#STRIVE19 Speaker Spotlight: Torin Ellis3 min read

March 20, 2019 Industry Insights

This is part of a series of speaker spotlights ahead of the 10th Annual Yello Conference, STRIVE 2019, on May 1-2, 2019.

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Name: Torin Ellis

Your current role/title: Diversity strategist and risk mitigator

Favorite book: Too many to list—here are my top three: 1) Industries of the Future by Alec Ross, 2) The Color of Racism by Richard Rothstein and 3) The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist

Favorite place you’ve traveled (or would like to): Ft. Lauderdale (my home/where I was born) and Morocco (bucket list)

Fun fact about you people may not know: I was a drummer in my teens for my church choir and I’m still a percussionist at heart—it influences how I deliver/engage with clients.

Tell us about your background and what led you to your current role.

After a decade of watching company after company fail to represent the rich range of talent in their workplaces, I thought it only made sense to take up the charge. In 2012, I decided to build a practice that optimizes the diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts of sourcing and recruiting teams. Fast forward seven years, and now I’m firmly recognized in the D&I space.

Today, in spite of data and research from respected sources like Aspen Advisors, McKinsey & Company and National Equity Atlas, we read of continued stagnation. Additionally, even with a rich ecosystem of software and technology, companies continue to grapple with dismal numbers and minimal progress in their D&I efforts.

I often find myself explaining to the talent acquisition ecosystem that the pursuit of D&I should never be seen as box checking, and definitely not as a measure of pacifying audiences. When authentically pursued, it manifests as an incredible blend of differences, contributions, and increased efficiency. It’s refreshing, rewarding, repeatable and those that understand this concoction win time and time again.  

If you had to pick one piece of advice to give to recruitment/talent acquisition professionals, what would it be?

I believe the issue is less about skill and more a matter of will. Unlocking individual will is the answer.

What inspires you about your work?

I have a warrior mindset; I’m not going to stop pursuing progress in the D&I space. We will do better.

What is a professional goal you STRIVE to achieve?

A few goals:

  1. That we exist more—not less—as brand evangelists in this work
  2. That the narrative be shifted away from one of punishment/shame to one of ambition/celebration
  3. That when stories like Gucci, Netflix, Starbucks and others hit the scene, I am one of the go-to voices these companies consult.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing talent acquisition/recruitment?

Mindset. One can’t expect to rest on excuses like “war for talent” and still consider oneself best in class or bringing their “A” game.  Change is happening all around us – stay up to speed, get creative in how results are pursued and recalibrate as required.

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