Inclusion in Action: CNBC Opportunity Forum

Inclusion in Action: CNBC Opportunity Forum

Creating an inclusive economy goes well beyond the workforce; it’s about expanding opportunities so more people can have the ability to achieve success. The Inclusion in Action: CNBC Opportunity Forum examines strategies and initiatives for organizations that create equity and opportunity not just for employees but also customers, clients, suppliers and the broader community to create lasting change.

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Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross continues to skillfully navigate the entertainment industry as an award-winning actress-producer-creative. Ross can currently be seen starring in Season 7 of ABC’s Emmy, SAG, NAACP, Critics Choice, Golden Globe nominated and Peabody-winning comedy series “Black-ish.”

For her role as Rainbow Johnson in the series, as a comedic leading actress, Ross has received numerous individual accolades including winning the Golden Globe Award in 2017 as well as six NAACP Image Awards. She also garnered four Primetime Emmy nominations and two Critics Choice Award nominations. Ross was honored by Women in Film in 2017 with the “Lucy Award for Excellence in Television and at the 2016 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon with the “Fierce and Fearless” award. Most recently, she joined the ranks of Victoria Beckham and Gwen Stefani in receiving the “Fashion Icon Award” at the 2020 People’s Choice Awards.

Ross recently signed a multi-year overall deal with ABC Signature under her production company, Joy Mill Entertainment. The company will be based at the studio and produce content across all platforms. Joy Mill Entertainment is committed to amplifying multilayered stories that reframe assumptions about how we see ourselves and each other.

Ross also executive produced the new ABC series “Mixed-ish” -- the prequel to “Black-ish” -- about Rainbow as a young girl. Ross will also star and serve as executive producer in the adult animated comedy, “Jodie.” “Jodie” is a series spinoff based on MTV’s iconic “Daria” franchise in which Ross will voice the title character, Jodie.

Previously on television, Ross starred on the hit sitcom “Girlfriends” which ran for eight seasons and earned her eight NAACP Image Award nominations with wins in 2007 and 2009. Ross also earned the NAACP Image Award for her work in "Reed Between the Lines," which she also produced.

In addition to her roles in television, Ross can currently be seen in Focus Feature’s “The High Note,” starring opposite Dakota Johnson – which released on VOD in May 2020. Directed by Nisha Ganatra, the comedy is set among the talent, fame and fast-paced world of Hollywood’s music scene. In the film, Ross delivers stunning vocal performances of five different songs, including a duet with Kelvin Harrison Jr. called “Like I Do,” and the film’s first single “Love Myself.” This notably marks the first time Ross has released a song, highlighting her dynamic voice in her role as recording artist Grace Davis. This multifaceted performance earned her a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.

Ross serves as the CEO and Founder of PATTERN —a haircare brand she created for the curly, coily and tight-textured masses, that has taken the industry by storm since its launch in 2019. In 2020, PATTERN won the ALLURE Best of Beauty 2020 Award for its “Hair Pick,” the ELLE Future of Beauty Award for its “Intensive Conditioner,” the ESSENCE Best in Black Beauty Award, the MARIE CLAIRE Beauty Game Changer Award for its “Leave-In Conditioner,” the NEWBEAUTY Award for its “Hydration Shampoo” and the GLAMOUR Beauty Award for “Best Pro Shampoo and Conditioner for Curls.”

The brand, which supports organizations and programs that empower women and people of color, is currently available online at, as well as Pattern launched its Phase 2 collection in June 2020, which included over 15 new styling products, tools, and kits for curly, coiled, and tight textured hair. In February 2021, PATTERN launched Phase 3, which includes the PATTERN Scalp Serum and PATTERN Treatment Mask.

Ross continues to use her voice and vast social influence to advocate for joy and self-acceptance and invites her more than 10 million social media followers to join her quest for inclusivity and equity. In line with her passion for social justice and advocacy, she recently facilitated night two of the 2020 Democratic National Convention serving as a guide for the evenings program in support of the nominations of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. As a co-founding signatory of the Time’s Up movement, Ross is actively involved in working towards the goal of creating safety and equality in the workplace. In April of 2018,

Ross opened at the TED Conference, the first black woman to do so, with an important speech about the wisdom of women’s fury. In November 2017, Ross gave a powerful speech that went viral about dismantling expectations and claiming your own life at Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit. She also moderated the second stop of Michelle Obama’s book tour in Los Angeles on behalf of her memoir “Becoming.”

Additional television credits include “Portlandia,” “Grown-ish,” “Broad City,” “Five”, “Private Practice,” “CSI," and “LIFE Support”. Her feature film credits include "Hanging Up" with Jennifer Connelly and Marcia Gay Harden, and Tyler Perry's "Daddy's Little Girls.” Her theatre credits include turns in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” on stage in New York and Los Angeles.

Ross was awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Fine Arts by her Alma mater, Brown University in 2015.

Ross currently resides in Los Angeles.

Maria Contreras-Sweet

Maria Contreras-Sweet is an American businesswoman, banker and civic leader who served on President Obama’s cabinet as the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The U.S. SBA provides business owners with capital through government-backed loan guarantees, a complex international counseling network, and by directing to them 23% of the federal procurement spend. The SBA manages the world’s largest fund of funds and the largest seed fund in the world.

Ms. Contreras-Sweet was the Founder and executive chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank. Prior, she managed a private equity firm and earlier served as the California cabinet Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing. Ms. Contreras-Sweet is the recipient of five honorary doctorate degrees, including from her alma mater Cal State University, Los Angeles and Tufts University. The Maria Contreras-Sweet Public Policy Impact Award was established in her honor for her efforts to expand entrepreneurship around the world and deepen democracies. She is currently serving on the board of The Bipartisan Policy Institute.

PLEASE NOTE: she is referred to as a member of President Obama’s cabinet or the 24th Administor of the US Small Business Administration. You are welcome to add: President and CEO, ContrerasSweet Companies.

Roger Ferguson

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., is the Steven A. Tananbaum Distinguished Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the Immediate Past President and CEO of TIAA. Prior to joining TIAA, Mr. Ferguson was head of financial services for Swiss Re and Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation. Mr. Ferguson is the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He began his career as an attorney at the New York City office of Davis Polk & Wardwell and was an Associate and Partner at McKinsey & Company. Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He serves on the boards of Alphabet, Inc.; Corning, Inc.; Blend, Inc.; and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. Mr. Ferguson is also active as an advisor and board member with various private fintech companies. He serves on the boards of The Conference Board, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other non for profits. Mr. Ferguson holds a B.A., J.D., and a Ph.D. in economics, all from Harvard University.

Mellody Hobson

As Co-CEO, Mellody is responsible for management, strategic planning and growth for all areas of Ariel Investments outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ariel Investment Trust—the company’s publicly traded mutual funds. Prior to being named Co-CEO, Mellody spent nearly two decades as the firm’s President. Outside of Ariel, Mellody is a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy. Her leadership has also been invaluable to corporate boardrooms across the nation. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation, and is the incoming Chairman of Starbucks, effective March 2021. She is also a director of JPMorgan Chase. She previously served as Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation until the company’s sale and was also a long-standing board member of the Estée Lauder Companies. Mellody’s community outreach includes her role as Chairman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit that provides area teens with high-quality after school and summer programs. Additionally, she is vice chair of World Business Chicago; co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; and a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She also serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Mellody is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute. Mellody earned her AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. In 2019, she was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented annually to a Princeton graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Southern California. In 2015, Time Magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world.

Roel Campos

Roel C. Campos is senior counsel in the firm’s Washington, DC, office. Roel’s practice consists of advising senior management and boards in their most sensitive and complex issues. His practice often involves conducting internal investigations and defending matters involving financial regulators, such as the SEC, DOJ, CFTC, and FINRA. He also advises boards on items such as cybersecurity, governance, cryptocurrency and proposed rulemakings by financial regulators.

Beginning in 2002, Roel was appointed twice by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the US Senate as a Commissioner of the SEC, serving until 2007. During his tenure, Roel presided over hundreds of complex enforcement cases and rulemakings, involving the full range of federal securities laws.

Prior to being appointed to the SEC, Roel raised venture capital with partners, was a senior executive and operated a radio broadcasting company.

He began his career after graduating from the US Air Force Academy and served as an officer for five years. After attending Harvard Law School, he worked in Los Angeles for major law firms as a corporate transactions/securities lawyer and litigator.

Roel served in the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. He prosecuted major narcotics cartels and, in a celebrated trial, convicted several kingpin cartel members for the kidnapping and murder of a DEA agent.

Tandra Jackson

Tandra Jackson is the Vice Chair of Growth & Strategy at KPMG LLP. In this role, she is responsible for leading KPMG’s Total Firm growth strategy, anticipating and responding to signals of change in the marketplace, and aligning the firm’s investments in innovative new services and capabilities.

Prior to this role, Tandra served as Office Managing Partner for KPMG’s Houston Major Market where she helped lead the growth and success of the firm’s audit, tax and advisory practices in Houston; ensured KPMG’s clients received exceptional service; supported and empowered the firm’s extraordinary people; and coordinated the office’s community engagement.

She has 27 years of professional experience across multiple industries, including energy and chemicals, industrial manufacturing, and healthcare. Her experience extends across a broad range of areas including business process improvement; systems selection and implementation; IT and internal audit; and governance and compliance.

Tandra is co-Chair of KPMG’s African Ancestry Business Resource Group and serves on the KPMG Foundation Board. Tandra has served on the Nominating Committee for the KPMG Board of Directors. Previous speaking engagements include KPMG’s Global Energy Conference, KPMG Insights, National Women’s Council Houston Conference, Rice University’s Women Leadership Conference, Texas Society of Women CPAs, and the Women in Leadership Symposium.

A recognized leader in the Houston market and across the region, Tandra is the recipient of the 2019 Impact (Chairman’s) Award by the National Black MBA Association; a 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce; 2018 Women Who Mean Business by Houston Business Journal; 2017 Top 50 Influential Women in Houston by Houston Woman Magazine; 2017 Breakthrough Women by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce; 2017 Women Worth Watching by Diversity Magazine. In addition, she has authored several bylines on business, innovation, people, community and philanthropy in various media outlets.

She is passionate about making a difference in her community and society. She is a member of both Louisiana State University’s Dean Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Houston Chapter. She also serves on several non-profit boards including Greater Houston Partnership (Executive Committee and Higher Education Task Force); Central Houston (Executive and Finance Committees); CEOs against Cancer; and the Houston Zoo (Audit Committee Chair).

Tandra holds an M.B.A. in information systems from the University of Houston and B.S. in accounting from Louisiana State University. She is a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

Reshma Saujani

Reshma began her career as an attorney and activist. In 2010, she surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress. During the race, Reshma visited local schools and saw the gender gap in computing classes firsthand, which led her to start Girls Who Code. Reshma is also the author of Brave, Not Perfect–a movement rooted in her experience, TedTalk, book, and podcast encourging women to live their bravest, fullest lives.

Ylan Mui

Ylan Q. Mui is CNBC’s Senior Congressional Correspondent based at the network’s bureau in Washington, D.C., reporting on Capitol Hill and economic policy. She also plays a key role covering the power struggle between Big Tech and Washington as they continue to debate on Capitol Hill. Her reporting appears on television and CNBC’s digital platforms. Mui joined CNBC in February 2017 as a reporter focusing primarily on economic and regulatory policy.

Prior to CNBC, Mui spent nearly 15 years at The Washington Post, most recently as White House economic policy correspondent. She previously covered the Federal Reserve and the macroeconomy, subprime lending, consumer finance, retail and education. In addition, Mui reported on major international stories, including the Greek financial crisis and Brexit, as well as national disasters such as the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.

Mui began her career as a receptionist and obituary writer at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where she was born and raised.

Mui graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans with a major in communications and a double minor in biology and philosophy. She is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association, where she is a past vice president of the Washington, DC chapter. She is also a graduate of AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program.

Rahel Solomon

Rahel Solomon joined CNBC in March 2019 as a general assignment reporter. She is based at CNBC Global Headquarters, and her reporting appears on television and CNBC’s digital platforms.

Most recently, Solomon was co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning and Eyewitness News at Noon for CBS 3 in her hometown, Philadelphia. She additionally anchored the station’s weekend morning news. Solomon first joined CBS 3 as a general assignment reporter in September 2015. Previously, Solomon was a reporter and fill-in anchor for KCNC-TV, the CBS-owned station in Denver. While there, she was named the Colorado Association of Black Journalists’ Broadcast Journalist of the Year in 2015. Prior to that, Solomon was a multimedia journalist for WSAZ-TV in Charleston, West Virginia.

Solomon graduated with high honors from St. John’s University, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance. She also earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Kate Rogers

Kate Rogers joined CNBC in September 2014 as a reporter based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Rogers covers small business and entrepreneurship for the network appearing on CNBC's Business Day programming and providing daily stories and videos to She will also contribute to the network's overall markets coverage.

Previously, Rogers was a personal finance and small business reporter for FOX Business and While there, she reported across FBN's and FOX News' daily programming. She also created and hosted a web series on entrepreneurship and startups called "Growing Your Business" for

Prior to FBN, Rogers was a reporter at the Nonprofit Times covering the business aspect of nonprofit management, and was an editor at the Union County Local Source.

Rogers holds a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Women's Studies from the University of Delaware.

Sharon Epperson

Sharon Epperson, named one of “12 to Watch in TV News,” can be seen regularly on CNBC television and other media platforms.

As CNBC’s senior personal finance correspondent, Epperson covers the many facets of how people manage, grow and protect their money. Her expertise includes saving and investing for retirement, paying for college, managing mortgage, student loan, credit card and other debt, and building a financial legacy through estate planning.

Preparing your finances for the unexpected is another critical (and personal) aspect of her reporting. In September 2016, Epperson sustained a ruptured brain aneurysm and she nearly lost her life. She has become a staunch advocate for health and wellness issues, raising awareness about brain aneurysms and funding for research. In September 2018, she and her family established “The Sharon Epperson Chair of Research” through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to provide grants for research on early detection and innovative treatments.

Epperson is a lead contributor to “Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow.,” a multi-platform financial wellness and education initiative at CNBC in partnership with the micro-investing app Acorns, and developed its companion 8-week learning course and weekly newsletter, “Invest in You: Money 101.” She also contributes to NBC’s TODAY and NBC Nightly News as well as and

Her book, The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their Money-and Live Richly Ever After, was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Awards, honoring works that have “changed the lives of millions.” She also was a contributing writer for The Experts’ Guide to Doing Things Faster. Her personal finance expertise has been featured in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Weekend, Self, Essence, Ebony and TIME, where she had covered business, culture, social issues and health as a correspondent prior to joining CNBC.

Epperson has numerous industry and civic awards, including the Special Achievement Award from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Savvy Inspiration Award from the non-profit, financial empowerment group Savvy Ladies. She won an Alliance for Women in Media’s Gracie Award for Outstanding Online Host for her “Financial Advisor Playbook” video series on She has received the Vanguard Award for her distinguished career in business and personal finance reporting from the National Urban League Guild, and the All-Star Award from the Association of Women in Communications. She also has won awards from the New York Festivals, the New York Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Epperson is committed to improving financial literacy, particularly in underserved communities. She was invited to the White House during President Obama’s administration to speak about financial literacy and to moderate a public meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Treasury Department. She also speaks frequently at conferences and events for local and national organizations, colleges and universities about many facets of personal finance.

An adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Epperson has also taught courses at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. She enjoys teaching the importance of budgeting and building long-term savings as part of her professional development courses for graduate students.

Epperson received her bachelor’s in sociology and government from Harvard University, a master of international affairs degree from Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from Carlow University in Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh native, she has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Taylor Allderdice High School, her alma mater.

She currently lives with her husband and two children in Westchester County, N.Y.

Tyler Mathisen

Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running program franchises. He is also Vice President, Events Strategy for CNBC, working closely with the network's events team to grow the rapidly expanding business.

Previously, Mathisen was co-anchor of "Nightly Business Report," an award-winning evening business news program produced by CNBC for U.S. public television. In 2014, NBR was named best radio/TV show by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). Since joining CNBC in 1997, Mathisen has held a number of positions including managing editor of CNBC Business News, responsible for directing the network's daily content and coverage. He was also co-anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Mathisen has reported one-hour documentaries for the network including "Best Buy: The Big Box Fights Back," "Supermarkets Inc: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine" and "Death: It's a Living." Mathisen was also host of the CNBC series "How I Made My Millions."

Prior to CNBC, Mathisen spent 15 years as a writer, senior editor and top editor for Money magazine. Among other duties, he supervised the magazine's mutual funds coverage, its annual investment forecast issue and its expansion into electronic journalism, for which it won the first-ever National Magazine Award for New Media in 1997.

In 1993, Mathisen won the American University-Investment Company Institute Award for Personal Finance Journalism for a televised series on "Caring for Aging Parents," which aired on ABC's "Good Morning America." Mathisen served as money editor of "GMA" from 1991 to 1997. He also won an Emmy Award for a report on the 1987 stock market crash that aired on New York's WCBS-TV.

A native of Arlington,Va., Mathisen graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia.


Agenda subject to change

1:00pm ET

Program Begins

Creating an Inclusive Economy
Business leader Mellody Hobson sits down for an expansive discussion on how to rethink inclusion beyond hiring practices and policies; from setting standards within boards, to partnering with small businesses and creating opportunities within communities. Hobson will share her experiences and strategies to achieve a more inclusive environment.
Mellody Hobson, Ariel Investments co-CEO and President; Starbucks Board Chairwoman
Interviewer: Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Watch the full interview


The Board Imperative
As more firms announce they will no longer invest in companies without it, board diversity is beyond just a smart idea, it’s a business imperative. This session looks at how companies should approach their search and what makes a successful diverse board.
Roel Campos, Former SEC Chairman and Latino Corporate Directors Association Chair
Tandra Jackson, KPMG Vice Chair, Growth & Strategy
Interviewer: Tyler Mathisen, CNBC “Power Lunch” Co-Anchor & Vice President, Events Strategy
Watch the full interview


Inclusion and Small Business: Challenges and Opportunities
Small business has often been regarded as a pathway to success and financial independence in many communities. The pandemic has hit small businesses particularly hard, and minority small business owners faced added challenges making their survival even more fragile. Here we look how the public and private sector can partner with small business to increase opportunities for success for more people.
Maria Contreras-Sweet, Small Business Administration Fmr. Administrator; Contreras-Sweet Enterprises Principal
Interviewer: Kate Rogers, CNBC Reporter
Watch the full interview


Creating an Inclusive Business Ecosystem
Tracee Ellis Ross: while best known as an actress, director and producer is also the CEO and Founder of hair-care brand Pattern Beauty, sold at Ulta beauty stores and in Birchbox subscriptions. Ross has also been named Ulta’s Diversity and Inclusion Adviser. We will speak to her about how and why she started Pattern, and how brands can be more proactive about committing to have more diverse suppliers and vendors, and what impact that has on inclusion in the complete business ecosystem.
Tracee Ellis Ross, PATTERN CEO and Founder
Interviewer: Rahel Solomon, CNBC General Assignment Reporter
Watch the full interview


Caregiver Crisis: A Bold Plan to Get Women Back to Work
Women – particularly women of color, have been overwhelmingly disenfranchised during the pandemic, due to both their greater share of responsibility during the current childcare and schooling crisis, and their representation in negatively affected industries. Now, the public and private sectors need to rethink the way working mothers are included in the workplace. Reshma Saujani wrote The Marshall Plan for Moms to help mothers get back to work and explains how it will help the economy overall.
Reshma Saujani,
Girls Who Code Founder and CEO
Interviewer: Ylan Mui, CNBC Reporter
Watch the full interview


The Big Picture: One-on-One with Roger Ferguson
Roger Ferguson is one of the most prominent Black executives in finance. He is former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors for the U.S. Federal Reserve System and has been the CEO of TIAA since 2008, which he has grown from about $435 billion to approximately $1.2 trillion assets under management. He will retire from that role at the end of this month. He sits down to talk about his career, his thoughts on how inclusion has evolved and what more still needs to be done, plus the role business and government need to play to create lasting change.
Roger Ferguson, TIAA President & CEO
Interviewer: Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Watch the full interview

3:00pm ET

Program Concludes


While companies are pledging millions of dollars to the cause of racial equality, there is also a recognition that money and platitudes are no longer enough. Sustainable, systemic change is needed.


We’ll discuss the quantitative and qualitative metrics and data that can inform diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.


This live virtual event will focus on practical solutions with results that are measurable, transparent and sustainable for corporate leaders to put into action in their organizations.


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