March 27-29, 2023
35th Annual Conference | In-Person & Virtual Event

Diversity Executive Forum

The Diversity Executive Forum (DEF) is uniquely designed by and for senior diversity executives who are looking to rigorously explore contemporary challenging business imperatives with their peers.

DEF will be held at Conference Headquarters:

Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South
Ample parking around the hotel and especially in the hotel garage
Go to registration first–3rd Floor!
After checking in and getting your name badge, proceed to Conrad Rooms on the 2nd floor. There are signs and hospitality volunteers to guide you.
We gather at 9:00. Program begins at 9:30.
Please Scroll down for the Diversity Executive Agenda and Schedule.
You are also invited to attend the rest of the 3-day conference
The Cvent App is Your Program Book

Please download the app in advance and click around. Customize your profile with your photo and links. The app lists the conference schedule, all the session information, attendees, speakers, exhibitors in the marketplace, DEI coaching center, diversity awards and floor plans.

Download the Cvent App on ios (Apple) and Google Play (android) 

Once you have the app search for our event “Combining Forces” 

You will be prompted to enter your name and email (the one you registered with) and then verify.

Event Details — DEF Attendees have access to the Full 3-Day Conference

Date & Time

Monday, March 27, 2023
9:00am – 3:30pm  CST


Includes access to full 3-day conference.


Invitation only

**Registration includes participation in DEF as well as the full three-day Forum annual conference. This year’s conference is March 27-29, 2022 and is HRCI and SHRM Continuing Education Credit (CEU) eligible.


maureen berkner boyt

Dr. Randal Pinkett
Managing Partner
BCT Partners

madeline borkin

Dawn Christian
Belong by Dawn Christian

cheryl kern

Angela Cooper
Founder and Principal Consultant
Mindpower Strategic, LLC

R. Adidi Etim-Hunting
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Penn State University

Judy Ryan
LifeWork Systems

Dr. Angela Spranger
Senior Diversity Officer/Director
Center for DEI in Business, University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management

Caryn Reed-Hendon
Founding Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Lawrence Technological University

What is DEF?

Expert presenters and facilitators are invited each year to host a space for equitable and open dialogue where all participants can exchange personal and professional best practices around the most timely and relevant demands of diversity and inclusion work.

DEF is not intended to sell practitioners on a plug and play strategy, rather it holds space for rigorous dialogue and fluid exploration. DEF is a place where senior practitioners find value in their own and others’ dedicated commitments to the work of DEI.

Combining Forces: Leveraging identity, wellness, systems + Influence in our work

Over the last few years, the lights have been raised on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) executives across business sectors and industries. Consumers are demanding transparency and an urgency to align with companies with demonstrated DEI values and goals. DEI leadership is no longer viewed by employers as nice to have, rather an integral model of character and action in the movement toward a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. As this approach to DEI grows, so does the leadership role within organizations regardless of industry.  

The Diversity Executive Forum (DEF) provides a place and space for those charged with leading and implementing DEI strategies to come together in collegial fashion to learn with and from each other. Designed as a “conference within a conference” participants can self-select prioritized areas of interest for focused, small group exploration and dialogue around topics most relevant at the current stage of their DEI leadership. 

Learning Outcomes

    • Identify and prioritize DEI actions most important in this stage of your DEI leadership
    • Understand the interdependencies of self-awareness, self-care, systems, and C-suite support on strategic development
    • Map DEI leadership actions and accountabilities for next level leadership



All times Central Standard Time.

  • 9:00am – Registration
  • 9:30am – Welcome, Grounding
  • 9:50am – Context Setting
  • 10:30am – Break
  • 10:45am – Breakouts
  • 12:15pm – Lunch
  • 1:00pm – Breakouts
  • 2:30pm – Break
  • 2:45pm – Moderated Plenary
  • 3:10pm – Action & Accountability Planning
  • 3:30pm – Adjourn

Countdown to Diversity Executive Forum









Building a Responsibility Based Workplace

Presented by Judy Ryan

The old ways of understanding human systems– superior versus inferior and win/lose– aren’t working. They never did, not without lasting, serious side effects such as stress, struggle, burnout, and disengagement. These are symptoms resulting from root causes or oppression that inordinately impact the most marginalized in our society. This session introduces a responsibility-based culture model that addresses root causes and fosters psychological safety, emotional intelligence, high trust, morale, performance, and engagement. Participants learn about supportive, inclusive conditions where people and organizations thrive. Only then do people expand into their greatest potential, rise to meet today’s complexities, and remain motivated to contribute the fullness of their gifts and talents.


The Power of Renewal - Centering Wellbeing and Sustainability for DEI Leaders

Diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership is not for the faint of heart. We need to confront many unpleasant truths and the nature of our work is strenuous and demanding in countless ways. Our passion often pushes us to ignore our capacity and the reality is this: if we are not actively working to protect ourselves, burnout is inevitable. This session will offer you meaningful new tools to strategically preserve and maximize your energy, build momentum with your work, and amplify your impact as a DEI leader

Uniting the C-Suite with Belonging, Ethos, and Trust

Presented by Dawn Christian

For Chief Diversity Officers, the weight of societal expectations, cancel culture, and calls for accountability can make the journey feel isolating and overwhelming. But your skills as a CDO and your lived experience are powerful tools for navigating the current social climate and generating more buy-in for collective C-Suite advocacy. If you’re seeking a pathway to gaining commitment to evolve the organization without sacrificing your authenticity and well-being, it’s time to discover your Ethos-Driven Leadership©. An evolutionary leadership competency that defines your ethos at the intersection of your leadership style while driving transformative change. Join Dawn Christian, CEO & Founder of Belong by Dawn Christian®, as she gives a deep dive into her framework for Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accountability & Social Impact (B +IDEAS) that will tap into your core values and intentionality in ways that honor your unique leadership style while building community across the C-Suite and promoting trust and transparency throughout your organization.

The Call and The Response: Framing the DEI Path Ahead with Intention and Action

Presented by Caryn Reed-Hendon, Angela Spranger, and R. Adidi Etim-Hunting

The social climate of the past decade has put private sector and nonprofit organizations on notice to improve their representational diversity and curate organizational culture with intention rather than a performative “check the box to satisfy the moment” approach. Today’s context includes a global pandemic, social justice protests and social media movements as a normalized response to outrageous particularism in a country that espouses universal justice (“law and order”), and ongoing political debacles. These conditions demand that we acknowledge the current state of the workplace and its domains, own how we got to this state, and strategically design what it will take to move our organizations forward towards inclusive excellence and belonging.

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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