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An event interview series for the
Collabor8 Employer Collective community
with insightful leaders sharing
their perspective and knowledge.

Collabor8 Conversations: Text

John Line - Executive Director, Client Services
Copacino Fujikado

When organizations take the time to make sure their PRIDE branding is authentic, thoughtful and with purpose they send a positive message to not only their audience and customers but also their employees. In this Collabor8 Conversation we connected with an advertising agency who used their creative superpowers to make a PRIDE branding guide, accessible to all: Rainbow With a Cause. Learn about the origin story of the guide, great tips on making sure internal and external initiatives mirror each other and then (hopefully!) access the guide itself to put to good use at your organization.

If you would like to read a copy of the transcript click HERE.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Kristen Kaufmann - Manager, Office of Equality Programs, Business Resource Groups

Building awareness around body size inclusion is another opportunity for organizations to create a work environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging. We discussed with Kristen the importance of language, education around common biases, intentional policies and harmful practices that should be avoided. 

If you would like to read a transcript of the video please click HERE.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video
Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Sue Mason - Co-Founder and Executive Dir. of What's Next Washington and Founder of Susan Mason Consulting

As many as one in three individuals in the United States have some type of criminal record. What's Next Washington and Sue Mason work with employers on inclusion for formerly incarcerated individuals. In this latest Collabor8 Conversation, we discuss:

- best practices for hiring and retaining individuals in this often-untapped talent population

- barriers to entry and bias often experienced in the workplace for formerly incarcerated individuals

- why organizations who are investing in knowledge, awareness, strategies and resources on hiring people with conviction histories are putting their DEIB goals and strategy into action

If you'd like to connect with Sue to learn more about Fair Chance hiring practices you can do so HERE.

If you would like to read a transcript of the video please click HERE.

Venus Rekow - Chief Behavioral Scientist at NEURAL SHIFTS

Melissa Acton-Buzard - CEO at 

Data can help drive diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work and efforts. In this Collabor8 Conversation we discuss data collection, employee surveys, continuous analysis and implementation.
When you pair data collection with behavioral science, you can get closer to the information you need to analyze effectively and ensure that inclusion is infused into all aspects of the employee experience.

A complete transcript for the video can be found here.

More details on services from Neural Shifts and Chameleon Technologies can be found here.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Mike Hatzenbeler - President & CEO

Lauren Orichio - Director, Employment Services


PROVAIL knows employment gives people with disabilities the chance to learn new skills, build confidence, and engage with their community. It is a path to independence and inclusion for all. Through their Employment Services Program, they help businesses figure out needs and areas for growth, match business leaders with pre-qualified employees, and provide ongoing guidance so both the business and the employee feel supported and confident. This conversation will expand your knowledge on inclusion, and show how attainable creating accessibility programming can be with the right support.

If you'd like to learn more about PROVAIL or to speak to a business they've helped, contact Lauren Orichio HERE.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Anneke Blair-Aparicio
Sr. Strategic Diversity Partner, DEI

T-Mobile is consistently recognized for their inclusion efforts as an employer with a clear passion to authentically connect their diverse employee base, create a safe space for dialogue, and to provide resources around DEI through their employee resource groups. Anneke shares what's worked well and lessons learned in T-Mobile's ERG efforts.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Philip Jacobs
Rebel Firm
Author, "Elephant in the Room"

Philip shares his motivation for writing, "Elephant in the Room," a business parable that reckons with present-day workplace racism and provides opportunities for professionals to practice navigating the intricacies of racial difference. We discuss his fresh approach to storytelling, and what he hopes everyone can take away from reading. 

Order your signed copy today HERE.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Kerri Schroeder & Jeremey Williams
Bank of America

Kerri and Jeremey discuss Bank of America's community investment into advancing racial and economic opportunity, as well as how they support the health of their employees' mental, physical and financial well-being.

Some insights shared:

  • Publishing data has a dual purpose: you can keep the community aware of your investments, while also holding the organization accountable.

  • When focusing on "responsible growth," both progress and profit can be achieved simultaneously.

We've also linked the entire Human Capital Management Report here so that the Collabor8 community can learn more! 

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Laura Close

Laura shared about Included's vision and approach of using data, tech and analytics to help achieve DEI solutions and outcomes. Some insights shared:

  • Programmatic work is just one piece of the puzzle; custom guidance based on data can pinpoint areas of growth and change needed

  • Metrics should be examined in all stages of an employee's life cycle - including the candidate experience 

  • Included has multiple resources available and accessible at

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Amanda Chinn + Hanifah McGovern
Seattle Storm

Amanda and Hanifah shared more about the Seattle Storm's approach to mirroring their external social responsibility efforts in their internal core values. 

Some key takeaways and insights shared were: 

  • Establish consistent and open lines of communication and ample opportunities for all staff to be able to weigh in.

  • Ensure you are amplifying and giving access to everyone for opportunities.

  • Be intentional about celebrating and acknowledging wins and work.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Kelli Rodriguez Currie, JD
Seattle University

Kelli shared about SU's MBA in Sport and Entertainment Management program and fellowship which has diversity, equity and inclusion as a core philosophy of its offerings. The program has partnered with many major sports teams to help create more inclusion and increase BIPOC and female leadership in the sports industry specifically, with the hope to represent a good model for all industries.

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Meghan Reibstein

Our fifth installment of Collabor8 Conversations was with Meghan Reibstein, Vice President, Organizational Operations for Zillow. Meghan shared how Zillow developed their distributed workforce model through an equitable lens to ensure diversity and inclusion was at the forefront of decision making. She also spoke about the vital role employees played in helping to roadmap and adapt to challenges and changes throughout the process. 

Cheat Sheet:

  • How can an employer communicate that they are committed to the process to their employees and build trust in the relationship?
    TIME STAMP 11:43

  • What's one way you can acknowledge that some may be in person vs attending virtually for meetings and still keep it inclusive for all?
    TIME STAMP 20:58

  • How important is it to stay flexible as things have been so unpredictable in the world? 
    TIME STAMP 23:25

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Karen Wilkins-Mickey
Seattle Seahawks

Our fourth installment of Collabor8 Conversations was with Karen Wilkins-Mickey, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for the Seattle Seahawks. Karen shared through her experience the importance of having a seat and a voice at the table, how to bring others along in your DEI journey, and how helpful stay interviews can be in revealing the needs of your employees and retaining talent.

Cheat Sheet:

  • If you really want DEI to show up in your organization, make sure the people doing the work are at the table.
    TIME STAMP 12:37

  • "Everyone will not be on the same page, but I can get you to come with me on the journey."
    TIME STAMP 18:52

  • How can an organization get started in their DEI journey?
    TIME STAMP 24:42

  • Don't wait for the employee exit to learn the lesson.
    TIME STAMP 45:59

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Brian Blake

Our third installment of Collabor8 Conversations was with Brian Blake, Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion at National Hockey League (NHL). We spoke with Blake about the importance of leadership buy-in, how essential learning is in setting the groundwork towards action, and the opportunity and responsibility that comes with being a sports industry employer. 

Cheat Sheet:

  • Data: Numbers never lie, but do they always tell the truth? 
    TIME STAMP 06:18

  • DEI Efforts: What is an essential component for getting everyone at your organization on the same page?
    TIME STAMP 16:20

  • Social Justice: How are NHL teams authentically connecting with the communities they serve?
    TIME STAMP 24:13

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Marty Pisciotti, Part 1
MOD Pizza

Our second event in the Fall 2020 Collabor8 Conversations series was with Marty Pisciotti, Senior Vice President, People for MOD Pizza. We spoke with Pisciotti about his new role and  what happens when you put people first for your employees and community.

Part 1 Cheat Sheet:

  • What is authentic purpose and what drives you and your organization towards that purpose? 
    TIME STAMP 08:43

  • 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast everyday' reasonings and what is a say-do gap?
    TIME STAMP 11:44

  • What is impact hiring and why should talent acquisition relook at strategies that exclude entire groups of individuals?
    TIME STAMP 18:38

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Marty Pisciotti, Part 2
MOD Pizza

Part 2 Cheat Sheet:​

  • How can companies look at Resource Groups for their employees as a two-part strategy - both highlighting resources needed for underrepresented groups and bringing education and awareness for allies?
    TIME STAMP 03:55

  • How has COVID-19 impacted your business plans and strategy and how has it also given you another moment to put people first through programs not often first in mind from employers?
    TIME STAMP 10:00

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

James Thomas
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Our first of four events was with James Thomas, Director/Head of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. We spoke with Thomas about his new position, his previous roles and what's ahead. 

  • What challenges - seen and unseen -  come with being the first in your role for your organization and your industry? What opportunities does it also present?

  • How can a consumer's experience be impacted by a company's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion?

  • What can leaders do to improve disability inclusion in the workplace in an authentic way?

Collabor8 Conversations: Video

Collabor8 Employer Collective is a cohort of employer organizations focused on learning and sharing through valuable collaborative partnerships, conversations, and up-to-date data. There are 8 stages of an employee's life cycle and we view that as 8 opportunities to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into your practices in order to foster a sense of belonging in the workplace. We welcome all employer types, industries, and sizes to our table.

Collabor8 Conversations: Welcome
Collabor8 Conversations: Price List


Collabor8 Conversations: Image
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