Melinda Briana Epler

Founder & CEO of Empovia, Author on Allyship
Melinda Briana

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California, USA


TED speaker, diversity and inclusion advocate, and leader in building inclusive innovation around the world.

Melinda Briana Epler has 25 years of experience elevating brands and developing business innovation strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and global NGOs.

As CEO of Empovia (formerly Change Catalyst), Melinda works with her clients and partners to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling, behavioral science, and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for companies, innovation hubs, and governments around the world. She also co-founded Tech Inclusion, a series of global solutions-focused conferences where she partnered with over 450 tech companies and community organizations and hosted over 50 solutions-focused diversity and inclusion events. Previously, Melinda was a Marketing and Culture Executive and award-winning documentary filmmaker.

Melinda is a TED speaker who speaks, mentors, and writes about diversity and inclusion, inclusive innovation, empathy, and entrepreneurship. She is the author of How to Be an Ally (McGraw-Hill) and the host of the popular "Leading With Empathy & Allyship" podcast. She has spoken on hundreds of stages worldwide, including SXSW, Grace Hopper, Wisdom 2.0, the World Bank, White House, Clinton Foundation, Black Enterprise, Google, Indeed, Capital One, UC Berkeley, and McKinsey.

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How To Be An Ally

Leading with Empathy & Allyship Workshop

Activating Allies Workshop

Interrupting Biases and Microaggressions

From Hiring to Belonging: Strategies for Retaining Diverse Talent

Building Inclusive Teams: For Managers, Executives, or Entire Teams

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Melinda Epler is a seasoned keynote speaker, panel moderator, and emcee. All featured workshops can be structured to fit your company's needs.

Additional topics Melinda can address include:

  • Custom Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sessions
  • Custom Allyship and Antiracism Content
  • How to Change Behavior and Build Movements
  • Creating Inclusive Startups
  • Building Programs for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs

TED: 3 Ways to Be a Better Ally in the Workplace
WJLA: Supporting One Another and Becoming a Better Ally
Silicon Valley Forum: How Women Can Be Better Allies for Each Other
Women Techmakers Mountain View Summit 2016: Melinda Epler’s Story and Work
2021 Global Inclusion Online Forum: “How To Be An Ally”
Leading With Empathy & Allyship EP48: "How To Be An Ally In The Remote Workplace"
Leading With Empathy & Allyship EP51: "Recognizing & Overcoming Microaggressions Pt 1"
Leading With Empathy & Allyship EP68: How To Build Allies In Your Workplace
Google Video Series: Building Inclusive & Diverse Tech Hubs - The Key to Future Innovation
Google Video Series: Building Inclusive & Diverse Tech Hubs - The Role of Leadership
Tech Inclusion 2018: Allyship - Women Empowering Women in the Workplace
Tech Inclusion 2018: Mental Health, Wellness and Working with Trauma
Silicon Valley Forum: Women In Tech Festival 2018 – The Importance of Male Allies to Advance & Retain Women in Tech


“Melinda is a thought leader in the space of diversity and inclusion. . . . She cares deeply about underrepresented people, and also has the ability to turn this into real action that changes lives.”

Dr. Ian McDonald
Worldwide Lead, Tech Engagement Team, Microsoft for Startups

“Melinda Briana Epler is one of the most inclusive and thoughtful leaders I have ever encountered. . . . Anyone reading this illuminating and instructional book will find themselves on their own journey from apathy to full-on advocacy by its end.”

Rachel Williams
Head of Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, X – The Moonshot Factory

“If we have learned anything in the past year, it was the urgent need for allies in all facets of life. I’ve had the honor of working and partnering with Melinda over the years and she has modeled what it means to be an active ally. This book brings together what she has learned into powerful action-oriented frameworks.”

Tiffany Yu
CEO & Founder, Diversability

“Melinda’s dedication to creating safer, more inclusive organizations has had a profound impact on the tech industry. I’m grateful she’s taken the time to share her learnings so that individuals and companies across industries can begin their own journeys in action.”

Katelin Holloway
Founding Partner, Seven Seven Six

“The term ‘thought-leader’ is tossed out casually, however that is exactly what Melinda Briana Epler epitomizes. She is a leader who through her work, gently but forcefully, guides all of us to reexamine long-standing beliefs on meritocracy and then to take incremental, meaningful, and daily actions to build truly inclusive workplaces.”

J. Kelly Hoey
Investor and Author, Build Your Dream Network

“Melinda’s book is an accessible must-read! She provides thought-provoking historical context and, crucially, offers up many tangible ways to combine understanding and empathy in concrete actions that will make for a better workplace—as well as simply making us better people.”

Adam Quinton
Board Member and Treasurer, Holy Cross Energy