Theresa Peterson is taking on an expanded role as inclusion & diversity leader for GE Research in addition to her role as senior executive director of government affairs and external programs for GE Research. Theresa joined GE in 2004 following 10 years with Minnesota-based 3M where she led the company’s Federal Research and Development Funding Program.
In deciding on taking on this additional role, Theresa added that, “This is not something one person can tackle. It’s not an initiative, because an initiative implies an ending. Inclusion and diversity is a journey that’s about empowering diverse employees to feel confident enough to say, ‘I have power.’”
For now, Theresa’s goals as inclusion & diversity leader for GE Research include building a diverse talent pipeline, creating a path to leadership opportunities for employees, and fostering workplace environments that are based in respect. “Our experiences are what we bring to the table and my experience tells me we have more work to do,” said Theresa.
Theresa grew up in Georgia, but moved north to Boston, Massachusetts where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Simmons University. Then, onto the University of Virginia for a Master of Urban Design.
In 1992, Theresa followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and remains an active member (Alpha Beta Alpha Omega Chapter) to this day. Theresa is also a member of the Arlington (VA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, an international not-for-profit volunteer service organization of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
When asked how leaders and employees can support inclusion and diversity efforts, Theresa echoes her pastor’s sentiment, saying, “Understand that we all sit at the table with bias. Acknowledging that bias and its impact on others is the first step to real change.”