Seek, speak, listen: Boeing’s global culture shift, with Sara Bowen

Sara Bowen is the VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Boeing, a multinational aerospace company founded more than 100 years ago. How do you lead diversity, equity and inclusion at an award-winning level for more than 140,000 people worldwide? In this episode, Sara shares best practices on leading global teams, the imperative of transparency and authenticity and becoming a “magnet” for high-performing diverse professionals.


Jackie: Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to season seven of the diversity beyond the checkbox podcast, whether this is your first episode or your 50th, thank you for listening. I’m so excited to introduce my guest Sara Bowen. Sara is a senior leader in equity, diversity, inclusion, human resources, and employment law who has led DEI efforts for some of America’s most iconic brands.

She currently serves as Vice President of global equity, diversity and inclusion at Boeing, where she leads the company’s efforts to create a workplace culture in which every employee feels valued, respected, included, and inspired to reach their full potential. Sara, thank you for being here.

Sara: Thank you, Jackie. I’m excited to be here too. And it’s really nice to meet.

Jackie: It’s nice to meet you as well. Sara, can you start us off by just telling you us a little about yourself, your background, your family, your identity, whatever you’d like to share.

Sara: Yes. Thank you for asking Jackie. So I’m the youngest of three daughters, raised by our mom who immigrated to the states when she was 13, from Taiwan, not speaking any English and my dad who was from a tiny little town in Illinois, kind of a, an Illinois farm kid. They landed in Northern Wisconsin, in a town that was almost entirely white and they raised us three girls.

And so I, you know, from a very young age, had this identity as an outsider because in those days, you know, we were very aware of our difference. We were a very other kids, you know, made us very aware that we look different, and that was incredibly formative for me. And I, it’s not to say I had a bad childhood.

I actually had a very happy childhood with a lot of love surrounding me, but it was one very much where I formed an identity as an outsider.

Jackie: Mm-hmm. And Sara, tell me how that made you feel growing up as a child and how that plays into what you do now as a profession and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Sara: Yeah, I, you know, I, as a child, there was this sense of injustice and it was because, you know, you know, frankly, we were, we, we got pushed around, we got called, racial slurs and, and there was something just so not, not right about that. Right? The, the, a racial slur stings more than a regular insult.

Full Episode Transcript

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The Inclusive Language Handbook: A Guide to Better Communication and Transformational Leadership, by Jackie Ferguson and Roxanne Bellamy

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