Bonus Episode: Lili Gil Valletta, Make D&I a Mindset, Not an Initiative
For Lili Gil Valletta, it’s simple: diversity and inclusion is good for business.
It’s what she preaches as a loyal champion of cultural intelligence—a concept that focuses on the awareness, understanding, and application of cultural data into everyday business.
Too often corporations make short-sighted decisions as a means of chasing diversity metrics and quotas. Valletta, a proud Colombiana, has devoted 20 years of her career to educating the C-suite that an inclusive approach will allow their business to grow. If they want to remain relevant in an increasingly multicultural corporate world, they need to accept D&I as a mindset rather than an initiative.
As Valletta explains, we already know that our Latinoness is a competitive edge in any business. For others, though, it’s about time they started doing their homework.
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About Our Guest
Lili is a former corporate executive turned entrepreneur, Cultural Intelligence® expert, and television business commentator known for her analysis of data and cultural trends to impact businesses. As an immigrant from Colombia, who came to the U.S. at the age of 17 without speaking English, she embodies the American Dream going from corporate executive turned entrepreneur. After a successful corporate career, including a 10-year tenure at Johnson & Johnson, where she pioneered multicultural marketing efforts for the Pharma sector and co-founded the Hispanic employee resource group “HOLA”, Lili co-founded the marketing agency CIEN+ and the A.I. market research tech firm CulturIntel. After over a decade of impacting the world’s most iconic brands and corporations, her firm has grown to become a first of its kind independent family of Cultural Intelligence® companies under the group name Culture+.
With offices in the U.S. and Latin America, the group offers proprietary research, business strategy and inclusive marketing solutions to brands and companies that want to accelerate their impact and growth by tapping into diverse market segments. Some of their clients include Google, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kroger, Merck/ MSD, PepsiCo, Prudential, among other Fortune 500’s.
Lili is one of less than 1% of Latinas serving on a Fortune 500+ public board, as an independent director for the global youth retailer Zumiez (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) and RCN Television (BVC: RCNTELEVI). She also serves as Chairwoman of the FRIENDS of the National American Latino Museum and is an investor and operating executive board member for AUA Private Equity Partners, an investment firm that has deployed over $475 million in capital to scale family-owned and Hispanic-focused businesses.
She is a sought after global speaker and academic lecturer, known for her TEDx talk called, “Diversity is Overrated” and is a regular independent television commentator to various national networks like Fox Business, Fox News, CNN en Español, NTN24, among others. For her unique application of A.I. and Cultural Intelligence® shaping board rooms, she has been featured by Forbes, Bloomberg and Fortune Magazines and has received recognitions like, 2022 PRWeek Top 30 Most Influential in Healthcare, 2022/ 2021 Top 100 Most Influential Latinas by Latino Leaders Magazine, 2021 Top 10 Pioneering Women in Business, Pinnacle Award by Medical Media & Marketing (MM&M), Silicon Valley Visionary, U.S. Hispanic Businessperson of the Year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among others. She is an active voice supporting the economic power of diverse communities, particularly Hispanics, in support of initiatives at The United Nations, The World Economic Forum, The White House and as a mentor to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program. Lili holds a degree in Business Administration from Southwestern Adventist University, an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado and an executive degree in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is married to entrepreneur and former football player Chris Valletta and has two sons.