Express rise for University of Brighton graduate

A University of Brighton alumna has been appointed Chief Diversity Officer for American Express at their New York headquarters.

Sonia Cargan has enjoyed a 22-year career with American Express, holding a range of human resources roles in Europe, Asia, and North America, and building a track record of partnering with business leaders to drive strategic organisational goals.

Prior to becoming Chief Diversity Officer, Sonia was Senior HR Business Partner for a portfolio of American Express Groups including Global Finance, the General Counsel’s Organisation, Global Advertising and Brand Management, the Internal Audit Group and Corporate Affairs & Communications.

Sonia graduated with a BA(Hons) degree in social administration from the University in 1991: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Brighton, so much so that I settled in the town after I graduated and I consider Brighton my adopted home. My children are Brightonians and proud Seagull fans!”

Sonia completed a second course at the University, qualifying her as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She said the courses she most enjoyed related to government policy, understanding the decision making process and historical context: “As we try to effect change it’s important to understand and appreciate the journey and to recognise the broader environment.”

Sonia’s new appointment means she will lead a team of global diversity and inclusion professionals. She will serve as a conduit to the company’s 15 active colleague networks with nearly 100 chapters globally, working to promote a culture of inclusion, increase colleague engagement and provide development opportunities to help colleagues advance throughout the organisation.

She said: “I am excited to build on American Express’ long-standing diversity and inclusion best practices. In the coming months, I will be dialing up our emphasis on inclusivity to continue fostering a company culture where differences are embraced and high-performing, diverse teams are enabled to reach their full potential.”

Kevin Cox, Chief Human Resources Officer for American Express, said: “Sonia is a long-time advocate of the business results that can be achieved through the development of a diverse and inclusive organisation.

“As an executive with a wealth of global experience, she is also ideally suited to continue to elevate and evolve our diversity and inclusion strategies through a global lens.”

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