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Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series – LaDavia S. Drane

Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion speak about their goals, challenges, and careers

About this Event

In the ever-changing workplace, leaders with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion are now more important than ever. Join Berkeley Global and the Women in Technology Initiative at the University of California for our speaker series featuring corporate leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion roles who will share their journeys and the insights they’ve gained while advocating for these issues in major corporations.

In this event, we speak with LaDavia Drane, Esq., Head of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Amazon Web Services.


  • 9:00–9:05 am: Welcome remarks by Jill Finlayson
  • 9:05–9:50 am: Fireside chat with LaDavia Drane and moderators Finlayson and Nagappan
  • 9:50–10:10 am: Q&A with the audience
  • 10:10–10:15 am: Final remarks by Ramu Nagappan

About our speaker:

LaDavia S. Drane, Esq.,is a diversity, inclusion and equity leader, who brings a unique policy and public relations perspective to her work. She has mastered the art of strategic alignment through national and international relationship management and coalition building.

LaDavia earned her B.S. in business from Miami University’s Farmer School of Business and her J.D. from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. LaDavia began her professional career as a law firm associate at Ulmer & Berne LLP in Cleveland and later moved to Washington, DC to launch a career in politics and policy. LaDavia has held several roles on Capitol Hill, including Chief of Staff, Legislative Director and Executive Director for the Congressional Black Caucus. LaDavia has also done a considerable amount of political work off the Hill in Washington, serving as the Director of Federal and Regional Affairs for DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign as the Director of African American Outreach and Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs.

LaDavia’s career now centers on the intersection of diversity and technology, once serving as Amazon’s U.S. Public Policy Head of Diversity & Inclusion and now serving as Amazon Web Service’s Global Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.


About our moderators:

Jill Finlayson

Director, Women in Technology Initiative, University of California

Jill Finlayson is Director of the Women in Technology Initiative at UC, co-sponsored by CITRIS and the Berkeley Engineering at UC Berkeley, which supports research and initiatives to promote the equitable participation of women in technology fields. Prior to Berkeley, she led mentorship and developed incubator and accelerator programs for Singularity University Ventures, whose mission is to increase the number of impact-focused tech startups. Finlayson ran the Toys category for five years at eBay and authored the book Fundraising on eBay. She managed a community of social entrepreneurs at the Skoll Foundation, led marketing at various startups, and consulted for the World Bank, Gates Foundation and Ford Foundation. Finlayson also judges and coaches founders of global startups for several startup competitions. She has mentored for TechWomen.org for the past nine years, also participating in delegation trips. Finlayson is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

Ramu Nagappan

Assistant Dean, Berkeley Global

Ramu has enjoyed a 20-year career in higher education, focusing on professional and undergraduate programs. He holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. He is the author of Speaking Havoc: Social Suffering and Social Asian Narratives.