CK Insights

March 12, 2018

Women Who Inspire Us: Maureen Greene James, Cognizant

Katy Hendricks

This Fall, I had the pleasure of hosting an event on diversity and inclusion in the workplace with Conscious Capitalism Florida. It’s where I met Maureen Greene James, an eloquent speaker and true change maker.


If you’ve been following us over the past week, you’ll see throughout March we are featuring “Women Who Inspire Us” to honor Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.


Maureen’s professional background includes HR leadership, talent development, diversity & inclusion, employee engagement, communications and change management. She gained her expertise in ascending leadership roles at AIG, Washington Mutual (now JP Morgan Chase) and PwC, and is now the Head of Diversity & Leadership Development for Cognizant Technology Solutions.


Colleagues and friends describe her as someone known for simply being an influential and inspiring leader who believes that “every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day” (Alice Morse Earle). We couldn’t agree more.


CooperKatz (CK): Do you have a compelling quote or piece of advice that keeps you motivated?


Maureen Greene James (MGJ): I have two, actually:


“…there’s plenty of room in the world for mediocre men, but there is no room for mediocre women.” – Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State


“Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time—you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.” – Jon Bon Jovi


(CK): What do you hope to see from – or for – the next generation of female leaders?


(MGJ): Honestly, I believe we’re already seeing it! I see it in the determination of Emma Gonzalez, the very vocal survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy who’s currently challenging the NRA and our government to simply do more! I see it in Emma Watson, the actress by day/activist EVERY day who, in 2014 at the age of 24 was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill ambassador and helped to launch the UN Women’s campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate for gender equality. And I see it in Malala Yousafzai who, at the age of 17, became the youngest person to win the Novel Peace Prize after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban simply for being an advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan.


As the saying goes, “Time’s Up,” and these young women and countless others are primed to lead the charge, giving a voice to the voiceless, lending an ear to the unheard and giving their hearts, time and energy to bring forth a whole new world. This isn’t just the Year of the Woman; it’s the Future of Generations to Come!


(CK): What are you most proud of in your career?


(MGJ): I’ve been married to my husband for 25 years. Ever since their births, we’ve told both of our children that “mediocrity is NOT an option.” We would say it over and over again, particularly when they brought home a “B”- as opposed to an “A”- on an exam or a paper. We weren’t trying to make scholars out of them; we simply wanted them to recognize the brilliance within them. We wanted them to know they were just as great, if not greater, than the person sitting next to them. And it worked! Our daughter, who graduated Cum Laude with two degrees from the University of Florida, is a news reporter on a major network’s nightly news show in Cedar Rapids, IA. Our son is a classical pianist majoring in Music Performance, also at UF. So, if there’s anything that I’m most proud of in my career, it would be that I was able to design this amazing life – filled with unbelievable leadership roles, trailblazing experiences and many moments of inspiring others (and being inspired BY others) – all while raising two children whom I know for sure are more brilliant than I could ever be! My family was (and still is!) a monumental part of my career journey.


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