Insight News got a chance to sit down and talk with Tracey Gibson, the new Statewide Director, Recruitment, Retention & Affirmative Action for the State of Minnesota.
By Nadvia Davis –
As a proud alumnus of the historically black college, Fort Valley State University in Georgia, Tracey Gibson has built on her undergraduate degree and developed an extensive career path for herself … a path that would help increase jobs and “diversity across the state to represent the people that live here (Minnesota),” said Gibson.
After completing her B.A. in accounting, Gibson began her first career with Cargill, one of the largest privately held companies in the world.
“Cargill came recruiting and that’s how I got here. They recruited me right out of college,”
Gibson, originally from Detroit, relocated from Georgia to Minnesota and would spend the next 29 and a half years working at Cargill. She held positions in various job families ranging from finance to human resources. But it was in the human resources work that Gibson found a niche, working in global inclusion and diversity.
Unlike some professionals that take time to find their career path, Gibson managed to gain longevity and momentum with every career advancement within Cargill. One of the last positions Gibson held before transitioned to working for the state was her role as senior director of Global Community Engagement.
Each new position at Cargill presented Gibson with the opportunity to travel and see the world.
“On some work-related trips, I would take vacation and stay over. I’ve been on every continent except Antarctica,” said Gibson.
After devoting more than a quarter of a century to Cargill, the company went through a restructure that impacted Gibson’s role. During this pivotal part of her career transition, Gibson received a phone call from Minnesota Chief Inclusion Officer James Burroughs, asking if Gibson would consider coming to the People of Color Career Fair. This phone call gave Gibson a second wind and a new focus.
Although Gibson’s move to working for the state was unexpected, she took the time to evaluate for profit verses government careers, eventually making the decision to accept her new position as statewide director of Recruitment, Retention and Affirmative Action.
With much excitement surrounding Gibson’s career move, there can be some negative perceptions about government jobs.
“We as state employees have to understand that there is some negative stigma about coming to work for the state in some communities, “said Gibson. “In my role I have the opportunity to change those perceptions and be more strategic in building relationships with all communities.”
Gibson has hit the ground running in her new role by contributing to the state’s recruitment efforts through events such as the People of Color Career Fair and the state’s Lead-In events, which connects communities of color with state leaders to build trust and stronger relationships. She has also raised awareness for opportunities for individuals to get involved with the state’s numerous boards and commissions.
Currently, Gibson is working on her doctoral degree in biblical preaching at Luther Seminary. She has been married for 28 years and is the mother of two sons. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
“I like to keep myself busy with things that ignite me. People give me energy,” said Gibson.