Bernadette Smith

Bernadette Smith (she/her) is founder and CEO of Equality Institute and award-winning author of four books, including the bestseller Inclusive 360: Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organization.

Bernadette has presented to enthusiastic audiences of CEOs, associations, entrepreneurs, leadership teams, sales professionals, account executives, marketing executives, human resource managers and more. Her expertise has been sought after by the New York Times, Forbes, the Washington Post, and Fast Company, among many others, and she’s appeared on the Today Show, the BBC, National Public Radio, and CNN.

Bernadette has been named one of Chicago’s Notable LGBTQ Executives by Crain’s Chicago Business and one of the Top 25 Women in Meetings by Meetings and Conventions Magazine.

Bernadette writes about good vibes in DEI in her newsletter, 5 Things, and shares those good vibes every Monday on her LinkedIn Live show, 5 Things in 15 Minutes.


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I am a white, cisgender, heterosexual male who wants to lift up those around me. I'm not always sure how. In 20 minutes, I got some very practical ways to start conversations and start being a better, more intentional ally. Thank you! - Attendee, ASAE Annual Meeting

Bernadette is
a spark plug of energy and ideas. I wish I could hear her every week. - Graysen B., Constellation Brands


Bernadette Smith is an outstanding speaker on building constructive culture. Her engaging keynote was definitely not the standard diversity and inclusivity session. She connected to our specific mission and values and was authentic, approachable, and practical. - Dr. Sandra Dunbar, Emory University