Unpacking racial justice & equity in business

August 18-19 | Virtual Event

Reinvent "just" business

More than two thirds of Americans find companies with strong diversity, equity, and inclusion values more relevant than other brands, and 80% of Americans believe companies need to recognize their role in systemic racial inequality by acknowledging past mistakes or biases.

The time for talking is over. Corporations must make authentic, long-term commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The SB’20 Just Brands conference, which took place virtually on August 18-19, helped participants look closely at existing policies and behaviors, and identify strategies that authentically address areas for improvement.

We learned about


Tuesday, August 18

12:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET

Opening Remarks
Networking Break
Breakout Sessions
SB Gather

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET

Opening Remarks
Breakout Sessions
Networking Break
SB Gather

At SB’20 Just Brands

  • We sat at the front line of change and were inspired during the mainstage plenaries.
  • Went to breakout rooms for intimate conversations with experts as they share tried-and-true solutions.
  • Participated in 1:1 virtual meet-and-greets and saved contacts with the click of a button.
  • Explored the expo and discovered brands that are shaping the future of mission-driven business.
  • Let our voices be heard and stepped up to the stage with fellow attendees during SB Gather sessions.


Chief HR Officer and Chief Inclusion Officer

The Dow Chemical Company


President, CEO, & Founder

U.S. Black Chambers


B Lab

Vice President, Global Public Affairs


Global Chief Diversity & Engagement Officer


VP of Global Supplier Diversity


VP, Social Impact, Sustainability, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Caesars Entertainment

Founder | Former Marketing Director & CMO

GRC Advising | The Nature Conservancy

VP of Communications

Impossible Foods

Activism Manager

Ben & Jerry's


President | CEO

Uplift, Inc. | Automation Workz Institute

Legal Counsel & Human Rights Director


Chief Executive Officer

League of United Latin American Citizens

Founder & Principal

Nwamaka Agbo Consulting

Senior VP, Consumer Marketing

U.S. Bank

VP of Human Resources

TRU Colors Brewing

Cultural Anthropologist/Strategist


Founder & Chairman

The Organization of Black Designers

Professor Emeritus

Ohio State University



Soon Mee


Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leader

Porter Novelli



Strategic Advisor

Be The Change Associates

VP of Procurement

Caesars Entertainment

Director of Design, Marketing, Product Development, and Account Manager

Fabrique ltd


The BrandLab

Associate Professor of History

Wheaton College


CGS Advisors

Global Innovation & Impact Practice Lead

Porter Novelli

Founder & Chief Creative Officer

dreams • design + life

Impact Architect & Attorney


Former VP, Chief Brand and Design Officer


President & CEO


Chief Creative Officer

Colle McVoy

VP, Brands for Good

Sustainable Brands

Managing Director



Tuesday, August 18

12:00 pm ET

We opened the day with a look at the significance of this moment and explored the question companies must answer — how we support and engage in racial justice.

12:10 pm ET

In this session, leaders of the SB Advisory Board and its DEI Council shared the trajectory of diversity, equity and inclusion work across the Sustainable Brands community, exploring how the organization uses its media platform and community of corporate executives in current and emerging initiatives.

Sandy Skees, Global Lead, Innovation & Impact Practice, Porter Novelli
Gwen Migita, VP, Social Impact, Sustainability, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Caesars Entertainment

12:30 pm ET

The business community is finding itself in a moment of reflection and introspection with respect to the racial justice movement. And that is as it should be – it takes a serious commitment to listening, understanding and proactive leadership to authentically and meaningfully address areas for improvement. In the spirit of appreciative inquiry, this session went back in time and outlined key moments in the history of racial injustice as it relates to business and wealth accumulation. It is a complex and often uncomfortable story, but business leaders would be wise to be equipped with its lessons as they work on ensuring a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Dolita Cathcart, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Wheaton College

12:50 pm ET

Breakout Sessions

This session provided practical guidance for companies striving to improve their performance around hiring, training and reskilling employees in ways that actively contribute to solving injustice and inequality crises. Attendees received valuable do’s and don’ts, along with strategic framing that helps shape best practices going forward.

Ida Byrd-Hill, President, Uplift, Inc. & CEO, Automation Workz Institute

This panel discussed how to make the most of supply chain management, purchasing and procurement as allies in the fight against discrimination and inequality. Speakers helped companies understand how to think about integrated approaches – ones that focus not only on meeting quotas, but also on higher-order targets around capital allocation, partner training and development, advocacy and more.

Ron Busby, President & CEO, U.S. Black Chambers
Kris Oswold, VP of Global Supplier Diversity, UPS
Jessica Rosman, VP of Procurement, Caesars Entertainment
Phillip Clawson, Managing Director, CSR Lab

Through civic engagement, workforce and marketplace policies, and ESG strategies, Just Brands can evolve and transform society. This session featured a blend of workplace, civic engagement, and supplier policy experts on how they are doing just that.

Jill Houghton, CEO, Disability:IN
Sindy Benavides, CEO, League of United Latin American Citizens
Jessica Appelgren, VP of Communications, Impossible Foods
Gwen Migita, VP, Social Impact, Sustainability, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Caesars Entertainment

01:50 pm ET

Networking Break

02:00 pm ET

There are many things businesses could do to help make collective progress against racial injustice and inequality, and to address the systemic conditions acting as enablers. While the whole range of possible actions is of course important to keep in mind, this session asked leading systems-thinking analysts, ‘If you had to pick one to three types of actions for businesses to prioritize, what would they be?’ Panelists shared their top choices and explained their reasoning, with the overall goal of arriving at a list of some of the most systemically impactful categories of business leadership on this issue.

Anthea Kelsick, Co-CEO, B Lab U.S. & Canada
Erin McClarty, Impact Architect & Attorney
Philip McKenzie, Cultural Anthropologist & Strategist, InfluencerCon
Etienne White, VP, Brands for Good, Sustainable Brands

02:55 pm ET

Networking Break

03:20 pm ET

A multi-pronged analysis of the types of investments it would take to address critical systemic roots of racial inequality and injustice.

Geof Rochester, Founder at GRC Advising, Former Marketing Director & CMO at The Nature Conservancy

03:45 pm ET

No social, environmental or governance crisis happens in isolation – and the racial justice and equity movement is no exception. This session helped equip attendees with frameworks and tools helpful in analyzing the intersection of several social, environmental and governance crises – ranging from the fight for environmental justice, to COVID-19, to failing education systems, and beyond – with the goal of strengthening our collective ability to design smart solutions that tackle multiple problems at the same time.

Nwamaka Agbo, Restorative Economics Practitioner
Jordan Howard, President, Shft
Nikki Clifton, Vice President, Global Public Affairs, UPS
Bruce Reynolds, Strategic Advisor, Be The Change Associates

04:25 pm ET

A thoughtful summary of highlights and key lessons from day one.

Wednesday, August 19

12:00 pm ET

An introduction to the second day of the event.

12:10 pm ET

The main-stage program of day two focused on learning from outstanding case studies of companies doing cutting-edge work around racial justice and equity. TRU Colors Brewing is a North Carolina-based brewery staffed by active and former gang members. The company operates a for-profit business with the social mission of reducing violence and bringing together rival gangs. This keynote explained how the TRU Colors team is going about building bridges between people, healing individuals and communities alike, and cultivating new types of cooperation.

Khalilah Olokunola, VP of Human Resources, TRU Colors Brewing

12:40 pm ET

Breakout Sessions

This session covered all critical aspects of equipping the top management of any company to adequately meet justice, equity, diversity and inclusion imperatives going forward. From recruitment and promotion dynamics, to cultivating the soft skills needed to thrive, to examining conscious and unconscious biases that need addressing, this thought-provoking discussion had something for every current and aspiring senior business leader.

Ida Byrd-Hill, President, Uplift, Inc. & CEO, Automation Workz Institute
Patrick Hillberg, Ph.D., Director, SE Michigan STEM Alliance
Philip McKenzie, Cultural Anthropologist & Strategist, InfluencerCon
Phillip Clawson, Managing Director, CSR Lab

This session explored how product innovation and product design can be proactive forces for advancing racial inclusion, equity and justice. Panelists discussed not only how and where companies can recruit more black designers and innovators, but also how to go about creating conditions for such talent to appear and thrive in the first place. Attendees participated in a wide-ranging discussion about the realities of racial diversity in the context of product innovation and product design, as well as practical recommendations for steps brands can take today to expand their markets and contribute to real systemic change and solutions.

David Rice, Chairman, Organization of Black Designers
Noel Mayo, Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University
Kevin Bethune, Vice President, Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures
Zoë Middleton, Director of Design, Marketing, Product Development, and Account Manager, Fabrique ltd

One of the most impactful actions companies can take is to ensure their top management reflects best practices around diversity, inclusion and equity. With that in mind, this session asked: Who are the successful marketing and communications executives and creatives of tomorrow? How are they being educated and trained? What values, skillsets and lived experiences would thrive in not only building diverse teams, but also delivering the kinds of brand positioning, messaging and customer engagement that help heal and advance society as a whole? Attendees participated in a thought-provoking discussion and received practical tips on all aspects of the above questions.

Jeff King, CEO, Barkley
Karen Duestch, Senior VP – Consumer Marketing, U.S. Bank
Ellen Walthour, CEO, The BrandLab
Eric Quint, Chief Brand and Design Officer, 3M Company
Mike Caugin, Chief Creative Officer, Colle McVoy

01:40 pm ET

Networking Break

01:50 pm ET

The main-stage program of day two focused on learning from outstanding case studies of companies doing cutting-edge work around racial justice and equity. For many years now, Ben & Jerry’s has been using the power of its brand to lead its stakeholders and the broader business community around proactive action on social and environmental issues. Consistent with that tradition of brand activism, this year Ben & Jerry’s issued one of the most powerful condemnations of systemic racism, along with one of the boldest sets of corporate commitments to action.

Christopher Miller, Activism Manager, Ben & Jerry’s

02:10 pm ET

The main-stage program of day focused on learning from outstanding case studies of companies doing cutting-edge work around racial justice and equity. Few, if any, corporate commitments around racial justice and equity have been more far-reaching and well-resourced than PepsiCo’s. The company recently announced a set of investments totaling more than $400 million over 5 years, aiming to lift up black communities and black representation on a number of levels.

Jaren Dunning, Legal Counsel & Human Rights Director, PepsiCo
Tina Bigalke, Global Chief Diversity & Engagement Officer, PepsiCo

02:30 pm ET

Networking Break

02:55 pm ET

The main-stage program of day two focused on learning from outstanding case studies of companies doing cutting-edge work around racial justice and equity. Dow Chemical has been vocal about its intentions to ‘act on behalf of those who deal with racism, bigotry, and the threat of violence everyday simply because of the color of their skin – starting with Team Dow.’ The company’s new Dow ACTs strategy features three big pillars of action – Advocacy, Community and Talent.

Karen S. Carter, Chief Human Resources Officer & Chief Inclusion Officer, The Dow Chemical Company

03:15 pm ET

A thoughtful summary of highlights and key lessons from day two.

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These brands attended:

Thank you to our sponsors & partners!

Lead Sponsor


Supporting Sponsor

Affiliate & Media Partners

International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP)
Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA)

Frequently asked questions

Yes! Registration for SB’20 Just Brands is included with the All Access, Conference, and One Day pass types for Sustainable Brands ’20. You do not need to register separately.

Yes! Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a key component to the success of Sustainable Brands events. Through our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program, we’re able to bring a variety of individuals from differing backgrounds and perspectives into the Sustainable Brands community.

To apply, please contact us provide a thorough and thoughtful explanation as to why you should receive a scholarship for SB Pro. Please answer the following questions within your message:

  • Why are you a good candidate for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Scholarship?
  • What do you hope to gain from SB’20 Just Brands?
  • How do you hope to contribute to SB’20 Just Brands?
  • Is there anything else you would like us to consider when reviewing your application?

We’re hosting SB’20 Just Brands through our all-in-one digital platform: Hopin. Just like any other Sustainable Brands event, you’ll take part in mainstage plenaries, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and even 1:1 meet-and-greets.

After you register for a virtual event, you will receive an onboarding email from our digital platform provider: Hopin. Check your inbox for an email from [email protected] containing next steps and instructions for accessing the platform.

Please note, there may be a slight delay between registering for the event and receiving the Hopin onboarding email.

First, double check your inbox (and spam folder) for an email from [email protected]. If you still do not see an onboarding email, please reach out to the SB team at [email protected]. We will help you check your registration status. 

Absolutely! Just like an in-person conference, we have many best practices for making the most out of your event experience. Please make note of the below tips:

  • Register, onboard, and arrive early. Prepare ahead of time to minimize technical difficulties and maximize the value of your conference ticket. Make sure to create your profile, preview the event, and build your schedule well before the event starts. 
  • Add the event to your calendar. Once you receive your onboarding email, save the event link ASAP. The event is private, so you will need to sign-in to Hopin in order to view the event.
  • Join from a compatible browser. Hopin works best on Chrome and Firefox. Update your bowser for the best experience.
  • Check your internet speed. We recommend a minimum of 5mbps download and 2mbps upload. Ideally, we like to see 30mbps download and 10mbps upload or higher for the best quality.
  • Restart your computer before joining the event. Ensure no other video applications are holding onto audio or video for any reason.
  • Use headphones when participating on-screen. Help eliminate echo and feedback.
  • Make sure your profile is up-to-date. We recommend uploading a profile photo and writing a headline that includes your full name followed by your organization name.
  • Join the conversation on social. Use the hashtag #streamSB and follow @SustainBrands on Twitter and @SustainableBrands on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Dress to impress. You’ll have the opportunity to video chat with fellow attendees, so make sure to tune-in camera ready.
  • Get familiar with the platform. Watch the “How to use Hopin as an attendee” tutorial video.
Don’t see your question? Contact us!