Sara Sanford wants us to move from shared stories to shared data to counter gender inequity.

Why you should listen

Sara Sanford is the founder of Gender Equity Now (GEN) and the architect behind the GEN Certification, the first gold standard for gender equity in US businesses. She is also a guest faculty member at the University of Washington's School of Information, where she teaches a graduate-level course on using research to drive ethical, data-backed decision-making in business.

Sanford's track record of implementing evidence-backed solutions includes leading an initiative around women and wealth in the financial services industry, launching an international nonprofit to support rural education and working with local foundations to foster cultural competence in Washington’s K-12 schools. In all these roles, she saw that systemic problems are difficult to change through individual actions. With a focus on changing mechanics, rather than mindsets, she founded GEN.

The data-driven tools GEN has developed go beyond vanity metrics to identify the cultural levers businesses can adjust to counter the impact of bias. Guided by the maxim, "You get the behavior you measure," Sanford believes we now have the tools for all business to be equity-centered, if they choose to be.

She published a book in May 2022: Inclusion, Inc.: How to Design Intersectional Equity into the Workplace.

Sara Sanford’s TED talk