A Night of Celebration and Inspiration at EGAL’s Third Annual EGALapalooza

The EGAL team.

By Mikena Richards

Another EGALapalooza has come and gone. This year’s event was one for the books. The appetizers were delicious, the music was great, and the energy was even better. Year after year, this event brings us together, humbles us, and reminds us of the unity we foster in our work. It reminds us of the importance of our mission and inspires us to keep going.

A trio of Haasies called The Last Minute Maestros set the tone for the evening, performing a collection of cover songs sung by the dazzling and gifted vocalist, Angie, and her small but mighty band — an animated guitarist named Jayson, and an outstandingly skilled violinist named Sam. Their lively and infectious spirits left the audience full of smiles, and the band had just enough time to scamper off stage and make it to class. What more could we ask for?

The Last Minute Maestros.

Our colleague Francesca LeBaron introduced Liz Koenig, this year’s winner of the Equity Fluent Leadership Award, and her speech nearly left us (and Francesca and Liz) in tears. Liz is frequently described as a role model and inspiration to her peers due to her open-minded, empathetic nature, and is often celebrated for her willingness to hold others accountable. As Francesca shared an impactful story with us about their first time meeting, we learned what we already knew — that Liz’s work allows others to thrive, grow, and become more self-aware. Liz shared with us the arc of her career leading up to her MBA at Haas, revealing how real-life situations bring us face-to-face with ourselves and leave us with one option: to question what we know and hold ourselves accountable for what we don’t. Liz and her classmate, Om Chitale, who won the EFL Award two years ago, are the founders of one of the most popular classes at Haas, Dialogues on Race. Liz has continued this work post-MBA at Bridgespan. Her work includes overseeing Bridgespan’s racial equity training and programming, launching and supporting the curriculum for over two dozen white accountability groups, and collaborating across the firm to embed racial equity into their talent development processes. Liz embodies Equity Fluent Leadership and we are proud to have her receive this year’s award.

Liz Koenig, winner of the 2023 Equity Fluent Leadership Award.

A captivating presentation by Briana Steele, one of our seven incredible Google x EGAL Equitable Design Fellows, showcased the fellows’ creativity and innovation. Briana told us about a personal experience she faced with tech (in)accessibility that inspired some of her contributions to her fellowship work. Her grandfather, who was in the process of turning his house into a “smart home,” called Briana in defeat after running into countless technical roadblocks. Briana used the experience as a lesson to reflect on how apps and technology can better suit the needs of individuals within all age ranges. Her presentation showed us how quickly and impressively our fellows and colleagues learn new skills and implement them rigorously, determinedly, and heartily. Briana’s exciting presentation left us feeling eager to see what their work looks like as the fellowship comes to a close later this semester.

Briana Steele, presenting a sneak peek of her and her fellows’ work from the Google x EGAL Equitable Design Fellowship.

We enjoyed the most stunning spoken-word performance by Porsche Veu, also known as The Poetic Activist, an unapologetic author, spoken-word poet, speaker, educator, and artist from Oakland. Porsche is passionate about God, social justice, women & Black empowerment, and mental health. She aims to bridge the gap between faith & social justice, create brave atmospheres for uncomfortable conversations, and inspire others to find freedom in telling their own stories using poetry, motivational speaking, workshops, and music. We had the privilege of enjoying a few of Porsche’s incredible poems and felt the magic of her energy wash over the room. Porsche left us feeling a strong sense of feminist empowerment with a poem on gender inequality, unabashedly addressing how women learn to view themselves as inferior and incapable due to patriarchal diminishment.

Porsche Veu, aka The Poetic Activist, performing one of her spoken-word poems.

We thank all who showed up from the bottom of our hearts, bringing good vibes and great energy. We also thank all of you who were there in spirit, and who continue to show up in support of our work in other ways. We truly could not do this work without you.



Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership (EGAL)

At the heart of UC Berkeley's Business School, the Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership educates equity-fluent leaders to ignite and accelerate change.