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Uncovering Authentic Leadership

Authenticity is the path to leadership.
Kenji Yoshino

Authenticity is a desired trait for leaders, but often individuals feel they must hide parts of who they are to be included and accepted. This video brings together Kenji Yoshino, NYU Professor of Law, and Christie Smith, Global Lead, Talent & Organization/Human Potential, Accenture (formerly at Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion), to present a new paradigm for diversity and inclusion. They start with the concept of covering, meaning the process through which individuals feel pressure to downplay their differences in order to fit into the mainstream. Yoshino and Smith then introduce an innovative way to approach inclusion—one that helps individuals share their stories and find common ground.

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View Additional Resources about Uncovering Authentic Leadership
  • Uncovering Culture: A Call to Action for Leaders: This paper published by New York University School of Law's Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and Deloitte's DEI Institute takes an in-depth look at "covering" and what leaders can do to foster an "uncovering" culture.
  • Uncovering Talent: A New Model of Inclusion: In their white paper, Christie Smith and law professor Kenji Yoshino explore what it means to "cover" in the workplace and how "covering" can have detrimental effects on individuals.
  • Fear of Being Different Stifles Talent: Based on a survey of 3,000 employees in over 20 US firms, law professor Kenji Yoshino and Deloitte's Christie Smith found that 61% of these workers faced implicit and explicit pressure to "cover" in some way, resulting in decreased self-confidence, engagment and advancement.
  • I Came to Duke with an Empty Wallet: A fourth-year Duke University student models "uncovering" by revealing that she is poor, and by describing how a lack of dialogue about class stratification left her feeling shame, fear, and discomfort.
  • A Silence Hangs Over Gay CEOs: Pointing out that the fear and anxiety of covering can seriously hinder career advancement, this Wall Street Journal article highlights Ernst & Young's video contribution to the "It Gets Better" campaign, which features executives "uncovering" their sexual orientation.
  • TED Talk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story: Novelist Chimamanda Adichie urges us to stoke our curiosity about others and remain open to hearing many different stories about one culture, rather than using one story to define one culture.
  • I, Too, Am Harvard: The "I, Too, Am Harvard" campaign aims to create safe space for exploring and affirming the diversity within the black community at Harvard University.
  • Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights: In this book, law professor Kenji Yoshino illustrates that while we do not condone outright discrimination, we are still penalizing individuals who do not downplay their differences from the mainstream.
View Authentic Leadership Biographies

Kenji Yoshino



Kenji Yoshino

Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law. He was educated at Harvard (B.A. 1991), Oxford (M.Sc. 1993 as a Rhodes Scholar), and Yale Law School (J.D. 1996). He taught at Yale Law School from 1998 to 2008, where he served as Deputy Dean for intellectual life (2005-6) and became the inaugural Guido Calabresi Professor in 2006. His fields are constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature.  

Yoshino’s first book, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights was published by Random House in 2006.  His second book, A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare’s Plays Teach Us About Justice, was published by Ecco / HarperCollins in 2011.  

Yoshino has published in major academic journals, including The Columbia Law Review, The Harvard Law Review, The Stanford Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal. He has also written for more popular forums, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He makes regular appearances on various radio and television programs, such as NPR, CNN, PBS and MSNBC. In 2011 he was elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers for a six-year term. He also serves on the Board of the Center for Talent Innovation and Deloitte’s Inclusion External Advisory Council.

Christie Smith




Christie Smith

With more than 25 years experience, Christie brings innovative and effective solutions to Deloitte’s clients by aligning business strategy with the requirements of organizational structure, talent, leadership development and global workforce planning. As West Region Managing Director, her responsibilities include markets, clients, talent and community for the more than 2,400 consulting practitioners and 250 principals and directors in the region. She is also a lead consulting partner and advisory partner for several of Deloitte’s largest life sciences/biotech clients.

As one of Deloitte’s most senior diversity partners, Christie also leads the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion. Her roles provide a platform for developing solutions with Deloitte’s people, clients, academics and non-profits to help the business world fundamentally redefine how it approaches issues including inclusion, transitioning veterans, and education. As a result of her many accomplishments and commitment to inclusion, Christie has been identified by Diversity Journal as a 2013 “Woman to Watch.” In addition, in 2012 and 2013, the San Francisco Business Times recognized her as one of San Francisco’s most influential women.  

Christie is a frequent lecturer and author on topics including corporate values, leadership, culture, inclusion, and talent. Her work has been featured in Fortune, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Forbes and Fast Company.  She is a board member at Seattle Children’s Hospital and NEW America Caregivers & Breadwinners.   

Christie has an MSW from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in Social Work/IO psychology from New York University.

Teresa Briggs



Teresa Briggs

Teresa has more than 30 years experience in local and national roles with Deloitte Consulting LLP. In her current role, she is responsible for Deloitte’s consultative services to key clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, and helps drive national strategy as well as client and business growth across the west region.  Teresa’s professional and community affiliations include American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow, Stanford Technology Ventures Program Board of Advisors, Board Member of the California Academy of Sciences, University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management Board of Advisors, Executive Committee Member of the Bay Area Council and Board Member of The San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation.

Teresa holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management.

Chad Coykendall



Chad Coykendall

In his role as New Product Program Manager at Cisco Systems, Chad Coykendall is responsible for tracking the Cost of Goods and Manufacture Change Notices for all of Cisco’s ASR1K product line. Prior to his current position, Chad completed two internships at Cisco in Product Operations.

Chad received his BS degree from California Polytechnic State University, where he studied Industrial Engineering.



Caroline Galindo



Caroline Galindo

Caroline Galindo is a senior analyst on the Research & Evaluation team at the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Foundation, a national network of public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. Caroline is responsible for assessing the performance of KIPP's 141 charter schools, and for sharing their stories internally and externally. Caroline’s passion for helping students extends to her work with Mission Graduates, a nonprofit that seeks to increase the number of K-12 students in San Francisco’s Mission District, where she is secretary on the Board of Directors and also leads the Program Committee.  

Caroline holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and an MA in Political Science from NYU.

Kathy Marek



Kathy Marek

In the 24 years Kathy Marek has worked in education, she has served as a teacher, a therapist, and currently as an administrator. Kathy manages and oversees the mental health programs for the 27 schools in the Santa Clara Unified School District, serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Her responsibilities include running a training program for psychotherapy clinical interns. Through her work providing professional development, as well as spearheading a wellness initiative that brings services and programs to schools to help them become the hubs of their communities, Kathy hopes to create connections, communities and teams that will allow kids to thrive.

Kathy received a BA in English, Education from Marquette University and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University.

View Uncovering Authentic Leadership References

A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Gender

Caldwell, Paulette. 1991. "A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Gender." Duke Law Journal April: 365-96.

Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity

Goffman, Erving. 1963. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Encounters with Strangers: The Public's Responses to Disabled Women and How This Affects Our Sense of Self

Keith, Lois. 1996. "Encounters with Strangers: The Public's Responses to Disabled Women and How This Affects Our Sense of Self." In Encounters with Strangers: Feminism and Disability. Edited by Jenny Morris, 68-88. London: Women's Press.

Reflections on Sex Equality Under the Law

MacKinnon, Catherine A. 1991. "Reflections on Sex Equality Under the Law." Yale Law Journal 100 (March): 1281-328.

The Difference 'Difference' Makes

Rhode, Deborah L. 2003. "Keynote Address: The Difference 'Difference' Makes." Maine Law Review 55: 15-21.

 Beyond the Maternal Wall: Relief for Family Caregivers Who Are Discriminated Against on the Job

Williams, Joan C., and Nancy Segal. 2003. "Beyond the Maternal Wall: Relief for Family Caregivers Who Are Discriminated Against on the Job." Harvard Women's Law Journal 26 (spring): 77-162.

 Assimilationist Bias in Equal Protection: The Visibility Presumption and the Case of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Yoshino, Kenji. 1998. "Assimilationist Bias in Equal Protection: The Visibility Presumption and the Case of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Yale Law Journal 108 (December): 485-571.


Yoshino, Kenji. 2002. "Covering." Yale Law Journal 111 (January): 769-939.