Ray Arata is a California-based integrative leadership coach, inclusion consultant and cultural facilitator. Ray’s personal mission involves going into the corporate world and getting male executives to stand up and stand strong when it comes to including and advancing women.
Ray brings his passion for working with men to the very relevant topic of enlisting the engagement of men to support gender equality. With over 10,000 hours of men’s personal leadership work under his belt, having led transformational workshops and men’s groups,and coaching men, Ray brings a unique and much needed experiential point of view that supports organizations in meeting men where they are and guiding them on an inclusionary leadership journey where women, the organization, and men all win. In addition to his coaching and consulting practice, Ray is the author of the recently released book, Wake Up Man Up Step Up: Transforming Your Wake Up Call to Emotional Health and Happiness.
As a co-founder of Gender Leadership Group: Advocates for Business Inclusion, Ray is committed to the transformation of the gender perspective from which organizations engage with all stakeholder groups: customers, employees, investors, partners and the global community.
Fairness has been a core value of mine for as long as I can remember. One of my early memories is of my father tucking me in bed – I must have been 6 or 7 – on a cold stormy night, and my feeling warm and loved and taken care of. “Isn’t it too bad,” I said, “that there are little kids who don’t have a warm bed to sleep in?” “It is,” my father replied, “but there’s nothing you can do about it.” My instant response (to myself) was “yes there is! There must be!”
At University in the 1960’s I became deeply involved in and committed to the civil rights movement, and later to the feminist movement. For many years I worked as a consultant with the Institute for Women’s Leadership, a pioneer organization in empowering women leaders in companies, and I became familiar with the struggles of women in businesses. At one of IWL’s clients who had put hundreds of women through their programs, the women began to ask “what about the men,” and along with Rayona Sharpnack, founder of IWL I co-designed a program for men to confront what gender inequality was costing them and the gains, both personal and professional, of altering their relationships with women. It was in this work that the term “gender partnership” was coined.
In the course of our work with that client, Rayona introduced me to Ray Arata, a man who had spent thousands of hours working with men on shedding outmoded myths and norms of masculinity, and Ray’s and my partnership began. Ray introduced me to the Mankind Project, a transformational program for male initiation, and he and I went on to explore the possibilities of working with men in corporate settings. Ray in turn introduced me to Dale Vaughn, a millennial man who was doing the same kind of work, and our tri-generational partnership that resulted in our forming Gender Leadership Group began.
I have a wife who is a professional, two grown daughters, and three granddaughters. I’ve seen firsthand what my wife and daughters have experienced in their work and in the world, and I am committed that my granddaughters grow up into a very different world – one where women and men work together, not just as equals but as true partners.
Dale Thomas Vaughn has worked with some of the most influential people in the world including billionaire industry moguls, academic thought-leaders and international heads of state. Dale began his career in communication at Southwest Airlines and Ticketmaster/Live Nation - after which he co-founded an inclusionary leadership consulting company called The Gender Leadership Group.
As an activist at the forefront of the conversation around gender equality and healthy masculinity, Dale was acknowledged as a "leader of men of quality" by feminist attorney Gloria Allred, and presented at the International Conference on Masculinities alongside other leaders like Gloria Steinem, Sheryl Sandberg and Michael Kimmel. As seen on CNN, CBS, Huff Post Live, TEDx, dozens of top podcasts and blogs, and in the LA Weekly, Dale’s work has received multiple Best of LA awards, Telly awards, and the M Award for service and leadership from his alma mater SMU.
Michael Kimmel is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. He is Distinguished professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University, where he directs the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities.
Sumayyah Emeh-Edu resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has over 15 years professional experience. In this time she has led various initiatives within the higher education and corporate sectors focused primarily on diversity and professional development. In that time, she has successfully organized Tech Inclusion SF 15 and Ability in Tech as well as managed learning programs with clients such as Kaiser Permanente, PG&E, Asana and Aetna.
Hailing from organizations such as Change Catalyst, Keller Center for Corporate Learning and Laureate Education, Sumayyah understands systemic inequities throughout the education-workforce pipeline. This insight was an impetus to commit her career to challenging the status quo for inclusion.
Sumayyah founded The Ally Movement in November 2016 to provide a tools for those with privilege to take action. She is also a member or has actively supported the STD Golden Gate Chapter, National Diversity Council, and Women’s Global Leadership Council. She also has volunteered with various community organizations that widen access for disadvantaged youth for education and career development.
Our Partner Organizations
We take partnership very seriously, so we've partnered with organizations and experts to help consult and deliver a sustainable culture-wide approach to gender partnership. Below are our partners from the Better Man Conference and beyond.
The ManKind Project - Building and supporting the emotionally mature, accountable, and compassionate male role models that our communities need.
LeanIn.org - Empowering women and closing the gender leadership gap are imperative for companies that want to perform at the highest level.
USNC-UN Women San Francisco - a chapter of the United States National Committee of UN Women, the women’s gender entity at the United Nations. We came together to raise awareness and funds to support the work of UN Women and hope to encourage ourselves and others to become involved in advancing women's rights around the world.
The Good Men Project - The conversation no one else is having.
The Anita Borg Institute - ABI is a social enterprise founded on the belief that women are vital to building technology that the world needs.
Gender Innovation - a gender consulting firm founded by Amy Logan, President, USNC-UN Women San Francisco.