Erika Irish Brown, B.S.’91, global head of Diversity & Inclusion for Bloomberg L.P., returned to UAlbany as keynote speaker at the winter International Celebration, held Dec. 7 to recognize graduating international students, students who have studied abroad, exchange students, and visiting scholars.
Brown, who collaborates with Bloomberg’s senior management to develop and drive the company’s global strategy and its approach to diversity and inclusion, addressed the topic of successful global citizenship. “While the talent pool, business, and markets have never been more global,” she observed, “there are still far too many places where women and other diverse groups are not included or able to contribute, or able to be authentic in the workplace. There are places where the political environment supports regression and exclusion, rather than progression and inclusion. We only need to open the newspapers and watch the news to know that the global landscape has changed dramatically. But there is a silver lining: The current environment has raised the awareness for many who only now recognize there is still so much to be done in order to advance global diversity and inclusion and equality in the workplace and the world.”
In addition, Brown reflected on her time at the University at Albany. “There are many things – mobile phone, personal computer – I wish I had as a college student. … While there were a lot of things I did not have, I did receive a stellar education – an education that enabled me to compete with my contemporaries as a financial analyst at an elite Wall Street firm upon graduation.
“At that time, before the dot-com boom, securing a role as an analyst was the brass ring, and while I had a major exposure gap to the ways of Wall Street, there was not an education gap. I was well prepared, thanks to this great institution, and I hope each of you will take that to heart, and that as graduates of the State University of New York at Albany, you, too, will be well prepared to compete with the best and brightest around the world.”
Brown’s career highlights also include positions at Lehman Brothers, the U.S. Treasury, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America, as well as service with President Barack Obama’s Treasury transition team. Worth magazine included her on its 2017 list of the top 100 most powerful men and women in global finance, noting, “Thanks to her hard-core financial background, Brown’s recommendations carry a lot of clout.”