This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 National Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. It was an honor to be in the same room with so many phenomenal women who stand for Diversity and Inclusion in the workforce. Among the many speakers and award winners was Diana Broussard, the recipient of the Mosaic Woman Pioneer Award. The award recognizes women who have been “a first” in their field and industry. With all the statistics that are often quoted regarding women in STEM, I wanted to write about someone who not only bridges the gap for women and girls to advance in the technology realm, but who does so with her own unique style and flare. In her most recent career move, Broussard created a collection of LCD fashion wearables, and her integration of technology into designer jewelry is truly a revolution in the accessory industry and will result in significant changes in the way we express ourselves in times to come.
Who is Diana Broussard? Diana was born in Florida but grew up in Dallas, Texas. At an early age, she committed to becoming a designer. She had always sewn her own clothing and enjoyed reading Vogue. Her father was a physicist, so she also grew around technology. With her latest product ideas, you can begin to see the role this played and how she merges the two industries. If you are familiar with high end jewelry, shoes, and bags, then the name may already ring a bell. However, before launching her collection DIANA BROUSSARD, Diana worked for over 20 years as the Designer/Director of Accessories for luxury brands such as Calvin Klein, Gucci and Christian Dior. She launched her brand in 2007, and her items can be found in stores across the world. Her most popular item is the Nate necklace (shown below). Diana is now one of the most successful New York designers who specialize in accessories.
Ten years later after launching her brand, Diana Broussard has now expanded her line and revolutionized her industry by offering fashion wearables equipped with LCD screens. The new line, TechLuxe, kicked off with dbChronicle ™, which includes handbags and necklaces that offer customizable LCD screens. During the beginning phases of dbChronicle ™, Forbes declared her items, “A wearable you will want to wear”. The idea of this product is to be able to wear a handbag or necklace and upload your own video to it for anyone passing by to see. It makes quite a bold statement about what it could mean to express yourself through your fashion choices. Broussard mentioned that the idea came to her when she was in Hong Kong having a conversation with a driver about the flexible LCD screens that Samsung had already developed. The bag is the first release, and it is a limited edition. Broussard plans to continue to integrate technology and luxury design.
Diana Broussard’s Pioneer Award was well-deserved. Not only has she created many successful accessory product lines, but she has also acted as a bridge between two industries by thinking inclusively about expression and design. The goal of Diversity and Inclusion in the workforce is to create an environment where an individual can bring their authentic self to work. Part of that authenticity is feeling comfortable thinking and expressing ourselves outside the boxes in which we put people — in profession and in attire. Broussard serves as a great example for young girls, and women in general, who may be interested in technology but not in the typical arenas in which it is used. She also serves as an example for women and girls who want to express themselves more boldly in their fashion choices.
Broussard has opened the door to designing jewelry and accessories using technology, and her efforts and creativity have opened doors to a profession that some may have not even thought of in the past. Studies have shown that 74% of STEM workers are male. I think it’s important to break the stereotype of what working within STEM looks like, and Broussard is a great example of breaking stereotypes by changing the way that technology looks and operates in our world. She has shown that after 20+ years within the same industry, there is always the possibility and need for change. Diana Broussard and her designs are a bridge between worlds and a testament to the power of not only creative, but also inclusive, thinking.