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Coriana Spencer

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If you said Coriana Spencer’s job is all about numbers and statistical analysis, you’d be pretty much right—but it would miss the big picture.

As an HR & Affirmative Action Analyst for Berkshire Associates, Spencer works with federal contractors to make sure they’re seeking a diverse workforce. The federal government requires companies to make this effort, and it’s Spencer’s job to help them do it.

But as an African American and a woman, the work also resonates with her on a deeper level.

“Falling into both those categories, I have a passion to help people in similar positions,” Spencer said.

That passion was kindled at Berkshire Associates, her employer for the past five years, and realized at Georgetown, where she earned her master’s degree in Human Resources Management in spring 2018.

After graduating with a degree in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2013, Spencer joined Berkshire as a Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator. She enjoyed that job, but it was Berkshire’s core mission—working with companies to create a diverse workforce—that interested her the most. To get the training she needed for this new career path, she turned to Georgetown.

“Georgetown gave me a broad understanding of the field,” she said, “and it helped me narrow down specifically what I wanted to do.”

Spencer spends a lot of time doing statistical analysis on contractors’ progress in affirmative action. But more important than numbers, she said, is helping companies improve diversity strategies and become aware of factors that impede this process. It’s a job that takes considerable people skills and the sensitivity to confront uncomfortable issues. 

But for companies that make a good faith effort to diversify, the rewards go beyond simply doing the right thing.

“There are numerous studies that say diversity improves productivity,” Spencer said. “It increases the bottom line of an organization and helps it become more marketable.”