Heidi Barker

Director of Global DEI Inclusive Experiences

Company: Amazon
Role: Day Two General Session Speaker

Heidi Barker is the Director of Global DEI Inclusive Experiences at Amazon, leading communications and events.  She brings 30 years of experience as a senior corporate communications executive and broadcast journalist. A champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, she advises executives and leads organizational DEI initiatives.
Prior to Amazon, Barker led communications and DEI at John S. & James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, which funds journalism, arts, & community initiatives in the eight cities where the Knight brothers published newspapers.  She is the former vice president of corporate communications in the ethics & compliance department at Carnival Corporation & PLC, working with leaders across its nine global cruise lines. Barker was instrumental in COVID-19 crisis communications, including news of systemwide job actions and cost reductions, and culture/DEI initiatives.
Prior to Carnival, Barker served as chief communications officer at Cleveland Avenue LLC, a food and beverage venture capital and consulting firm in Chicago, where she built the startup’s communication function from inception, designing it to include corporate narrative and messaging platforms, internal and external communications, and an integrated social media presence.
Previously, Barker served as VP of global media relations & issues management for McDonald’s Corporation, advising C-suite execs on brand-impacting issues, and leading a team responsible for protecting the company’s reputation with influential journalists and stakeholders.
Before joining McDonald’s, Barker spent 10 years as a producer for NBC Network News, including two years as a rotational senior producer for “NBC Nightly News.” Barker began her career as an anchor/reporter/producer for ABC, NBC & FOX affiliates.
A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Barker has earned two Emmy nominations and several Edward R. Murrow Awards, among other journalism awards. In 2021, she earned a certification from Northwestern in Leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She serves as an emeritus member on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago, and is a former advisor to ColorComm Network, an organization supporting women of color in communications.

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