Celebrating Black History Month 2021

Meet Our Employees

Celebrating Black History Month 2021

Meet our employees

February 2021

James LeGrand

Vice President, Program Management, Global Operations and Technology

Orlando, FL

Meet James

 

James specializes in program management. He currently supports the company’s Know Your Customer program, which focuses on business risk identification and assessment.  

 

What excites you about working at BNY Mellon?

 

Over the 15 years I’ve been with BNY Mellon, what excites me the most is the ability to work for a firm with highly intelligent and capable people who are willing to stop what they are doing to help someone else. The willingness to collaborate is a mainstay of our culture.

 

How is diversity important to you?

 

As an African America born just two years after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Black history is very important to me. Black people contributed much to the American story, and I’m thankful that we take the time during periods such as Black History Month in the U.S. to reflect and honor those achievements and the memories of those who accomplished them.  I also look forward to the day when Black history is better integrated into American History in our schools and our general discourse.

 

We’ve made tremendous progress in the U.S., and that progress continues in leaps and bounds. Today’s efforts around diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging found a renewed energy and focus and is attracting a large number of allies. Together, we are writing the next chapters in Black history.

 

Tell us how you’re living BNY Mellon’s ‘integrity’ value?

 

Our value of integrity says that we do what’s right always and that we challenge each other, even when it’s uncomfortable. I was absolutely terrified when I was first asked to share aspects of my story because I’ve spent my almost 30-year career purposely not talking about race. Discussing race as a Black person feels like you are risking everything you’ve worked so hard for in your professional life.

 

I’m happy to report that in having these conversations, I learned that our associates and management have a tremendous depth of compassion and empathy. So many people have spoken to me publicly and privately about how these conversations have positively impacted them, opened their eyes to a different perspective and helped them understand the cultural and systemic conditions that negatively affect Black and Brown people every day.  

 

It’s taken us a long time to get to a place where we can have these types of conversations. It takes trust, safe spaces, non-judgement and a willingness to be vulnerable. In short, it takes a culture of integrity.