i3 | April 06, 2020

Creating an Inclusive Experience at CES 2020

Heba Mahmoud
A diverse workforce drives innovation — a key sentiment that echoed through CES 2020. This year, CTA organized a host of dynamic panel discussions, pitch competitions, luncheons and networking events that connected industry professionals and tech founders from underrepresented groups. The Innovation for All program was designed to create an inclusive CES experience for attendees.


While Female Quotient served as an Equality Partner for CES, CTA also invited the New Voices Foundation — an organization focused on building a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for women of color to host a $100,000 pitch competition on the Eureka Park startup stage. Evidence shows startups founded by women and people of color struggle to receive funding from venture capital firms. Recent data from PitchBook shows that female founders received 2.2% of $130 billion in VC funding in 2018. The competition held at CES gave startups founded by women of color the chance to gain exposure and the necessary capital to continue to grow and create positive change.

The Implementing Diversity from the Top panel at CES 2020.

Programming at CES

To continue to move the needle, professionals who prioritize diversity and inclusion for their businesses participated in a CTA hosted roundtable that focused on the power of partnerships in filling the talent pipeline, retaining and advancing diverse talent and investing in a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem. It was an example of a platform for sharing andlearning best practices through the collective action of key stakeholders.

CTA member companies and organizations including Anitab.org, National Society of Black Engineers and the Society for Professional Hispanic Engineers, discussed how partnerships can help fill the talent pipeline, retain and advance diversity, and build an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

To showcase effective diversity and inclusion strategies that help companies innovate and thrive, CTA introduced an Innovation for All conference track at the show. Sessions ranged from diving deeper into the shift in culture at workplaces to the impact of investing in diversity. CTA also hosted a panel on implementing diversity from the top that featured chief diversity officers from Walmart, HP and Bosch who shared best practices for integrating initiatives that create innovative cultures and result in positive change in their organizations.

“Using the power of ‘yet’ can be a powerful tool in this work,” said Lesley Slaton Brown, chief diversity officerof HP. “Getting organizations to say, ‘I’m not there yet, but I’m willing to learn and correct problems and then hold them accountable.” Ben Hasan, senior vice president and chief of global culture at Walmart said, “Fix the inclusion piece first, grow leaders that create inclusive environments and the other pieces will move forward.”


To help build the diversity they want to see, more than 30 companies including Google, Uber, LinkedIn and MedHaul invited members of their employee resource groups to attend CES for the first time. Participants met with peers at other tech companies.

CTA also hosted 10 startups to Eureka Park to help to build a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founders of these startups connected with potential partners, investors and customers through their awarded exhibit spaces and curated schedule.

Along with Facebook — the official sponsor of the Innovation for All program — and Springboard Enterprises, CTA hosted a breakfast celebrating women in tech. In a fireside chat, Maxine Williams, global head of diversity at Facebook, shared key tips to advance women in the tech sector.

CTA is committed to continuing the advancement of positive change toward greater diversity and inclusion at CES and beyond.

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