Legacy Day Keynote Speaker Farah Bernier MBA’08 Works for Equality, Community

Farah Bernier MBA'08

The moment still sticks with her to this day.

Even before she was a graduate student at Babson College, Farah Bernier MBA’08 was in a marketing class taught by Sandra Bravo when the senior lecturer offered a moving and memorable piece of advice.

“You will all be given the opportunity to take seats of power,” Bravo stated. “My question to you is: What are you going to take accountability and responsibility for?”

Now, as a human resources executive partner at Google, Bernier has reached that destination. And, as the keynote speaker for the 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Day, she has found parallels in her journey of striving for inclusion to King’s vision of justice, equality, and peace in our communities, and in the world at large.

“Every day in my work, I get to apply that lens and think about how I get to facilitate ownership through the leaders I partner with,” Bernier said. “It’s my way of prioritizing community, inclusion, and belonging. I don’t take it for granted.”

Embracing Storytelling

In her critically important role at Google, Bernier has evaluated and developed effective strategies for recruiting, developing, retaining, and advancing a diverse and representative workforce by embracing vulnerability and the power of storytelling.

“It’s in the telling of stories that we begin to embrace the individual parts of the community, and then commit to honoring the stories that are reflected, and the truth that those stories are reflections of experiences and diversity,” Bernier said.

“Every story represented by every individual collectively creates the beautiful community that is Babson.”

Her road to this influential seat—which has included stops at various Fortune 100 companies across multiple industries, as well as the establishment of her coaching business and podcast, Living Fabulously Fierce—began with a number of specialist roles, which allowed her to cultivate proficiencies across an abundance of areas.

“My first job out of college was a compensation analyst,” she said. “I got depth in those specialties early on, and leveraged my experience from my time as a specialist to more of a generalist. That was part of the strategy.”

A Different Perspective, a New Recommendation

Of course, many alumni would consider the chance to address an alma mater such as Babson an honor. How could you not?

Bernier, though, views this opportunity to speak at Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Day as not only an honor but also a responsibility.

“I’m given the opportunity to facilitate validation, none of that is anything I’m taking lightly,” she said. “Where do we go from here, chaos or community? We’re embracing this year’s theme, inspired by the title of Rev. Dr. King’s final book, as a question while our country is continuing to pursue equality.”

“Every story represented by every individual collectively creates the beautiful community that is Babson.”

Farah Bernier MBA'08, MLK Legacy Day keynote speaker

The topic of her address, she says, doesn’t need any explanation.

“No one’s living under a rock right now,” Bernier said. “It’s impossible not to see what’s happening in our world. We are in a pandemic of many social justice offenses. What I’m hoping will be new is my recommendation on how we will address it as a community.”

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