Steve Beard: A Journey of Resilience and Breaking Barriers

December 11, 2023
Steve Beard

Adtalem’s CEO shares with “Leading in the B-Suite” how he turned systemic challenges into triumphs.  

In LinkedIn’s “Leading in the B-Suite” series, Steve Beard, president and CEO of Adtalem Global Education, shares his journey from a modest upbringing in Chicago to leading a global education organization. In conversation with Chevron’s CHRO Rhonda Morris, Beard reflects on overcoming challenges, particularly those related to race, and turning underestimation into a strategic advantage.  

"I always kind of snuck up on people," Beard remarks, explaining how being underestimated became an asset in his career. 

Beard emphasizes the relevance of discussions about race and racism, advocating for constructive dialogues and progress for the Black community. He expresses gratitude for the sacrifices of previous generations and feels a responsibility to exemplify the capabilities of African American professionals when given equal opportunities.  

I owe it to them to be another proof point for folks about what African American professionals are capable of when they’re given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, and that they are as prepared, as disciplined, and as effective as anyone else given the opportunity.

For young Black professionals and students, Beard stresses the importance of managing one’s career proactively, taking risks, and staying agile. He advises a dual approach to career progression: focusing diligently on current responsibilities while remaining alert to new opportunities.  

“Managing your career is both a heads-down and heads-up game,” he advises, encouraging young professionals to balance excellence in their current roles with strategic planning for future advancement. 

Read the full discussion on LinkedIn

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