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Black History Month is not just about honoring achievers of the past. It’s also about celebrating today’s change-makers with the ideas and frameworks that will shape the near and far future.

I have the immense pleasure of working at Stern Strategy Group, an organization charged with amplifying the work and voices of a number of trailblazers from across the African diaspora. They’re making an impact right now through their research and writing and as leaders of flourishing companies and laboratories.

Any organization’s upcoming meeting agenda, professional development, or executive education sessions – during Black History Month and beyond – would be well-rounded with the research-backed insights and perspectives different from those held within many organizations. Explore these innovators, inventors and inspiring speakers and advisors as their work defines how businesses and society will live, work and play in the coming decades.

Leadership that Harnesses the Power of a Team

Linda A. Hill, Ph.D. is a world-renowned expert on leadership and diversity-driven innovation. Co-founder of Paradox Strategies leadership advisory firm and award-winning co-author of the bestseller “Collective Genius,” she is the chair of the Leadership Initiative, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and was named a Top Ten Management Thinker in the World by Thinkers50.

Modupe Akinola, Ph.D. is an authority on stress management, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, leadership development, and women’s leadership within organizational environments. An award-winning management professor and faculty director of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School, she also hosts the popular TED Business Podcast.

Tommy Amaker is a transformative leader and educator focused on helping organizations build collaborative, inclusive and purpose-driven teams that consistently achieve goals. A multi-award-winning Harvard Men’s Basketball Coach, he’s also an Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School and a Hauser Leader at Harvard Kennedy School.

Leveraging Breakthrough Technologies for Equality and Social Justice

Ayanna Howard, Ph.D. is a pioneering innovator, entrepreneur and inventor of robotic technologies and artificial intelligence for industry, health care and education. Co-founder and board director of Zyrobotics, she is the Dean of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University and bestselling author of “Sex, Race and Robots” (2020).

Courtney D. Cogburn, Ph.D. is a pioneer in using virtual reality to expose the devastating impact of racism on individuals, organizations and society. A transdisciplinary scholar and an expert on understanding how racism in the media affects human health, she is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Columbia University.

Desmond Upton Patton, Ph.D. is a pioneering social scientist and social worker whose frameworks for designing ethical AI ensure well-being for diverse communities and organizational cultures. A widely cited authority at the intersection of healthy social media ecosystems, empathy, race and society, he is the Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Founding Director of the SAFELab.

Next-Level Strategy for Culturally Resilient Organizations

Lynn Perry Wooten, Ph.D. is a pioneering organizational strategy scholar and practitioner helping leaders build inclusive, positive and resilient cultures. An award-winning authority on crisis leadership, women’s leadership and management strategies that nurture the highest level of human potential, she is President of Simmons University who was Named “Next Generation Business Thinker” by Financial Times. Wooten is also co-author of Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller “Arrive and Thrive” (April 2022) and “The Prepared Leader” (September 2022).

Renee Richardson Gosline, Ph.D. is a globally recognized digital marketing expert whose frameworks help organizations improve customer experiences by leveraging AI and behavioral economics. A practitioner and corporate advisor on brand strategy, customer experience and inclusive leadership, she was a senior lecturer in the Management Science Group at MIT Sloan School of Management, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE), and a Digital Fellow at Stanford’s Digital Economy Lab.

Kai D. Wright is a leading expert on building culturally fluent, change-resilient organizations. A global advisor on diversity, equity and inclusion practices, media executive and host of Ad Age’s System Overload Show, he is a lecturer at Columbia University and author of “Follow the Feeling” (2019).

Unleash an Agile Culture for Game-Changing Innovation

Ingrid M. Nembhard, Ph.D. is an acclaimed psychological safety, organizational learning, and health care management scholar focused on helping leaders foster an agile culture of innovation, problem-solving and teamwork. A qualitative and quantitative field researcher who studies the dynamics of people working together, she is the associate professor of Health Care Management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Efosa Ojomo is a champion for creating economic prosperity through innovation and a leading authority on market-creating innovations. Co-author of “The Prosperity Paradox” (2019), he is a Senior Research Fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation and co-founder and president of Poverty Stops Here.


Organizations that deploy suggestions from the latest pioneers in strategy, leadership and technology see impactful culture changes that drive resiliency and growth. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.

Black History Month 2023: Notable Thought Leaders Opening New Doors to the Future was last modified: January 24th, 2023 by Whitney Jennings