Chisom is an Economist, a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Strategist, and a 3 times founder of impact driven companies. She has over 14 years of experience working with organizations like the European Commission, The United Nations, ExxonMobil and The Economist Group. Chisom is analytical and a data enthusiast. She is passionate about interrogating the cross-sectoral relationship between society’s inhabitants, resources, production, technology, distribution and output. She efficiently and effectively unlocks complex systems, interprets data, forecasts socio-economic trends and conducts research.
Having lived and worked in 7 countries across 3 continents, she is highly adaptable to different circumstances and people, and thrives in uncertain environments.
As the founder of Diversify and Diversify Consult, Chisom and her team work with companies, institutions, governments and civil society to develop sustainable DEIB strategies and embed measurable diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and society. In addition, in 2022, Diversify launched the Diversify Nordics Summit, the largest conference in the Nordics that gathers cross-sectoral stakeholders to amplify DEIB in the Nordics and beyond.
Chisom is a thought-leader in DEIB and a passionate advocate for mental health and wellness. She writes often on DEIB and justice related topics, some of her work is published on Forbes.
She founded Ramani Life Group to offer career guidance to students in low-income secondary schools in Kenya. She is also the founder of The Comms Table, a professional development program for young communicators. Uduak has an MA in Communication and Public Affairs and a BA in International Relations (cum laude). She is currently pursuing an MA in Business and Organisational Psychology. She is a a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, Tutu Fellow, a Bloomberg ALI Media Fellow, Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellow, a Boehm Media Fellow and a Global Social Impact Fellow. She is the chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Baraza Media Lab and a board member of the Junior League of Nairobi.
She transitioned in 2021 and has quickly become a trailblazer for trans rights and trans representation in Norway. Miriam has been featured in national business news and national television because of her openness and approach to using the workplace as a safe space for galvanizing her gender expression while building the courage to transition. She has also been featured in documentaries, interviews, and podcasts, and has inspired organizations in Norway by telling her story.
In 2022, she enabled Sopra Steria to be the first company in Norway to guarantee paid welfare for absences due to gender-affirming care for all transgender employees. As a result, Sopra Steria became the only private company to be invited to engage with government officials to create a more including society for LGBT+ individuals in Norway.
Aminkeng A Alemanji (Amin) research on race, racism, antiracism and antiracism education in Finland. His research focuses on developing different strategies and methods of antiracism education in and out of schools. In January (2022) he released Finland’s first Antiracism mobile App – Finland without Racism, available for download on the Google play store and iOS store. Besides being a Docent in Sociology with specific expertise in Studies in Diversity, he is currently the Program Director and Senior Lecturer for the Master of Social Exclusion at Åbo Akademi University.
Aaron Kroon is one of Sweden’s most influential people in the field of diversity and inclusion. He has more than 20 years of experience in leading organizational and cultural change journeys at companies such as ICA, Vattenfall and now at Schibsted where he is Nordic HR director. In 2022, he was named one of the top three role models in Sweden and has also been praised for creating Sweden’s most inclusive workplace
Vanessa Akpore is a Director of Capital Projects and Portfolio Management at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. In her role, she supports global engineering teams across South America, Europe, and Asia to successfully implement technology solutions for the manufacture of treatments for rare and chronic diseases.
Vanessa holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) and received her MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
Throughout her career, she has made it a personal priority to dedicate her time to encourage and uplift the next generation of minority engineering leaders; from her regular speaking engagements at the Society of Women Engineers on topics such as mentorship and leadership, as a mentor through the Johns Hopkins Diverse Leadership Mentoring Program, to serving as Chair of the Engineers Without Borders Project Management Standing Content Committee. This same passion also extends to her professional sphere where she serves and counsels on her organization’s DE&I team to build awareness of DE&IB through training, best practice sharing, and open dialogue.
Guðrún Hildur Ragnarsdóttir served as a President for I&D group, BEAM, which stands for Black Expedia Allied Movement at Expedia Group. Through her work, she dedicated to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within the travel industry and beyond.
After leaving the company in 2021, she continued her work in in Iceland, by promoting DEI at her current workplace Controlant and has become one of few expert on this matter in Iceland. Resulting in her becoming a public speaker about DEI. Gudrun has also her startup, Keeps, and has insights into funding statistics that female founders are battling against, although awareness has been raised.
Justin Hester (they/them) is Vice President of Customer Value, Insights, and Industries at Cognite, leading a global team that empowers industrial companies to view data through the lens of business outcomes, with a specific focus on helping executives effect strategic change and drive top-line and bottom-line improvements across their organizations.
Prior to Cognite, Justin led a global team at PTC that consulted on digital transformation strategies, leveraging their 17+ years of manufacturing innovation and leadership experience to provide hands-on recommendations resulting in $1B+ in new revenues and cost improvements for partner firms. Justin is passionate about intersectional workplace inclusivity and LGBTQIA+ issues, and is a firm believer that everyone should work in a team and environment that allows them to freely be their authentic self at work. Justin holds an MBA, a Master of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a BS in Computer Engineering & Industrial Robotics.
Miriam Petra Ómarsdóttir Awad is an Icelandic anti-racism educator and activist. Miriam has lived her entire life in Iceland and has a mixed background, as her mother is Icelandic and her father was originally from Egypt. Her experiences of not fitting into the „mold“ of what it means to be Icelandic has greatly influenced her life.
During her master‘s degree Miriam studied Nordic exceptionalism, colonialism and the Icelandic national identity in relation with prejudice in Iceland. There, her research subject centered on the effects of racism and prejudice on self-identities of Icelandic women with Middle Eastern backgrounds. Miriam currently works at the Icelandic National Agency for Erasmus+ where she is the agency‘s Inclusion and Diversity officer.
Since spring 2021 Miriam has hosted workshops and lectures on racism and cultural prejudism in Iceland in her personal time, but as an Icelandic person with a mixed background she draws from my own personal experiences as well as her professional experience working with the subject of inclusion and diversity. Miriam has written for Icelandic newspapers and magasines on the subject of intersectionality, racism and prejudice and has been consulted on national TV on the subject.
I have a BA in Social Education and a Master of Arts in General Education. I have worked 3 years for the National Board of Health and Welfare. Today, and for the past 2 years, I am the COO in Siu-Tsiu – in the first registered social enterprise in Greenland.
Mads Qvist Frederiksen is the Executive director of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) that is located in Tromsø, Norway. The AEC is a pan-arctic independent business membership organization established in 2014. It delivers policy advocacy, networking and outreach related to the Arctic. The organization facilitates Arctic sustainable economic development throughout the Arctic region.
Prior to joining the AEC in March 2021, Mr. Frederiksen worked as a Senior Advisor in the Global Trade and Investment unit at the Confederation of Danish Industry. Here he was responsible for Arctic business development and policy. Before he has worked in manufacturing, communication and as a journalist.
In addition to Arctic policy and trade promotion, his previous work has been within sanctions and export control, development work, foreign investments, communication strategy, journalism, training and capacity building.
Mr. Frederiksen is originally from Denmark. He has an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Southern Denmark and a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Contemporary history from City University and Queen Mary, University of London.
Mr. Frederiksen has lived and worked in Denmark, Norway, Algeria, United Kingdom, Iran and Afghanistan.
Umair Shamsi leads Telenor’s group-wide agenda on Diversity & Inclusion, Performance Mgmt, and Employee Experience Surveys. He has 22 years of experience in different aspects of Human Resources in North America, Asia & Europe. His higher education is from United States and during his years of experience he has received executive education from some of the top global institutions.
Winta Negassi previously worked at Warner Brothers Discovery as Vice President, People and Culture for the Nordic region. She brings international experience, having studied and worked in London for 13 years. Winta has a Bachelors in International Relations and a Masters in International Human Resource Management from Kingston University.
Winta’s main focus has been around digital transformation, change management and DE&I. The experience of growing up as a second generation immigrant in Oslo, Norway has inspired her to increase the visibility of minority groups in business, so that the coming generation can see that, impossible is nothing!
She has featured in the 1st edition of the book “Voices in the shadow” by Black Women in Tech and sits on the board of the Norwegian Media Association.
Nathalie Håkenstad (she/her) is an Amazon Web Services Enterprise Account Manager, Glamazon co-lead for Nordics and board member for women@Amazon Nordics and BEN Nordics, driving ID&E discussions and initiatives forward not only internally within Amazon Web Services but also with partners and customers.
With more then 20 year experience within IT, she is also active campaigning for Human Right Rights focusing on LGBTQ+ community and a board member of FossePride, which was founded by her then 14 year old daughter Isabella.
Thandi Dyani is an independent consultant, and external Network Organizer for Africa Region & the Nordics in the Emergent Team of the BMW foundation working with Leaders to inspire responsible leadership and catalyze change aligned with the SDGs.
She is a fiercely passionate advocate for gender and racial equity and works with different organizations to foster justice, equity, diversity and belonging. Thandi loves humanizing spaces and designs strategy and programs, provides training, keynotes and awareness for those that want to start their EDB journeys.
Thandi co-initiated The UnLearning Journey for racial equity as well as the Gender Alliance, both platforms for reflection, awareness, training, leadership transformation and deep listening for a more just future. She has also been a DJ for more than 20 year and splits her time and work between the Nordics and Sub- Saharan Africa.
As the CEO and co-founder of Umbrella, Meryn operates at the crossroads of innovation, recruitment, inclusive leadership, and systemic change. Her unique professional journey has seen her consult on a wide range of business endeavours, from formulating organisational strategies and culture initiatives to devising innovative blueprints for sustainable business growth, all grounded in fostering a diverse and thriving workforce.As the CEO and co-founder of Umbrella, Meryn operates at the crossroads of innovation, recruitment, inclusive leadership, and systemic change. Her unique professional journey has seen her consult on a wide range of business endeavours, from formulating organisational strategies and culture initiatives to devising innovative blueprints for sustainable business growth, all grounded in fostering a diverse and thriving workforce.
Meryn’s diverse portfolio encompasses the private and public sectors globally, from strategy formation in corporate settings to third-sector innovation and leadership, policy transformation for governments, to spearheading startup accelerator programs. With a wealth of experience, she has counselled new ventures, corporations, the public sector, and the third sector on go-to-market strategies, product management, inclusive leadership, DEI+, and innovation systems.
She is also co-host of Modern Idealist Podcast, a community for ambitious professionals seeking to make a positive impact in the world while navigating the complexities of modern life, and is also a keen theatre enthusiast. Her passion for the performing arts is evident in her ongoing endeavour to co-write a play exploring the paradoxes of Norway.
Meryn’s ultimate goal is to reimagine the global workforce and create a fairer, more equitable world- Driven by her passion for transformation, she believes that by reimagining and modernising the underlying systems of business, as well as communicating through art, we can establish an inclusive society where everyone feels valued, respected and truly belongs.
Dr. Poornima Luthra is the author of ‘Diversifying Diversity: Your guide to being an active ally of inclusion in the workplace’ and ‘The Art of Active Allyship’, the author of the HBR articles ‘Do your global teams see DEI as an American issue?’ and ‘7 ways to practice active allyship’.
She is the founder and CEO of TalentED Consultancy ApS as well as Associate Professor at the Copenhagen Business School. Poornima has spent the last fifteen years researching and teaching university courses in the field of talent management, with a focus on Diversity and Inclusion. Poornima’s work in DEI focuses on expanding the dimensions of diversity we address with an emphasis on intersectionality, empowering individuals to be active allies of inclusion and enabling inclusive leadership.
Poornima is the recipient of the Professional Women of Colour Denmark 2021 Impact award, and a finalist in the Trailblazer category of the 2022 Nordic Blaze Inclusion Awards. Most recently, Poornima been recognised as one of the world’s 30 up-and-coming thinkers whose ideas will make an important impact on management thinking in the future by Thinkers50.
Poornima has worked with and spoken at numerous Danish and International clients/ partners that include Carlsberg; Novo Nordisk; A.P. Møller Maersk; Reckitt; Accenture; KPMG Nordics; Danske Bank; FedEx; Google Denmark; Amazon Web Services; Nordea; Total; Telia; Maersk Tankers; Deloitte; Wilhelmsen; Nothvolt; Ørsted; Medicines sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders); McCormick APZ; McCormick UK; SimCorp; Visma amongst others.
Astrid Sundberg has 20 years’ experience as a Director and C-level Leader, specialising in the Startup and Scale-up climate. With a background in Tech, Consultancy, Sales, Retail and Recruitment, she’s a champion for change who delivers results. Specialising in Diverse and inclusive Leadership Strategies, Astrid’s an advocate for building equitable and inclusive workplace eco-systems.
As the Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Online Grocery Retailer Oda, she curated a number of high impact campaigns to elevate the global DEIB programme. One of her biggest achievements was to design and curate a bespoke Leadership Training programme called ‘All-Inclusive.’
Astrid has a strong track record for driving organizational change and transformation, alongside fervent support for Inclusive Leadership and Workplace Wellbeing. She recently joined NGO Humans for Humans as a Board Advisor and dedicates her spare time to mentoring women and mental health advocacy for Gender Based Violence survivors. Last year she was recognised as a Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer for Norway and this year she’ll be back on stage at DNS to share more thoughts and insights on Gender Equity.
Chi Lee has a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University. For over two decades, they have been a freelance consultant for design/build studios working with global retail companies. Chi previously worked as a liaison and organizer for Arts for Humanity, a non-profit bringing the arts to underserved communities. They have also served as a translator for Four Seas Group, a Chinese-American non-profit increasing accessibility to the performance arts for local communities.
Lawrence Akpore is a Nigerian American citizen. His background is in Chemical, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering. He holds multiple academic degrees including a Bsc., MSc. and an MBA. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Management at Harvard University (class of 2022). He also holds various certifications including Lean Train the Trainer and 6 Sigma Greenbelt/Blackbelt. Lawrence has held various management and leadership positions at companies such as General Electric, 3M, and Georg Fischer.
Currently, he is the Director of Business Excellence at Takeda. Takeda is a leading science-driven biopharmaceutical corporation with headquarters in Japan and the U.S. Lawrence enjoys an active lifestyle. Lawrence is passionate about engineering, efficient business processes, and unlocking the cross-functional benefits of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We are excited to have Lawrence as a panelist and look forward to learning how he intentionally creates space for diversity and inclusion at Takeda.