32 Courageous DEI and Recruiting Leaders You Need to Know

For its entire existence, the tech industry has had a long-standing problem with diversity and inclusion. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

As of 2022, only 25% of women hold jobs in tech. 62% of tech jobs are held by White Americans while 8% and 7% of jobs are held by Latinx and Black Americans, respectively, in the US tech sector.¹

Anyone else hear those alarm bells ringing? 🚨

Recruiting diverse talent is critical for the success and longevity of any business. With the right teams, businesses are able to understand their customers better and create better products. However, recruiting the best talent is a fierce competition and not an easy task. The best recruiters require motivation, persistence, critical thinking skills, stellar communication skills, and confidence.

We’ve compiled a list of recruiters who check all of those boxes and many more. These recruiters know that good people make good companies, but great people can change the world. Check them out below!

(Listed in alphabetical order.)

1. Aaron Mitchell

As an experienced business leader, Aaron Mitchell successfully leads teams to provide results-driven solutions. Through working his way up to Head of HR at the Netflix Animation Studio in under 4 years, he developed his skills in HR strategy and talent management. Now, Mitchell recruits the best talent that can create top entertainment experiences and leads teams of recruiting professionals to create a more inclusive work environment. (LinkedIn)

2. Aaron Rose

Aaron Rose is a diversity and inclusion trainer and consultant helping people of all identities thrive in the workplace. He has over 12 years of experience facilitating supportive diversity & inclusion training for organizations of all sizes and developing approaches that give people the tools to achieve their shared goals together. As a transgender man, he focuses on LGBTQ+ inclusion and gender equality and helps others heal from the trauma of institutionalized oppression. (LinkedIn)

3. Andy Santos

Andy Santos serves as the Director of People and Culture at SpotHero, where he implements strategies for culture and employee engagement, DEI, and talent acquisition. With his analytical mind and strong work ethic, he was able to launch various programs that improve the employee experience. Santos is also the current Chapter Head of Out in Tech Chicago, creating opportunities for LGBTQ+ individuals looking to break into tech. (LinkedIn)

4. Austin Sugai

As a University Recruiter at GoDaddy, Austin Sugai recruits over 40 interns every year for the company’s internship program. He works to provide young talent with meaningful experiences and create more business opportunities for marginalized individuals. His various roles in recruiting and administration have helped him hone his team leadership and public speaking skills. (LinkedIn)

5. Beatrice Nguyen

Beatrice Nguyen knows how to steer the right candidates to the right managers. She’s a diligent and organized recruiter who knows how to accelerate a company’s path to improved employee experience and better customer engagement. Nguyen is Worldcoin’s Head of People, where she establishes practices that promote collaboration and team performance. (LinkedIn)

6. Becky Gavin (Abrahams)

With over 10 years of experience in recruiting and networking, Becky Gavin builds effective programs that help organizations hire for the future. These include internship/co-op and new grad programs, which help early talent within many disciplines like finance and engineering find their dream careers. Gavin is the Early Talent Manager at Bose Corporation, where she thrives by helping people reach their fullest potential.  (LinkedIn)

7. Bobbi Oxendine

Bobbi Oxendine is a well-rounded staffing and HR specialist. With 15 years of experience in corporate, agency, and federal talent acquisition, she has effectively developed skills in social recruitment, team leadership, and diversity and recruitment operations. Oxendine now identifies diverse external talent pools and manages sourcing processes as the Senior Manager of Diversity Sourcing at Uber. (LinkedIn)

8. Christopher Gooding

Christopher Gooding is an experienced recruiter with skills in leadership development, public speaking, and community outreach. He is a University Recruiter at Roku, Inc., where he plays a part in professionally developing emerging talent. As a Diversity & Inclusion advocate, he aspires to work with the brightest minds no matter their background. (LinkedIn)

9. Cornell Verdeja-Woodson

Cornell Verdeja-Woodson has made a career in diversity and inclusion - his purpose in the world. He serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Headspace Health, where he’s accountable for the development of the company’s global diversity, equity, and belonging strategy. Verdeja-Woodson has spent much of his time in the education sector gaining skills in project management, training development, and employee retention. (LinkedIn)

10. Cynthia Owyoung

Cynthia Owyoung is a people, culture, and inclusion leader who also has a strong background in marketing. She’s the Founder & CEO of Breaking Glass Forums, where she helps organizations that strive for more diverse leadership through strategic consulting, leadership development, and alliance building. As a results-oriented and data-driven professional, Owyoung knows how to build a strong culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace and aspires to increase the pace of innovation. (LinkedIn)

11. Daryl Graves

Daryl Graves serves as the Director of Equity, Balance, and Belonging at Dialpad, working to strengthen the company’s EBB roadmap and implement long-term strategies. This thought leader is devoted to creating equitable and balanced employment opportunities for underrepresented talent. With over 7 years in the Talent Acquisition field, Graves developed his critical thinking and strong communication skills. (LinkedIn)

12. Emil Yeargin

Emil Yeargin is a confident and empathetic recruiting leader. He’s known as a natural leader by his colleagues, executing team strategies at a high level and securing top talent for companies. At Gusto, Yeargin is the VP of Talent, overseeing talent acquisition specialists who evaluate and recruit potential candidates for long-term positions. He’s twice been recognized as “Recruiter of the Year” for the Northern California Region. (LinkedIn)

13. Erica Johnson

Erica Johnson is dedicated to making the workplace as diverse and equitable as possible. Working as the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging at Chime, she tries to understand how people feel within the organization so that she can create an effective strategy to accomplish the company’s DEB goals. Johnson’s experience in the HR field allows her to work through complex issues to create lasting change. (LinkedIn)

14. Fran Benjamin

Fran Benjamin serves as the Managing Partner of Good Works Consulting, advising CPOs and Heads of People and coaching organizations. As a non-binary, queer person, he uses his unique experiences to advise clients on how to navigate the intricacies of inclusion and belonging in their organizations. He is commended by his colleagues for his effective approaches and D&I analyses that have brought real solutions to their companies. (LinkedIn)

15. Francisco Estrada

Francisco Estrada is the current Talent Acquisition Director at Nike. There, he collaborates with different teams to launch different internal and external talent initiatives and supports various clients. His leadership qualities and positive attitude have helped him maintain long-lasting relationships and successfully launch several projects relating to Diversity & Inclusion. (LinkedIn)

16. Gabby Royal

Gabby Royal serves as the Senior Group Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Chanel. She is also the Founder of Inclusion First Consulting, where she provides consulting services to help identify hiring gaps and meet talent development objectives. Her dedication in this field has gained her recognition by the National Black Justice Coalition as one of the “Black LGBT Emerging Leaders To Watch”. (LinkedIn)

17. Jarvis Sam

Jarvis Sam sets an example for brands to encourage diversity within the work environment. In just over 4 years, Sam has worked his way up from Director of Diversity Sourcing Programs to Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Nike. He assisted in creating the WIN (Women in Nike) program to provide retired WNBA players with jobs and the Serena Williams Design Crew, where apprentices partner up with the legendary pro tennis player and Nike to develop their talent. (LinkedIn)

18. Jen Casimiro

Jen Casimiro is inspired by helping others recognize their leadership potential. Through one-on-one coaching and programmatic training, she helps HR and business leaders, entrepreneurs, and consultants advance in their HR professions. Casimiro has worked her way up from Talent Specialist to Senior Talent Director and Head of Talent Department of DEI at IDEO in under 6 years and is working to build a community of professionals who look to bring innovative ideas to life. (LinkedIn)

19. Justin Angsuwat

Justin Angsuwat is a dedicated professional who’s not afraid to fail at something new. As Chief People Officer at Blackbird, he’s led the internal team to grow the company, and as former Head of HR at Google, he planned and implemented policies and talent strategies aligned with the company’s business objectives. He has a strong track record for helping people and companies grow through strategy, people, and culture. (LinkedIn)

20. Khalil Smith

Khalil Smith is an inspiring and motivated leader who has mentored thousands of people to help them achieve excellent results in their careers. He’s the Vice President of Inclusion, Diversity, and Engagement at Akamai Technologies where he leads the development of the company’s culture of inclusion, diversity, and employee engagement. Smith is always open to intellectual discussions and loves leading others in an enlightening way. (LinkedIn)

21. Kristin Straube

Kristin Straube has a strong history of working as a Technical Recruiter. She started out at Microsoft managing the offer and closing process for university talent for Software Engineer and Program Manager roles. Her talent and ambition allowed her to level up from that contract role to a full-time Global Talent Acquisition role in just a few short years. Straube works to create an inclusive environment where everyone can be their authentic selves and hopes that her message embodies the importance of inclusivity and accessibility for all. (LinkedIn)

22. Lady Idos

Lady Idos has extensive experience building dynamic work environments and high-performing teams. Her skills in leadership, management, and outreach have acquired her a role as Deputy Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility at the US Department of Energy. There, Idos creates equitable opportunities for career advancement and provides guidance on attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. (LinkedIn)

23. Lambert Odeh Jr.

As a DEI advocate, Lambert Odeh Jr. is focused on creating impactful experiences for employees. His passion is assisting in programs and strategies that set employees up for success while helping organizations reach their DEI goals. Odeh Jr.’s previous experience as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Olo has allowed him to develop skills in active listening and conflict mediation which he leverages in his current position as Global Brand Experience Manager at Snap. (LinkedIn)

24. Lucia Guillory, PhD

Creative and analytical HR leader Lucia Guillory has a diverse experience in HR analytics, recruiting, and employee engagement. Being the VP of People & Places at Virta Health has helped her accomplish people operations goals and manage programs that support the organization’s mission. Guillory is recognized as a focused and ambitious professional by many of her colleagues. (LinkedIn)

25. Mollie Hinz

Mollie Hinz is part of the Talent Acquisition Team at Bonusly, where she assists in identifying, acquiring, and hiring candidates to fill open positions within the company. As a Certified Diversity Sourcing Professional, she has learned how to identify resources that can help her build and implement effective talent sourcing strategies. With over 8 years of experience in the recruiting field, Hinz has developed intrepid skills in talent recruiting and human resources. (LinkedIn)

26. Oona King

Diversity and Inclusion Executive Oona King is working to transform DEI in tech through effective strategy and community engagement. She’s the VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Snap, where she helped the company receive a top score on the Disability Equality Index for the second year in a row. Notably, King is the second Black woman to be elected to Parliament. (LinkedIn)

27. Rebecca Lundquist

With 15 years of people and culture leadership experience, Rebecca Lundquist is committed to creating a valuable employee experience. She’s known by several of her colleagues to make massive strides in implementing HR strategies that boost employee morale, address staffing challenges, and create consistent job roles. She’s the Senior Director of People Operations at 500 Global where she oversees and leads the People team and drives people strategies across the organization. (LinkedIn)

28. Stefani Coleman

For over 6 years, Stefani Coleman has focused on helping early talent discover opportunities and progress in their careers. She has a strong track record of recruiting diverse talent for several big-name companies, like Walgreens and SC Johnson. As Manager of Emerging Talent Recruiting at LinkedIn, Coleman now uses her strategy and leadership skills to lead a high-performing team of recruiters and ensure that diversity & inclusion initiatives are ingrained in recruitment strategy. (LinkedIn)

29. Sue Choe

Sue Choe is an expert at delivering results and building great teams who want to do the same. She’s the Head of People and Portfolio Talent at Anthos Capital, where she helps the organization onboard individuals who perform at a high level while helping professionals make the most out of their careers. Choe values direct communication and experimentation and uses her problem-solving skills for success within companies. (LinkedIn)

30. Travarus Fauntleroy

Travarus Fauntleroy is a strategic and data-driven leader who has a knack for implementing initiatives that spark inclusivity. He’s the Manager of Diversity Talent Acquisition at Adobe where he assists with many efforts to promote equity, such as managing a program for HBCU And HSI Student-Athlete Interns. His experience in project management allows him to take complex insights and break them down into clear, concise feedback for appropriate stakeholders and partners. (LinkedIn)

31. Tuhina Das

Tuhina Das spends her time building diverse groups of employees who display high potential in the workforce. She’s a thorough and detail-oriented professional who enjoys providing staffing solutions to businesses. Being a Senior Recruiter at Doctolib has allowed her to develop recruiting strategies to hire engineers who want to help match patients with healthcare professionals. (LinkedIn)

32. Vijay Rao

Vijay Rao is an HR leader who isn’t afraid of taking on challenges. He’s the Senior Vice President of People at Okta where he’s scaled people processes and practices and led several functions across the company. Rao has a history of partnering with professionals across many fields to develop recruiting programs and planning projects that offer long-term solutions. (LinkedIn)

1. Diversity in High Tech Statistics

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