Founder and CEOCompany: Culture Coach International (CCI); Diversity Dashboard
Role: Session Presenter
Session: Doing It by the Numbers—Diversity, Metrics and the Bottom Line (S6 - E)
Kari Heistad’s work as CEO of Culture Coach International (CCI) focuses on helping companies put culture to work for them instead of against them. Intent on helping companies to understand the bottom-line impact of cultural and diversity issues, the work of CCI is both practical and strategic in nature. In the U.S., the CCI team has worked across a wide range of industries including healthcare, government, and the public and private sector. In addition to the work of CCI in the U.S., she has worked closely with organizations in Greece and Ireland. In January 2017, Kari founded Diversity Dashboard, an online project management system custom-designed for diversity leaders to help them track their activities, measure their results and report on the return on investment. She leads a team of seven people bringing the Dashboard to market.
Kari has presented to more than 15,000 people and her training programs and the diversity tools she has developed have reached more than 700,000 people globally. Before founding CCI in 1998 in Athens, Greece, Kari served as the executive director for the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, where she developed an innovative Model United Nations curriculum endorsed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In the past decade, the program has impacted more than 350,000 mostly inner-city high school students around the world. Kari has also created cross-cultural curriculum projects for MIT and the Dreams of Freedom Museum.
Based upon her curriculum development projects, Kari was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2002 to study multi-cultural education in New Zealand. She completed her work in the summer of 2002 and wrote an innovative photography-based curriculum titled, “A Photographic Introduction to New Zealand and the Maori.” The free curriculum has been downloaded more than 4,000 times. On a national level, Kari has served on the board of Ski for Light (a program that teaches the visually impaired to cross-country ski) and on the Model United Nations Advisory Council for United Nations Association of the U.S. Locally, Kari serves as a board member for United Nations Association of Greater Boston.
Kari received her master’s degree in international administration and training from the School for International Training, and a B.S. degree from Bates College. In May 2018, she completed the Babson College Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab®, a nine-month business accelerator program designed to help women entrepreneurs accelerate their growth. At the conclusion, Kari was awarded the WIN Lab Community Award for her contributions to the WIN Lab cohort in supporting other women entrepreneurs.
Kari’s passion for international exploration started at a young age. In an essay written in third grade titled, “Who I am,” Kari wrote, “I also enjoy traveling. I find it interesting to compare different kinds of geography, different styles of living and to meet new and different people.” She speaks passably fluent Norwegian and a smattering of Spanish, French, and Greek—which entertains the locals.