Black Rock is one of the country’s most extensive finance and investment groups. Now they are making moves toward diversifying its workforce by appointing Michelle Gadsden Williams as its new head of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Gadsden Williams, who has over 25 years of experience advocating for corporations to create more policies that promote diversity inside their corporate structures, will be succeeding Jonathan McBride, who previously worked in the role. Williams will be working alongside Birgit Boykin to work on new diversity initiatives.
“The most interesting thing about my role is that it contemplates an important new dimension in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” said Williams in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“Adding ‘equity’ to the diversity and inclusion mission reflects BlackRock’s dedication to fair access to opportunities and advancement for all employees. It signals our conviction that our employee experience is as important to our diversity agenda as representation. I’m excited to stand those initiatives up more formally and move the organization as a whole forward across diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Before joining the team at Black Rock, Gadsden Williams also worked as the Global Head of Diversity for Credit Suisse. She was the chief diversity officer for Novartis before starting her management consulting agency after living in Switzerland for 10 years. She also worked in human resources and product development at PhilipsVan Heusen Corporation and Wakefern Food Corporation based in New Jersey.
“We have an aggressive agenda that strives to make BlackRock more diverse and more inclusive,” wrote Manish Mehta, chief of Human Resources, in a memo. “For our culture and our business, we believe positive outcomes result from more voices coming from people of varied backgrounds and experiences.”
As far as navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, Gadsden Williams says that the company has become “accustomed to doing business this way for now. COVID doesn’t represent a hindrance for me, but I am looking forward to resuming a more “normal” operating model.”