Microsoft’s Jacky Wright had to leave the UK to become its most influential black

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Wright is at the top of the powerful media’s 2022 power list. She told CNN Business that her career may not have taken off in the UK because of fewer opportunities at the top of the corporate ladder and lack of role models for black women.

this Microsoft (Microsoft Financial Services) Executive rankings are ahead of Manchester United football player and child poverty activist Marcus Rashford, Netflix (NFLX) In the annual list of Britain’s most influential blacks sponsored by companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Vice President Anne Mensah and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluya, Facebook (FB) with MasterCard (Well).
Wright was born in London, but her career has spanned the United States and the United Kingdom, including in BP (BP) with Give (Give)She told CNN Business that her life “crossed” the two countries.

She was seconded from Microsoft in 2017 and served as the Chief Digital Officer of the UK Government’s Tax and Customs Department for two years, responsible for overseeing the agency’s digital transformation and tax simplification.

But now she is back to America, working Has a wide-ranging impact.

“Although my role is’America’, I have global influence, because I work with large multinational companies, and I do other things in the UK, Europe and Africa, so my mandate is global and has always been That way,” she said.

‘there’s still a long way to go’

Wright attributes some of her success to geography.

“The United States has more opportunities than the United Kingdom,” she told CNN Business.

“And I think this concept of really emphasizing and focusing on change, at least for now, is serious in the UK. But I think we still have a long way to go.”

Wright’s father was born in Jamaica and served in the Royal Air Force during World War II.According to Wright, this is his The British experience of racism prompted her family to move to the United States, where she studied at the City University of New York.

“My father and uncle are both from the era of Enoch Powell. They firmly believe that change in the United Kingdom takes longer than the United States. He believes that the United States has a better opportunity,” she said, referring to the politician’s opposition in 1968. Famous for the speeches of immigrants from the former British colonies.

“In hindsight, I tend to agree,” Wright said. “Because if I didn’t take a series of professional steps in the United States, I’m not sure I would become Microsoft’s chief digital officer.”

Wright said that seeing black women holding important corporate positions in the United States has boosted confidence.

She said: “Part of the reason is to set up a support group, set an example, and see what kind of person I can be based on observing these women.” “We’re talking about [former Xerox CEO] Ursula Burns and [Under Armour board member] Jerri DeVard and other women [of color] Hold a senior position that does not exist in the UK. “

According to Green Park, an executive recruitment and diversity consulting agency, there are no black CEOs, CFOs, or chairs among the 100 most valuable companies on the London Stock Exchange.Black executive directors and non-executive directors FTSE 100 (UKX) According to the agency, it was 1.1%, down from 1.3% in 2014.

According to data from Deloitte, in the United States, 11.4% of the board seats of the Fortune 100 companies in 2020 will be occupied by black leaders.

Technology makes a difference

As a professional technologist, Wright sees digital inclusion as the core of social mobility for people of color and the wider society.

“I think we have a responsibility to ensure that all of us are digitized, because the world is digital, and if you are not, it will exacerbate the inequality that exists,” she said.

“Technology has the power to be a great equalizer, so as a society, we really need to focus on this and how we can do it the right way. Digital courses exclude many people, but some will be excluded. Others are due to cultural reasons and unable to use the equipment,” she said.

But she said the government can play a role.

“I think the government should work with the private sector and academia to provide these wrap-around services to improve digital inclusion,” she said.

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