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It’s Not What It Looks Like™
Eliminate Your Blind Spots:
Expand Your Diversity Intelligence
Tuesday, April 20
10:00AM PST / 1:00PM EST
Dr. Hoby Wedler
Corporate VP, Culture & Corporate Social Responsibility
Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC)
WOTVS DE&I Committee Member
Join us to discuss and highlight the importance of expanding your diversity intelligence by eliminating your blind spots to achieve your diversity goals.
We encourage participants to come on camera and actively participate in the conversation. This is an interactive session. Join us!
What is Diversity Intelligence?
Diversity intelligence (DI) involves people understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embrace and celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. The concept of DI encompasses acceptance and respect, encouraging the exploration of our differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
What is a Diversity Blind Spot?
Uncovering our personal biases, prejudices and “diversity blind spots” is essential to improving diversity intelligence. Whether it’s an ethnic community, a religious connection or a political party, our instinct is to surround ourselves with, and hire, those like us.
A blind spot represents either a lack of diversity awareness, prejudice, or inaccurate preconceived notions about people. Blind spots can lead to embarrassing workplace moments and unintended offense. They also create biases in workplace practices and stifle creativity.
Women of the Vine & Spirits Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee was established as a means to collaborate as a community with understanding and strategic thinking to elevate the commitment we make to our membership and our industry. We have great appreciation for the following members who have graciously extended their time and expertise to support the goals of our organization.
View DE&I Committee
Dr. Hoby Wedler is an insightful, disarming, and passionate thinker who loves to bring people together to help them see new possibilities. With the heart of a teacher, Hoby helps turn your dreams into realities. Hoby has been completely blind since birth. He is a scientist, an entrepreneur, a sensory expert, and is driven by his passion for innovative, creative, and insightful thinking. Hoby is remarkably tuned into his surroundings and has frequently chosen to walk the unbeaten paths in life over known territories. In 2016, Hoby earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UC Davis. His fearlessness is infectious, and he has actively paved the way for others to join him in his quest to follow passions regardless of the challenges that lie ahead.
In 2011, Hoby founded a non-profit organization to lead annual chemistry camps for blind and visually impaired students throughout North America. In the same year, he began opening doors to the world of wine aromas by developing Tasting in the Dark, a truly blindfolded wine experience, in collaboration with the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. He has since expanded the program to a global market in a variety of industries and special projects. Over the years, Hoby has become a motivational speaker, a mentor, and an educator. He is also committed to making the world an inclusive, equitable, and accessible place for everyone.
In his work, you will find a unique trilogy between sensory awareness, scientific knowledge, and a love for sharing his insights.
Numerous people and organizations have recognized Hoby’s work over the years. To name a few, President Barack Obama recognized Hoby by naming him a Champion of Change for enhancing employment and education opportunities for people with disabilities. Also, Forbes Media named Hoby as a leader in food and drink in their 30 under 30 annual publication. Hoby’s dedicated to impacting everyone he works with by unlocking doors, overcoming challenges, increasing awareness, and expanding their horizons.
Sarah Bettman is Director, Diversity & Inclusion at Constellation Brands. She has two decades of experience designing and implementing organizational and leadership development solutions in a variety of industries. She is passionate about and known for her work in the areas of leadership development, advancing women leaders, and inclusive leadership with clients from around the world.
Sarah has dedicated much of her time to championing Constellations Diversity and Inclusion efforts including the launch of the Women’s Leadership Development Program, expansion of the Women’s Leadership Network, and introduction of Unconscious Bias and Creating Inclusive Culture Programs, to name just a few.
Prior to joining Constellation Brands, Sarah served as a Principal Consultant with Linkage, Inc. where she created customized solutions by collaborating with multiple stakeholders on large scale projects to ensure that her clients ultimately achieve their strategic objectives. Sarah effectively blends facilitation, team development, and executive coaching to create engagements that have impact and get results.
Sarah also has experience as an executive coach and consultant, serving a variety of clients in the healthcare and emergency medical fields. Her experience as a firefighter and paramedic taught her first- hand about the power of effective leadership and high-performing teams—and shaped her passion for leadership development and management. She has worked extensively in a variety of industries including healthcare, energy, technology and finance.
Sarah holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Colorado and an MBA in Strategic Leadership from Dominican University of California. She is certified in individual coaching through the Coaches Training Institute, in Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching from CRR Global, and in the MBTI.
Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500® company, is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Constellation is the No.3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S., and Funky Buddha Brewery. In addition, Constellation is the world leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Black Box, Ruffino and The Prisoner. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila and High West Whiskey.
Erika Hopkins is the Corporate Vice President, Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for RNDC where she is responsible for leading the strategic human capital practices related to Culture, CSR, and Inclusion & Diversity. Her thought leadership and guidance has been instrumental in the development of RNDC’s Root Out Racism strategic action plan and the launching of enterprise-wide Associate Resource Groups (ARGs). Erika has had a progressive career spanning multiple industries and positions driving impactful and sustainable people practices. Before joining RNDC in July 2018, she 16 years with Staples, where she leveraged her passion for equal representation and inclusive excellence as the Head of Global Inclusion and Diversity. Erika is a Certified Diversity Executive, a SHRM Senior Certified Professional, Co-Lead for the Women of the Vine & Spirits People of Color Alliance, and a member of the WOTVS DEI Committee. Originally from Los Angeles, she now resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her husband, Thomas.
As a Social Entrepreneur, Deborah Brenner measures success on the positive impact a business makes on society. She has manifested her vision with Women of the Vine & Spirits, inspiring a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose, working with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose.
After graduating from the University of Delaware with degrees in English and Journalism Deborah spent 20 years in the male-dominated television and film technology industry that required international travel to countries for whom wine is a part of everyday life. During a fortuitous trip to the Napa and Sonoma wine regions, Deborah discovered another male-dominated industry, where women were under-recognized.
Compelled to tell their stories, and tapping into her love of research and journalism Deborah authored a bestselling collection of profiles, Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste and Enjoy Wine, which Wine Spectator named a Critical Read of 2007.
Through the process of championing these incredible women, Deborah was inspired to enter the wine business herself, releasing wine from a first-of-its-kind collective of seven artisan women winemakers from Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles, CA. For the following seven years, Deborah learned the business inside and out. Ultimately, she could not foster women in the wine industry the way she had hoped, which led her to dissolve the wine brand and return to the drawing board.
A year later, in March 2015, Deborah organized the Inaugural Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium. It was a sold-out success. The attendees eagerly supported the opportunity to connect through a global network and seek ways to accelerate their business and professional development. This forum allowed for collaboration across all industry sectors and inspired attendees to do business with like-minded women and men. It was clear to Deborah that to make a positive impact on the alcohol beverage industry, women needed a voice year-round.
Membership to the organization opened September 2015. What started off as a one-off event and grass roots movement quickly expanded into a global organization with members engaged across 23 countries. Women of the Vine & Spirits has become a catalyst for creating a positive impact in the alcohol beverage industry by giving women worldwide a platform and a voice to thrive.
Deborah resides in New York with her husband, Jack. Having been the spouse of a restaurateur who owned and operated an Italian restaurant for 24 years in Piermont, NY, Deborah is passionate about supporting hardworking hospitality professionals who are fundamental to the on-premise sector of the alcohol beverage industry.
In addition to Women of the Vine & Spirits, in 2021 Deborah launched another “sister company”called Badass Bartender™. This first-of-its-kind community for female bartenders aims to fill a void for female bartenders to unite, be empowered, support one another, explore career opportunities and network. For more information visit badassbartender.com
Deborah has received a Rising Star Award from Women for WineSense (2008), a New York Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion of the Year (2009), a New York City National Association of Women Business Owners Signature Award (2010), the Lillian Vernon Award for Outstanding Community Service by the Women's Enterprise Development Center (2011), a NY Women in Communications Rising Star Award (2013), the Rockland Business Women's Network Woman of the Year Award (2014), American Cancer Society Dr. Louis Berger Award (2017), Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award Person of the Year Nominee (2017), Las Vegas Inc. “Woman to Watch” (2018), and Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award “Social Visionary of the Year” Recipient (2018).