Greenhouse Open 2016 speaker Spotlight—Joelle Emerson, founder & ceo, paradigm

Summit 2015 outdoor blog

3 mins, 17 secs read time

We are excited to welcome Joelle Emerson, Founder & CEO of Paradigm and expert in creating diverse and inclusive organizations, as a speaker at Greenhouse Open, our annual summit and networking event for those in the Talent Acquisition, People Ops, and HR space, taking place next month in San Francisco! (For more information, click here).

Meet Joelle

As Founder and CEO of Paradigm, Joelle partners with leaders of some of the world's most exciting and innovative companies to help them build stronger, more inclusive organizations. Paradigm takes a data-driven approach and draws on social science research to improve people processes across the employee lifecycle, from attracting and hiring to development and retention. Joelle's work has been featured in dozens of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Fortune, and Fast Company. She was recently named to Vanity Fair’s “Next Establishment” list for being one of the “most ambitious, innovative, disruptive entrepreneurs” of 2015.

Before founding Paradigm, Joelle was a women's rights employment lawyer, representing clients in gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits and advocating for local, state, and federal policies to ensure equal pay and other workplace protections for women. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School.



We recently chatted with Joelle to get to know her better. We were most intrigued by her insight into the changing talent/people industry. Here’s what she had to say:

1. How did you come to start doing the work you're currently doing in diversity and inclusion? What influenced you to start Paradigm?

I was a women's rights employment lawyer, suing companies for things like pay and promotion discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment. I grew frustrated by what felt like a reactive approach, with limited influence beyond the particular client I was representing. I began thinking about ways to affect the same type of change, creating more equitable and fair workplaces in a more proactive and impactful way. That led me to Paradigm's approach: bridging the gap between research and practice to help companies design more effective diversity and inclusion strategies.

2. Looking into the crystal ball, what’s one prediction you have for how the people/talent space will change in the next year?

My prediction is that the space becomes far more data-driven. I think we've begun to move in that direction, with more companies building internal people analytics functions. But there's so much more we can do. A majority of our companies don't analyze, much less collect, the granular data points we believe should inform not only a diversity and inclusion strategy, but a broader people/talent strategy overall.

My hope is that as we become more data-driven, we also become more grounded in research. There's a wealth of social science research from which we can draw to design effective people processes, and I hope we see more companies begin to really leverage that research.

3. May is just around the corner! Can you give us a taste of what you'll be speaking about at Greenhouse Open?

I'll be talking about how companies can take a more data-driven approach and leverage social science research to design effective diversity and inclusion strategies. I also anticipate sharing more about some of the major barriers we see to cultivating diverse, inclusive cultures, including unconscious bias, a fixed mindset, and the myth of meritocracy.

4. Complete this sentence: If employers want to get the best talent through the door (and keep them), they better make sure they’re focusing on ________.

...creating an inclusive culture in which people are empowered to do their best work!

Engage with Joelle and other professionals in the talent and HR space by checking out Greenhouse Open, May 25-27th in San Francisco. Click the button below for more information and to register!

Greenhouse Open