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2021 Catalyst Awards

Progress Won't Pause. Equity Can't Wait.


Agenda & Speakers

This year, Catalyst is transforming its annual Catalyst Awards Conference and Dinner from New York City based, in-person events to a far-reaching virtual gathering of corporate leaders intentional about diversity, equity, and inclusion—attracting a global audience and offering our sponsors opportunities for increased and extended visibility. Since 1987, the Catalyst Award has recognized 103 innovative and pioneering initiatives at 91 organizations from around the world. Catalyst Award Winners lead a community of forward-thinking organizations that continue to develop new and innovative ways to advance talent and strengthen their organizations. Focused Award Winner experiences and learning sessions will be held on March 17 and 18, with a robust set of community engagement activities taking place throughout the month of March.

Audience: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioners, human resources professionals, employee resource group (ERG) members and leaders, and business line leaders, primarily from the Catalyst corporate Supporter audience.

Expected Attendance: We anticipate ~5000 individuals joining and engaging throughout the month of March and for the three months following, as content will be available in the platform through the end of June 2021.

Schedule of Events


March 17March 18Throughout the Month
*Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)*

Presenting Sponsor: Target

Emcee: Liz Plank, CEO, Liz Plank Productions

10:30 am – 11:00 am | Opening Keynote: Fast Forward Inclusion: A Conversation with Target Corporation
Kiera Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Target Corporation, and Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO, Catalyst discuss how Minneapolis-based Target responded to the murder of George Floyd and the pandemic, ensuring the safety of frontline team members and the community, as well as Kiera’s leadership of building an enterprise-wide inclusive culture.

11:00 am – 11:30 am | Empathy: Your Future of Work Superpower
Empathy is a critical human skill that can be taught. In this session, we will explore three dimensions of empathy—cognitive, social, and behavioral—and how organizations can build a culture of empathy by training employees and managers.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm | Roadmap to Change, The Architect/Communications Partnership
Sponsor: The Coca-Cola Company
Learn from DEI architects on how they effectively roll out programs and initiatives across their organization using multiple channels. Explore what an inclusive change management strategy entails and how leaders can model it in these times of uncertainty.

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm | Break

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm | Measuring What Matters: Tools for Tracking Progress
Sponsor: EY
At Catalyst, we have long said that what gets measured gets done. Explore several tools and initiatives, including Catalyst’s  GDKA (Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance), as well as innovative measurement strategies from EY.

  • Kelly Grier, US Chair and Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner, EY
  • Marie Konstance, Consulting Project Lead for the Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance (GDKA), Catalyst

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm | One Year Later, Revisiting the 2020 Catalyst Award Winners
Catch up with 2020 Catalyst Award Winners Deloitte Australia, Medtronic, and Unilever to see how the inclusive initiatives they implemented pre-Covid, such as flexible and remote working policies, have shifted and set them up for success in the long term.

  • Tina McCreery, Partner, Talent, Deloitte Australia
  • Leena Nair, Chief HR Officer, Unilever
  • Shelley O’Connor, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley Private Bank, NA and Morgan Stanley Bank, NA
  • Sally Saba, MD, MBA, VP, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Medtronic

2:15 pm- 2:45 pm | ERGs and Transformation: Building an Inclusive Culture, Turbocharging Talent
Sponsor: ABB
How can employee resource groups (ERGs) be sustained and accelerated during the disruption of Covid-19, and how can they continue to engage and create an inclusive culture across an entire organization, especially at companies that have field, frontline, and retail workers?

  • Deni Miller, SVP, Marketing and Sales: Electrical Distribution, ABB
  • Andrea G. Tatum,  Senior Director, Western Region, Corporate Engagement, Catalyst

2:45 pm -3:15 pm | Closing Keynote: Breaking Barriers While Forging A New Path
Catalyst has tracked the bleak pace of progress for women CEOs for decades; the statistics are most dire for women of color in particular. In this session, CEOs discuss how they have accelerated inclusion in their organizations as well as lessons learned and advice to ensure that progress won’t pause.

*Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)*

Presenting Sponsor: Target

Emcee: Liz Plank, CEO, Liz Plank Productions

9:00 am – 9:20 am | Opening Session: What is the Catalyst Award?
Hear from the Chair and members of the Catalyst Award evaluation committee. The Catalyst Award is the premier recognition of organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that drive representation and inclusion for women.

9:20 am – 10:30 am | Barilla: An Italian Family-Owned Company’s Journey to Global Inclusion (2021 Catalyst Award Winner)
Starting with leadership from the top, Barilla has created a culture globally where employees can leverage ERGs and other programs to drive change and impact that is inclusive for women, LGBTQ+ employees, and other underrepresented groups.

  • Claudio Colzani, CEO, Barilla
  • Kristen Anderson, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Barilla
  • Klas Bergstrom, Member of Diversity & Inclusion Board & Head of Trade Marketing & Category Management, Barilla Group
  • Talita Erickson, General Counsel (Americas) & CEO (Restaurants), Barilla
  • Daria Likhovidova, Managing Director, Barilla Australia
  • David Mixner, Internationally Known Human Rights Activist, Gay Rights Advocate, Performer & Bestselling Author
  • Luis Nieves, Diversity and Inclusion Board Member, Americas Region, Barilla Group

10:30 am – 11:10 am | Champion Companies are Building a Foundation for Gender and Racial Equity
Sponsor: Bank of America
The Catalyst CEO Champions For Change community is comprised of more than 70 high-profile CEOs. These leaders have pledged to advance more women, particularly women of color, into senior leadership positions. Hear about their journey.

  • Brian Moynihan, Chairman & CEO, Bank of America
  • Arnold W. Donald, President and Chief Executive Officer, Carnival Corporation & plc
  • Kathy Warden, Chairman, CEO & President, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Moderator: Claudia Chan, Creator of S.H.E. Summit & the Whole-Life Leadership Method

11:10 am – 11:35 am | Building Equitable Technology for the Future of Work
Sponsor: Genpact
We must make certain we do not inadvertently perpetuate systemic bias or stereotypes for women, particularly for women of color, with AI tools. Learn ways to eliminate bias from AI, build more diverse teams, and explore the promise of using emerging technologies to drive inclusion.

  • Brinda Murty, Global Transformation Services Leader, High-Tech, Manufacturing and Services Vertical, Genpact
  • Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO, Genpact
  • Joy Ohm, Vice President, Science Writer & Advisor, Catalyst

11:35 am – 12:30 pm | Break

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm | Seeding and Sustaining Profound Cultural Change
Sponsor: Altria
Long-term culture change requires that organizations nurture a culture that encourages a groundswell of enthusiasm at the grassroots level. Learn how building strong communities from the ground up can enable sustainable change.

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm | RBC: Speak Up for Inclusion (2021 Catalyst Award Winner)
RBC’s initiative, led by senior leadership and an ERG network that drives D&I strategy, creates an inclusive culture for women and other underrepresented groups by embedding D&I into the business and focusing on culture change drivers, intentional talent management, and community involvement.

2:15 pm – 2:55 pm | Closing Keynote Conversation: Influence to Impact: A conversation with Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder & CEO, Chobani and Meena Harris, Founder and CEO of Phenomenal; NYT Bestselling Author, Ambitious Girl
Learn to identify and leverage your sphere of influence to create an environment in which marginalized communities are empowered, and pave the way—through support and upskilling—toward a more equitable future for all.

2:55 pm – 3:30 pm | Break

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm | Catalyst Awards Presentations

4:15 pm – 5:30 pm | INVITE-ONLY Catalyst Awards Chief Executive Program and Celebration
The 2021 Catalyst Awards Chief Executive Program and Celebration presents a unique executive showcase of the 2021 Catalyst Award-Winning Initiatives, a CEO Call To Action, individual and small group networking, and more.

  • Claudio Colzani, Chief Executive Officer, Barilla Group
  • Dave McKay, President & Chief Executive Officer, RBC
  • Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture
  • Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO, Catalyst
  • Marillyn A. Hewson, Retired Chairman, President and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Soledad O’Brien, Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien

Awards programming is organized by 5 weekly themes:

Week 1 – March 1-5: Men Advocating Real Change (MARC)
Sponsor: P&G – Missed our MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) Summit in December? Check out David S. Taylor, Chairman of the Board, Procter & Gamble, as he leads by example and shows how other leaders can create change.
Week 2 – March 8-12: Advancing Women
Sponsor: UPS – Community Empowerment: A conversation with UPS – Hear from Laura Lane, Chief Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer, UPS, and Catalyst board of advisors’ member in conversation with Nicole “Nikki” Clifton, President, Social Impact and The UPS Foundation on how UPS is driving women’s economic empowerment through partnerships locally and abroad.
Week 3 – March 15-19: Sessions & Winners
Week 4 – March 22-26: Equity & Inclusion
Sponsor: Pfizer – Volume Up: A conversation with Pfizer – In this discussion, Albert Bourla, Chairman & CEO, and Kathrin Jansen, Senior Vice President, Head of Vaccine Research and Development are interviewed by Judith Absalon, Senior Director, Clinical Research on how Pfizer’s inclusive culture enables innovation.
Week 5 – March 29-31: Future of Work
Sponsor: Nationwide – Investing in the Future: A Conversation with Nationwide
In a rapidly changing business environment, investing in talent is crucial. Nationwide has implemented a five-year, $160 million investment to upskill and reskill its workforce, along with modernizing benefits and incentives. In this session hear from one Nationwide executive on what capabilities and skills are needed and how they are developing skills today that create inclusive and equitable workplaces for women and all associates.

  • Rebecca Schoepfer, Senior Vice President, Talent Management, Nationwide
  • Tara Van Bommel, PhD, Director, Statistician, Catalyst

Opportunities for engagement include:

Kickoff Session, March 1:  Join us for a powerful conversation with some of the most prominent and influential leaders in gender equity:  Serena Fong, Vice President, Strategic Engagement, Catalyst, Glenda Slingsby, Engagement Officer for International Women’s Day, Soraya Chemaly, Executive Director, The Representation Project, and Rachel Thomas, Co-Founder and CEO, Lean In.

Plus, other exciting benefits such as:

Topical, curated content available on demand and shared exclusively with attendees each Monday in March.

Live “Design Thinking” Wednesdays—learning how to turn breakdowns into breakthroughs.  Powered by Cisco. Spaces are limited.

  • March 3 – 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm ET; 8:30 am – 9:45 am AEDT (March 4)
  • March 10 – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm ET; 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm CET
  • March 23  – 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm ET
  • March 31 – 8:00 am – 9:15 am ET; 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm CET; 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm IST

Forum Fridays, where attendees can connect in a live, virtual networking format.

  • March 5 – 10:00 am – 10:30 am ET; 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm CET, networking to follow – MARC, Men Advocating Real Change, is a Catalyst initiative that inspires men to leverage their unique opportunity and responsibility to be advocates for equity. Join this session to learn more and network with like-minded individuals.
  • March 12 – 9:00 am – 9:30 am ET; 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm CET, 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm IST, networking to follow – Catalyst Women On Board™ – In this session, hear about the crucial leadership skills that participants in the program see as critical to propel the next generation of women leaders forward.
    • Angela Hwang, Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group
    • Meesha Rosa, Senior Director, Corporate Board Services, Catalyst
  • March 19 – 9:30 am – 10:00 am ET; 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm CET, networking to follow – Connections in a Crisis: Profiles of ERGs from the 2021 Catalyst Award Winners – Join ERG leaders from Barilla and RBC, for an engaging discussion about how ERGs played a critical role in inclusion and how they have maintained inclusion and connection during Covid.
    • Marura Lenjo, Sensory Research Manager, Americas Region, Barilla Group
    • Alejandro Murillas, Plant Director at Ascoli Piceno Plant, Barilla Group
    • Wally Chapman, Divisional Director, Private Client Group – Central RBC Wealth Management – U.S, RBC
    • Lauren Friese, Vice President, Future of Work and Culture, RBC
    • Andrew Grissom, Senior Associate Librarian, Information Center, Catalyst
  • March  26 11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET; 10:00 am – 11:00 am CET, networking to follow – Forum Friday: Equity and Inclusion – Being an inclusive leader is essential in today’s global marketplace. Join this session to discuss equity and inclusion best practices and connect with others within our global community.
  • Monday, March 29 (more details coming soon!)

“Bingeworthy” on-demand library of books, videos, podcasts, and articles available to participants through the duration of the conference.

Engaging activities from partners including artists, authors, and women-owned businesses such as emcee Liz Plank, Shellye Archambeau, Deanna Mulligan, Rosie Warren, ROOM, The Representation Project, She is the Music, Colorful Movement, The NY Philharmonic, StoryPirates, and more.


*Speakers, times and session descriptions subject to change.