Promoting Diversity at the SEC | Teachers College Columbia University

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Promoting Diversity at the SEC

Earlier this year, after nearly three decades of working in investor protection at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ronald Crawford (Ed.D., 1978) realized it was time for a change. Not so much for him as for the SEC itself, where approximately one-third of all employees belong to a minority group, but only seven percent of those were at the senior-pay level in 2007.
“As an African American, I thought there could be more diversity at the Commission, especially at the managerial level,” says Crawford. So he approached his bosses at the agency to suggest they appoint someone to monitor that issue by creating a position much like those that exist in other government agencies and in the private sector. His bosses agreed, and on July 13, Crawford himself was named the SEC’s first Chief Counsel for Diversity and Policy Initiatives. “I’m really excited about it,” he says.
Perhaps surprisingly, Crawford’s path to the SEC began at TC. While studying at the college as a Ford Foundation Fellow, Crawford took Professor E. Edmund Reutter’s class on the legal aspects of education, which inspired him to enroll in Columbia Law School. While there, he took a course on securities law and corporations. He eventually connected with a recruiter from the SEC, who offered him a job.
Only a month into his new position, Crawford knows it won’t be an easy task. “To enhance or improve diversity is not going to be a quick or easy fix,” he says. “But if one day I can say that my legacy was improving diversity at the Commission, I’ll feel pretty good.”

Published Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009