutions-focused conferences called Tech Inclusion, where she has partnered with over 450 tech companies and community organizations and hosted over 50 solutions-focused diversity and inclusion events. Previously, Melinda was a Marketing and Culture Executive and award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Melinda is a TED speaker and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She speaks, mentors and writes about diversity and inclusion, inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship and investing. She has spoken on hundreds of stages around the world, including SXSW, Grace Hopper, Wisdom 2.0, the World Bank, Obama White House, Clinton Foundation, Black Enterprise, Google, Indeed, Capital One and McKinsey.

Mohammed Asaduallah
Benji, Co-founder & CEO

Mohammed Asaduallah is the CEO of Benji — an online financial solution that finds tax write-offs for Canadian freelancers by sifting through their bank transactions. Mohammed is also the Executive Director of Women and Color — a volunteer-driven non-profit that creates opportunities to advance and amplify subject matter experts from underrepresented groups in tech. In the past, Mohammed has undertaken a number of roles including design, product and operations for fast-growing startups as well as global corporations such as Tulip Retail, CIBC and Format. A practitioner of continuous learning, Mohammed is driven by the challenge of solving problems through design, technology and business. Outside of work, Mohammed is a Marketing Program Advisory Board Member for Humber College where he created the curriculum for starting ecommerce businesses.

Join us for an amazing panel where we will be discussing how you as an entrepreneur and leader can start your journey to implementing values and foundation that create a just, equitable and inclusive workplace. Diversity, equity and inclusion is not just the smart thing to do, it is also the right thing to do.