Vernā Myers

Harvard-trained Lawyer, Activist, Author, Cultural Innovator, Founder and President of The Verna Myers Company

Vernā Myers is a top leadership keynote speaker and the Founder of The Vernā Myers Company, a Baltimore-based consulting firm dedicated to eradicating barriers to diversity in the workplace. She is a Harvard-trained lawyer, activist, author, and cultural innovator committed to making the most difficult conversations around bias, cultural competence, and inclusion accessible to all.

  • Vernā Myers`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Vernā Myers`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    Please Inquire

  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    Maryland, USA

  • Vernā Myers`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Vernā Myers`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    Please Inquire

  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    Maryland, USA

Suggested Keynote Speaker Programs

C4Ward to Move Forward

Our society is at a crossroad. Political views, race, class, gender, and geography are dividing us more than ever. We are pulling back from one another, drawing the idea of family and community too small, clinging to people who are “like” us, and being afraid of, or angry ...

Our society is at a crossroad. Political views, race, class, gender, and geography are dividing us more than ever. We are pulling back from one another, drawing the idea of family and community too small, clinging to people who are “like” us, and being afraid of, or angry with, the “other.” But separation and retrenchment are not the way forward. To overcome the epidemic of hatred, bigotry, and oppression, we need to expand and reimagine a more inclusive community and society. We each need to act – we need to commit to reaching across our differences instead of giving in to isolation, fear, and hostility.

In this compelling talk, Vernā shares her vision of how we can all move forward, using her four Cs of progress – Cultural Curiosity, Compassion, Consciousness, and Courage. Participants will leave energized and with practical tools for connecting in small and large ways to people who are different.

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What if I Say the Wrong Thing?

Every day in the media we see people “stepping in it”- trying to explain how some offensive thing they did or said wasn’t meant to be derogatory or disrespectful of a group of people. Even in meetings, at work, in the classroom and around the dining room table things get...

Every day in the media we see people “stepping in it”- trying to explain how some offensive thing they did or said wasn’t meant to be derogatory or disrespectful of a group of people. Even in meetings, at work, in the classroom and around the dining room table things get said or done that cause great pain, confusion, and disengagement. Some of us blunder forward, but many more of us withdraw from interacting across differences, fearing we will make a mistake. This paralysis makes it hard for us to work in diverse teams and live in diverse communities.

In this provocative and instructive keynote, Vernā will help the audience learn not only how to address the verbal, written missteps and negative actions of others, but what to do if they “step in it” themselves. This is a must hear Keynote for any person who is in a position where they can lead by example, even if they “stepped in it” themselves.

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Why We Miss Talent

It is said that seeing is believing. But what about what we don’t realize we are seeing? Despite all our good intentions and our desire to be fair and merit-based in our assessments of others, our unconscious biases create blind spots. Decades of research by social ...

It is said that seeing is believing. But what about what we don’t realize we are seeing?

Despite all our good intentions and our desire to be fair and merit-based in our assessments of others, our unconscious biases create blind spots. Decades of research by social scientists make it clear that our brains take short cuts to conclusions without telling us. They rely heavily on schemas- ideas and things that go together- to make evaluations. It can be an efficient system, but it can also be a faulty one, and cause us to misjudge and exclude people based on old societal stereotypes, preferences and our personal belief system.

This is not because we are bad people; it’s because we are people. If an organization wants to attract, retain and advance diverse talent and better understand and serve a diverse customer and client base, its people can’t be in denial. Instead they must get curious and start looking for the implicit biases that are undermining their explicit beliefs, values and goals.

This disarmingly humorous and content rich keynote explains how important it is for leaders, managers, teammates and colleagues to identify the biases in themselves and in the workplace and learn specific ways they can begin to counter their own behaviors.

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Inclusive Leadership: Culture Matters

Cultural Competency isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s a critical characteristic of any successful leader. As organizations look to diversify their workforce and remain competitive and relevant in a constantly changing world and global marketplace, leaders must learn how ...

Cultural Competency isn’t just a catchphrase, it’s a critical characteristic of any successful leader. As organizations look to diversify their workforce and remain competitive and relevant in a constantly changing world and global marketplace, leaders must learn how to create inclusive, enriching, respectful environments for those around them. Effective leaders have honed the skill to motivate and manage a heterogeneous group of people, to get the best out of them and to allow their differences to positively impact the enterprise. This skill is called cultural competence – the ability to understand, recognize, and utilize knowledge and skills to engage effectively across differences.

This interactive, energetic keynote will help leaders see themselves and those they work with as cultural beings, helps them to identify areas where culture may be affecting team effectiveness and gives them tools to build the type of culture and environment that will bring out the best in the people they are leading and serving.

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Why Women Matter - How to Move Gender Equity Forward

Decades of women in the workplace and graduate schools across many industries have proven that women are smart, capable, hardworking and committed to their families and their professions. Yet, gender inequality still prevails in the C-suite, boardrooms, on teams and in ...

Decades of women in the workplace and graduate schools across many industries have proven that women are smart, capable, hardworking and committed to their families and their professions. Yet, gender inequality still prevails in the C-suite, boardrooms, on teams and in politics. We have evidence that bias, explicit or unconscious, are still alive and well and creating barriers to opportunity and advancement every single day in most organizations. When women are well represented, respected and reflected in decision-making roles, studies suggests they bring certain invaluable qualities, approaches and capabilities that strengthen their organization’s performance.

For organizations and our society to thrive, women must thrive. If women are not allowed to realize their full potential, our businesses, families, communities and society as a whole will suffer.

This candid and motivational keynote makes clear the value women bring to their organizations, what biases and structural barriers prevent their advancement, how women can use their power to overcome barriers including their own sometimes self limiting behavior, and best practices for organizations moving women forward .

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About Keynote Speaker Vernā Myers

Vernā Myers is the Founder of The Vernā Myers Company, a Baltimore-based consulting firm dedicated to eradicating barriers to diversity in the workplace. She is a Harvard-trained lawyer, activist, author and cultural innovator committed to making the most difficult conversations around bias, cultural competence, and inclusion accessible to all. Vernā is an expert facilitator, motivational speaker, and strategic advisor to for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She has delivered keynotes at The World Bank, National Geographic, 21st Century Fox, NASA, Warner Bros., the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and tech companies such as Qualcomm. Notably, Vernā was a recipient of The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business.”

Vernā’s appearances and message of power and possibility have touched millions of lives, including her TED talk , “How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them,” which has been viewed over 1.5 million times. Vernā is also the author of two best-selling books , a contributor to Refinery 29 and Huffington Post , and a cited expert fo r The Atlantic , Forbes , the Harvard Business Review , and TED NPR Radio .

Currently, Vernā lives in Baltimore where she serves on the board for two organizations – The Center for Urban Families , which addresses workforce development and family services, and
UC Hastings College of Law’s Work Life Law Program , which advocates for gender and racial equality in the workplace.

In all, Vernā is a visionary who teaches people how to understand, respect, and include others so each person operates at his or her fullest capacity in society. As Vernā puts it, “Diversity is being invited to the party, Inclusion is being asked to dance.™”

Testimonials

“Vernā immediately engaged the entire room, raised the energy level dramatically, got people’s attention by acknowledging truths, and then conveyed useful and important information. In short, I liked and benefited from every aspect of her presentation.”

Rick Richardson

VP and Associate General Counsel GlaxoSmithKline

“Verna is a total rock star! She is one of the most engaging speakers I have ever had the opportunity to enjoy. Her presentation was invaluable, and all of the almost 300 women that attended were talking about her energy and message as one of the best they have heard!”

Heidi Goldstein

Firm-wide Chair of The Women’s Initiative

“Vernā Myers is one of my all-time favorite conference speakers and thought-leaders.”

Jolie Blanchard Brown

 

“Since the presentation, I have heard countless complimentary words of appreciation, awe,
and inspiration. But it is [Vernā] that deserves this recognition. I wish I could bundle up all of
the positive energy they’ve shared with me and send it your way…. Phrases like ‘she’s
amazing,’ and ‘what an inspirational message’ are just a couple of examples of the myriad
of encouragement I’ve heard.”

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“All I can say is you came in as advertise[d] and you left exceeding our expectations. You
were amazing! I can’t thank you enough for energizing the group but also getting all of us to
leave that room thinking a little bit differently about not only ourselves but the group we are
part of.”

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COVID-19 special virtual keynote fees are available for webinars. Fees listed above are for a live keynote – Please ask your advisor for special pricing on virtual keynote / webinar fees.

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