DEI Champions: Unveiling the 2024 Top 15 Influential Women Shaping Global DEI

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have emerged as paramount principles driving positive change across societies, industries, and institutions in today's rapidly evolving global landscape. At the forefront of this transformative movement stand influential women whose unwavering dedication and visionary leadership have catalyzed progress, challenged norms, and inspired generations. In their organizations and communities, these women are architects of inclusive workplaces, advocates for marginalized communities, and catalysts for systemic change on a global scale.

Who are these women? There are so many tirelessly working in the DEI space that DiversityGlobal cannot name them all. However, we can recognize some, which is the purpose of the 2024 Top 15 Influential Women in Diversity list. These women are transformational leaders whose organizations recognize them as DEI champions and agents of change. As champions, they never miss an opportunity to have conversations with diverse supporters and non-supporters. As change agents, they design strategies with goals and objectives.

In this era of interconnectedness and shared humanity, the contributions of these trailblazers extend across borders, transcending cultural, political, and socioeconomic divides. Through their diverse expertise, impassioned advocacy, and collaborative spirit, they navigate complex challenges, amplify underrepresented voices, and champion the fundamental principle that diversity is not only a source of strength but also a prerequisite for innovation, resilience, and sustainable growth in this increasingly interdependent world.

Each of the 2024 Top 15 Influential Women has developed strategies, initiatives, and programs that best fit their organizations. Many have turned to technology to promote accountability. They have developed diagnostic tools for talent acquisition, reporting analytics, DEI dashboards, tech-based surveys, DEI data dictionaries, and communication platforms. Several women hold the very first DEI position in their organizations, developing their function from the ground up. Most have developed a multi-year strategic plan supported by the organization’s top leaders.

The range of activities is impressive. As you read about these women, you will quickly discover they are sincere in their perspective that everyone deserves equity and inclusion. There are programs for the neurodiverse, pay parity for women, and mentoring for Black and Brown peoples. Conversations and workshops may focus on micro-aggressions, cross-cultural collaboration, and the true meaning of diversity and inclusion. A diversity leader created the first Prayer & Meditation Room, the first diversity and inclusion survey, and the first global outreach initiative in one organization. There are many firsts the Top 15 Influential Women have initiated across industries.

In addition to working internally to educate leaders and their staff at all levels, these professionals also engage community members and advocacy organizations. This supports their focus on building relationships and coalitions that strengthen opportunities for people historically excluded from equal opportunities. In every case, their efforts are, as one woman described, always intentional and not trendy. These women do not let temporary events sway them. Instead, they adhere to a solid foundation of human rights principles that never waver and underpin vibrant, inclusive workplaces and equitable communities.

All the Top 15 Influential Women credited their CEOs and senior leadership for supporting their efforts and ensuring access to the necessary tools and resources. DEI is about people, but it also delivers important company benefits. Diversity sparks creativity and innovation by bringing together individuals with unique perspectives, experiences, and talents. Inclusive workplaces, where all employees feel valued and respected, see higher performance and more productivity. When individuals are empowered to bring their authentic selves to work, they are more engaged, motivated, and committed to achieving shared goals. DEI is intrinsically linked to social justice and equity, as it seeks to dismantle systemic barriers and address historical injustices. Diverse workforces attract top talent, drive innovation, and expand market reach, positioning companies for long-term success.

As we explore the stories and impact of these influential women driving DEI globally, we celebrate their courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive future. Their collective efforts serve as a beacon of hope, guiding us toward a world where everyone is valued, empowered, and afforded equal opportunities to thrive, irrespective of identity or background. The staff at DiversityGlobal are humbled and proud to introduce the 2024 Top 15 Influential Women in Diversity.

Judy Ellis

SVP of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Advisory

Rachel Scheel

Senior Vice President of Global Talent Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Marjan van der Weijden

Global Head of Financial Institutions and the inaugural Chair of the Global DEI Council
Fitch Ratings

Rosa Nuñez

Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
Foley Hoag

Chandini Kamal

Global Head, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, People & Culture

Jamey Martin

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer
Suntory Global Spirits

Cassondra Searight

Diversity and Inclusion Officer
U. S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service