CEO Speaker Series on Diversity & Inclusion
Few people would disagree with the assertion that diversity and inclusion are major challenges in the technology business today, and yet all too often the issues get marginalized as “something we need to do better” without much, if any effort to actually shift the status quo in a meaningful way.
Cerebri AI’s Co-founder & CEO Jean Belanger decided to try a new approach, not just for our company but for the tech community in general. He initiated a series of interviews with a genuinely diverse group of accomplished leaders which we have converted into podcasts that are freely available to the public.
The series started with Jean sitting down to interview representatives from four major faith traditions in the world today — Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity — with each leader providing an overview of the core tenets of their religion as well as their perspective on respecting and embracing people with different backgrounds and belief systems.
From there, the speaker series expanded to include topics such as race, gender, sexuality and other relevant areas that raise diversity and inclusion issues.
According to Jean, “the questions raised in our podcasts can be taken as a given, or can cause controversy, everyone’s experiences are different. He added, “we technologists created the Internet and gave everyone a voice – we now easily find people with similar experiences and like-minded views, so diversity and inclusion suffer as a result. We hope these podcasts help bridge the gap for all. I will continue to do podcasts as issues arise that need to be addressed working towards our goal of making diversity and inclusion an everyday reality.”
Islam Mossad currently serves as Imam for the North Austin Muslim Community Center where he leads daily prayers, delivers sermons, teaches and counsels children and adults. He previously served as Imam for the Islamic Community of Bryan College Station as well as the Islamic Center of Little Rock.
Born in Arlington, Virginia, Mossad graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He is a long-time Austinite and avid Longhorn fan. He continues to integrate Islamic knowledge with the modern sciences.
Chinna Natesan has a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, teaches marketing at Texas State University, and is a consultant to technology companies in the areas of strategy and marketing. He has published articles on how to enhance global business practices with lessons from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita. In the podcast Dr. Natesan discusses Hinduism and how its scripture, the Vedas, can be used to develop our inner personality and pursue higher ideal, and how this mindset can enhance leadership skills, inspire teams, and improve workplace performance.
Rabbi Gordon Fuller became Executive Director of the Foundation for Jewish Studies in June 2017. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and has lived in many different places – primarily Chicago and Texas. Rabbi Gordy has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Northwestern University, and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago. His rabbinic ordination came from two Orthodox rabbis in Dallas after many years of study and working in Jewish education.
With a 20+ year career in Jewish education, including positions in both informal and formal settings, Rabbi Gordy has worked with and taught people of all ages, from preschoolers through senior adults. He loves text study in particular, and sees his primary role of rabbi as one who shows people the many different possible portals into Judaism.
Rabbi Gordy is a founding board member and currently Chair of the Board of The Good People Fund, a tzedakah organization. During his years in Waco, he became even more active in social justice issues, serving on the boards of Caritas of Waco, the Greater Waco Interfaith Conference, and Avance-Waco. Additionally, he is co-author of Coping With Adversity: Judaism’s Response to Illness and Other Life Struggles.
Gordy has been married to his beloved Sharon for 40 years. Together, they have two adult children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in Maryland. He is as passionate about pluralism and the environment as he is about his family and Jewish peoplehood. He is also a non-recovering chocoholic.
The 14th Archbishop of New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond is the first New Orleans native to serve as archbishop in the 216-year history of the archdiocese.
In 1971, he received his undergraduate degree from St. Joseph Seminary College. In 1975, he received a master’s degree in divinity from Notre Dame Seminary and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He was a professor and later rector of St. John Vianney Preparatory School until 1981. He then served as professor of pastoral theology and homiletics and director of pastoral education at Notre Dame Seminary where he later served as president-rector for 14 years. He also served as Executive Director of the archdiocesan Department of Christian Formation and as the archdiocesan Director of the Society for the Propogation of the Faith. In the 1980s he founded and lead a regular medical mission program to Nicaragua.
Archbishop Aymond was ordained auxiliary bishop of New Orleans in 1997, named Bishop of Austin in 2000, and appointed Archbishop of New Orleans in 2009. He has served as chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and the Committee on Divine Worship. He was also Chair of the Board of the National Catholic Educational Association from 2000-2004. He continues to serve on several US bishops’ committees and currently chairs the board of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Guy Benson is the Political Editor of Townhall.com and a Fox News Contributor. He co-authored End of Discussion in 2015, an updated edition of which was published by Random House in 2017. He is a familiar voice on the nationally-syndicated Hugh Hewitt radio show — which he regularly guest hosts — and contributes to NPR’s All Things Considered.
A fixture on the national speaking circuit, Guy was named to Forbes magazine’s ′30 under 30′ law & policy list in 2015. The Huffington Post included Guy in its 2017 roster of the ′25 top millennial broadcasters in American news and politics.’ That same year, he received the College Republican National Committee’s biannual Lee Atwater ′Outstanding Young Conservative award′. Guy served as a Media Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
Guy’s resume in media and politics features internships at the White House-during the second term of President George W. Bush-as well as Fox News Channel in New York City. At Fox News, he assisted with show preparation, research, editing, and guest relations at the primetime show Hannity and Colmes. He wrote for National Review Online from 2006-2010.
An avid sports fan, Guy covered Big Ten college athletics and Cape Cod League baseball during his on-air career. Guy was born abroad and spent much of his early childhood living overseas. He attended high school in New Jersey and graduated with honors from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He currently resides in the Washington, DC area.
An African-American woman originally from the south side of Chicago, Andrea Berry is a member of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She studied computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology and elected to pursue a career in sports media. Berry blazed a trail as one of the first female tech managers at CBS in the mid ’80s, pioneered field operations for Fox Sports in the ’90s and 2000s, and continually broke new ground as an African-American woman in a predominantly male industry. And through it all, she has remained one of the most humble, well-liked, and respected people in the business.
Berry is perhaps best-known in the industry for her 20 years at Fox, during which time she served as VP of field operations, FSN, overseeing operations for NFL, NASCAR, MLB, boxing, NCAA, and much more.
After retiring from Fox, Berry has focused on her philanthropic work with African-American boys and girls in the Los Angeles area; her consulting firm, The G.A.P. Media Group; and her latest endeavor as a life coach and wealth-management professional. Most important, Berry cherishes the time spent with her family: husband D. Channsin Berry and sons Brandon and Aaron.
A member of the Board of Trustees since 2010 of her alma mater, as well as the longtime chair of its Alumni Board of Directors, Berry actively seeks opportunities to mentor the next generation of sports-broadcasting professional and advocate for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, particularly with young women through her Middle School Girls Computer Discovery camp in Chicago.