Dr. Shirley Knowles

Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer


HomeSpeakersDr. Shirley Knowles

Speaker Bio

In her role as Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Progress, Dr. Shirley Knowles is dedicated to cultivating a culture of inclusion, diversity and belonging so people are empowered to be their best. Shirley sees her work at Progress as equipping employees to achieve by tapping into the richness of diverse human experiences.

A transformational leader and educator, Shirley strives to positively impact the way people think, interact and collaborate across cultural, generational, racial, gender, socioeconomic, religious, disability, and educational lines. Shirley further helps Progress foster an environment where people are free to learn, be heard and have the difficult—but respectful—conversations that make employees stronger.

Fun Fact: I am a big fan of German sportscars.

Speaker Sessions


How Can You Become An Ally For People Different From You?

30 mins
  • Track - new-frontiers
  • Diversity Equity & Inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Non-Technical
  • Dr. Shirley Knowles

    Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer


In the New Frontier, YOU have the power to show up for people in marginalized groups, even if you are a part of the traditionally disadvantaged group. How do you support other women looking to get promoted in male-dominated cultures or industries? How do you help to advocate for employees with disabilities who are fighting for accessibility to basic things such as computer equipment or captioning during virtual meetings? Do you slow the pace in which you speak when talking to colleagues where English (or whatever the native language) is not the individual’s first language? Do you stand by your Black and brown colleagues when they share stories of discrimination in the workplace, just because of the color of their skin or the way their hair grows?

In this session, we’ll talk about personal examples of when people showed up for them, and why it was so important for them in male-dominated tech spaces. We will also discuss how to show up for others and work through the uncertainty and discomfort of not knowing whether you’re “doing it right,” but being confident enough to put yourself out there and become an ally.

The Why: In a world that is constantly bringing people together from all walks of life, it’s important to understand the power of allyship. This session is for anyone looking to, or currently working for diverse organizations which are inclusive of people’s identities and why those identities are important.

Key Takeaways:

  • The importance and impact of caring for others and allyship
  • The power of listening to others who come from backgrounds different from our own
  • Gain key, practical steps to begin your journey of advocating for others.

This session is for… you if you’d like to learn how to make stronger connections with other people in the tech space.

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