7 Questions with Tiffany R. Warren ’97
Tiffany R. Warren ’97, a new member of Bentley’s board of trustees, is a leader in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly as a champion of diverse professionals in the creative industries. A native Bostonian and the oldest of 10 children, she values those who have taught her through their compassionate and empathetic leadership — and does likewise for the more than 120 professionals she mentors. Here, she shares her experiences learning and leading, along with some of her most impactful moments.
What was your goal in founding the organization ADCOLOR?
When I founded ADCOLOR in 2005, I wanted to honor professionals of color who were rising up and reaching back. I saw so many examples of this type of achievement and leadership throughout my life, most notably as an INROADS Central New England intern, that I wanted to celebrate it on a grand scale.
How has its mission evolved?
ADCOLOR has created a community that supports each other and inspires people to enhance diversity and inclusion efforts wherever needed. Our newly created groups — Asians for ADCOLOR, LatinX for ADCOLOR and MENA for ADCOLOR — support various members of our community at key times. For instance, Asians for ADCOLOR is working to address the xenophobia and discrimination facing many Asian-Americans due to COVID-19. There was no question that we should be on the frontlines of the discussion and create solutions to support this important community.
Are there role models or mentors who have inspired you along the way?
Coaches have focused me during key times in my life and given me a set of instructions that have seen me through the best and worst of times, personally and professionally. Dr. Earl Avery and [former Bentley President] Dr. Joseph Cronin were some of my first coaches. I learned so much about compassionate, empathic leadership from observing them support the various communities of Bentley.
As a Bentley student, you were president of Black United Body (BUB); now you are back as a trustee. What do you hope to bring to the board?
Serving in several different roles in the Black United Body gave me an unofficial MBA in leadership. Learning to be a leader so young had a tremendous impact on my life. The word “united” is an important value of BUB — and one I absolutely look forward to enhancing as a trustee. I have seen some incredible outcomes when a community respects and believes in the importance of every voice.
You have a long list of honors recognizing your work in diversity. What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
Wow. That is like picking your favorite child. Recently, I was chosen a Henry Crown Fellow for the Aspen Institute, which seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders, providing us with the tools necessary to meet the challenges of business leadership in the 21st century. Sounds a lot like Bentley! Also, the Frederick Douglass Medallion from the New York Urban League. Receiving an award in honor of abolitionist, diplomat, author and suffragist Frederick Douglass was the moment of a lifetime.
What is your advice to people for helping create diverse and inclusive communities?
If you are an ally, spend your privilege. When you wake up the next morning, you will still have the same amount of privilege. I saw a need and filled it within the advertising, marketing, media and tech industries. If you are a member of a marginalized group, look for the gaps in knowledge, culture and marketing — and fill them. It will be the most rewarding contribution you could ever make, because when someone walks the same path you took, they won’t fall into the cracks that dominate corporate America and higher education.
Would you like to tell us about your family?
I am one of 10 siblings and a proud aunt. These absolutely shape how I operate in the world. As the oldest sibling, I am always looking to form or be a part of a large community. As a very hands-on aunt to my niece, Ahmenra, I am always thinking about how to make her present and future the best that it can be, because I am already her history.