Joe Gerstandt

Joe Gerstandt

Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author and advisor bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.

Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits. He is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and his insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, and numerous other print and on-line journals. He co-authored the book Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships, and serves on the Intersectional Culture and Diversity Advisory Council for the social networking platform, Twitter.

A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees this work as poorly understood and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, action, and impact to existing and new organizational diversity & inclusion efforts.

Most Requested Programs

From “Anti” to “Ally”: A Story of Personal Transformation
(60-90-minute keynote)

For the past 15 years, joe gerstandt has been helping organizations of all shapes and sizes to find new clarity relative to diversity and inclusion, and to put new practices in place. But he did not take a very direct route into this work, in fact there was a time in his life when he likely would have rolled his eyes at what he now does for a living. The often-discomforting experience of becoming aware of and addressing his own privilege, denial, bias, and bigotry still informs his work today. This is a story of how one person’s heart, mind, and behavior changed and what we might learn from it. From his own story of growing up on a family farm in rural Iowa, serving in the United States Marine Corps, personal and professional successes and setbacks, and just being in the world with other human beings, joe distills insights applicable toward leadership, behavior change, culture change, and enlisting more allies in this work.

Inclusion by Design
(keynote or interactive workshop)

What specifically do you mean when you use the word “inclusion?” It has become one of the most popular words relative to the modern workplace, yet in most organizations it remains a vague, ambiguous idea; and vague, ambiguous targets are incredibly hard to hit. If inclusion is the product you are trying to deliver, then you should be able to speak to its characteristics. This message brings a powerful new clarity to the concept of inclusion, what it is, why it matters and how it happens. The audience will leave this message with a strong foundation upon which to build impactful and sustainable diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Inclusive Leadership
(60-90-minute keynote message)

Inclusive leadership requires more than a statement of commitment, it is an active practice. This session introduces you to that practice. Anchored in a practical model of what inclusion is, joe will introduce you to a set of competencies and commitments to ensure that your leadership is, in fact, inclusive. You will leave this session with work to do and tools to use, things that you can act on immediately.

Inclusive Leadership Bootcamp
(6-8 hrs)

Level up! This is an intense and highly interactive deep dive into inclusive leadership, that includes pre- and post-work. joe gerstandt will guide participants through an exploration of inclusive leadership competencies and commitments in four distinct areas; Awareness & Authenticity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership; each with their own exercises, questions for personal reflection, and opportunities for practical application.

Hacking Inclusion
(2-4 hour facilitated process)

An internal hackathon is a high-energy, interactive way to model inclusion, invite greater diversity of thought and perspective into your inclusion efforts, generate creative new solutions, and build new relationships. Once participants are grounded in a common framework of inclusion, a basic process for “hacking,” a target and deliverables, they set to work competing against other teams with very real time constraints to solve an inclusion challenge within your organization.

Team Genius
(keynote or interactive workshop)

Most leaders and organizations already care greatly about talent, but are we having the right conversation about talent? More and more of our work is today being done at the group or team level, yet our talent efforts remain laser focused on the individual level. We seem to be operating on the belief that if we group talented individuals together, we will naturally end up with talented groups. But it does not work that way, at the group level there are a bunch of other variables involved. This message provides research driven insights into what makes a talented team (cognitive diversity & psychological safety), as well as practices and behaviors for getting there.

The Authenticity Advantage
(keynote or interactive workshop)

While the word “authenticity,” gets casually thrown around as if it is a simple, safe, and common thing, the truth is a bit more complicated. Authenticity, properly understood, is hard fought and often involves a fair amount of real and / or perceived risk. As a result, authenticity is often lacking in our places of work, in our personal and professional lives. Which is unfortunate, because authenticity is a pretty righteous thing. This session explores authenticity, what it matters on the individual and organizational level, and how to put authenticity to work for you.

Brave Spaces
(keynote or interactive workshop)

On a fundamental level, inclusion is about creating spaces and places where people who are naturally different from each other can tell the truth to each other. Truth-telling also has consequences toward safety, and learning, and ethics, and our ability to solve problems. While we may want to tell the truth to each other at work, there are often risks (real and perceived) involved. One study suggests that as many as 75% of executive in Europe and North America have at least one business related issues they are not comfortable bringing up with their peers. And that is executives! Psychological safety makes it safer to tell the truth to your peers, and in this message, joe prepare you to take psychological safety back to your team. The audience will be grounded in the research behind psychological safety, what it is, and how it is established. Participants will also receive a slide deck to help them introduce the concept to their team, assess psychological safety and develop an action plan.


Huge thank you for a phenomenal presentation today. Joe, you really hit the nail on the head and I so appreciate your approach to this topic in making it easily accessible no matter where a person is starting from. Your personal stories really hit home and provided clarity on some challenging concepts. The 90 minutes flew by which isn't always the case with a virtual presentation. You truly are an expert and I cannot thank you enough for bringing this important conversation to our members and providing them tools to begin to make a difference in Nebraska schools. - NE Council of School Administrators

Our experience working with Joe Gerstandt was amazing. Not only was his presentation engaging and thought provoking, but he was able to truly reach an audience of people who have mostly been in a leadership role for over 20 years and still teach them something new. Joe gave unique, practical strategies for embracing diverse perspectives in the workplace and disagreeing the right way. Even though he tackled some complex topics, he was able to simplify it in a way that I believe our members truly appreciated and benefited from.
Joe also spent time talking to us before the conference to truly understand audience he’d be speaking to. He did a great job tailoring his message to our members and listening to the advice we had about messaging they respond to. - Assn for the Healthcare Environment

Joe is an authentic, engaging leader who has been able to leverage his exceptional facilitation skills towards delivering an understanding of diversity and inclusion within our organization. He leverages stories of past and current events to provide people with opportunities to gain a foundational and personal awareness of the impact and value of difference. He received overwhelming praise each time he delivers one of our 3 hours sessions. - ConAgra Foods