Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Debut Director

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Debut Director

Article excerpt

For Pamela Gibbs, the need to create paths to diversity and equality within the workplace is rooted in a history of personal and academic triumphs during the civil rights movement.

"I always had this fantasy of doing civil rights and equal employment opportunity law," says Gibbs, director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Gibbs--who grew up in Fauquier County, Va., at a time when segregation was still prevalent and in a town where many public establishments still closed their doors to African-Americans--credits her parents, who were strong advocates of education, for being the force behind their children's paths to becoming first-generation college graduates.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia during a time of racial transition, Gibbs was one of only 5 percent of African-Americans who attended the university. While there, she was active in the movement to advocate for increased diversity among faculty members.

After receiving her master's in public administration from George Mason University and juris doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, Gibbs began a career in the civil rights division of the Office of the Solicitor in the Labor Department as a trial attorney.

For more than eight years, she was responsible for overseeing complaints and compliance reviews, enforcing affirmative action obligations and addressing class action discrimination suits. Though the opportunity to work in her desired vocation, along with the ability to travel and gain trial experience, was beneficial to her professional growth, Gibbs found that her expertise would better serve the agency in another capacity.

"What I realized ... is that I prefer to ... help resolve matters before they became complaints and litigation," says Gibbs, who made a career shift in 2009 as director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Commodity Futures Training Division.

From this experience, Gibbs gained the necessary skills for her role as the inaugural director of the SEC's Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, which is responsible for all matters relating to diversity in management, employment and business activities in the agency.

Working as a director of diversity and inclusion at the SEC has been her most gratifying career move yet. The passion for her work lies in her acceptance that the SEC is the investor's advocate, and the more diverse the agency is, the better it can protect investors, the market and the country. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.