Port of San Francisco - Culture, History, Art, and Tech (CHAT) Speaker Series

Breaking Barriers and Increasing Engagement for All

The Port of San Francisco (Port) is a public enterprise agency of the City and County of San Francisco, responsible for 7.5 miles of waterfront from Hyde Street Pier in the north to India Basin in the south. It is a significant hub for maritime trade, tourism, and recreation, managing the waterfront properties, waterfront land, and commercial activities. Creating an equitable waterfront for everyone is a key part of the Port’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, which led the Port to create the CHAT Speaker Series—aimed to showcase a variety of experts and advocates to engage in conversation directly impacting equity and inclusion. Relevant topics related to culture, history, art, and technology help to celebrate a diverse workforce. The Equity goal outlines actions to provide opportunities for people of color and welcome diverse communities in its internal operations and business opportunities. These actions will work in concert with the Port’s Racial Equity Action Plan to create a more equitable organization and waterfront.

The Challenge

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become critical focus areas for organizations worldwide, recognizing the far-reaching benefits of fostering an inclusive workplace, and the Port is no exception. With more than 300 employees, the Port aimed to create a deeper connection with its diverse staff members by cultivating a welcoming, fair, and equitable work environment.

The Goal

The CHAT Speaker Series set out to engage Port staff by celebrating a diverse workplace and elevating a connection between people and communities. The goal was to ensure all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, identities, or abilities, felt respected and valued via an emphasis on DEI.

The Strategy

Our strategy was to create a dynamic and inclusive hybrid event—specifically during Hispanic Heritage Month—highlighting the bias in technology. To authentically engage Port staff, we knew it would be important to partner with a community-based organization (CBO) to help foster an insightful discussion. Our long-standing community relationships coupled with research enabled us to identify the right speaker for the event, Rocío Medina van Nierop, founder and CEO of  Latinas in Tech, to address the current challenges faced by the Hispanic community. D&A collaborated with the Latinas in Tech and the Port of San Francisco teams to produce an impactful event—from creating a run of show, event talking points, and identifying a culturally relevant caterer—that underscored the importance of diversity, allyship, and mentorship in the workplace. Recognizing the diverse working locations of the Port staff, the inclusive event was made available both in-person and online. To round out the experience and provide space for further connection and exchange, a catered lunch by Artesano was provided.

Photography ⒸArianna Cunha

The Impact

D&A was able to leverage our long-standing community relationships to help us drive better outcomes for the Port through the “Speed of Trust,” whereby greater trust among stakeholders increases receptivity to messages, reduces the potential for project miscues, and helps decrease project costs. Because D&A is a long-time partner with the Port with a deep understanding of the City and County of San Francisco—as well as its communities, we are better positioned to develop sustainable solutions.


Hybrid Meeting


Diverse Staff Attended


Staff Engagement

Culturally Relevant

Catered Lunch

In all, the CHAT Speaker event was attended by 60+ Port staff—both virtually and in-person and worked to champion racial equity and enhance the organization’s reputation as a fair and equitable place to work—lending a voice and platform to under-represented BIPOC communities.

Towards the conclusion of the conversation, Rocío addressed the Port of San Francisco with a call-to-action to foster an anti-racist organizational culture, through improved hiring practices and programs to allow employees to connect with mentors, allies, and those from a similar background.

“Candid conversation and that everyone has a part to play. The speaker was excellent. The moderator was engaging.”

—CHAT Speaker Series Attendee

Let us know how we can help.

D&A Communications, Inc

1388 Sutter St #510
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: (415) 274-1821