It’s a new day in Corporate America. The workplace has been revolutionized, the look of leadership disrupted, and the idea of gainful employment turned on its head. On Tuesday, the New York Urban League (NYUL) hosted a public discourse on this new landscape, bringing together career experts and employees to celebrate the richness that is diversity, equity and inclusion in the corporate space.

The Champions awards celebration isn’t a new initiative for the NY Urban League—for years the storied organization has honored companies for their leadership and commitment to an inclusive and equitable future. But in the face of COVID and a rapidly changing corporate landscape, the former breakfast has been extended, making way for a half-day symposium that gets to the core of who and what DEI is all about. 

"New York Urban League is truly excited to chart a new and exciting path forward for our Champions Awards,” Arva Rice, New York Urban League's President and CEO, said in advance of the event. “And to introduce the reimagined Champions with such an incredible lineup of industry leaders committed to DEI could not be more ideal.” 

Speakers for the event included Katrina Jones, former exec at Twitch and the founder and CEO of Advancing Equity + Inclusion, a boutique Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and talent consulting and coaching firm; Erika Irish Brown, Managing Director, Head of ICG Talent & Diversity/Inclusion at Citi, and Alicin Williamson, the newly tapped Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Yahoo and former SVP, Chief Inclusion Officer, at Endeavor. The panels organized by the NYUL highlighted the great resignation taking place across the corporate landscape, leading while Black and Brown, and corporate’s responsibility in taking us beyond the statements and hashtags that emerged after the death of George Floyd.

“As an organization, we [NYUL] are poised to take the gold standard of DEI awards to the next level," said NYUL Board Chair, Ward Corbett prior to the symposium. "We anticipate the Champions conference in its new format to be a remarkable and informative experience for individuals and corporations from across industries.” 

This year the NYUL honored Blackstone for its Corporate Diversity, Citi for its diversity in Philanthropy Diversity, Etsy for Supplier Diversity. It also bestowed two Rising Star honors on Romola Ratnam of Endeavor and Tara Ataya, of Hootsuite. Event panels will be posted to the NYUL site in the coming week.