TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett on 10 Ways To ‘Be the Change’

Originally published on LinkedIn. TIAA ranked No. 9 on The Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.


Join CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett and TIAA in our crusade to build better, more equitable communities. We encourage you to get inspired by her list of what to do to #BeTheChange. We know that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.


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1. Challenge my own perspective

I grow every time I get REAL — respectfully engage, listen and learn.

• Join a book club with authors who don’t look like you
• Take inventory of the media you consume


2. Lean into inclusion through equity

It’s about understanding different people require different things to thrive.

• Speak up for removing barriers to equity
Establish both subjective and objective measures of equity


3. Know the only one

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to gain insight.

• Practice empathy — seek to understand, not judge
• Read The Power of Onlyness by Nilofer Merchant


4. Study and learn from history

It helps us better understand our world and challenge biases.

• Find the stories that aren’t being told
Take the Cultural Competency Self Assessment


5. Take action as an ally

Go beyond words and literally do something.

Seize this historic moment and make sure it brings about long-lasting long-overdue change.
• Share your resources with others — knowledge, influence, assets


6. Challenge the wealth gap

Be intentional about increasing access to financial services for underserved communities. It’s all about financial inclusion — we have to help people get their shot at jobs as well as the evolving skills needed for both and tomorrow’s jobs.

• Promote financial education early and often with young people
• Foster a long-term perspective on financial wellness


7. Go for big, bold community impact

Change the world one act of service at a time.

• Protect your planet – take small steps for us and future generations
Find a cause that resonates and affect change


8. Get proximate

Be willing to get close — a first step to authentic connections and inclusion.

• Seek out people who are different, like you, and actively listen
• Practice productive dialogue, not just debate


9. Protect peace

Accept that it’s ok to not be ok. Focus on what anchors your life. For me, that’s family and friends, faith and philanthropy.

• Take steps to encourage courageous conversations that enable us to connect, begin healing and get on a path to meaningful progress.
• Spend time with loved ones and/or by yourself doing what you love


10. Set the bar higher

Then reset it.

• Amp your leadership skills with some top podcasts
• Elevate with intention