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Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Shareka Nelson

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 Shareka Nelson who has just started a new role as Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Coursera.

Moderators Ramu Nagappan, Assistant Dean, UC Berkeley Extension, and Jill Finlayson, Director of the Women in Technology Initiative at UC, will explore with Nelson her career progression, key diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at Coursera, as well as lessons learned she can pass on to other companies.


  • 9:00–9:05 am: Welcome remarks by Jill Finlayson
  • 9:05–9:50 am: Fireside chat with Shareka Nelson 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:

Shareka Nelson

Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Coursera

“Disrupt the norm.” These are not just word s to Shareka L. Nelson. They are a core part of her life philosophy and a guiding principle in shaping her personal and professional path.

With over twenty years of experience in human resources, specifically talent acquisition and diversity and inclusion, Shareka is a seasoned leader with an ability to translate business goals into people strategy. She has led talent organizations for several global Fortune 500 organizations and is recognized as a results-oriented thought leader in diversity, inclusion, senior leadership coaching, employee engagement, and analytics. She also provides direct consulting support to organizations and individuals through Intentional Impact Group, LLC.

Shareka recently joined Coursera as the organization’s first global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. In this role, she will partner with executive leadership and the organization to develop and implement a DIB strategy. She will also work to integrate DIB practices into business goals and product evolution.

Previously, she led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at MailChimp. As a new function for the organization, she was responsible for collaborating on the creation and execution of the company-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy. Shareka’s scope also included bias mitigation strategy development across all people practices and processes.

Before Mailchimp, Shareka served as Lead Diversity Business Partner – GMS at Facebook. Shareka also served as the Global Director of Diversity Programs for Groupon, Inc.

Shareka is originally from Sylvester, GA, and is a proud HBCU graduate of Albany State University and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

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.