Shreya Rajaram: The Pitt Business Annual Diverse Leaders’ Summit was held on February 5, 2021 this year. The summit was split into two events. The first half was a virtual fireside chat with former-CEO of MetricStream and author of Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers and Create Success on Your Own Terms, Shellye Archambeau and Senior Vice Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Kathy Humphrey.
Ms. Archambeau spoke about the challenges she experienced as an African-American CEO in the business world and about the topics covered in her book, Unapologetically Ambitious. Dr. Humphrey asked her a couple of questions about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and voiced her opinion on the topics. It was a thought-provoking discussion that helped us realize the significance of a diverse, inclusive workspace. One thing that stuck with me was Ms. Archambeau’s response when questioned about her opinion on companies introducing ‘Diversity Programs’ and promoting a sense of inclusivity. Ms. Archambeau emphasized the idea that diversity and inclusion must be a part of the companies’ mainstream policies. That diversity should not be considered an “add-on” to their primary values and policies, but an essential component of their programs and policies. She explained that having diversity and inclusion as an “add-on” to existing, central programs would be inefficient because in cases of financial and organizational problems, considering the diversity programs as “add-ons” would make them more susceptible to being discontinued or cut off.
The fireside chat was about an hour long, after which, Pitt Business students were led into a panel and breakout room discussion with CBA’s corporate partners, including but not limited to PNC, Clark Associates, EY, SAP, UPMC, EATON, and KPMG. Students were introduced to recruiters and representatives from each company and presented with a couple of scenarios to discuss in breakout rooms. I was in a breakout room with representatives from EY and some students. The scenarios were thought-provoking and proved to be excellent discussion material as we were able to get insights from business professionals on how to conduct ourselves in the workplace, when to intervene in certain situations, and how to cultivate an inclusive mindset.