3 minute read

Vice President & Head of the DE&I Center for Awareness & Advocacy

in Leadership

INTERNATIONAL Vice President & Head of the DE&I Center for Awareness & Advocacy

Education: BS, Johnson C. Smith University Company Name: New York Life Industry: Financial services Company CEO: Craig DeSanto Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 10,000+ Words you live by: Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest. Until your good is your better. And your better is your best. Personal Philosophy: Express gratitude and pay it forward. What book are you reading: Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown What was your first job: In high school, I worked for a telemarketing firm. Favorite charity: Present Future Foundation, Inc. Interests: Personal development, time with friends and family, reading, fitness, and dancing Family: Proud mother of one son

I Am Passionate about Paying It Forward

I have been and still am fortunate to have others invest their time and talent with me, and I learned early to express gratitude and reach back to bring someone else forward.

I am passionate about building deep relationships, helping others develop personally and professionally, and paying it forward.

I was the child in grade school who helped other students with their homework and studying. I learned to assist others by watching my mother help us with our work and studies. Throughout high school, I read books voraciously, studied a variety of subjects, and shared what I learned with friends and family members. I learned to love to read from my aunt, who would read books and, in detail, narrate the plot and meaning throughout, bringing characters and concepts to life.

While in college, I mentored high school and fellow college students. I learned the importance of mentoring relationships from the professors on my historically black college campus who mentored students, stayed late, and asked about students’ lives—not just their grades. As a member of my sorority, I developed scholarships, programs, and events that furthered the education and development of people in the communities where I lived and served. I learned to lead and serve from the sorority sisters that came before me and continued to serve in the community well after graduating from college.

In my career, I have had the unique opportunity to evolve and reinvent myself repeatedly, while working at New York Life for 28 years (and counting!). I started my career in technology as a trainee. I have had role models, mentors, and sponsors who have contributed to my growth throughout my career. I, in turn, was able to bring my passion for building relationships and helping others to my teams, peers, and mentees to help further their growth and development.

I had my first opportunity to work in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion field when I became the co-chair of the women’s employee resource group at my company. Many of the skills I learned in college and in my sorority transferred well in this role.

Then in 2020, I had the opportunity to serve as New York Life’s CEO Action for Racial Equity Fellow, where I worked with fellows from companies across the nation to identify, develop, and promote public policies and corporate engagement strategies to support social justice and societal well-being. In my current role as the head of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center for Awareness and Advocacy, I’m grateful to share my passion by continuing to advance the company’s inclusive culture of belonging by educating, engaging, and developing employees so they can thrive in their careers.