WOCA 2023 Recap: Navigating the Intersections of Workforce Equity for Women of Color

Fair360’s 6th annual Women of Color and their Allies (WOCA) event took place on September 21 near Washington, D.C. The day included insightful panels and motivating fireside chats inspired by this year’s theme, “Navigating the Intersections of Workforce Equity.” 

To kick off the event, Eliana Nunez, VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Cigna Group (No. 14 on Fair360’s 2023 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), Francisco Martinez-Garcia, Chief Inclusion Officer at Moody’s Corporation (No. 21 on the 2023 Top 50 list) and Steve Wallish, Assistant Vice President of Advanced Analytics at AT&T (a Hall of Fame company) spoke in the “Ensuring No Woman of Color Is Left Behind” panel. The panelists celebrated their intersectionality and how their life experiences relate to their careers. 

Visit Fair360 to view all articles, videos and photos from the 2023 WOCA event. 

Fair360 and a team of researchers shared insights on women of color in the workplace. Dr. Chris Parker, Head of Research and Data Analytics at Fair360, shared a research update from the company’s data. The academic researchers included Dr. Stephanie Creary, Assistant Professor of Management and Leadership, The Wharton School, Dr. Rebecca Ponce de Leon, Assistant Professor of Management, Columbia Business School, Dr. Alexis Smith Washington, Associate Professor, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Julie Ann Crommett, Professor of the Practice, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Dr. Samantha Erskine, Assistant Professor, College of Management, UMass Boston. 

Dr. Ish Major held the session “TED-Style Talk: Managing Stress and Burnout Through the Lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” As one of America’s top psychiatrists, he discussed tools women of color can use to live healthier, more meaningful lives. 

“Here’s what I know about high-achieving people: They’re high achieving, but they’re low reward. We suck at celebrating ourselves,” Dr. Major said. “So, what I want you to be able to do is stop cheating yourself out of those micro-moments to celebrate yourself just because you’re overly concerned and worried about somebody else and what they would think if you do.” 

Michaela Samoudi, Senior Manager of External Surveys & Benchmarking in Global Inclusion, Diversity & Equity at Medtronic (No. 2 on the 2023 Top 50 list), and Tatsumi Paredes, Senior Manager, D&I Consulting at Toyota Financial Services, discussed the benefits of a strong network of peers, mentors, sponsors and allies during the “Cultivating a Network of Support to Build Your Career” panel.  

Natasha Miller Williams, Founder and CEO of Work Hearter Consulting, and Christiani Franck, Director, Americas Diversity, Equity & Inclusiveness Center of Excellence, EY (a Hall of Fame company), shared what companies must do to foster an inclusive environment for women of color during the “Building Truly Inclusive Cultures by Addressing Systemic Structural Barriers for All” panel. 

Carolynn L. Johnson, CEO of Fair360, held a powerful fireside chat titled “Women of Color Navigating Corporate Realities” with Joy Fitzgerald, SVP, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at UnitedHealth Group (No. 15 on the 2023 Fair360 Top Hospitals and Health Systems). 

Also, Johnson held another fireside chat titled “Insights on Recruiting and Retaining Women of Color.” Dantaya Williams, Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer at RTX, joined her. RTX is the host sponsor of the event (No. 36 on the 2023 Top 50 list).

Finally, Reena Koshy, Vice President of Digital Transformation at RTX, helped Johnson close the event. 

“I walk away knowing that there are resources, that there are tools and that there are people who want us to succeed in empowering women of color in the workplace,” Koshy said. “I walk away knowing that we have the opportunity to shape tomorrow for ourselves and for the generations to come after us.”