Quick facts about Deonna:
- Married, with a daughter and two sons
- Children’s book author in her spare time
- Personal heroes? Her mother and grandmother. For passing on their ethics, commitment, and humour, which keep her “grounded, laughing and loving life."
After joining our US business ITG Brands as a senior director in February 2021, Deonna Chambers has brought the benefit of her experience and inspiring leadership to the Talent and Capability team. But, the importance of her role doesn’t end at talent acquisition, internal communications, training and development.
Deonna leads Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) for ITG Brands. However, her positive impact has sent ripples throughout the Imperial business worldwide. Her insights, her voice, and her ability to shape diverse, open, valued teams has excited us all. In her own words, here’s why she believes in DIB and why she chose to join the business.
What is it about your past, present and future that brought you here?
"Earlier in my career, I had the opportunity to work with a female South African CFO and a female African American CHRO, and I was highly encouraged by their strategic outlooks, leadership capability and drive. For the first time, I was working at an organisation that included diverse leaders at the top. Their representation influenced me to never stop pushing forward towards my goals.
"I cannot stress enough the impact of diverse representation. When ITG Brands reached out, I had a conversation with Kim Reed (CEO of ITG Brands) and Michele Deuterman (SVP Human Resources). What stood out most was the incredible opportunity to work within an environment that is dedicated to diversity, people development and results. I also loved that both Kim and Michele were so professionally successful, but well-rounded in their personal and family lives. I felt an immediate sense of belonging with them and the wider global business."
What is the secret to being a leader of truly successful Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)?
"D&I transcends visual characteristics, and embraces backgrounds, experiences, education… The essence of D&I is bringing your ‘authentic self’ to work, and inclusion is key. You never know who has the million-dollar idea. The only way to get such ideas, is to openly invite people to the table and give them clarity that they all have the right, and are encouraged, to speak up.
"As a leader, it is my job to create the platform for inclusive conversations. I pride myself on creating spaces for employees to be open and brilliant. People leaders might think that if they treat all their team members exactly the same, they are being inclusive. Actually, you have to pay close attention to how you get the best from each individual, then adapt your leadership style. That’s how we meet our goals and succeed."