Chemonics International welcomes Albert E. Smith Jr. as director of corporate diversity and inclusion. Mr. Smith brings 15 years of experience leading medium-to-large inclusive change management initiatives in the federal government, non-profit, and private sectors to Chemonics.
Most recently, Mr. Smith worked at Cook Ross, where he engaged with executives, leaders, and individual contributors at Fortune 100 companies to drive inclusive leadership and cultures through addressing organizational development, including the role of unconscious bias in the workplace. He previously served as the inaugural sexual and gender minority portfolio strategist at the National Institutes of Health, where he earned the organization’s 2016 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award.
With approximately 5,000 employees from around the world and development projects in more than 70 countries, Chemonics’ commitment to diversity and inclusion reflects its global workforce and impact.
“I’m excited to begin working at Chemonics where employees come from such broadly diverse backgrounds and experiences. I especially look forward to tapping this diversity more deeply and propelling employee engagement further. That will be critical to achieving the company’s mission and vision,” said Mr. Smith.
As director of corporate diversity and inclusion, Mr. Smith will oversee the ongoing planning and execution of the company’s strategy for and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Launched in recent years by Chemonics’ employees and leadership and helmed by Chemonics President and CEO Susanna Mudge.
“We believe in recognizing differences and creating a culture where every individual is respected and valued for their uniqueness. We understand that diversity and inclusion are good for our people and good for our business. They are, therefore, integral parts of our culture and the way we work,” said Ms. Mudge. “Our strategy aims to embed diversity and inclusion in all activities by focusing on three strategic areas — the workforce, the workplace, and how Chemonics interacts with the industry and our stakeholders — and by building ongoing organizational capacity to meaningfully engage across differences,” she added.
Mr. Smith will also oversee the work of Chemonics’ Diversity and Inclusion Council and employee resource groups, which play an important role in supporting the needs and goals of the various employee communities they represent.
“Earlier this year, we inaugurated ChemPRIDE, our LGBTQ+ employee resource group,” said Ms. Mudge. “We are excited for Albert to move our diversity and inclusion work forward as we develop similar groups for veterans and persons living with disabilities, among other company-wide initiatives.”
Trained in black cultural studies, queer theory, religious studies, ethics, and critical race studies, Mr. Smith’s experience intersects academia, community development, and corporate social responsibility. He graduated magna cumme laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Fisk University and a master’s degree in theological studies with a concentration in gender and sexuality from Vanderbilt University. He has also furthered his graduate training in cultural studies and in religion and literature at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University—Trinity College, respectively.