Keynote Speaker: Dr. Patti Fletcher

Introducing Dr. Patti Fletcher

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While RISE is dedicated to student research, entrepreneurship and innovation, there’s more to the expo than just the hard work of student researchers. This year, among many talented presenters, the RISE:2020 keynote speaker will be the highly successful Dr. Patti Fletcher, CEO of PSDNetwork and’s Chief Equity Advocate and HR Disrupter as well as the best-selling author of an original work titled “Disrupters”.

Dr. Fletcher graduated from the London School of Business at Richmond University with a Masters in Business Administration and received her doctorate in Management, Organizational Leadership and Female Leadership Theory. Since then, she has occupied positions as a leader of business in the tech world at IBM, SAP and IHSMarkit before becoming a best-selling author and co-founding her own company, PSDNetwork. 

In addition to her professional history, Dr. Fletcher has an extensive track record of providing keynote speeches for events such as UNLEASH 2019, IBM’s Think 2018 Women’s Exchange, and Boston University’s PMiP conference.  She has also written articles for Entrepreneur, The Guardian, Forbes, and the Huffington Post. She has appeared on NASDAQ, Bloomberg, Cheddar, and Greater Boston talking about her book and the empowerment of women in the modern workforce.

“Disrupters” – A Book and A Philosophy

Disrutpers Cover

According to her book, “Disrupters”, only 4% of CEOs are women and only 18% of board seats are held by women despite women receiving more than half of all bachelor’s degrees and MBAs, as she says in her interview with Cheddar Live. According to her, the problem we face as a workforce is not one of a conscious decision to keep women out of tech and business, but an unconscious one, made up of one hundred and fifty different biases at any given time that work themselves into every aspect of our business culture, hiring processes, and even the way we talk about our female peers.  

Dr. Fletcher says this bias is not a problem for women to solve, nor is it a problem for men to solve: it’s a human problem, and rather than pointing fingers, we, as a culture, need to get away from the “blame and shame” game. Instead, we must approach the unconscious bias that creates these discrepancies between men and women in the workplace and work as a cohesive unit to overcome this disparity. In an interview with Bloomberg, she says, “there’s an unconscious bias around women needing to be mentored and men needing to be championed and advocated for when they’re not in the room.” She says we, as a workforce, need to move away from mentoring women and instead champion them when they are not there to speak for themselves like we do their male peers. 

Dr. Fletcher provides a fresh take on a problem that has come to the forefront of a media frenzy centered around the systematic oppression of women in industry over the last several years. She hopes her expertise will help women that cannot break past middle-management and place them in positions with a salary commensurate with their knowledge and expertise. Dr. Fletcher stresses that it is to the benefit of everyone that we put the most talented people available to us in the place where they can make the most impact, not because of their gender, but because an optimal workforce places its most skilled workers in the places best suited to their abilities.  

Regarding RISE:2020

Northeastern, much in line with the values expressed by Dr. Fletcher, advocates for women in the STEM, Business, Engineering, the Humanities and Art and Design fields, offering seminars, events and opportunities across the board to help women break into their area of choice. Presenters at RISE come from a diverse range of backgrounds, representing women and minorities alongside their counterparts that are already well-represented in their respective fields. RISE gives all presenters an equal opportunity to prove that the research they have done is not tied to who they are, but what they have accomplished, regardless of their background.  

A strong speaker with personal ideals and a storied resume suited to the core principles of Northeastern and RISE, Dr. Patti Fletcher’s keynote address is not one to be missed. 

Hear Dr. Fletcher’s Keynote Address at the RISE Awards, April 9th, 3:00PM | Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex.

Dr Patti Fletcher Speaking

Written by Joseph Burns










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