Cynthia Bowman: Bank of America's Chief Diversity and inclusion officer shares her thoughts on leadership, what drives her, and how diversity makes companies stronger.

Author:Alter, Diane
Position:Interview
 
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The worldwide movement toward economic, financial, trade and communications integration, or what is otherwise known as globalization, requires more and more interaction among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Profit and non-profit organizations alike acknowledge the need to become more diversified to remain competitive. Maximizing and making the most of workplace diversity is indeed a top priority today for management.

According to Cynthia Bowman, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Bank of America, an organization's success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity, realize the benefits, and to capitalize on them.

Bowman recently took time to share her career journey and priorities. The recipient of trailblazer and diversity awards, Bowman also provided some invaluable essentials on diversity and leadership in the workplace in a Q&A session with Latino Leaders.

Latino Leaders: Tell us about your upbringing, education, family background and some experiences of your youth, your dreams, and wishes growing up.

Bowman: My early years were spent growing up in Camden, NJ. My mother wanted more for me and my brother, and was intent on seeing we got a good education in a safe environment. We ultimately moved from Camden to Denver, Colorado, where I first started to see and experience differences and biases related to race. I ended up back in Atlanta where I attended college at both Spelman and Georgia Institute of Technology. I later went back to school and got my MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern. Since Kellogg, I spent the rest of my career in the field of Human Resources and Change Management.

Latino Leaders: How did you come to work for Bank of America? Please share some background on your career.

Bowman: While at Spelman, I was driven to excel and was constantly surrounded by ambitious women. I landed an internship with AT&T in my sophomore year of college, which led to a fulltime position. Eventually I ended up in the company's leadership program and gravitated from technology to Human Resources. I became interested in human behavior and went back to school to obtain my MBA. I went into consulting right after business school and worked for Accenture where I ultimately made Partner. In 2007, Bank of America called me about an internal consulting opportunity in Human Resources associated with organizational behavior and culture change, and I've been...

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