Please describe your current and/or previous roles that relate to your work for justice and equality.
Prior to starting my own company, I was part of an award-winning advertising sales team at Bloomberg LP, where I also co-led the launch of the company’s first Black employee resource group (ERG). Appointed as Co-Chair of the group’s awareness committee, I spearheaded strategic initiatives and communications efforts for the newly formed ERG to promote diversity & inclusion awareness to company leaders, gain leadership buy-in to our vision, and raise visibility of underrepresented talent for advancement. A large focus of my efforts were also on enabling community building for members and employees at large, fostered through internal programming, event partnerships with ERGs from other organizations, and volunteerism with various non-profit partners. Our leadership resulted in group membership growth of 150% in just 15 months, increasing our influence and sparking the creation of local chapters in several cities and countries around the world.
At the time, I was recognized by heads of diversity & inclusion and philanthropy for significant contributions to the company as a diversity champion, and I started thinking about what it could look like to inspire change and create a similar impact in organizations far and wide. Over the last six years as the executive officer of Globally Bold, I’ve built a business to advance the ideals of leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion, sharing ideas that have inspired audiences at many of the world’s leading conferences, esteemed academic institutions and iconic corporate brands. The roles I hold include keynote speaker, consultant, strategist, executive coach, learning facilitator, and author.
What about your work brings you the most joy or gives you the most pride?
After past speaking engagements, people have expressed how their hearts and minds have changed. I take a lot of pride in being a spark for this kind of personal transformation and recognize that those who are transformed can spark transformation in their organizations too. I feel a great sense of responsibility and satisfaction in meeting those moments with the urgency and care that they demand.
What is your most meaningful moment or significant accomplishment as it relates to your work for justice and equality?
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May and the various murders of unarmed black men and women leading up to it, I was called upon to be a voice that could help leaders and organizations reckon with the reality of racial injustice and guide them on the path for necessary change. In such a painful and pivotal time, it felt truly meaningful and significant to be featured in Forbes, LinkedIn Business Unusual, TED Ideas, and as a One Young World Ambassador of the Month, all in the month of June—to inspire people to become the allies and antiracists our society desperately needs.
What is the greatest hurdle you’ve had to overcome (as it relates to your work for justice and equality)?
The greatest hurdle I have to overcome is dealing with the mental and emotional labor of doing this work. I know many people from marginalized identities do not feel safe enough at their organizations to express their truths. In my work I carry their pains with me, and my own, to speak truth to power. Carrying this kind of weight can be seen as a burden, but I’ve learned to see it as a blessing. That outlook and learning how to practice self-care has gone a long way in sustaining my energy, spirit and focus.
How do you empower those around you?
When I wrote my first book, the Amazon bestseller Who Am I to Lead? The World is Waiting for You, the vision I had was to make the idea of leadership accessible to anyone. In my work I’ve attuned that broader vision with my aims to inspire leaders and managers to place diversity, equity and inclusion at the top of their business priorities and individual contributors to be change agents for more inclusive cultures
What short phrase would you offer others to inspire them to have hope and/or to take action?
Focus on the light, no matter how dim it may seem.
How has this summer’s civil unrest and calls for equity impacted you?
Between losing a family member to COVID-19 and experiencing the trauma of racial injustice, this has been a painful year for me personally. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to translate this pain into work that is making a difference. I’ve been urging companies to go beyond public statements denouncing systemic racism and police brutality to elevate the cause of racial justice to both an urgent and sustained priority. With the light clearly shining on systemic racism for all to see, the space is being made for us to have the necessary conversations and go about the work to dismantle it. At home, at work, and in school, it has been revealed that we all have a role in accelerating our society toward a more equitable and just future. This has never been clearer than it is right now.
How has your perspective changed since the time you were a Lafayette student?
Since I graduated from Lafayette, I’ve had multiple careers, met the love of my life, become a father, and traveled the world. While my perspective has changed and expanded through all of these life experiences, the perspective I hope to keep is that life is full of limitless possibilities.