Where Are They Now?: Andrea Grant

Kellie Frye Photography

Using conference connections to ascend the corporate ladder—and to give back

Andrea Grant attended her first Diversity Woman Business Leadership Conference about 15 years ago. “I was 31, had just transitioned jobs, and was struggling as a special-needs parent,” she says. “I was excited and nervous about attending because I was
still learning who I was as a professional while juggling caretaking responsibilities.”

Fast-forward to today. After working at such organizations as the Human Resource Standards Institute and outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Grant now leads the growth and expansion efforts for the Human Capital division at consulting firm FutureSense, which is based in Irvine, California. In that role, she partners with organizations to design and execute critical business and human resources programs that identify and leverage talent within underrepresented groups. She also volunteers as a DEI co-lead for human resources organization SHRM, where she develops strategies, tactics, and resources for chapters across the state of Maryland.

She spoke with Diversity Woman about how the conference helped fuel her rise.

Diversity Woman: What were your biggest takeaways from the conference?

Andrea Grant: I learned the importance of executive presence and networking. And that I should continue surrounding myself with smart people I could have a knowledge exchange with. I also learned that, as a younger professional in a global company who aspired to do much more than I was doing, all I dreamed of and more were possible. I actually got to talk to and hear from women who had achieved goals I had only envisioned on paper. I also learned that I wanted to get involved as more than just an attendee. As soon as the free executive coaching offerings started, I signed up to coach others, and have been doing it every year since then.

DW: How did the insights or connections you made help you in your career?

AG: The information, tools, resources, and connections I have made there over the last 15 years have been invaluable as I set goals and continually learn and improve, personally and professionally. I have books and note cards and other props from over the years in my office that I refer to often and reference to others in my work. I even gift some of the books from authors I’ve met through the conference, to empower other women in their journey. I have recommended conference attendees for jobs and speaking engagements as well. The most important component of attending the conference year after year is what I can pour into others as an executive coach as they optimize their performance and maximize their income.

DW: Do you have any advice for other women preparing to attend a Diversity Woman conference?

AG: Yes!

  • Be fully present.
  • Attend every event—from the welcome reception through the closing session.
  • Take notes.
  • Invite a friend or colleague to share the experience with you.
  • Prepare and share a thank-you and return on investment [ROI] message with the leader who sponsored your attendance at the conference.

DW: How has the Diversity Woman Business Leadership Conference benefited your career?

AG: This conference is an irreplaceable tool! That’s why it’s been an intentional part of my personal and professional tool kit for going on 18 years. The insights I gained and connections I made at the conferences have been woven into each part of my life and journey well beyond my professional life. I’ve benefited from the gems I’ve learned about motherhood, finances, health, and well-being. DW

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