Deborah Elam (Deb), is a visionary senior executive and one of the country’s foremost experts in Diversity. She is an inspiring speaker, presenting on diversity to such esteemed audiences as The United Nations in New York and The House of Commons in London.
Deb is the President and CEO of Corporate Playbook™, a company that provides leaders with strategic direction to elevate diversity, inclusion, philanthropy, and culture in the workplace.
In addition to Corporate Playbook™, Deb created and hosts Dining with Deb™, an innovative dining experience that brings together professional women across racial, religious and political lines to drive meaningful connections and conversations.
Deb was GE’s first-ever black female corporate officer. Her role as Global Chief Diversity Officer placed her in the top 185 of 300,000 employees. In Deb’s decorated thirty-year career at General Electric (GE), she led GE’s philanthropic efforts through the GE Foundation’s $130M budget and GE Volunteers, to tackle some of the world’s most critical challenges across health, education and skill attainment.
Deb is a powerful connector who elevates those around her. As a leader and mentor, she oversaw a course for women called Leadership Practices which had an 85% retention rate of participants 5 years later. The course became one of GE’s most highly rated courses. Deb took this a step further with Developing Women Leaders: Synergistic Forces Driving Change. This initiative provided high-potential women with the experience and visibility necessary to become leaders and led to a significant increase in female representation at the leadership level. Deb’s efforts enabled GE to win the prestigious Catalyst award for foremost organizations supporting women’s growth and advancement.
Deb has received numerous accolades, including 50 Most Powerful Women in Philanthropy from Inside Philanthropy, Women of Excellence Legacy Award from the National Association for Female Executives, and Women of Power Award from the National Urban League.
Deb received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, from Louisiana State University and a Master of Public Administration, from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.
Deb serves on the board of directors of DJE Holdings (Edelman), the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute and the Louisiana State University Foundation. She was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE). Deb is also a member of the National Black MBA Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated.