Foster Innovation Through a Culture of Allyship

2021 Talent Conference & Expo
Workplace Application: Attendees will learn tangible actions they can take to increase innovation and recognize the benefits of a diverse workforce.

A diverse workforce is the first necessary step toward fostering equity and promoting inclusion. Many organizations that tout a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion struggle with seeing the benefits of a diverse workforce on their bottom line; these organizations are not innovating and will not survive. This interactive session will challenge attendees to take their commitment to innovation and inclusion to the next level by learning how to model and implement a culture of allyship. This session includes discussion and reflection on case studies that will help attendees walk away with tangible approaches they can apply immediately in their organizations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how being an ally in the workplace promotes inclusion and innovation.
  • Understand how unconscious biases, personal motivations and existing systems hinder progress toward an inclusive and innovative workforce.
  • Identify approaches to overcome challenges of allyship.
  • Learn how to develop a coalition of allies in your organization.
  • Recognize outcomes of a culture of allyship in your organization.
Date(s) & Time(s): 
Monday, August 23, 2021 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Serilda Summers-McGee


Serilda Summers-McGee is the Principal and CEO of Workplace Change, LLC, a Human Resources firm created to guide, advise, and encourage the business world through internal as well as external growth and transition, while incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into HR systems. Serilda has been an HR/DEI innovator for over 15 years, honing her ability to identify challenges and opportunities while teaching the masses how to be better leaders. She has inspired thousands to create, embrace, and mobilize lasting organizational change.

Most recently, Serilda was Chief Human Resources Officer for the City of Portland, Oregon, one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.. While serving as the CHRO, she led a bureau of 84 professionals who supported a workforce of more than 10,000. She has held leadership roles for the Portland Development Commission, the Oregon Department of Education, Kaiser Permanente, Partners in Diversity, and Reed College.

In 2019, Serilda positioned the City of Portland’s Bureau of Human Resources to win the Western Region International Public Management Association For Human Resources “Agency Award For Excellence.” In 2018, she received Portland Business Journal’s “Women of Influence Award,” and in 2019, she received Portland Business Journal’s “HR Excellence Award.”

Serilda believes in the power of an equitable and inclusive work environment. She knows that to be a healthy company, there must be healthy culture. Serilda has made it her life’s work to help organizations and leaders create and sustain optimal work cultures. For her, the importance of HR became apparent while working the counter at Taco Bell in her first high school job, that lasted 8 years.


Session Type: 
Concurrent Session
Ethical Practice
Global & Cultural Effectiveness
Leadership & Navigation
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