2018 AACSB Influential Leader

Britta Wilson

Britta Wilson

Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management

United States

Diversity and Inclusion

VP, Inclusion Strategies, Pixar Animation Studios

Within five months at Pixar, Britta Wilson’s recruitment strategies netted an estimated 35 percent increase in female technology applicants. A fierce advocate of inclusion, Wilson is dedicated to helping companies build a culture of inclusion.

Without doing the work required to build a culture of inclusion, organizations are doing a great disservice to their stated commitment to diversity. Britta Wilson believes that cultural transformation is requisite for diversity.  As vice president of inclusion strategies at Pixar, Wilson focuses on creating a culture of inclusion, predicated on respect, valuing differences, and learning, which in turn results in increased psychological safety and belonging.

Her strategies are not just theory; they actually work. Within five months at Pixar, her recruitment strategies netted an estimated 35 percent increase in female technology applicants.

Wilson has established productive relationships with an array of colleges, yielding the most racially and ethnically diverse intern class at Pixar to date. Wilson has helped senior leaders understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and in creating safe spaces for shared learning experiences. Her efforts have set a clear and authentic tone at the top of the organization. In six months, Britta socialized inclusion and modified talent management practices and employee experiences. Today, employees acknowledge inclusion as an organizational best practice at Pixar.

Wilson was recently named “Outstanding MBA of the Year” at the National Black MBA Conference in Philadelphia.

Prior to Pixar, Wilson assisted a tech company that was struggling to hire women technologists. Over the years, a number of proposed solutions failed to deliver the desired increase in female hires. Wilson and her team conducted a system analysis on the company’s talent acquisition process, examining each step of their interrelationships in order to identify the levers that would yield the most impact. Wilson and team discovered a number of factors that were impacting the talent pipeline and hiring of female technology professionals. The talent acquisition process was burdened with ill-prepared interviewers, unclear role requirements, and narrow mental models, which disproportionately affected female applicants.

The path to inclusion is paved with respect, knowledge, curiosity, and compassion. Wilson and her team consciously adopted a strategy to refine the process for inclusion, build knowledge, and ultimately address bias. Over a nine-month period, Wilson and team refreshed the career website to include more diverse faces and stories, retooled the language in job postings to be more gender neutral, and established relationships with women in tech network organizations. The company began hosting events and showcasing successful female technologists, required hiring managers and interview participants to attend learning sessions on bias, and established a new-hire ambassador program, among other actions. By taking this approach, they achieved an estimated 35 percent increase in female applicants and a slight increase in the retention of female technologists.