By Priscilla Mendoza

On Friday, October 8, 2021, the Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership held its very first in-person event since the pandemic — EGALapalooza! Students, faculty, and friends gathered together to participate in all of the equity focused activities and heard from leaders changing business through Equity Fluent Leadership.

Our guest speakers included Ashley Rabinek, Director of Merchandising at Old Navy and BODEQUALITY Project Manager. Ashley shared BODEQUALITY’s three year journey to rethink size inclusion — from listening to customers and shopping alongside them, to reinventing the fit and design process, to creating an inclusive marketing campaign — that led to the largest integrated launch in Old Navy’s history. Our second guest speaker, Derek Brown, a PhD student in Management of Organizations at Berkeley Haas, shared his research on why diversity policies elicit widespread support but limited enactment: the misperception that diversity policies harm members of the majority group.

In addition to inspiring speakers, the event included a variety of interactive workshops for guests to participate in. Our first station involved a DEI book exchange with over fifty books on topics of privilege, gender, and race readily available for attendees to take home with them. Audiences could then move to a Belonging Puzzle activity where they reflected on their lived experiences as well as the lived experiences of others through self-portraits. Our remaining activities revolved on the Equity Fluent character and change making behavior. An Allyship Tree activity allowed for participants to reflect on the attributes of allies around them and reflect on how those can be adopted. This was then followed by an Anti-Racism Statement Activity and EFL Pledge activities to reflect on language choice and pledge to hold yourself accountable. Through these activities, attendees were encouraged to think beyond themselves and reflect on their ability to continue fighting for an equitable and inclusive world.

The event was topped off with captivating performances by Verse Gabrielle and Dominique Gomez. Verse Gabrielle is a poet whose work comes from the Hip Hop tradition of community and consciousness mixed with complex rhymes and thought-provoking lyrics. Verse gave a riveting performance of sheir poems: “The Favorite F.O.E”, “The Inner Dialogue of an Agg, Dom, Stud, masculine womyn”, and “Vent”. This performance was followed by soulful Bay Area based singer, Dominique Gomez whose art reflects their identity as a Latina and their care for the world . Both performances were lauded by attendees and contributed to an unforgettable afternoon.

The opportunity to learn and grow as a leader should have no limit. The celebration of Equity Fluent Leadership at EGALapalooza brought together changemakers and inspired others to be agents of change. We hope our attendees will continue reflecting on their allyship and leadership and pushing for an inclusive world.

Photos by Jim Block



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Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership (EGAL)

Center for Equity, Gender, and 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.