About Yulkendy Valdez

Yulkendy is a social entrepreneur, storyteller, and public speaker. As the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Forefront, she helps businesses and their leaders enable their cultural competence and inclusive leadership skills to meet the demands of the new workforce.

Yulkendy brings a diverse set of both corporate and nonprofit experience to the table. She’s worked with Bank of America, EY, Puma, and Innosight Consulting as well as the International Institute of St. Louis and Betty Jean Kerr People’s Centers. While working in social impact, Yulkendy’s work focused on community-based projects ranging from financial equity for low-income immigrants to affordable health care.

Yulkendy has received numerous fellowships including the Resolution Project, Young People For, Opportunity Nation Leaders Program, Future Founders Fellowship, Net Impact Racial Equity Fellowship, Harvard Kennedy School Public Policy Leadership Conference, StartingBloc, and PPIA Indiana University. She is a proud alumna of Babson College, #1 school for entrepreneurship. More recently, she was named one of the Latino 30 Under 30 honorees by El Mundo Boston and a top millennial in Boston by Get Konnected. With roots in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, Yulkendy has traveled to over 30+ countries for both work and fun.

Talk Description

According to the Center for Talent Innovation, only 11% of Black women have sponsors in the workplace, and 75% of Hispanic women want “safe harbors”—places where employees can discuss challenges and opportunities. White men are 41% more likely to be executives than white women, 260% more likely than Asian women, 418% more than Black women, and 438% more than LatinX women (Ascend). Our organizations, Forefront and LeaderSpring Center, have been working on a research project to create viable pathways to increase participation and retention of women of color (WoC) in the technology sector. The project centers on the development of a roadmap to define and set forth priorities and actionable steps that tech companies can take to advance women of color in the tech sector.

Additionally, this project will develop a scorecard to track progress on the steps outlined in the roadmap. The goal is that partner organizations will commit to implementing the roadmap and using the scorecard for evaluating the outcomes of their diversity and inclusion strategy. This talk will cover the findings from our research, leveraging stories, and lived experiences as women of color navigating the workplace and the technology sector. Kapor Center for Social Impact and Pivotal Ventures have sponsored our research, and we are part of their Women of Color in Computing Collaborative.