Include 2021: A global event to engage on challenging topics to accelerate diversity and inclusion

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At Microsoft we’ve been focused on learning about effective allyship in the workplace. Part of the mindset necessary for allyship is about accepting what we don’t know, being willing to be wrong, and even taking some risks to drive meaningful change.

On March 17, we’re going to try something we’ve never done before: Microsoft will host Include 2021, a free, global, digital event open to all and focused on diversity and inclusion. Include 2021 will feature global experts in academia, social change, and diversity and inclusion leading in-depth conversations about how we spark and support lasting culture change. Anyone can register for this public event and learn more about speakers and topics by visiting the Include 2021 site.

Lasting change doesn’t happen in a day or during a single event; it requires a shift in mindset, and a commitment to ongoing individual and collective action. Include 2021 will offer one dedicated space to gain new perspectives and engage in important, challenging conversations. During the event, we’ll explore the human, business and geopolitical case for diversity and inclusion. We’ve invited a number of powerful industry experts who lead this work across the globe, including: Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum; Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, NYU School of Law, and director of the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and HIV Project; Eduardo Briceño, global keynote speaker and workshop facilitator on growth mindset and learning organizations, Pahara-Aspen Fellow, co-founder and CEO of Mindset Works; Binna Kandola, business psychologist, senior partner and co-founder of Pearn Kandola; and Stephanie J. Creary, identity and diversity scholar and researcher, assistant professor of management, Wharton People Analytics faculty member.

We’re honored to feature a group of speakers with deep expertise on a range of topics, including allyship, covering, intersectionality, privilege, gender, disability, race and ethnicity, age, faith, and mental health. We will also share learnings from some of our partners who are nurturing inclusion within their own organizations, as well as candid stories from our employees about why inclusion matters and what they need from others.

Include 2021 is about fueling learning and leveraging external expertise to accelerate our inclusion journey. Our hope is that the conversations started will continue long afterward and will encourage each of us to engage in diversity and inclusion with intention, purpose and relentless empathy. We will also launch a site on Microsoft.com with insights from external experts along with some of our own diversity and inclusion learning content. These resources will be available to anyone who might find them useful for their own organizational or individual inclusion journey, while we continue our own. Please stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for more information.

It may seem unusual for a company like Microsoft to host a public event about diversity and inclusion. This event is not about trying to “hack” diversity and inclusion because we think we have all the answers. This is about recognizing our privilege and the access we have to key resources and embracing the opportunity to amplify the work of world-class thought leaders who have been in this space for decades. We hope others will choose to engage, share and learn alongside us, because we believe that inclusion is a choice and a practice.

Real progress on diversity and inclusion doesn’t happen without real work. But if we approach it with intention, commitment, empathy and humility, we might just be able to make meaningful, sustainable change together. We hope you will join us March 17 at Include 2021.

Learn more about our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion and the programs and policies that support our work at https://aka.ms/2020DIReport.

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