The 5 Must-Attend Panels at SXSW for Purpose-Driven Practitioners


By Whitney Dailey, Vice President of Marketing

SXSW: the largest gathering of creative minds coming together to drive conversation and engage in problem-solving around tech, entertainment and culture. It’s a jam-packed event of panels among 25 topic tracks, larger-than-life keynotes and truly immersive brand experiences. It can also be, well, overwhelming. If you’ve attended in the past, you already know how difficult it can be to attend every session you’ve “favorited” in the app. That’s why we’ve done the hard work and put together a list of the five must-attend sessions focusing on Purpose and impact:

  • Business and Social Justice in the Trump Era: Many companies are struggling with if, when and how to stand up for social injustices when corporate activism is the new expectation from consumers, employees and even shareholders. Listen to insights from companies on the front lines with panelists including Vikrum Aiyer, VP of Global Public Policy & Strategic Communication, Postmates; Carleen Pickard, Ethical Campaigns Specialist, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics; Chris Miller, Activism Manager, Ben & Jerry’s; and Ravi Sunnak, EVP, Sustainable Development Goals, Porter Novelli.

  • How the Gender Tech Movement is Empowering Women: It’s not a moment, it’s a movement – and tech is getting us there. Find out how access to technology is creating a movement around female empowerment with gender tech and learn about the tech platforms that are tackling gender issues head-on and promoting the health, safety and education of women at every age. Panelists include ElsaMarie D’Silva, Founder & CEO, Safecity; Lauren Moore, VP, Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson; Ariela Suster, Founder, Sequence Apparel LLC; and Rajesh Mirchandani, Chief Communications Officer, United Nations Foundation.

  • How Brands Can Engage the Social Impact Generation: Will Gen Z save the world? Find out how modern brands are effectively engaging socially conscious Gen Y and Z consumers who want to put their money where their heart is. Hear from brands and influencers in food, tech and lifestyle, such as Marcus Byrd, Director of Marketing, Dos Toros Taqueria; Helena Hounsel, Social Media Manger, Brandless; Viveka Hulyalkar, Cofounder, CEO, Beam Impact Inc.; and Jessica Santana, Contributor, New York On Tech.

  • Employees as Catalysts for Corporate Change: In the past year, we’ve seen a significant uptick in employee activism and this panel only serves as proof. Diversity and inclusion leaders Ben Delk, Equality Program Manager, Salesforce; Tyi Mccray, Director of Diversity + Belonging (Interim), Diversity Strategy Lead, Airbnb; Nabeela Virji, Diversity Program Manager, Dropbox; and Valerie Williams, Global Head of Inclusion & Diversity, Stripe, will join the stage to discuss how employers can create inclusive, safe and productive environments that enable employees to cultivate change around the social movements they care about.

  • The Outer Limits: Tackling Inclusivity in the Media: Can we honestly say that creators and communicators are developing content that offers a truly inclusive experience? A panel of experts will debate this topic and share key findings on how we ensure those with disabilities don’t get left on the outer limits of entertainment and marketing. Hear – and see – insights from Soon-Mee Kim, EVP, Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Porter Novelli; Holly Maniatty, ASL Interpreter; Matthew Maxey, CEO, DEAFinitely Dope; and Rikki Poynter, YouTuber and content creator.

Not heading to SXSW? Learn insights and takeaways from our team on the ground by following the hashtags #PNSXSW and #SXSW2019.