BICSI Fall 2023 Conference and Exhibition Recap | Corning

At Corning, a Culture of Inclusivity is Vital to Innovation in the Workplace and the World

Lawrence Williams
Published: October 5, 2023

An inclusive work environment and culture begins when diversity is not only acknowledged, but also reinforced with comradery and advocacy. That is why I am pleased to share that Corning offers fifteen corporate sponsored employee resource groups (ERGs), including the Corning Black Employee Network (CBEN), for which I am proud to serve as president.

The Corning Black Employee Network

CBEN was formed as the result of a merger amongst several Black professional ERGs within Corning including the Black Growth Council, the Black Technology Network, and the Society of Black Professionals. CBEN is the Corning ERG dedicated to creating and sustaining an environment that will support the recruitment, retention, and the development of Black employees in Corning’s expanding global network. Through recruitment, advocacy, and career development, CBEN strives to foster equity and representation for Black employees at all levels of leadership.

CBEN members are located throughout Corning’s global workforce and it is one the company’s largest ERGs. Our members participate in professional development workshops, volunteering opportunities, social gatherings, networking events, and annual conventions. Throughout my career at Corning, CBEN has opened the door for me to network with senior leaders and colleagues across various business functions. Most importantly, CBEN created another a safe space for employees to uplift one another through transparent and authentic professional development discussions.

Corning’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion does not stop at the employee parking lot. As part of our mission, members actively engage our local communities. For example, in August 2023, CBEN members connected with new engineering and transfer students at the Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for their August back-to-school bash.

(From left to right) Dwyane Rogers, Nkechi Anako, Jamil Brown, David Lowe, and Valerie Jackson

Nkechi Anako, Market & Technology Development Manager, OFC, attended the event. “I am thankful to Corning for our continued effort in community outreach,” she said. “It is great to have this opportunity to engage with students and talk to them about their college experiences. These first-year students today become the engineering leaders of the future, so any positive impact we can offer makes a real difference."​

As part of Corning’s effort to increase diversity throughout critical workforces, and hire the best and brightest minds, we are also collaborating with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in our own backyard.

The Corning and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) Collaboration

In January 2021, Corning and NC A&T, the nation’s largest Historically Black University, entered a five-year collaboration to prepare students for careers in education and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The goal of the collaboration is to establish a framework for communities to expand STEM education, provide more capable Black STEM educators for North Carolina classrooms, and prepare students to excel in challenging STEM courses.

The five-year collaboration included a $5.5 million gift to NC A&T. Of that total, $3.3 million will be allocated to the Corning Scholars Program which will award undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in STEM and help graduate more Black teachers. Additionally, $1.7 million will be used to build career preparedness and pre-college initiatives including internships, career treks, site visits, and other areas. Participating students will also engage in project competitions, mentorship, and networking opportunities with Corning leaders. Under NC A&T’s Equity in Education Initiative, $500,000 will go towards efforts to increase the number of Black college graduates.

The first class of scholarship awardees were welcomed during a day-long campus event at NC A&T in August 2021, which included 53 Corning Incorporated Scholars and Fellows. In September 2023, the second cohort of Corning Incorporated Scholars and Fellows were selected and welcomed at NC A&T. For more information on the Corning and NC A&T collaboration, visit here.  

To stay up to date with Corning Optical Communications’ DE&I efforts, follow us on LinkedInX formerly known as Twitter, and on the Signal Blog.

Lawrence Williams

Lawrence Williams is the President of the Corning Black Employee Network (CBEN). In his role as a Portfolio and Analysis Manager, he is responsible for managing the Optical Cable Solution division's capital budget, cost reduction portfolio, cost modeling capability and analytical data tools. With over 22 years of experience with Corning, Lawrence is an expert in financial analysis and CBEN.

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