Diversity and inclusion are on the minds of everyone as access to a diverse talent pool is a critical component for a company’s future growth and success. And despite evidence that diversity is good for science and for business, AWIS research has shown that gender and racial gaps remain, particularly in the overlap between the STEM workplace and entrepreneurship. It is therefore imperative to adopt inclusive strategies that can be implemented during the hiring process and retention efforts. What are the barriers to recruiting and retaining diverse talent in this space? How can we overcome them? This presentation will provide encouraging and actionable evidence about how to effectively and systematically address the absence of diversity. Interactive discussions will include ways to increase diversity in STEM entrepreneurship, how to improve existing entrepreneurship support, the importance in developing an inclusive climate, and reasons why it is important to invest intentionally.

Advanced signup is required.


Rochelle L. Williams, Association for Women in Science
Rochelle L. Williams is the Project Director for the ADVANCE Resource Coordination (ARC) Network with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Before joining AWIS, Williams served as a Research Scientist in the Office for Academic Affairs at Prairie View A&M University. In this role, she worked directly with the Provost on research projects centered on the advancement of women faculty in STEM and the continuous quality improvement of student learning. From 2011 to 2016, Williams also worked as the Director of Programs and Research at ABET Headquarters. In 2016, she was selected to be a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC. As a Fellow, she worked with the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine to drive policy that mitigates the sexual harassment of women faculty in STEM departments in academia. Rochelle received her BS degree in physics from Spelman College and both her MSE degree in mechanical engineering and PhD degree in science and mathematics education from Southern University and A&M College.

Cynthia Simpson, Association for Women in Science
Cynthia Simpson is Chief Business Development Officer with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Simpson is responsible for developing and overseeing all business development aspects with emphasis on institution partnerships, as well as development and implementation of all talent and leadership programs. She has worked closely with a number of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories and has given close to 200 talks on topics of importance to women in STEM at universities, corporations and professional societies. Simpson has co-authored various publications including “Mentoring Postdoc Women from an Institutional Perspective” in the book From Ph.D. to Professoriate and “Work-Life and Childcare Resources for Postdoc Women” in the Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook. Growing up in Seneca Falls, New York (the birthplace of women’s rights), she is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BS degree in business management and a MEd degree in curriculum instruction and design from George Mason University. Simpson currently serves on the National Postdoctoral Association’s Advisory Council and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Professional Development Section Council, and formerly served on the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) Program Planning Committee.