Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: How have we evolved?

  • October 21, 2021
  • 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM
  • Virtual via Zoom


Registration is closed


Prior to the pandemic, there was growing societal and business support to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), at least from a “We should do this” perspective.

Since 2020, social justice movements pushed companies across industries to think more deeply about their role in society, presenting a real opportunity for change and enterprise transformation. HR and leaders across all industries have been searching for the right thing to say and do, in response to the workforce’s increasing demand for greater equality, inclusivity, and belonging. In fact, in a recent survey, the HR Policy Association, which represents CHROs of nearly 400 of the largest global employers, found that DEI is a more pressing matter than managing pandemic-related issues. When asked their top concerns, 82% cited DEI, followed by a cultural transformation in anticipation of the post-COVID work environment (71%).

Join us on October 21st to gain invaluable and distinctive perspectives from three leaders who are passionately devoted to expanding the DEI agenda, and changing the lives and organizations they touch:

  • Lynn Heckler, Chief Talent Officer at PSCU - the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization, supporting more than 1,500 credit unions, representing more than 5.4 billion transactions annually - will reveal how she is creating a culture of inclusion at PSCU. She will also share some of the resources she has developed, to spearhead their Inclusion & Diversity and Women’s Leadership initiatives.
  • Val Lopez, Partner at Hanold Associates - a retained executive search firm with a focus on recruiting HR and Diversity & Inclusion leaders, and diverse Board Directors – will unveil what enterprises are doing to ensure greater representation among their executives, and what diverse candidates find most important in their career decisions.
  • Cynthia Pong, Career Coach, CEO at Embrace Change – coaching and consulting firm dedicated to centering people of color in the future of work, and LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Career, and creator of the Embrace Change Leadership Accelerator program for women of color - will share resources, practical tips, and explain how she helps mid-career women of color advance in their careers.


After attending this session, participants will be able to:

● Understand the challenges and opportunities for effective adoption of DEI practices

● Understand the DEI executive job market and trends

● Apply session’s resources, advice, and tips to strengthen DEI in their organizations

About Our Speaker(s):

Lynn Heckler, Chief Talent Officer at PSCU


Lynn Heckler has served as PSCU’s executive vice president and chief talent officer since December 2001. In this role, she is responsible for the functions that define the company’s culture and its employees’ experience. Since joining PSCU, Heckler has shared her passion for creating a culture of inclusion and engagement in the workplace, leading PSCU’s Inclusion & Diversity and Women’s Leadership initiatives.

Heckler has more than 30 years of human resources management experience. Prior to joining PSCU, she served as vice president, Human Resources at Bankers Insurance Group. Previously, she held human resources leadership positions at Vision Twenty-One and AAA.

In 2016, Heckler earned her Certified Innovation Executive (CIE) designation from the CUES Strategic Innovation Institute. In 2015, Heckler was recognized by the HR Florida State Council as the HR Florida Professional of the Year.

She is an active member of the Suncoast Human Resources Management Association (SHRMA).

Heckler holds a B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts and a certificate in Strategic Human

Resource Management from the University of Michigan.

Val Lopez, Partner at Hanold Associates


Val is a Partner with Hanold Associates where she specializes in recruiting executive level HR and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) leaders. She has over a decade of experience in rapid-growth, private equity-backed SaaS businesses, specializing in M&A integrations and change management. She is especially strong in translating strategy to action, particularly with respect to managing change initiatives and designing and implementing DEI programs.

Prior to joining Hanold Associates, Val was Global Head of Employee Engagement & Inclusion/VP of DEI at Cision, where she stood up Cision’s first DEI function. She was responsible for providing vision and leadership to Cision’s DEI strategy across the global organization.

Val is a seasoned guest speaker in the DEI space and has had the pleasure of speaking on a variety of panels and fireside chats. In 2019, she was recognized with a Power50 award by the Illinois Diversity Council.

Val graduated from Indiana University Bloomington with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Gender Studies.

Val splits her time between her home base in Chicago and Las Vegas (her home away from home).

Cynthia Pong, Career Coach, CEO at Embrace Change


Cynthia Pong, JD, is an award-winning career strategist, speaker, and author of Don't Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color. An NYU-trained lawyer turned feminist career coach, she's on a mission to get women of color the money, power, and respect that they deserve. A LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Career, she is frequently sought out to provide career advice specifically for women of color.

She is the creator of the Embrace Change Leadership Accelerator (a program that was fully funded after 22 days of crowdfunding and 134% funded after a month), she's been featured in HuffPost, CNBC, Fast Company, Refinery29, NPR, and more, and is a LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Career.

Cynthia specializes in strategizing with mid-career women of color professionals who are pursuing unconventional paths. Her coaching focuses on emboldening her clients, sharpening their negotiation skills, and building their business acumen. She is frequently sought out to provide highly relevant, super applicable, easy-to-understand career advice specifically for women of color.

Cynthia has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in Ethnic Studies (Critical Race Studies) and a JD from NYU School of Law.

She is a proud introvert, a classic middle child, and an unapologetic Rottweiler enthusiast.

Note: While attending ATD Suncoast events, please be aware that photography, audio, and/or video recording may occur. Your attendance serves as your implied consent for ATD Florida Suncoast Chapter, Inc. to use your image in marketing and social media materials.

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