Alan Bowser, Chief Diversity Officer and Co-Head of the Americas Region, joined Wharton Assistant Professor Stephanie Creary in an interview to share his thoughts on sponsorship, mentorship, and inclusion in the workplace. A graduate of Wharton, Alan reflected on his personal experience to demonstrate how individuals and companies can help people from underrepresented groups receive the same type of support and opportunities enjoyed by others.
With stints in politics, the non-profit sector, and finance, each step of Alan’s journey was supported by sponsors and mentors, he explained. These allies did more than just advise him, they helped build the path for success by exposing him to excellence and coaching him towards it — an approach that he believes is scalable through programs designed to foster network-driven opportunities. Alan went on to describe how, in his role as Senior Sponsor of the Bridgewater Black Network, he and other leaders connect with the company’s emerging Black talent and guide them in both formal and informal ways — helping to shape Bridgewater’s next generation of leaders.
Alan went on to say that inclusion is what truly unlocks the power of diversity: “Diversity without inclusion is like an airplane without lift,” he said. He shared how Bridgewater seeks to address both components of D&I through companywide behavioral and cultural shifts, an effort that is spearheaded by both senior leadership and grass-roots initiatives. This type of support gives Alan confidence that Bridgewater’s initiatives will continue to reap greater and greater benefits for individuals and for the company overall.
In closing, Alan shared his belief that “there is no shortage of diverse talent that is well prepared — the thing that is in shorter supply…is opportunity.” Alan’s career is the perfect example of what happens when diverse talent is given an opportunity to succeed. Alan and Bridgewater hope to duplicate this process for generations to come.
You can listen to the full podcast here.