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CEOs on What Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Means for America


  •  The Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Thursday.
  • Multiple CEOs and execs took to social media to celebrate the historical moment. 
  • Melinda Gates, for example, commented on what this means for future generations. 

“This nomination is confirmed,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, letting a huge smile spread from ear to ear.

With those words, Harris confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. History was made, as Jackson will be the first Black woman in US history to sit on the nation’s highest court when she takes her post in September. The vote, with 53 in favor and 47 against, ended a contentious Senate hearing marked by arguments over diversity and inclusion topics that some leadership and race experts called disgraceful.  

“We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” President Joe Biden said in an Instagram post announcing Jackson’s confirmation. 

It’s not just politicians who are taking stock of the moment: America’s top business leaders are speaking out, including TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett and billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates. They recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in leadership and are calling for continued action to achieve both in the working world. Additionally, diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants who advise business leaders said this moment could usher in a new era for leadership in corporate America.  

“What I hope CEOs take away from this moment is that equity does not happen by accident,” Tara Jaye Frank, author and diversity coach, previously told Insider. “This is about representation in its purest form.”

Here are what some top CEOs and business leaders said about Jackson’s confirmation, echoing a growing wave of celebration from social leaders like Michelle Obama, best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi, candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams, and others.

TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett

TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett


Duckett, who is the first Black female CEO of the financial services company and one of only a handful of Black Fortune 500 heads, was among the first to express her joy. 

“For many others, this is inspiration to keep dreaming big,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “Let this moment be a stepping stone for the future of inclusion and diversity in this country.” 

Melinda Gates

melinda gates smiling

Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda French Gates

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


The former Microsoft executive reflected on what the moment means for future generations. 

You’ve said you stand on the shoulders of Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “Now, future generations will stand on yours.” 

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman

Dan Schulman

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman in 2015

Getty


Schulman congratulated Jackson and commented on the importance of diversity in government. 

“Our nation’s institutions should reflect the rich diversity of the people they serve,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “This historic confirmation will move us one step closer to achieving that goal.” 

LinkedIn exec Teuila Hanson

teuila hanson headshot

Teuila Hanson is chief people officer at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn


Hanson, chief people officer at LinkedIn, reflected on her childhood experience of watching Justice ​​Sandra Day O’Connor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court justice in 1981. 

“Over the years I learned that it is both formative and impactful when you can see representation,” Hanson wrote on LinkedIn. “This is one of the reasons why today’s confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has been so inspirational for all of us.”



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