August 28th, 2013

In Unity, There Is Power

by Anthony Carter, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer,  Johnson & Johnson

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic I Have A Dream speech. We’re adding the voice of one of our own to the conversation.

I am a husband.

I am a father.

I am a community servant.

I am a professor.

I am a coach.

I am a writer.

I am a public speaker.

I am a business leader.

By now, you’ve probably made some assumptions about me: who I am, what I look like, how I might behave.

But no one looks like their story.

I am the Chief Diversity Officer for Johnson & Johnson.

I am African-American.

The path to my position here at Johnson & Johnson first took root in the Civil Rights Era. It was a tiny seed, planted fifty years ago, with the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech as its backdrop.

I was just a little boy from the South Bronx, walking to school one day.

A Latino classmate ran up to me and said, “The President just passed the civil rights bill.” I said, “What is that?”

I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know.

“This bill is meant to help your people,” my friend said.

Later, my godmother, who adopted me after the death of my parents, which separated me from my nine siblings, explained what it all meant. She spoke of the heroes – of all races and colors – who were fighting to make civil rights a reality. I began to understand the bits and pieces of the news stories I’d been hearing, and why they mattered.

I turned embarrassment into action and set out to learn more.

By high school, I was selected for a unique leadership program in the Archdiocese of New York along with other African-American boys. I was encouraged to delve deeper into my culture. I read works by all of the heroes my godmother had told me about, absorbing all I could.

Anthony-CarterTogether, my peers and I were creating a diverse cadre of people that could carry King’s legacy and vision into the future. You see, King had a full appreciation of the differences in our world. He knew that they form a beautiful mosaic. Recognizing that beauty and harnessing those differences brings people together and creates real solutions.

The other boys and I were beginning to understand that in unity, there is power.

In my role at Johnson & Johnson, I am able to be an ambassador of this power and cascade King’s message into programs that impact people’s lives and health. I discover people’s unique stories and find ways that those stories unite and connect us for a greater good.

I’m so proud to be doing this work.

We’ve taken on big, audacious projects to promote diversity and inclusion in the healthcare space. We’re tackling problems like healthcare disparities. The program I’m most proud of is Gateway to A Healthy Community – Healthier Kids, a curriculum-based program that works side-by-side with 100 schools and 1,000 classrooms to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes at the K-3 levels. The program has done so well, that we’re now expanding into the 4th through 6th grades, reaching families who might not otherwise have the money, tools or resources to make healthy choices.

This is what my work is all about. At times, I do get discouraged about the inequities that still exist across our nation. But when that happens, I keep in mind that I work for a company with a Credo and that Johnson & Johnson employees stand together and serve people in need – regardless of income, color, sexual orientation, religion, or age.

Because no one looks like their story.


Anthony P. Carter is the Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer for Johnson & Johnson.  In this capacity, Anthony is responsible for building a strategy that enhances the Johnson & Johnson vision to be a world class, benchmark company for diversity and inclusion and aligning this critical business process with the Corporation’s strategic business objectives.  In this position, he reports directly to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson and works closely with the Worldwide Vice President and Executive Committee Member for Human Resources and the Worldwide Human Resources Executive Council.  Anthony is a member of the Corporate Group Operating Committee and a Member of the Human Resources Executive Committee.

Anthony joined Johnson & Johnson in 2002 as Director, Corporate Communications and was promoted to Vice President, Corporate Communications in 2005.  In this role, he was responsible for organizational communications, executive communications, and all communications for Human Resources and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion on a global basis.  Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, he was Senior Director of Culture and Diversity for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and the former Director of Public Affairs.  He is the former Assistant Press Secretary to Mayor David N. Dinkins; former Director of Public Affairs for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and served for 10 years in Corporate Communications for Avon Products, Inc. In 1983, he served as Press Secretary to Congressman Edolphus Towns of Brooklyn.

Anthony is a Member of the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey; a Member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Visitors of Howard University.  He is a Member of the Georgetown University Chief Diversity Officers Consortium and is a Board member of National Medical Fellowships. He serves as a Co-Chair of the Center for Talent Innovation.  He is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies in the Public Affairs and Corporate Communication Graduate Program at New York University.

Anthony received a BA degree in Communications and Journalism from Fordham University. He and his wife, Wendy, currently reside in Hillsborough, New Jersey.  Their children are Austin (30), Ashley (28), and Dayne (19).

13 Responses to “In Unity, There Is Power”

  1. elycia lerman says

    Anthony, your story is inspiring and I’m glad that you are helping to drive J&J to do our part in eradicating inequities.

  2. Coltrane Stansbury says

    This is a powerful read! I am inspired by Anthony allowing us to peer into a window of his life that tells a story of his own authentic journey toward service and the empowerment of people. Anthony is right, everyone has a unique story that purposes in us an even more unique contribution. It is only through our ability to share our stories (as James Farmer termed it, “laying bare our hearts”) that we get closer to creating beautiful movements of change that inspire, uplift, and empower each other. Thank you for sharing, Anthony. You are one of the great heroes in my own story.

  3. Carlos Dominguez Estrabeau says

    Thanks for sharing your personal story and some of the reasons you are here.

    As you said Unity is one of the most powerful words when it is oriented for greater purposes.

    We should keep united in order to reach what we could think it is impossible.

  4. Deborah Morgan says

    Very powerful. Thank you for sharing your story to commemorate an important time in our history as we continue to advance our collectivedream for a better world for all.

  5. Laura Nel says

    A great read Anthony. Thanks for the work that you do in helping us all understand the value that diversity can bring to our business and personal aspirations.

  6. Arun Kumar Bhsskara-Baba says

    Anthony, Thank you very much for letting us ride your personal journey. As you said in unity there is power and the more we share the stories that unite us the better we all would be. Leaders like you also make me proud to work for an organization that fosters the culture of sharing and drives unity of purpose.

  7. Courtney Billington says

    Anthony, I love the story and reflections. Great message! Thank you for your leaderhip and message about unity. That is how we will continue to be leaders in the community and leaders in our businesses around the world. As you note we must do our part to address the issue of disparities and the need to educate our youth around the world. If we take the mindset that even “One” can make a difference, think what is possible with the many resources we have here at J&J. I want to join you in the quest to make a difference!

  8. Ron McRae says

    Thanks for sharing your story in commemorating the significance of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It is stories like yours that truly exemplify the impact of those events. Thanks for letting it be a catalyst in your life and those you inspire!

  9. Colleen Maier says

    Anthony, thanks for sharing your journey and your passion. Keep up the great work and keep the faith. We are in this together.

  10. Liza Dennis says

    Diversity is something that is needed within today’s global workforce, and today’s global business operations.

    Sometimes we learn best from others that come from different cultural backgrounds. They bring the best ideas, to the most complicated issues. Diversity is a must, and we must continue to embrace within the corporate world, as well as world itself.

  11. Jesse Hamilton says

    Your blog regarding progress you have made in continuing diversity at J&J makes me feel good about what some of us started in Diversity Management at J&J during the 1970’s and into the 1990’s. Frank Steele, John Herbert, Nancy Lane, Al Cooper, Carol Wood, Al Mays, etc.
    Keep up the Excellent work!

    Jesse Hamilton, retired 1993 Advanced Material Company

  12. Antwan Little says

    Very impactful, continue doing the task at hand. It is definitely a credit to yourself, Dr. King’s legacy, and to our communities.

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