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Deborah A. Elam

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Information about Deborah A. Elam

Profile image of Deborah A. Elam

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Human Resources Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Strawberries
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

Birthplace

Born:
6/1/1961
Birth Location:
New Orleans, Louisiana

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Human Resources Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Strawberries
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

Birthplace

Born:
6/1/1961
Birth Location:
New Orleans
See how Deborah A. Elam is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Deborah Elam was the Chief Diversity Officer at General Electric (GE), Fairfield, Connecticut. Elam led efforts globally to ensure that all GE employees felt that they had an opportunity to contribute and succeed. Elam was a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and an alumna of Ursuline Academy; she received her B.A. degree in sociology at Louisiana State University (LSU) and a Masters of Public Administration at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Elam’s career began in 1986 with an internship at General Electric while pursuing her graduate degree. Upon graduation, Elam joined GE’s Human Resources Leadership Program in 1987, and had assignments at GE Global Exchange Services and GE Transportation. Upon completion of the training program, Elam was promoted to successively larger human resources roles in GE Consulting Services, GE Capital Mortgage Corp., GE Capital Insurance Services, and GE Capital Markets Services. In June of 2000, Elam became the managing director of Human Resources at GE Capital Commercial Finance; she was promoted in September of 2002 to the office of vice president. In February, 2006, GE’s Board of Directors appointed Elam chief diversity officer of the company, making her one of the highest ranking women at GE. Elam held leadership roles in GE’s African American Forum, GE Women’s Network, and was a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), an organization of the top African Americans in Corporate America Outside of work, Elam served on the Board of Directors of the Fairfield County Community Foundation, Working Mothers Magazine-Women of Color Initiative, and the Elfun Community Foundation. Elam also acted as president of the Fairfield County Chapter of Links, Inc., a member of the National Black MBA Association, and president of the Fairfield County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Elam held memberships in Jack and Jill of America, and the National Council of Negro Women.

Elam received numerous awards and was featured on the cover of the March 2005 issue of The Network Journal Magazine where she was named One of Twenty-five Influential Black Women in Business. Elam received the Brava Award, which was given by the YWCA of Greenwich, Connecticut, to women who achieved at work and gave back to their communities. Elam became a highly sought after speaker, addressing the Commission on Officer Diversity Advancement of the U.S. Army, and serving as a keynote speaker for the Distinguished Speaker Series for the MBA program at LSU, her alma mater. In addition to her business endeavors, Elam and her husband have raised two daughters.


Bio Photo Courtesy of Stuart Walls / Woodstock Studio.

See how Deborah A. Elam is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah A. Elam's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Deborah A. Elam lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Deborah A. Elam describes her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Deborah A. Elam talks about her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Deborah A. Elam describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Deborah A. Elam talks about her maternal relatives
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Deborah A. Elam describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Deborah A. Elam describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Deborah A. Elam describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Deborah A. Elam remembers her neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Deborah A. Elam remembers school integration in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Deborah A. Elam recalls Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Deborah A. Elam recalls the Martinez Kindergarten School in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Deborah A. Elam remembers her early activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Deborah A. Elam recalls her maternal grandfather's luncheonette in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Deborah A. Elam describes her early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Deborah A. Elam remembers Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Deborah A. Elam describes her early aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Deborah A. Elam remembers Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Deborah A. Elam talks about the debutante tradition in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Deborah A. Elam remembers Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Deborah A. Elam recalls transferring to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Deborah A. Elam remembers historic events in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Deborah A. Elam remembers Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Deborah A. Elam recalls her decision to attend graduate school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Deborah A. Elam recalls Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Deborah A. Elam remembers interviewing for a General Electric internship
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Deborah A. Elam talks about interview techniques
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Deborah A. Elam remembers her General Electric internship
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Deborah A. Elam recalls General Electric's management training program, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Deborah A. Elam recalls General Electric's management training program, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Deborah A. Elam describes her early career at General Electric
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Deborah A. Elam describes her work for General Electric in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Deborah A. Elam recalls GE Capital Mortgage Corporation in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Deborah A. Elam talks about balancing her career with motherhood
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Deborah A. Elam recalls General Electric's early diversity initiatives
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Deborah A. Elam remembers developing her human resources skills
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Deborah A. Elam recalls becoming a senior employee at General Electric
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Deborah A. Elam recalls her work for GE Capital Markets Services, Inc.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Deborah A. Elam recalls her role at GE Commercial Finance
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Deborah A. Elam recalls becoming GE Capital's diversity leader
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Deborah A. Elam describes General Electric's employee diversity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Deborah A. Elam talks about Lloyd G. Trotter and Arthur H. Harper
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Deborah A. Elam talks about the social opportunities in Corporate America
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Deborah A. Elam talks about African American female corporate leaders
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Deborah A. Elam describes General Electric's African American Affinity Network
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Deborah A. Elam describes her organizational involvement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Deborah A. Elam talks about her daughters
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Deborah A. Elam describes the importance of history
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Deborah A. Elam describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Deborah A. Elam reflects upon her racial and gender identity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Deborah A. Elam recalls her appointment as a General Electric officer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Deborah A. Elam reflects upon her mentors at General Electric
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Deborah A. Elam reflects upon the importance of motherhood
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Deborah A. Elam narrates her photographs