Opening Doors: Q&A with Eboni Preston-Laurent
ELFA’S new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is excited to connect with members and cultivate change
Equipment Leasing & Finance magazine
recently sat down with Eboni Preston-Laurent, ELFA’s first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Eboni, who joined the staff in January, comes to the association from USA Lacrosse, where she served as Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity. In this Q&A, Eboni discusses her passion for DEI and what she’s looking forward to in her new role.
Q: What drew you to this position at ELFA?
The opportunity at ELFA opened up at a time when I was at a crossroad in my career journey. I was still passionate about DEI work and the opportunity to advocate for diverse communities, but I wanted to challenge myself and pursue something new. My lifelong passion has always been centered around providing opportunities for women and people of color regardless of the industry or organization. I want to make sure people that look like me have equitable access and I’m committed to continuously using my platform to make sure this happens. I’m excited about this new opportunity to cultivate change in the industry and open doors for the next generation.
Q: What does DEI mean to you?
DEI can mean a lot of things to different people depending on who you ask and in what context. From a workplace perspective, I believe DEI is all about education, opportunity and inclusion—and more specifically the overarching strategy must be two-fold. On one side, it’s about equity and opportunity in the recruitment process. What do we do to intentionally provide more opportunities and education for diverse communities to enter the industry and how are we challenging our hiring processes to remove bias and systemic barriers for people from underrepresented communities? On the other side, workplace DEI should be equally focused on retention and inclusion efforts. Once your organization becomes more diverse, how do you ensure your office is one where input is valued and people feel a sense of belonging and mutual respect? Although there are more complex layers within each of these concepts, these are essential areas of focus for leaders today dedicated to workplace DEI.
Q: This is a brand-new position at ELFA. What are you looking forward to most in this new role?
I like the challenge of stepping into something new. It’s nice to operate with a clean state where you can move freely without as many underlying parameters. You’re not stuck in the, “Well, we’ve always done things this way,”
type of mentality necessarily because every new idea or initiative is still on the table. It allows me to think broadly about how we can make an impact and I look forward to connecting further with our members to determine what our strategic vision can be moving forward.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to hang out with my family, read, travel, shamelessly consume mindless reality tv and watch all things Baltimore Ravens, San Antonio Spurs and St. Bonaventure Bonnies.