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



Jacky Wright, the Chief Digital Officer of Microsoft, has been named the most influential Black person in the United Kingdom by Black Enterprise. The executive, who now resides in the United States, claims that she would not have reached the pinnacle of her profession if she had remained in her native country.


In an interview with CNN Business, Wright, who ranked first on Powerful Media's Powerlist 2022, said that she believes her career has stalled in the United Kingdom because of a lack of opportunities and role models for Black women at the top of the corporate ladder.


The Microsoft (MSFT) executive was ranked first in the annual list of Britain's most influential Black people, which was sponsored by PwC, Facebook (FB), and Mastercard. He was followed by Manchester United footballer and child poverty activist Marcus Rashford, Netflix (NFLX) vice president Anne Mensah, and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya (MA).


Wright was born in London, but her professional journey has taken her to both the United States and the United Kingdom, where she has held positions as chief information officer at BP (BP) and General Electric (GE) among other organizations (GE). According to CNN Business, her life "straddles" the borders of the two nations.


As part of a Microsoft-sponsored secondment, she worked for the UK government's tax and customs department for two years as chief digital officer, where she was responsible for overseeing the agency's digital transformation and efforts to streamline tax collection.


She has, however, returned to the United States and is now in a position of considerable power in the government.


"While my title is 'US,' I have global influence due to my work with large multinational corporations and other activities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa, so my purview is global and has always been," she explained. "I work with large multinational corporations and other activities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa, so my purview is global and has always been."


In the meantime, there is still a long way to go


Wright attributes a portion of her success to her geographic location.


CNN Business reported that she believes "the United States offers more opportunities than the United Kingdom."


"At the moment, I believe that the United Kingdom is committed to drawing attention to and focusing on change in earnest. I, on the other hand, believe that we have a long way to go."


David Wright's father was born in Jamaica and was a member of the Royal Air Force during World War II. The experiences he had with racism in the United Kingdom, according to Wright, spurred the family's decision to relocate to the United States, where she went on to attend City University of New York.


It was Enoch Powell who inspired her father and uncles, who believed that change would take much longer in the United Kingdom than it would in the United States, where they believed we had more chance of success. She was referring to the politician who is best known for a 1968 speech opposing immigration from former British colonies.


"In retrospect, I think I'd tend to agree," Wright said in response. For the simple reason that I don't know if I would have ended up as Microsoft's chief digital officer if I hadn't been in the United States pursuing a variety of career opportunities.


Wright's confidence was boosted by the presence of Black women in prominent corporate positions in the United States.


It is "part of it" to have a support group, to have role models, and to imagine herself in the shoes of some of these women, she explained. In particular, we're talking about Ursula Burns, a former CEO of Xerox, and Jerri DeVard, a board member of Under Armour, as well as other women [of color] in senior positions who previously did not exist in the United Kingdom."


There are no Black chief executives, chief financial officers, or chairs at the 100 most valuable companies on the London Stock Exchange according to Green Park, an executive recruitment and diversity consultancy firm. Black executive directors and non-executive directors currently account for 1.1 percent of the FTSE 100 (UKX) board of directors, a decrease from 1.3 percent in 2014.


Approximately 11.4 percent of board seats at Fortune 100 companies in the United States will be held by Black leaders by 2020, according to Deloitte.


Technology has a significant impact


Wright, a career technologist, believes that digital inclusion is critical for the social mobility of people of color, as well as the social mobility of the broader society.


"I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that we are all digitally included, because the world is becoming increasingly digital, and if you are not, you are contributing to the already existing inequality," she said.


"Technology has the potential to be the great equalizer, and as a society, we need to pay close attention to how we go about doing so in the most effective way. The digital curriculum will be unavailable to a large number of people, but some will be excluded from it more than others due to cultural reasons and a lack of access to digital devices "'She made a statement.


She did, however, state that the government must play a role in the process.


According to her, "I believe that the government, in collaboration with the private sector and academia, should provide these wraparound services in order to increase digital inclusion."

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