Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Black Leadership

I’m black. Born in England and live in Seattle, Washington.  I turned fifty in 2021.  I’ve three careers – so far – an academic (5 years), a software architect (6 years), and currently a chief technology officer (16 years).  For the last twenty years I’ve head leadership positions where I created and/or part owned those companies I worked within.  Now, given the renewed racial tension and events taking place across America, and building a family, I’ve been asking myself what it means to be a black leader today.

Black Leadership Academy

Enter McKinsey who run a Black Leadership Academy program.  I was fortunate to get a place on it in November 2020 through work. And so, six months I’ve graduated and got my badge. But short story short; it was life changing. 

How so?  After speaking with a few of female colleagues attending women only events, like them, these environments are a welcome space to share and care with peers. Less interruptions, no mansplaining. Similarly, the everyday biases and barriers invisible to the majority, yet ever present to the minority, gone! Instead, we were free to openly discuss key leadership topics around networking, managing personal energy levels, psychological trust, the power of storytelling, and the rising importance of non-executive board directorships.  The focus was resolutely on the work. But don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of occasions of group therapy, bonding, and camaraderie. It that was fun. This added to the sense of freedom we strive to feel within a less diverse environments, or put another way, the world we live in today. 

Back to the work

I graduated from the McKinsey Black Leadership Execution Program – BELP – and made many new friends.  The storytelling session was off the charts, equipping the attendees with essential communication tools.  The importance of networking was brought forward and the need to continuously grow and nurture your personal board of directors focussed on you.  Common sense and extremely powerful when applied in the right way.  

The sessions were human. Highly engaging, and deeply personal at times.  The content is proprietary to McKinsey and private.  Unfortunately, I cannot share it with you.  However, I would highly recommend you sign up for the program.  As I said, life changing!

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About Cleve Gibbon



I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Wunderman Thompson North America where we are passionate about customer experience platforms.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently doing.