Social Impact

An IDEal Future: A Discussion about Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

Day 2 Morning

Anita Dashiell-Sparks

Professor & Associate Dean of DEI, USC School of Dramatic Arts

Anita Dashiell-Sparks (she/her) is the Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Co-Head of Undergraduate Acting, and Associate Professor of Theatre Practice in Acting at USC School of Dramatic Arts.  As an artist-activist she has long demonstrated a commitment to centering equity, inclusion, and community building in her work.

As an actor, she is a veteran of the Broadway stage, Off-Broadway, and regional theaters across the country including the Geffen Playhouse and Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.  As a director, she has directed numerous productions at USC, as well as directed "Letters from Zora" at the Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre and two critically acclaimed engagements at the Pasadena Playhouse, among others. She has received local, state, and national grants for her artistic scholarship, arts education, arts therapy, and arts activism including a recent Creative Art Placemaking Grant from the California Arts Council.

Dashiell-Sparks also serves as the artistic director of EDI at the Stella Adler Center of the Arts; teaches master classes and workshops nationally and, at USC, is the founder and director of Building Bridges: Communication, Expression, Empowerment Theatre Arts Program, which teaches self-presentation and self-expression to at-risk youth.  In addition to acting, teaching, and directing, she is a trained and certified Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) practitioner by SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) and NADOHE (National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education).

Breakout Panel

Dr. Kristen Liesch

Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Tidal Equality

At her core, Kristen Liesch (she/her) is an impatient person serving other impatient people with the tools they need to accelerate the pace of change toward a more equal world.

Named a Forbes D&I Trailblazer, Dr. Kristen Liesch is a strategist and educator who empowers individuals and organizations to design equitable change in radically simple and effective ways. As co-CEO and co-Founder of Tidal Equality (@tidal.equality), Kristen is also the co-creator of the Equity Sequence,™️which equips people around the world to make equitable change wherever they work, learn, and play.

Breakout Panel

Kathy Hannan

Former National Managing Partner & Vice Chair, KPMG LLC

Kathy Hannan (she/her) is a senior C-Suite executive, corporate advisor, independent board director and strategist with 30+ years of experience leading significant operations and high priority initiatives. She has extensive governance experience through her corporate board roles as well as her roles as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (@smithsoniannmai) and recent past Chairman of the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of the USA (@girlscouts).

Dr. Hannan recently retired from KPMG LLP (@kpmg). As a Global Lead partner, with the vision, strong business judgement, and proven financial acumen in managing large and complex business units with full P&L accountability, Kathy held significant national and global leadership roles within the firm. 

Dr. Hannan is Native American and a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. As a result of her leadership experience, she served as a commissioner for the Tribal Employment Rights Office and was a presidential appointee to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. She also served as a member of the Committee to establish the Board of Directors for the Ho-Chunk Tribe’s corporation under Section 17 of the IRA (Indian Reorganization Act).

Breakout Panel

Karen Brown

Founder & Consultant, Bridge Arrow

Karen Brown (she/her) founded Bridge Arrow, a Chicago-based management consultancy, to make businesses more profitable by focusing on return on equity for investors, shareholders, and employees. Karen was a senior executive at Sodexo, Baxter, Monsanto and Rockwell Collins, and recently served as Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at Baker McKenzie, the second largest law firm in the world. 

With an understanding born of 28+ years in the corporate world, Karen advises global companies on how to drive growth and profitability by promoting diversity and inclusion in their organizations. Her forthcoming book, Gender Equity: How Women Leaders Make Companies Stronger, Smarter and More Profitable, based on in-depth interviews with both female and male executives, explores the business advantages of gender equity.