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

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Wright, who topped Powerful Media’s Powerlist 2022 ranking, told CNN Business that her career may not have premiered in the UK because there are fewer opportunities and a lack of black women models at the top of the list. ‘business scale.

He Microsoft (MSFT) executive ranked ahead of the Manchester United footballer and Marcus Rashford, advocate for child poverty, Netflix (NFLX) Vice President Anne Mensah and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya on Britain’s annual list of the most influential blacks, sponsored by companies such as PwC, Facebook (FB) i Mastercard (MA).
Wright was born in London, but his career has spread to the United States and the United Kingdom, including as head of intelligence at BP (BP) i TO GIVE (TO GIVE). He told CNN Business that his life is “straddling” the two countries.

She obtained a Microsoft apartment in 2017 and worked for two years as digital director of the UK government’s tax and customs department, overseeing the agency’s digital transformation and efforts to simplify tax collection.

But now he has returned to the United States and is working with expansive influence.

“Even though my role says‘ USA, ’I have a global influence because I work with big global companies and do other things in the UK, Europe and Africa, so my competition is global and it’s always been that way,” he said. to say.

“A long way to go”

Wright attributes part of his success to geography.

“There are more opportunities in the United States than in the United Kingdom,” he told CNN Business.

“And I think that notion of really standing out and focusing on change, at least right now, is very serious in the UK. But I think we 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, it was his experience of racism in Britain that motivated the family to move to the United States, where he attended City University in New York.

“My father and uncles were from the time of Enoch Powell and had a firm belief that change would take much longer in the UK than in the US, where I thought we had a better chance,” he said, in reference to the politician. known for a 1968 speech opposing immigration from the former British colonies.

“In retrospect, I would tend to agree,” Wright said. “Because I’m not sure I’d be Microsoft’s digital director if I hadn’t been in the United States taking a series of professional steps.”

Seeing black women in prominent business positions in the United States provided an increase in confidence, according to Wright.

“One part is about having a support group, having role models to follow and seeing what it could be, based on looking at some of these women,” she said. “We are talking [former Xerox CEO] Ursula Burns i [Under Armour board member] Jerri DeVard and other women [of color] in senior positions that did not exist in the United Kingdom “.

According to Green Park, a diversity consulting and executive recruitment agency, there are no CEOs, CFOs or black chairs in the top 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange. The percentage of black executive directors and non – executive directors in the FTSE 100 (UKX) it is 1.1%, compared to 1.3% in 2014, according to the agency.

In the United States, 11.4% of the seats on the board of directors of Fortune 100 companies were occupied by black leaders in 2020, according to Deloitte.

Technology makes the difference

As a professional technologist, Wright believes that digital inclusion is critical to the social mobility of people of color and society at large.

“I think it’s up to us to make sure we’re all included digitally because the world is digital and if it isn’t, it exacerbates the inequality that exists,” he said.

“Technology has the ability to be the great equalizer, so we really need to focus on that as a society and how we do it properly. Digital resumes exclude a lot of people, but some people will be excluded more than others for reasons. cultural and the lack of access to devices, ”he said.

But he said the government has a role to play.

“I think the government should work in partnership with the private sector and academia to provide these global-type services to improve digital inclusion,” he said.

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