Adventures of Dr. Sandra Casey Buford Director of Strategic Research/Diversity, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 2013 Winner of the COMTO National James G. Neusom Founders Award
 

Adventures of Dr. Sandra Casey Buford Director of Strategic Research/Diversity, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 2013 Winner of the COMTO National James G. Neusom Founders Award

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When I reflect on my entire life I am stunned at how fast it has sped by, and I am amazed at how much I have been able to accomplish, including being a wife and mother of four talented, high ...

When I reflect on my entire life I am stunned at how fast it has sped by, and I am amazed at how much I have been able to accomplish, including being a wife and mother of four talented, high responsible human beings. . I am humbled by the incredible number of brilliant, talented people that I’ve had the privilege to read about, work with, become acquainted with, and befriend. Most importantly, I am in awe of the amount of knowledge that exists in the universe, both known and not yet discovered. I am resolved to never stop learning, and my ultimate goal is to continue to improve myself, to help others, and to stay engaged in meaningful work……forever.

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  • Another inspiring story in the series! The comment about the importance of mentoring really resonates with me; I believe wholeheartedly in paying it forward.
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Adventures of Dr. Sandra Casey Buford Director of Strategic Research/Diversity, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 2013 Winner of the COMTO National James G. Neusom Founders Award Adventures of Dr. Sandra Casey Buford Director of Strategic Research/Diversity, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 2013 Winner of the COMTO National James G. Neusom Founders Award Document Transcript

  • Every week we will feature the adventures of one amazing woman. We aim to celebrate the varied and colourful roles women play within industry and business. Experience inspirational, real stories by real women; Interested in being featured? Please send your adventures to info@zarsmedia.com For previous adventures please click here As I frequently do so for myself, I encourage everyone to take time to reflect on their personal career and life experiences from time to time; and I am honored to participate in the Zars Media project, celebrating the journeys of working women. I’ve found that reflecting is also about discovery; and each time I do so, one or even several aspects of my personal journey becomes more vivid, lucid, and distinct. Each reflection is a new journey, in of itself. My journey is an accumulation of thousands (maybe even millions) of memorable moments, some of which are crystal-clear in my mind; others that are more foggy, but I’m always amazed at how they can be awakened with an unanticipated cue. I reflect every day, and I describe it as my mind in constant motion……connecting the dots, adding periods, question marks, and an occasional exclamation mark; but I realize in the end, that this is my unique life. This is me! My Journey Begins: My journey began when I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, named Sandra Darlene Casey, a Black American baby girl born of parents, Joseph Casey Jr., and Abbie Elizabeth Daniels Casey. Both of my parents were part of The United States Great Migration of Blacks from the South to the North during the late 1940’s. My father was an ex-military member of the US Army, and a laborer in the Pittsburgh steel mills. My mother was a college graduate with a BS from an HBCU (Historically Black College/University), Paine College, in Augusta, Georgia. She was also a homemaker, and later, a special education teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. My parents were two individuals who, despite their own personal limitations, would do everything in their power to secure a “better” future for their three daughters. As a result, all three of the Casey girls earned graduate degrees and hold professional positions. The background of my family and the values that they held has a strong impact on the way I plan and live my life…… These values are prominent drivers that help shape many of the goals I aspire to and the choices that I make …….. (1) You are black and beautiful, and expect and demand equal treatment; (2) you can achieve anything, despite inevitable challenges; and finally (3) hard work is not an option, ever. As a young black girl growing up in the 1960’s, I needed this inspiration, and I held fast to these values throughout my formative years. Up to this day in 2013, I continue to respond to the power of these parental and family values. Career Accomplishments: I admit, up front, that I was definitely a beneficiary of Affirmative Action when I was offered the opportunity to begin my career in Human Resources. At the time, the University of Michigan had an affirmative action plan minority female goal. I had no experience as a recruiter, but I was certainly qualified with a bachelors degree; and I was articulate, witty, and smart. I’m not ashamed of the affirmative action connection to my first professional job; and I welcome the opportunity to talk about it. I like to relate that when I accepted the position as a recruiter at the university, I committed to learn everything I could about the job and the field, and I took advantage of that opportunity to go above and beyond to advance as far as I Adventures of Dr. Sandra Casey Buford Director of Strategic Research/Diversity, Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 2013 Winner of the COMTO National James G. Neusom Founders Award
  • possibly could. My efforts paid off and I was able to build a professional career track for myself in all aspects of the field, including talent management, employee relations, organizational development, compensation, labor relations, and training and development. I admit that it was easier to make those promotional moves in the 1980s and 1990s, but I was always ready to advance to the next level. I consistently stayed on point with excellent job performance, and I went above and beyond what was required. To this day, I still believe that affirmative action is a valuable strategic management tool; however I've observed that it is often misused and misunderstood in many organizations. An effective affirmative action plan needs to be accompanied with other key management actions such as business and workforce planning, professional development, and succession planning. It worked for me, and the University benefited by hiring, developing, and retaining a high potential employee who performed at her best for six years, leaving behind a legacy of contributions. Who knows whether or not I would have otherwise been hired for that first professional opportunity; but building upon that first post-college professional job at the University of Michigan as an HR recruiter, I am now a seasoned organizational development and behavior, and HR expert who has held a number of senior leadership positions in a variety of industries. Today, with over 20 years of professional experience, I am an author and researcher who worked in a range of industries including transportation, technology, health care, and academia, in domestic and global settings, including fortune 500 firms. I have also served as a professor in several Boston-based colleges and universities instructing graduate students in HR, OD, Management, and Diversity and Inclusion. I currently serve as a senior manager at the Massachusetts Port Authority in Boston, Massachusetts. Above all, I’m extremely proud of having owned and operated a successful consulting practice, serving national and international clients. Being a business owner is the job I love the most; and I’m planning to resume that role some day, perhaps very soon. Mentoring is the Key to Success: People often ask me to name a key success factor for my personal career success, and I always respond, with no hesitation…….mentoring. The reason? Everyone, no matter what you’ve accomplished or achieved, can benefit from mentoring. I have personally benefited from mentoring throughout my career, including now; and I make it a point to look for opportunities to mentor others, especially women; but also men, and in particular, youth. Mentoring is a way to share what you know, and you’ve learned in order to expose another person to options that they might not have had, otherwise. Some people think that mentoring requires a huge amount of time, a steep commitment, and energy; and sometimes a formal program does ask for that. However, mentoring can be informal, and I’ve found that informal mentoring is highly effective. For example, I regularly initiate a meeting with a person whom I admire, or would like to know more about. These interactions have opened the door for many more opportunities flowing my way. On the other hand, I stay open and ready to respond to requests for mentoring others. These mentoring interactions can be short or long term, depending on the relationship. I engage in all forms of mentoring, including reciprocal mentoring, formal mentoring, and informal mentoring. One additional type of mentoring....self-mentoring.....is something I do daily. It is during these self-mentoring sessions that I draw upon my core values and experiences to reaffirm my goals and objectives; and I review who I am and what I want to do next. The benefits of all types of mentoring are well worth the effort and the time. Reflecting into the Future: When I reflect on my entire life I am stunned at how fast it has sped by, and I am amazed at how much I have been able to accomplish, including being a wife and mother of four talented, high responsible human beings. . I am humbled by the incredible number of brilliant, talented people that I’ve had the privilege to read about, work with, become acquainted with, and befriend. Most importantly, I am in awe of the amount of knowledge that exists in the universe, both known and not yet discovered. I am resolved to never stop learning, and my ultimate goal is to continue to improve myself, to help others, and to stay engaged in meaningful work……forever. Dr. Sandra Casey Buford Director of Strategic Research/Diversity Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) 2013 Winner of the COMTO National James G. Neusom Founders Award