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Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex wants to make the Internet a healthier place

September 30, 2020, 12:21 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Biden and Trump debate the Supreme Court, CEOs take the stage at the MPW Summit, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex wants to make the Internet a healthier place. Have a powerful Wednesday.

– Meghan at MPW. If there’s one way to open the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, it’s with a Duchess.

We were joined by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex at yesterday’s virtual event for a conversation about a cause that Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, have taken up in recent months: stopping the spread of misinformation online and building communities that will be healthier for individuals and for society.

It’s easy to guess why the duo were inspired to take on this work; Meghan has been the subject of countless false stories and racist online attacks since she stepped onto the global stage four years ago. But the Duchess has quickly broadened the cause far beyond herself; the Sussexes are tackling the issue from many angles, including how social media affects young people’s mental health and how disinformation influences politics and elections.

Meghan told Fortune‘s Ellen McGirt how “bots and trolls” affect our lives “online and off.” And she referenced her firsthand experience with how fast misinformation can spread: “If you look back at anything I’ve said, what ends up being inflammatory is people’s interpretation of it. But if you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial.”

Fortune‘s Ellen McGirt speaks with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. Credit: Fortune

You can read and watch more from Meghan’s conversation with Ellen here and here.

We were also joined yesterday by Anita Hill, who talked to Ellen (a busy day for our colleague!) about why Black women are overlooked as Supreme Court nominees. It was a timely conversation, just before the presidential debate opened with discussion of the Supreme Court. (See more on that below.)

Read on for more from yesterday’s MPW Summit. Today, we’ll be joined by incoming Citi CEO Jane Fraser, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, chair of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Laura Cha, and more guests—and we’ll bring you the details tomorrow.

Emma Hinchliffe


- Slow and steady. Speaking out about racial injustice in June was just one step of many for GM CEO Mary Barra. The automaker's chief executive says she is setting "realistic expectations" as the company begins its "journey" on these issues. Fortune

- Beauty boss. Representing people of all backgrounds in its ad campaigns served as a critical inflection point for Ulta Beauty, CEO Mary Dillon said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. "I haven’t worked this hard to get to this place," Dillon said of her 35-year career, "and not really be a champion for what’s right.” Fortune

- Building connections. Three years ago, Home Depot devoted $10 billion to ensuring all parts of its business—from stores to online shopping—were connected. The pandemic completely moved up that timeline: "We had to throw all of that out," said EVP of U.S. stores Ann-Marie Campbell on a panel with Walmart International president and CEO Judith McKenna. Fortune

- Safe and secure. For five months, Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden wrote a weekly email to her workforce as the business stayed open through the coronavirus pandemic. "We needed to build people’s confidence…that they were going to be safe in the workplace," she said. Fortune

- Trust and transparency. To claw us out of the coronavirus pandemic, pharmaceutical companies will need the public's trust. Pfizer's Angela Hwang, Johnson & Johnson’s Macaya Douoguih, and Abbott's Andrea Wainer discuss why transparency is crucial: Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Corel hired former OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles as its chief executive. PwC promoted J.C. Lapierre to chief communications officer. Paylocity hired Tauhidah Shakir as chief diversity officer. named COO and cofounder Sam De Brouwer CEO. Marsh & McLennan Companies named Carmen Fernandez SVP and chief human resources officer. 


- Debate prep. Oh yeah, and there was a presidential debate last night. The first debate of the U.S. general election opened with talk about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and swiftly turned to the Affordable Care Act. Joe Biden brought up how gutting the ACA would affect women's health. Fortune

- Justice for Breonna Taylor. An anonymous juror from the grand jury that decided the case against the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor says that Kentucky's attorney general has used the grand jury as "as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility." AG Daniel Cameron now says he will release a recording of the grand jury case. New York Times

- Upsetting allegations. Women who were detained by ICE tell the NYT about unwanted gynecological procedures that were performed on them while they were in custody. Gynecologists who did not work with ICE reviewed the medical records and said the agency's doctor at a Georgia facility frequently overstated the health risks of cysts and masses. ICE Health Service Corps' medical director said in a statement that the allegations “raise some very serious concerns." New York Times


The daughter of a slave who did the unthinkable: Build a bank Wall Street Journal

Women grab the wheel in world's least-diverse occupation Bloomberg

Black, female and head of a public real-estate company. Meet the only person to fit that description Wall Street Journal


"In corporate America, if you don't hit targets, you don't have a job."

-Mellody Hobson, speaking at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, about diversity targets and quotas