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diversity and inclusion

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Thasunda Brown Duckett Shares The Importance Of Empowering The Next Generation Of Black Women Executives

Overcoming barriers is one thing, but creating opportunities for others to do the same is another. After nearly two decades of working as an executive at JPMorgan Chase, Thasunda Brown Duckett became the president and CEO of TIAA, which works to close gaps in retirement and provide equitable opportunities for investment. At the Global Black Economic Forum (GBEF) Business Summit during the ESSENCE Festival Of Culture presented by Coca-Cola, Duckett spoke about how the impact she’s making extends past the financial retirement services company and how her serving as a Black woman CEO can provide inspiration for young Black women. When it comes to the imposter syndrome that those who look like her often face entering corporate spaces, Duckett shared guidance with AFROTECH™ for how future Black executives can navigate such challenges. “When you think about imposter syndrome, which we all have at certain points in our life, I think the most important thing is as you’re going through life,...

Jul 12, 2024

Thasunda Brown Duckett Says 'The Time Is Now' For Black Professionals To Accumulate AI Skills

Over the years, Thasunda Brown Duckett has gained global recognition for her monumental career strides, impact, and influence. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, the TIAA president and CEO’s historic feats include, in 2021, becoming the first woman to lead the financial retirement services company in more than 100 years as well as one of two Black women to helm a Fortune 500 company. What’s more, Duckett was named on Forbes’ list of “The World’s Most Powerful Women” in 2023 and TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2024” the following year. As Duckett continues to make efforts toward closing the racial retirement gap and women’s retirement gap and tirelessly advocates for DEI, she credits her foundation for fueling the leader she is today. On July 5, 2024, at the Global Black Economic Forum (GBEF) Business Summit during the ESSENCE Festival Of Culture presented by Coca-Cola, she thanks her parents, Otis and Rosie Brown, for teaching her the level of resilience required to be a...

Jul 10, 2024

Detroit's Sports Rap Radio Makes History As The First All-Black-Led Sports Radio Station In The US

Detroit, MI, has done it again, and it’s only right that one of the Blackest cities in America becomes the home to the first all-Black-led sports radio station in the nation! Sports Rap Radio on AM 1270 made its debut on the airwaves in Motor City on June 4, and not only does it feature all Black hosts, but the radio station is also Black-owned, Blavity reports. “[This is] history-making,” said former Detroit sports anchor Rob Parker, per CBS News. “[It’s] groundbreaking, [and] we just believe that the time has come.” In addition to Parker, who is responsible for helping to bring this vision to life, the history-making team of co-owners includes Parker’s longtime friend Dave Kenney as well as athletes, former NBA player BJ Armstrong and University of Michigan wide receiver Maurice “Moe” Ways. “Moe was the missing piece. I needed somebody young, smart, from the city,” Parker told the outlet. The two have kept in touch since they first met, when Ways was a football star at Detroit...

Jun 27, 2024

How Nextdoor's Product Marketing and Multicultural Engagement Lead Reesha Howard Is Using Her Journey To Amplify Underrepresented Voices

Reesha Howard had an unconventional journey into her position as a tech executive. Born in the South Side of Chicago, IL, Howard recalls growing up to appreciate the differences in cultures and forging connections with people of color as well as with those who identified as queer. This was on full display while she attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. “It’s funny how when you take the time to reflect on how a journey started, you’ll notice all these clues along the way to where you were headed, long before you realized it…,” she mentioned. “ By the time I attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, I was deeply immersed in culture and always had strong connections with people of color and queer people.” Howard’s burgeoning advocacy later manifested in her career trajectory, which was uniquely challenging to embark upon. While attending Florida A&M University on a full-ride scholarship, she recalls feeling “ under-resourced” and “overwhelmed” with her responsibilities at...

Jun 17, 2024

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Reaffirms Commitment To DEI Amid Evolving Workplace Landscape

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has revealed his thoughts amid the ever-changing landscape of workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices. In a shareholder letter shared via Axios, Dimon reiterated the bank’s commitment to DEI, noting its programs that include resource groups for Black, LGBTQ+, and employees living with disabilities, as well as other initiatives, including a fund geared toward helping entrepreneurs of color, investing efforts in rural communities, and recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Moreover, Dimon revealed that the $30 billion racial equity commitment made by JPMorgan Chase in the wake of racial unrest and turmoil in 2020 is “nearly completed,” with plans to make the initiative a permanent program. “We’re thoughtfully continuing our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” he wrote. Dimon also confirmed that the initiatives will adjust as laws continue to evolve around these issues. His statement comes at a time...

Jun 10, 2024

University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors Votes To Repeal DEI Policy, Likely Resulting In Removal Of Related Roles Across Its 17 Public Universities

A diversity policy is being repealed in North Carolina’s public university system. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the University of North Carolina (UNC) System Board of Governors’ University Governance Committee had approved “a policy that repeals the university system’s existing policy and regulation on diversity and inclusion.” This would impact all 17 public universities in the state and lead to the elimination of diversity programs and likely end DEI job roles, although the policy allows universities to “implement programming or services designed to have a positive effect on the academic performance, retention, or graduation of students from different backgrounds,” The News & Observer reports. When a position or office is terminated or changed, chancellors will be required to explain to UNC System President Peter Hans how “reductions in force and spending” were caused by the cuts and how the “savings achieved” could be “redirected to initiatives related to student success and...

May 24, 2024

Spelman College Students Win $1M Goldman Sachs Pitch Competition

Spelman College students have been reigning undefeated for the Goldman Sachs Market Madness Competition through the HBCU Possibilities Program. In April 2024, Victoria Cain, Makhi Frempong, Olivia Rivera-Spann, and Symone Thompson won the pitch competition and its $1 million top prize, according to a news release. The victory marks the HBCU’s third win in four years. “Emerging victorious in the Goldman Sachs Market Madness competition is a genuine reflection of our unwavering perseverance, meticulousness and the goodness of God,” said Frempong, who is an economics major, according to the news release. “This exceptional contest provided us with a platform to hone our abilities and visualize our forthcoming roles as analysts in the industry. It is a remarkable feat to be part of Spelman’s enduring heritage by virtue of our hard work. This journey has been truly extraordinary, demonstrating our growth as professionals in an astonishing manner.” The win came after Frempong, Cain,...

May 3, 2024

Vivian Y. Hunt Has Been Tapped To Lead Harvard University's Board Of Overseers As It Searches For A New President

Harvard University is searching for a new president and has tapped a Black woman business executive to assist with the “challenges and opportunities facing the University.” According to The Harvard Crimson, Vivian Y. Hunt was appointed as the new president of the board of overseers. View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Harvard Crimson (@theharvardcrimson) For the 2024-2025 school year, the Harvard Business School alumna, who has been described as “a voice for diversity and impact at scale” by the school, is set to lead the board. The outlet details that three overseers serve on Harvard University’s presidential search committee and the president of the overseers has been one of the three in the institution’s past five searches. Tyler Jacks, the founding director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and fellow Harvard University alumna, is joining Hunt as board vice chair. Jacks was a member of the presidential search committee that selected former...

Apr 22, 2024

Al Roker's Production Company Sued For Allegedly Failing To Adhere To A Mandated DEI Policy

Al Roker and his production company, Al Roker Entertainment, have been sued for allegedly not following through with a commitment to diversity. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bill Schultz filed a lawsuit against the “Today” host and CEO’s company as he claims that executives failed to commit to its DEI initiative, which would bring Black writers on board for PBS’s “Weather Hunters.” Al Roker Entertainment is the owner of the animated children’s show. As an executive producer for “Weather Hunters,” Schultz addressed the issue at hand, confronting the leaders about the failure to adhere to the diversity program, which is mandated by PBS. However, he says that their response was firing him. In addition, a Black producer was also reprimanded for speaking up. “I put nine years of my career into ‘ Weather Hunters ,’ a project I strongly believe in, with the goal of making a wonderfully crafted show for children to enjoy and learn from,” Schultz shared in a statement, according to...

Apr 19, 2024

UNC System Board Of Governors' Committee Approves A Policy That Would Essentially Eliminate DEI Jobs At Public Universities Across North Carolina

A new move made by a group of education officials in North Carolina has the power to do a state-wide sweep of programs committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at public universities. According to The News & Observer, the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors’ University Governance Committee has approved “a policy that repeals the university system’s existing policy and regulation on diversity and inclusion.” The move will reportedly disband laws in place requiring all 17 public campuses within the state of North Carolina to employ diversity officers as well as drive efforts toward a common goal of fulfilling diversity-related measures. A University of North Carolina System Board of Governors committee voted in favor of policy that would eliminate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion jobs at NC public universities. There was no discussion. — philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 18, 2024 Per the Raleigh, NC-based outlet, the committee held...

Apr 18, 2024

Blavity Inc. Forms The AFROTECH™ Advisory Board To Be A Driving Force For Innovation And Inclusivity In Tech

Blavity Inc. has assembled a coalition of leaders to drive equity in technology. In a news release, the technology and news media company has shared it has formed the AFROTECH™ Advisory Board. The board will dedicate its focus to workplace equity and ensuring underrepresented employees, founders, and startups can obtain access to capital and economic mobility.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by AFROTECH ( “Mobilizing this consortium is a crucial move towards amplifying our impact and reach in creating a more equitable tech industry,” Morgan DeBaun, founder and CEO of Blavity Inc., said in a press statement. “Our concerted effort will focus on practical initiatives that not only enhance workplace equity but also promote significant access to capital and opportunities for our community’s members.” The AFROTECH™ Advisory Board includes representatives of Amazon, American Express, Black Economic Alliance, Chewy, GAP, Google, Infoblox, Jordan Brand, Lam Research,...

Apr 18, 2024

Doctors Suggest That A Proposed Bill To Ban DEI At Medical Schools Could Affect Progress For The Black Maternal Health Crisis

The implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at medical schools is currently in danger. In March 2024, Congressman Greg Murphy (R-NC) introduced the Embracing anti-Discrimination, Unbiased Curricula, and Advancing Truth in Education (EDUCATE) Act. The proposed bill aims to prohibit race-based mandates at medical schools and accrediting institutions, per a news release. In addition, it would stop federal funding to medical schools that “discriminate” against races and ethnicities, have DEI offices, and “force” students and school faculty to assimilate to particular beliefs. “American medical schools are the best in the world and no place for discrimination,” Murphy shared in a statement. “The EDUCATE Act compels medical schools and accrediting agencies to uphold colorblind admissions processes and prohibits the coercion of students who hold certain political opinions. Diversity strengthens medicine, but not if it’s achieved through exclusionary practices. Medicine is...

Apr 17, 2024

Duke University Has Officially Ended Its Full-Ride Scholarship For Black Students In Need Of Financial Assistance

Duke University is the latest higher educational institute to make a change following the 2023 Supreme Court ruling that ended affirmative action in admissions. According to its student publication The Chronicle, the North Carolina college has officially discontinued its Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship Program. Since its inception in 1979, the merit scholarship was created for Black undergraduates, some of whom were required to demonstrate the need for financial assistance. It covered the cost of full tuition as well as room and board for those who were selected to be a part of the program. Duke University announced it is ending a full-ride scholarship program for Black students in the wake of the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling — philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 12, 2024 “It is very much disheartening to hear that this program that opened the door for me to come to Duke is now being closed essentially, even though it will take on a new...

Apr 12, 2024

How The McBride Sisters Are 'Changing The Perception Of Wine Being Elitist And Exclusive'

Robin and Andrea McBride have done what most would consider unimaginable within the wine industry, but for them, like most big moments in their lives… every step of the process has been pretty kismet, according to Robin. In 2005, the McBride sisters started their wine journey when they began importing grapes from New Zealand (called Aotearoa by the indigenous Maori people) . By 2009, they began to cultivate juices together, and before they knew it, in 2017, the sisters began producing wine straight from their respective homes in Monterey, CA, and New Zealand under the McBride Sisters Collection label that they are known for today. When recalling what makes her most proud of this journey, Robin honed in on their initial vision and mission for entering the wine industry, and that was “changing the perception of wine being elitist and exclusive.”

Apr 11, 2024

Westbound Announces $100M Fund To Be Used To Support Black, Latin And Diversity-Driven Startups

Something new is on the horizon when it comes to investing in companies that are often overlooked and underserved, and these Black founders are helping to lead the charge. According to Forbes , Westbound Equity Partners, a venture capitalist firm spearheaded by former nonprofit director Sean Mendy is on a mission to pour millions into companies led by Black, Latin, and diversity-driven founders. “We aren’t investing in underrepresented founders as this altruistic thing,” Mendy told the outlet. “This fund is about investing in the best companies and performance. Explicit impact is what we’re doing on the foundation side.” Since its inception in 2019, the firm formerly known as Concrete Rose Capital has managed to invest in over 40 startups as well as tap into what Mendy says is “the diversity opportunity,” which provides capital to underrepresented founders, especially Black and Latino companies. What’s more, there is a key focus on startups with goals of serving their communities....

Apr 11, 2024