Lori Bongiorno and 'Data Matters' | The 2021 MAKERS Conference

Lori Bongiorno, General manager of Yahoo News, Lifestyle, Entertainment and MAKERS, shares her experience of partnering with MAKERS@ board members on transformative initiatives to advance equity in the workplace.

Wendy Lewis, executive consultant, Wendy Lewis, LLC; Joanna Barsh, author and director emerita, McKinsey & Company; Daniel Hibbert, head of people experience and transformation, Goldman Sachs, and Shannon Schuyler, chief purpose and inclusion officer, PwC, are featured in Data Matters, a video highlighting the importance of diversity-related data transparency.

Video Transcript

LORI BONGIORNO: Hi, everyone. I'm Lori Bongiorno, the general manager at MAKERS. I'm delighted to be with you all today. Close your eyes and remember back to a year ago. We all know these were truly dark times. I remember having dinner with my family one night. It was after yet another draining day. I was exhausted and questioning everything. And I remember saying, I don't know if I want to be a leader anymore. I just don't know if I can do this.

And then my 21-year-old son said to me, is this really a good time to make that kind of a decision, mom? He was right, of course, which was wise and also annoying. It wasn't just about the timing though. The truth is, doing nothing is not an option, especially when you have some privilege to leverage. So I looked around for inspiration. And I'm grateful to have found it through my resilient teams and also through the MAKERS@ board.

This group of brilliant women exhibited some of the most brave and authentic leadership I've seen in my career. And they really helped me get through these challenging times. Every Wednesday morning, we would openly discuss our experiences and vulnerabilities. We'd share best practices and talk through strategies. We supported each other on a deep level. I've rarely seen that type of transparency and sisterhood in a professional setting. This is a group of action oriented women. We were discussing racial injustice when we all came to an ugly truth together.

Black women are severely underrepresented in senior leadership. How could we make an impact? We brainstormed ideas and sent it to a subcommittee which came back to us with the program Black MAKERS@. It's something I am enormously proud of.

Data is something else that came up again and again as companies started to release DEI reports. We all know that data is only as good as the insights and actions that come from it. So we formed another subcommittee, this time to explore why data matters, what data can do, and how MAKERS can help do it. This is just the beginning. We will continue to use the inspiration of MAKERS storytelling to make change each and every day. Because this is how you transform and accelerate equity in the workplace. Because we can't do nothing. We can ignite change. And we are, one committee a bold female leaders at a time. Here's a closer look at data.


WENDY LEWIS: If it can be moved, it can be measured. And if it can be measured, it can be changed.

JOANNA BARSH: People are frightened about transparency because usually the data's pretty ugly.

DANIEL HIBBERT: The challenge with data sometimes is you can spin it to create the story or create the narrative that you want to.

WENDY LEWIS: The pandemic gives us an opportunity to not only reset, it demands that you reset.

SHANNON SCHUYLER: When you look at the business case for diversity inclusion, it has been a journey for over 20 years. And yet, business has not made change. And why? Because it's scary.

WENDY LEWIS: The question is, is there an ability to change? And the reality is, of course, there's an ability to change. But is there an appetite? And is there an aptitude?

JOANNA BARSH: No matter which way you start, you need to get that data, and simple metrics basically rivet the leadership to take action.

SHANNON SCHUYLER: Takes courage, it takes vulnerability, it takes authentic leadership--

DANIEL HIBBERT: And it takes empathy. Sometimes you don't necessarily have the answer but you just need to connect to the human on the other side in order to help understand what your blind spots may be.

WENDY LEWIS: What will happen next, leaders. Leaders will decide, I need to dig deeper in a much more profound way so you can really start telling the whole story, and maybe help call some people out, but also help lift some people up.