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Through a Prism: Why Diversity Matters in Design & Tech

Join AIGA Philadelphia for an evening to discuss why diversity and inclusion matter so vitally in the fields of design and technology. Our distinguished panel includes innovators, creatives, business owners, cultural activists, and academics.

More than a buzzword, diversity has become a business mandate as well as a moral imperative in design and technology. Companies are experiencing growing pressure to diversify their work environments, especially in leadership roles. How does diversity of thought—shaped by race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual identity, ability status, and more—impact change and growth? How do diverse creative voices close cultural divides in these growing fields? What are inclusive practices to hire (and retain) from underrepresented groups?

ABOUT OUR PANEL Brigitte Daniel (Moderator)

Brigitte Daniel works for the cable company in town. No, not Comcast. It’s Wilco Electronics, a Fort Washington, PA-based provider of cable TV, high-speed Internet and other services started by her father in 1977. The company is focused on serving low-income communities and serves as the primary cable and Internet provider for Philadelphia Housing Authority homes.

In her role as Executive Vice President at Wilco, Daniel has been at the forefront of bridging the digital divide ever since joining the company after law school at Georgetown University. She helped create the Freedom Rings partnership that targeted 100,000 residents with information on the importance of broadband connectivity and provided countless others with training at city computer centers.

Tracy Levesque

Tracy Levesque is a Co-owner and Co-founder of YIKES, Inc., a Philadelphia web design and development shop located in the vibrant neighborhood of Fishtown. She is also a WordPress instructor for Girl Develop It Philly. When not wrangling the business, Tracy drinks coffee, rides her bike, plays drums, chases her 9-year-old daughter and takes pictures of abandoned buildings.

Melinda Marshall

Melinda Marshall, Executive Vice President and Director of Publications at the Center for Talent Innovation, drives the Center's research on innovation, sponsorship, and leadership. She has coauthored articles for the Harvard Business Review, including “How Diversity Can Drive Innovation” and “The Relationship You Need to Get Right;” and CTI reports including Innovation, Diversity and Market Growth as well as Sponsor Effect 2.0. Her most recent blog, “Looking for Innovation in All the Wrong Places,” appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Having completed “Women Want Five Things,” a study of women's ambition and relationship to power, she helped drive the Center’s 11-country study of leadership competencies (Growing Global Executives: The New Competencies) and Out in the World: Securing LGBT Rights in the Global Marketplace. A journalist, editor, and former national humor columnist, she has published 11 books in collaboration, and is the author of the award-winning Good Enough Mothers: Changing Expectations for Ourselves. Her articles have appeared in 18 national magazines, including the Harvard Business Review, Parenting, and Ladies Home Journal. A magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, she earned her Master’s in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University.

Rakia Reynolds

Since graduating from Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a degree in International Business and Marketing, Rakia Reynolds has sky-rocketed to success by serving as a “media superwoman” for Philadelphia. She is sought-after by companies to provide her expertise in a wealth of subjects and projects like media and art direction, branding and strategic planning, creative development, and producing content for television outlets such as MTV, TLC and print outlets such as Lucky Magazine. She currently serves as the president of the Philadelphia chapter of Women in Film and Television and is the Events Chair of the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. In 2009, she received their Rising Star award, which hails achievements within the communications industry.

Reynolds runs Skai Blue Media, a full-service PR agency with clients that run the gamut of lifestyle PR, from a local politician, various restaurants and boutiques and the South Street Headhouse District. Her work has resulted in national, local and regional media placements.

Corinne Warnshuis

Corinne is a passionate advocate for community-centered movements and their power to change the world. Prior to becoming the first Executive Director of Girl Develop It, she co-led the organization’s Philadelphia chapter to become one of the organization's largest and most active. She has previously held positions with the Technical.ly news network, producing large-scale technology conferences like Philly Tech Week and Baltimore Innovation Week, and at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR and PBS affiliate, in community relations. Corinne has spoken at the White House, Dreamforce, Lesbians Who Tech Summit, Code Conf, OSCON and more. A native Californian, Corinne moved to Philadelphia after graduating from University of California—Santa Cruz with a degree in Sociology and Film & Digital Media. She is based in Old City.

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