Carla Grant-Pickens is Vice President, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for IBM Corporation. She and her team work to create and maintain an inclusive culture and workforce for the multinational company.

Carla says that IBM supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW) in many ways, but most importantly, they “hope to close the digital divide in underserved communities.”

“Our goal is to provide opportunities to build skills, education, and opportunity toward STEM careers in Tech,” she concludes. Carla is Chair of this year’s BlueFest event, BGCGW’s annual fundraiser and open house.

Growing up as a local Washington, DC area Club Kid herself, Carla says that the values of friendship, play and creativity fill her memories. She went on to graduate from the University of Maryland with a BS in Economics and an MS in Human Resources.

BGCGW recently connected with Carla about her experience as a Club Kid.

Q&A with Carla Grant Pickens

Q:  What are some of your favorite memories/activities from your time as a “Club Kid”?

A:  I was just excited to know I was going to the club, the walk there from home. While at the Club, meeting friends and making new friends, playing games, activities of the day! (It was) fun, educational, creative.

Q:  What motivates you to give back (volunteer, mentor, donate)?

A:  I am a product of someone volunteering, mentoring, or donating to the BGCGW.  It is one of the things that changed my life living in the inner city in Washington, DC during my youth. It is my passion to give back what someone else gave to me. It is important to have “people” in your life that are invested to help you grow through learning. It is an added bonus to have role models of what good looks like, and it is especially and added bonus when good looks like you. It made me feel like my possibilities were endless to achieve my dreams in life.

Q:  How has Boys & Girls Clubs made an impact on the person you are today?

A:  It provided a psychological safety to be a kid and build confidence, also to explore possibilities, learn from others and build social skills in the various activities the club had to offer.

Q:  Who was your favorite Boys & Girls Clubs mentor, and why?

A:  Wow… I am pretty seasoned, i.e. old J in a young way… I use to go to the club between the ages of 7-12… with my older sister and a friend. There were so many and I can’t remember anyone specific.

Q:  Why did your company choose to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington?

A:  Our goal is to provide opportunity to build skills, education, and opportunity to STEM careers in Tech.  This is our opportunity to showcase the opportunities to learn tech and have fun at the same time.  Our hope to close the digital divide in underserved communities.

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