HBCU Career Talks™

HBCU Career Talks™ unpacks what it takes to go from college student to high-achieving professional. Through HBCU student-led forums, leading Black executives share their career journeys and tips along the way. All HBCU First events are exclusively for current HBCU students.

Northwestern Mutual — Navigating a career in the Financial Services Industry

A dynamic team from Northwestern Mutual — named one of the World's Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE magazine (for the 38th year) in 2021— talks navigating a career in the financial services industry. They'll discuss the challenges of serving their clients, employees, and community amid the global pandemic.

Nija Mackey, an honors Psychology student at Alabama A&M University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this sixth installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Northwestern Mutual, a holistic financial planning company, has been protecting and helping people & businesses pursue their dreams for more than 160 years. With $200 billion in assets under management and $2 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services to almost 5 million people.

Marcia Facey Drame, Senior Director of Competitive Intelligence in Northwestern Mutual’s (NM) Risk Products Department, leads a team delivering on the full scope of competitive research and analysis for NM’s risk products – life insurance, disability income, long term care insurance and annuities.

Prior to this role, she practiced law for 21 years, 15 of which were in the Law Department at NM, as a corporate and real estate lawyer. In addition, Marcia currently serves as the Program Lead for NM’s Sustained Action for Racial Equity Task Force and works closely with NM Chairman, President and CEO, John Schlifske, and other senior-level leaders across NM to lead and advance sustained action for racial equity, rallying around four pillars: (1) a Culture of Inclusion and Respect; (2) Talent; (3) Business Innovation and Financial Security; and (4) Partnerships and Community.

Carlton Triolo-Sapp serves as the Senior Director, Strategy, Planning and Operations (Chief of Staff) for the Data Science Analytics (DSA) division at Northwestern Mutual.
In this role Carlton is engaged in talent acquisition, annual strategic planning, OKR planning and monitoring, budget monitoring, and overall division health. Carlton’s career path has given him experiences in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Hailing from New York City and now living in Chicago, Carlton has a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, a Masters Degree from Rutgers University and a bachelors from SUNY Buffalo State College.

Leo Tucker, CLU®, CLF®, Managing Partner in Washington, DC, began his career with Northwestern Mutual 29 years ago and in 2003 became the company's first Black Managing Partner.
Leo is passionate about inclusion in the workplace and 2020, his DC firm was awarded by Northwestern Mutual for its long-standing efforts to Diversity and Inclusion by receiving the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award. In his off-hours, he is an active volunteer in the community serving on the boards of the Tiger Woods Foundation, The American College, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, and he enjoys playing golf and collecting wine.

Amivero — Navigating a career in Homeland Security

Consultants from Amivero LLC talk supporting national security initiatives as young IT professionals. They discuss working for a women-owned startup and navigating a career in government contracting.

Shanique Strickland, a pre-law student at Alcorn State University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this fifth installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Amivero, a government contracting company, is a woman-owned/HUBZone small business solving IT challenges for our Homeland and Law Enforcement community.

Sasha Sewell, MSAn is a Data Analyst at Amivero, where she is currently working with Federal Protective Services in their Financial Management Division.

She is an experienced Data Analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Sasha received her Master's degree from American University in business analytics.

Shauna Wright, MBA, CSM, CSPO is a Senior Business Analyst at Amivero, she attended Marymount University, a Catholic University in Arlington VA, majoring in Business Administration.
After finishing her degree her first job out of college was a receptionist at a Government Contracting company. She received her MBA in 2014, where she went on to start her government contracting career.

Tiffany & Co. — Navigating a career at an iconic luxury brand

On March 4th, a dynamic team of leaders from Tiffany & Co. discussed navigating a career at an iconic luxury brand. They shared insight into how they've managed to thrive at one of the most admired and recognized brands in the world.

Brooklyn Young, an honors journalism student at Hampton University, and Courtney Gray, founder at HBCU First, moderated this fourth installment of HBCU Career Talks™.

Tiffany & Co. is an international icon of legendary style, bold artistry and innovative design.

Celeste Aarons-Jenkins, Brandon Clay and Jaye Thompson share their perspectives from the fields of merchandising, retail, and public relations.

Celeste Aarons-Jenkins is the Vice President of Demand Planning at Tiffany & Co. overseeing the team responsible for the global sales forecasting and purchase planning for the entire product portfolio.

Celeste has been with Tiffany & Co. for almost 32 years, serving as Vice President for the past 11 years. Prior to joining Tiffany, Celeste graduated from Bryn Mawr College, with a major in mathematics. In addition to her daily responsibilities, Celeste is a co-lead of the African Brilliance Employee Resource Group.

Brandon Clay is Store Director of D.C. City Center at Tiffany & Co. overseeing operations, merchandising, and customer experience.
In 2019, he opened the company’s first location in Washington, DC, and after their first full year of opening, he and the team were nominated for store of the year. Prior to arriving at Tiffany, Brandon held leadership positions with LVMH and was a regional training manager for the jewelry brand, David Yurman. His passion for diversity and inclusion stems from his experiences growing up in the deep south and the importance of what he calls, “removing the veil”.

Jaye Thompson is a Senior Director of Global Public Relations, Strategy & Development at Tiffany & Co. overseeing communications strategy and development.
Prior to joining Tiffany, Jaye led strategic communications at leading PR agencies in London, representing luxury clients across the fashion industry. He is also the former Executive Fashion Director for InStyle Magazine, the British edition. Jaye is an alum of London Metropolitan University where he studied communications and cultural theory.

Sherlock Biosciences talks biotech careers and better health

A dynamic team of leaders from Sherlock Biosciences talk access to careers in biotech. They’ll discuss their respective roles in bringing products to market that address some of the world’s most urgent human health challenges.

Kayla Braggs, an honors food sciences student at Florida A&M University, and Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, moderate this third installment of HBCU Career Talks™ sponsored by Recruitomics Consulting.

Sherlock Biosciences, an engineering biology company, provides global access to the simplest and most accurate tests that empower individuals to control their own healthcare.

In 2020, after just over one year of operation, Sherlock made history with the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology for its CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit for the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Tiffany Summerville, Joel Mowatt and Fred Nyachieo discuss building a career in biotech and share their perspectives from the fields of science, human resources and academia.

Tiffany Summerville is the Executive Director, Head of Human Resources at Sherlock Biosciences.

She earned a B.S. in Communications from Bowie State University, and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Additionally, Tiffany serves as the President of the professional association, Women of Color in Corporate America.

Joel Mowatt is a Research Associate at Sherlock Biosciences, responsible for creating assays for various diseases using CRISPR as a detection method.
A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he obtained a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Joel is part of the Sherlock Biosciences team that made history with the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology for the Sherlock™ CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit for the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fred Nyachieo is a Lab Operations Manager with Sherlock Biosciences, where he oversees daily lab operations and ensures the company is positioned to optimize its lab performance.
Fred obtained a B.S. in Biology at Frostburg State University and an M.S. in Biotechnology Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus.

Women of Transformation at Reynolds American Inc.

Black senior executives from Reynolds American Inc. — Shay Mustafa and Candice Brown — share how they've entered traditionally white, male-dominated environments and managed to lead innovation and create opportunity.
Hosted by the FAMU Career & Professional Development Center, Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, and Marilyne Njuraita, a sociology student at Howard University, moderate this second installment of HBCU Career Talks™.
Reynolds American, a leading U.S. tobacco company, is focused on transforming the industry and the communities that it serves. Most recently, Reynolds received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index or CEI for its diverse and inclusive culture.
Listen on Spotify   Listen on Apple Podcasts
Meet our Guests from Reynolds American
Sharonda (Shay) Mustafa is Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing with Reynolds American, Inc. where she leads the Modern Oral business unit. Shay’s professional background ranges from senior roles with Fortune 100 companies to co-founder of a technology start up
Candice Wooten Brown is Vice President, HR Business Partner for the organization’s Corporate Functions as well as its Scientific Research & Development function. In this role, Mrs. Brown is responsible for leading the people agenda across functions, to include the design and implementation of programs and initiatives to address the talent needs of each unique function.

Warner Music Group: From Intern to Executive

WMG executives from Atlantic Records, Asylum Records, and ADA take us on the journey of college intern to senior executive in a virtual, student-led forum hosted by Howard University. Courtney Gray, founder of HBCU First, and Kennedy Reid, an honors economics student at North Carolina A&T State University, moderate this first installment of HBCU Career Talks™.
Listen on Spotify   Listen on Apple Podcasts   Watch on YouTube
Meet our Guest Speakers from Warner Music Group

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