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5 Leadership and Diversity Podcasts That Are Worth A Listen According To Leading Corporate Execs

Pick a topic, any topic. There is likely a podcast for it. With around 4 million podcasts in the audioscape, it can be hard to parse through what is good and what is, well—trash. For entrepreneurs, business people, and leaders who seek credible expertise, informed conversation, and nuanced takes from diverse perspectives, ESSENCE surveyed five executives to find out their podcast faves. Here’s what they recommended.

“Higher Learning” hosted by Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay.

Recommended by: Melinda King, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 23andMe

After reading Van Lathan Jr.’s book: Fat, Crazy, and Tired. I decided to start listening to his podcast with Rachel Lindsay, “Higher Learning.” I have so enjoyed how they provide such valuable insight from two different perspectives. Some days I find I’m going to need to go full Van when I have discussions about inequities, and others, I use a somewhat softer Rachel approach. I appreciate the information they share and would advise others to tune in, also.

“Color Code” hosted by Nicholas St. Fleur.

Recommended by: Quita Highsmith, Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech.

As a Black woman and a leader in the biotechnology industry, this podcast hits close to home. It is not only reflective of my lived experience, but it clearly highlights the urgent need to address inequities to save lives. I recommend “Color Code,” as we need to reckon with the uncomfortable truths of the past to have any chance at changing our future. It’s the key to moving from performative corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to meaningful efforts that address the root causes of these complex and long-standing inequities.

“DEI After 5” hosted by Sacha Thompson.

Recommended by: Amira Barger, an Executive Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) at Edelman

I enjoy “DEI After 5,” each podcast episode is honest and biting in nature. I appreciate the hot and hard topics Sacha tackles with guests. It is exactly the kind of no holds barred treatment we must give to the inequities of institutions and our conversations about what needs to get done in advancing DEIB.

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“Gen X Amplified.” hosted by Adrion Porter.

Recommended by Adrion Porter, host and founder of Mid-Career Mastery

I am a huge fan of podcasts, but I noticed that age diversity is largely neglected in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. In general, across the board, there isn’t a lot of media focused on the middle generation, Gen X. So, I launched “Gen X Amplified” to fill that void. Gen X is now mid-career and mid-life. We’re dominating the executive suite. We have a lot to contribute to the diversity conversation. I’ve been able to have really interesting conversations with Gen X thought leaders like Tara Jaye Frank, one of the leading equity strategists, Jon Fortt from CNBC’s TechCheck, the author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin.

“Code Switch,” hosted by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby.

Recommended by: Tracey Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Sodexo Live

My favorite podcast that I believe is a great listen for all leaders is Code Switch, which for me, is a fantastic discussion of current topics around race and class with a twist—a wonderful history lesson! The podcast does an excellent job of connecting current events with history. It is a great, rich, and thought-provoking discussion. Their conversations include first-person accounts of events with respect to their historical roots. As a listener, I feel like I’m in the room. It’s just a really good discussion every time, with great facilitators (journalists). It is such a thought-provoking podcast—I highly recommend.

Responses are edited for conciseness and clarity.

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