Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author and advisor bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.

Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits, and blogs at  He is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and his insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, and numerous other print and on-line journals. He co-authored the book “Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships”, and serves on the Intersectional Culture and Diversity Advisory Council for the social networking platform, Twitter.

A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees this work as poorly understood and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, action, and impact to existing and new organizational diversity & inclusion efforts.

Joe grew up on a family farm in NW Iowa, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He attended Iowa State University and then spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. Joe then made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization doing HIV and STD prevention work. This work is where he found himself drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion..

Today, Joe believes that we cannot afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century issues. A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees diversity and inclusion as poorly understood — and often misunderstood. His keynote messages and interactive workshops bring greater clarity, energy, and application to diversity and inclusion work.



“We have developed a great partnership with Joe Gerstandt and have truly appreciated the work that he has done with our members at HNI. (with over 30 sessions over three months)

Our diversity and inclusion journey began with internally developed education, but we quickly realized that we needed to pull in an expert. The answer to that need was Joe! He actively worked with our internal team to develop personalized content that was tailored to our members, our business, and our company vision and values. The impact of the education that Joe provided to our leaders is being seen throughout the organization.

While this can be a slow process, we are confident that the education provided gave the framework to equip our leaders to continue to build their skills. His vulnerable, passionate, and engaging approach is appreciated and refreshing.”

-HNI Corporate Team

“You always wonder when you take time away from the office to attend a workshop if it will be worth it. Joe’s session absolutely was! It is grounded in research and interspersed with interactive and though-provoking exercises. Joe’s presentation made the topic of diversity a relevant, personal, and business focused issue. This is the best content I have seen on diversity.”

-Dennis Bole-Principal Financial Group


“Joe was brilliant.  Sharing his personal story and journey with candor and care.  Inviting others to consider how they might be less of an ally than they initially would think themselves.  The invitation for personal reflection was captivating and compassionate, while also being loud and bold.  He shared antidotes, demonstrated how to lead with vulnerability through personal stories which created an atmosphere of warmth and empathy.

Ultimately, Joe’s message on authenticity, the value of difference and personal reflection resonated with our employees on a level we could not have imagined.  Joe provoked deep, thoughtful consideration of one’s actions and responsibility to the work of Diversity, Equity & inclusion.  Setting a vision that we all must embrace and advocate for this work to make progress and a difference in our workplace.”


Spirit Aerosystems

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