• Ayanna Anderson

    Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

  • Tell us about yourself.

    I am so excited to step into the role of Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, as it coalesces three areas of my professional expertise: public relations, community engagement, and ethnic studies. I come to this work having had the lived experience of spending a significant part of my career in the tech/healthcare PR agency sector before making the tough decision to leave it behind as an act of self-preservation; I didn’t feel that I had the requisite support system to truly thrive. As such, I feel uniquely qualified to support our diverse staff while also fortifying our talent pipeline and industry partnerships.

    What are your focus areas?

    I am focusing on recruitment with an emphasis on Black and LatinX hires; strong retention and career advancement opportunities for diverse staff; and evangelizing our DIBs journey–both internally and externally.

    What’s your notable work experience prior to coming to Highwire?

    Prior to joining Highwire, I spent a decade in the field of donation and transplantation. I led strategic initiatives to drive awareness and promote advocacy for increasing the number of organ and tissue donors throughout the Bay Area. It was, by far, one of the most transformative professional experiences that I ever had..I never tired of the mission.

    What got you into this business in the first place?

    My love of storytelling, writing, and creative ideation.

    What was your finest moment, the thing you’re most proud of?

    Launching the first national industry-led conversation about strategies for engaging African Americans about the need for more organ and tissue donors in the BLM era.

    What was your most embarrassing moment in this business?

    During my first month as a newly-minted AE, I mispronounced Reuters as Route-ers, and my peer trainer gave me SUPER side eye before correcting me. Lesson learned! Thankfully, I went on to secure some pretty sweet Reuters media coverage years later.

    What was growing up like for you?

    I grew up in the most idyllic neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Our family has been there for more than three generations, and I loved everything about it: the architecture, the warm/friendly Midwest vibes, the eclectic shops, and, of course: the food! Good times.

    What do you do for a good time when you’re not working?

    I’m a reformed party animal, however, these days it involves lots of Bay Area adventures with my hubby/two sons as well as girlfriends. Though we have been slowed down a bit by COVID, we have managed to enjoy: lots of hikes, road trips, backyard bbqs, garden/landscaping projects, impromptu 90’s dance parties, baking, and lots of ZOOMs and video calls with our extended family members. For 2021, I’m trying to add a new hobby into the mix: crocheting. I see lots of scarves and potholders in my future.

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