GLOBE Spotlight: Craig Byll on Driving Positive Change
In honor of Black History Month, we interviewed members of our GLOBE (Global Link of Black Employees) network about their roles, diverse backgrounds, the impact of the employee resource group (ERG) and what it means to be an ally of the Black, African, African-American and West-Indian communities.
We spoke with Craig Byll, Senior Sales Analyst, Investment Intelligence at Nasdaq.
Tell us about your role at Nasdaq.
I am a Senior Sales Analyst here at Nasdaq, on the Investment Intelligence team. Among core responsibilities, I work on business analytics, reporting, data administration, and development of sales metrics and KPIs, with a focus on the revenue end of the business. As a new frontier in my role, I have recently been empowered to expand further into building a Business Intelligence framework, particularly with new infrastructure and insights leveraging business intelligence tools like Salesforce and Tableau. The main challenge I try to solve is, “what business-related questions would you like to answer using data”?
Additionally, my team supports our correspondence with clients across the board regarding their market data needs. We collaborate with our marketing team on lead generation and tracking campaign progress and work alongside our Product Management team, looking at our data and results to improve our products. One might say we wear several different hats, but I think it is a testament to the numerous opportunities here at Nasdaq to add value to whatever you are engaged in. I have the privilege to work with an excellent team of sales professionals who I learn quite a bit from every day, and we work together as a unit. From internal meetings to sync-up on new products, or broad-based conversations with Nasdaq’s most eager clients, they bring their very best day in and day out and are a pleasure to work with.
Why did you decide to join GLOBE?
I decided to join GLOBE because I immediately found a sense of community and belonging when I encountered the group. GLOBE welcomed me in with open arms the moment I started here at Nasdaq in search of a diverse network, and I have not looked back since joining this experience. GLOBE at Nasdaq is one big family, and that is evident in many aspects of how the organization functions. Members and Allies of GLOBE have been able to bond over a multitude of interests, hobbies, media and topics that we might have in common, as well as the ability to embrace unique experiences that shed light on us as individuals with our own vastly distinct identities. GLOBE represents unity beyond the experiences we let one another into, but also through the values we might share, as vast as fostering a more diverse and inclusive community, and driving forth impactful change beyond our company and throughout the various pockets of the globe (no pun intended) from which we all come from.
How would you describe the employee resource group to a new employee?
GLOBE’s name speaks for itself. As the Global Link of Black Employees, this employee resource group unites employees from across the diaspora as well as those who would like to be part of the network and support our cause. To echo its mission, GLOBE sets out to empower the success of employees with initiatives that promote professional advancement; provide networking opportunities; and build mentorship, advocacy and community outreach efforts. It succeeds in this right and provides numerous opportunities for members to build beyond barriers.
Favorite memory while being a part of the employee network?
While all GLOBE experiences have a special place in my heart, my favorite memory in particular has been the previous year’s celebrations for Black History Month. Among a host of events that celebrated black excellence, there was a fantastic panel featuring legends in their own right, the veteran journalist and news mogul Soledad O’Brien and the acclaimed music mogul and record executive Kevin Lyles.
How can people outside of the GLOBE network be a good ally to the Black, African, African-American and West Indian community?
I believe the most imperative part of being an ally to the Black and Brown communities that GLOBE members belong to is to learn what it truly means to be an advocate for equal rights and, to quote Ibram X. Kendi, “Antiracist” – in effect actively against racism and implicit bias. Part of an alliance is taking upon the role of an advocate and educator. Allies must educate those around who have privilege, so they can understand and empathize with the injustices experienced by those with less privilege. Privilege itself essentially speaks to the fact that one has never had to encounter or experience the effects of cultural bias, racism and prejudice firsthand.
What is your goal while being a member of GLOBE this year?
My GLOBE goal for this year is to drive as much positive change and impact as possible, representative of our mission as a group. Looking back at the past year and the current state of affairs regarding civil rights and the fight for equality throughout the world, evidently, we are tasked with the unique mandate to be the change we want to see in this world. The fight for Social Justice, Equal Rights/Opportunity, and ultimately for a more accepting, just and equitable world for all colors and creeds is at a critical point today. We cannot ignore this moment and must continue to push harder to make progress. Furthermore, GLOBE created a Diversity Task Force following the tumultuous events of this past summer. The Task Force is comprised of several pillar committees designed to address systemic issues that we believe we have the ability to improve as advocates for change and representatives of an organization in Nasdaq that supports our vision as a vanguard of disrupting the status quo. Among initiatives from this task force is the Community Involvement and Volunteering task force pillar, of which I am a member.
It is imperative that we seek purpose in what we do –that is what truly makes life fulfilling and meaningful.
We have pursued projects where we can engage with underprivileged Black and Brown communities and provide access to resources that would otherwise be limited or inaccessible, like Financial Literacy programs, Writing Mentorship, College Networking/Mentorship, Internship Pipeline Programs, and more.
In what ways can companies support their employees and further support social justice?
There is a multitude of ways that companies can support their employees and further Social Justice. Charitable contributions to non-profit organizations that support equal rights and opportunities for Black and Brown communities; Providing support and uplifting Black Businesses; Voter Rights initiatives; Provision of funding and adequate resources (i.e., education, career opportunities, mentorship, innovative technologies) to underprivileged communities; Backing legislative initiatives (i.e., the fight against mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline); and Funding HBCU’s, are all just a few matters in an endless list of options that companies can engage in, to support the fight for social justice.
Within the corporate realm, there are many policy-based initiatives companies can adopt to influence social justice from the inside out. Adopting ESG best practices and making the shift to more equitable hiring is an example of a conversation that should be a no-brainer prerogative in every C-Suite.
Nasdaq’s recent Board Diversity proposal is a step forth in the right direction when it comes to addressing an enormous systemic issue that has unfortunately carried on for as long as companies have existed. Equal hiring practices and business expectations must be accepted and adopted across corporations in order to provide fair access and opportunity to those who are equally (if not more, in many instances) qualified. Looking at gender-based and ethnic/racial diversity hiring practices, change truly starts at the top, and there is quite a bit that must shift in how companies address this.
Diversity in boards reflects diversity in thought, in shared experiences, and in solutions. The adoption of inclusive hiring practices proves to affect the bottom line as well. Companies that accept deep-level diversity as a mandate, perform better as a result. According to a report published by the U.S. Committee on Financial Services, companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. Action is necessary in this regard. Companies have a distinct ability, unlike any other entity, to cultivate more inclusive, accepting, and equitable environments. The ball is in our court.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.