Join us on Tuesday, April 10 in San Francisco!


Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace is an intimate conference to learn how to address harm and build inclusive culture at work for diversity & inclusion, HR, culture, & people professionals & people underrepresented in the workplace.

Join us on Tuesday, April 10 in San Francisco!

We will focus on the realities of addressing harm in the workplace - and what we can do to create inclusive culture. People of all ages and stages of career, all races and ethnicities, all genders, all sexual orientations, of different abilities, religions, and veteran status are welcome and will be seen, heard, and understood.

Backbone is pending approval from the State Bar of California for MCLE credit. 4.5 hours of MCLE credit are intended to be issued, including Recognition and Elimination of Bias credit.

our incredible lineup

Our expert facilitators have designed a powerful agenda to help you practice standing up against harmful behavior at work.

How to Investigate the Incidents: Felicia Medina, Esq. and Joshua Klipp, Esq.

How to Present Recommendations to CSuite Leaders: Mindy Gulati, Esq. and Joy Sybesma

How to Intervene Early and Heal the Parties: Lynne Maureen Hurdle and Shawnee Renee Benton-Gibson, LMSW

Roadmap to an Equitable Workplace: Josuel Plascencia and Yulkendy Valdez

Overcoming Our Fears: Amanda Townsend and Michelle Kim

Selfcare Practices: Neha Sampat, Esq. and Salvatore Manzi

Mindfulness Exercise: Demarris Evans, Esq.

Mentors facilitating small groups: Colette LuckieElaine MarinoMonet WilsonTorin Perez



You will observe an actual workplace incident, and practice how to investigate, present your recommendations, establish accountability, and rebuild culture.

You will practice speaking out directly and unapologetically and giving and receiving feedback. 

We will share our stories about what works to help people feel safe and valued at work, and develop the qualities we need to lead in our changing workplace.

You will take a break for self-care and reflect on how to apply what you learn at work and develop a network of supportive people.

Need a template letter to request professional development funds for Backbone? We've got you covered.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace?

A: Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace is an all day learning experience for HR, D&I, and people who are underrepresented at work to practice standing up against harmful behavior at work.

You can register here. A draft email to request your employer pay for you to participate is here.

Q: What will we do at Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace?

A: We will kickoff with a performance of a series of escalating workplace incidents between a young Black woman and her white woman manager.

Then we will break into small groups guided by experts.

For half the day, we will practice how to respond to this situation: how to intervene to heal and restore the parties, investigate, and persuade c-suite leaders to take action.

The other half of the day, we will focus on preventing situations like this from happening. We will create a roadmap to an equitable workplace, name and strategize on how to overcome our fears, and take a break for self care.

Throughout the day we will get to know each other to build our strength and community.

Q: Who should attend Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace?

A: Both people who are frequently harmed at work and professionals whose responsibility it is to respond.

The learning experience will be enhanced if a group comes from a company.

Survivors of workplace harassment, bystanders, and people in charge of culture will all have the opportunity to practice speaking up in a totally safe and supportive environment, with feedback from experts and each other.

Q: How will the learning experience at Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace be different?

A: You will not be sitting and listening, you will be up and doing, learning from each other, with tips, guidance, and feedback from experts.

Q: What will participants at Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace walk away with?

A: With words to say and the strength to say them the next time you see harm occurring at work.

Too often we see something wrong, but don't say anything because we don't know what to say or are afraid to take a risk.

The goal of Backbone is to seed a movement of workplace professionals who know what to say and are unafraid of conflict and discomfort.

Creating workplaces free of harassment and discrimination will never come from the top down, but only from the bottom up. We will be the change agents to make that happen.

Q: Why is Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace worth the registration fee?

A: Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace is cheaper than litigation, a settlement, or a consultant to "fix" culture after a workplace incident blows up into a crisis. It's also cheaper than the costs of replacing employees who leave because of discrimination at work.

And we have applied for Continuing Legal Education and Society for Human Resources Management accreditation so it may count towards continuing education requirements, as well.

Q: Why will Backbone: Courage for a Changing Workplace focus on a workplace incident between a young Black woman and her white woman team leader?

A: For several reasons.

One, because Black women are leaders we all need to emulate. Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks and many other Black women changed society for the better because they did all they could with what they had in the situation right in front of them.

Two, because Black women got the laws passed that protect other marginalized groups. Black women did the grassroots work of the Civil Rights movement that got the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning workplace discrimination.

Three because although they got the law passed, fifty years later, Black women continue to face tremendous discrimination at work, including from white women. As a white woman who earlier in my career led teams with young Black women, I know I did things that harmed them.

I am fortunate to have many Black women mentors, mentees, and friends who have taught me how to change to be less harmful to them.

Their stories of harm by white women at work is what inspired me to found Racy Conversations and to organize Backbone.

Four because HR today is largely the province of white women and we have a lot of work to do in overcoming our own biases, including our bias towards currying favor with white men in positions of power.

Five because if we can create a workplace culture where young Black women can thrive on teams led by white women, our workplace culture will be a place where all people in marginalized groups can thrive.