Neil Phillips

Chief Diversity Officer, Hollywood Foreign Press Association


Neil Phillips believes that love is the answer to just about everything… and if that makes you uncomfortable, that’s okay. Discomfort signals an opportunity for growth. Neil has spent his entire career managing his own discomfort and diving deeply into the realm of breaking the bonds of systemic racism and having the uncomfortable, yet productive, conversations that can radically change organizations and individual lives.

Neil also knows what it takes to truly transform and elevate the lives of young people and has discovered that it is love. On a practical level, it looks a lot like leadership, encouragement, high expectations, and accountability. But ask any one of the children he has had the privilege of knowing over his decades of work as an educator, coach, and youth advocate and they will tell you that Neil Phillips loves them and was never afraid to say it or show it. Love has made all the difference.

Neil is an innovative speaker and entrepreneur – a game-changer – who delivers light and visibility to the most pressing issues of our time: value and equity. Neil focuses on creating opportunities that elevate human value in education, business, and the public/private sector. A sought-after inspirational speaker on topics of diversity, education, and culture, Neil’s unique vision and spirit of inclusivity inspires all to See More.  Neil lives in Sarasota, Florida with his wife, Shannon Rohrer-Phillips – a social entrepreneur focused on gender and racial equity – and their two beautiful sons, Reece and Blair.

True to his Jamaican-American roots, Neil has a passion for music, seeded and nourished by his ever-dancing parents. He is an avid tennis player and an emerging golfer.


Neil has four signature presentations  – including his newest talk around the work he’s doing for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as their first-ever, Chief Diversity Officer. That talk will be specifically for companies who want to approach the opportunity of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from a proactive vs. reactive angle.  Neil also welcomes the fireside-chat format as an opportunity to speak to all of the topics addressed in the talks below.

The selection of a fireside-chat format will offer you the most customization to the topics you’d like to see addressed in Neil’s appearance.

  • KEYNOTE 1: Taking the Heat and Using it to Forge a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)
  • KEYNOTE 2: Race to the Truth:  Having the Hard, Yet Necessary, Conversations on Race in America
  • KEYNOTE 3: Black Male Achievement:  Changing the Narrative from Negative Stereotypes to Examples of Excellence
  • KEYNOTE 4: Destined for Greatness:  Straight Talk Delivered with Love to Young Men of Color
  • BRAND NEW FIRESIDE CHAT: From Misstep to Rise:  A Fireside Chat about Acknowledgement, Race, Grace and Uncomfortable Conversations with Neil Phillips, Chief Diversity Officer, Hollywood Foreign Press Association
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Neil embodies empathy by meeting people where they are at in pursuit of racial equality. His powerful presentation offered both candor and passion, without feeling preachy or threatening. His invitation to start the conversation on racism and bias resulted in critical, ongoing dialogue across our company for the first time. With Neil creating a space for our leaders to be vulnerable and learn together with our employees, we moved forward with a strategic plan that amplifies commitment to improving equality in the workplace.

- Top HR executive at a 1500 employee professional services company

Neil brings a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity not just to the HFPA, but also to the Hollywood community and media industry. Through our reform process, we believe it is not sufficient to just make progress internally, but also necessary to provide a platform for greater diversity and inclusion in our industry and the entertainment community our members cover.  His willingness to talk openly about uncomfortable subjects and lead by example makes him an exceptional voice for change and we look forward to supporting his work.

- Helen Hoehne, President, Hollywood Foreign Press Association