Digital Diversity Network to Celebrate the 3rd Annual Innovation & Inclusion Awards Honorees with a Reception at Galvanize NYC on Thursday, October 18

Share Article

Special recognitions to be conferred upon top executives from Google, LISNR, Mercer and Vimeo. Ceremony to include select honorees in fireside chats with writer & columnist, Jamilah Lemieux.

"Reward and recognition are integral to fostering an inclusive culture within the digital and tech sectors," said DDN Board Chair Kedma Pognon Brown.

Digital Diversity Network (DDN) will host its third annual “Innovation & Inclusion Awards” reception on Thursday, October 18 from 6:30 – 9:30-pm at Galvanize located at 303 Spring Street in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood.

The achievements of 19 diverse leaders in digital media and technology will be acknowledged and celebrated. This recognition is an effective and timely way of highlighting the underrepresented role models who are paving the way for diversity and inclusion within the Innovation Economy. The honorees are from across the United States and span a spectrum of disciplines and industries. Three awards will be conferred in each of five categories: Code Breakers, Change Agents, Culture Catalysts, Inventors/Innovators and Social Entrepreneurs.

Kedma Pognon Brown, SVP, Operations & Project Management, Zenith, and Digital Diversity Network Board Chair, reflected, “Reward and recognition are integral to fostering an inclusive culture within the digital and technology sectors. The Innovation & Inclusion Awards not only underscore the contributions of diverse professionals, but also serve as an inspiration to those who aspire to enter and enjoy longevity within the industry.”

Additionally, special recognitions will be conferred as follows: Impact Award – Marcus Ellington, Head of Industry for Media & Entertainment Google/YouTube; Phenom Award – Gail Evans, Chief Digital Officer, Mercer; Groundbreaker Award – Anjali Sud, CEO, Vimeo; and DDNext Award – Rodney Williams, CEO & Co-founder, LISNR. Each of these four honorees will also be featured in fireside chats with writer & author, Jamilah Lemeiux, during the awards program.

The event will be attended by technology influencers, including key innovators, diversity and inclusion officers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, leaders of corporate employee resource groups (ERGs), academics, executives, professionals and non-profit leaders from both the honoree companies and others including, General Assembly, HBO, J. P. Morgan Chase,, Morgan Stanley, STEMBoard, WebMD, Viacom and Zenith.

Nominations were open to the public May 31 through August 15, 2018. Honorees were selected by a panel of technology and digital executives. The response was robust and yielded a list of professionals from major corporations, start-ups, accelerators, non-profits and social venture firms.

The honorees for the 3rd annual “Innovation & Inclusion Awards” Class of 2018, by category, are:

Code Breakers

  •     Willie Jackson, VP/Director, Solutions Architect, Starcom USA
  •     Rachana Kumar, Director of Engineering, Etsy Inc.
  •     Markus Robinson, VP, Innovation, Tech & Design, iOne Digital

Change Agents

  •     Melissa Potter, Head of Social Impact & Communications, Odyssey Impact & Transform Films
  •     Jorge Torres, Managing Director,
  •     Darius Walker, Senior Executive Producer, CBS Interactive

Culture Catalysts

  •     Erica Branch-Ridley, VP, Creative Development & Production, HITN Learning, HITN (Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network)
  •     Sandra Garcia Lowery, Founder, Encounter Marketing & Public Relations
  •     Everette Taylor, CEO, ET Enterprises (PopSocial, MilliSense, GrowthHackers)


  •     Kristopher Francisco, Founder & CEO, Evolute
  •     Monica Williams, VP, Business Operations, Technology & Strategy, NBCUniversal
  •     Shirley Yang, Founder & CEO, MUSES

Social Entrepreneurs

●    Sandee Kastrul, President & Co-founder, i.c.stars
●    Jessica O. Matthews, Founder & CEO, Uncharted Power
●    Natalia Oberti Noguera, CEO & Founder, Pipeline Angels

Event sponsors include galvanize, Google, YouTube, STEMBoard and iOne Digital. Digital Diversity Network’s Annual Corporate Sponsors include Comcast NBCUniversal, HBO, and Warner Bros.


For sponsorship information and tickets, contact: kathy.johnson(at)

For more information and/or to arrange interviews with any of the honorees, please contact:
Kathy Johnson (646) 202-2643

social media handles
twitter: @ddnoinfo #innovationinclusion
instagram: ddninfo
facebook: digitaldiversitynetwork

About Digital Diversity Network (DDN)

Digital Diversity Network (DDN) is a 501(c)(6) professional trade association founded in 2012 to advance diversity, create access and champion inclusion within the digital and tech sectors. With a specific emphasis on working professionals, DDN’s events and programs help to ensure that the hi-tech producer/earner economy mirrors the demographics of key consumer/user groups.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kathy Johnson
since: 11/2012
Follow >
Digital Diversity Network
Like >
Digital Diversity Network

Visit website