WJR RISING STARS | LESTER BOOKER JR.

Lester Booker Jr. is the Vice President and Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Communications at Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and is responsible for creating an integrated, enterprise-wide approach to DE&I Communications. In addition to this, Lester leads the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Communications efforts to showcase his company’s commitment to diversity in a meaningful way, which is directly aligned to advancing key business objectives.

PODCASTS:

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July 19, 2021 ~ Lester Booker Jr. speaks with Guy Gordon about his position as Vice President and Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Communications with Citizens Financial Group, Inc and how he shapes narratives to enhance the image of his organization to all critical audiences. Lester also talks about his recent appointment as one of the Detroit Economic Club’s 2021 Rising Stars.

Lester Booker Jr. was named as the first-ever Vice President and Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Communications at Citizens Financial Group, Inc., in April 2021.

Booker has nearly 15 years of experience in numerous sectors of marketing and communications. Prior to joining Citizens, Booker served as global communications manager at General Motors, where he played a critical role in driving some of GM’s most important long-term communications initiatives designed to increase the company’s reputation as a corporate leader. During his tenure, he led global cross-functional teams; oversaw the development of communications plans for award-winning activations with external strategic diversity partnerships; and served as an external spokesperson for the automaker.

Previously, Booker held positions with the Ford Motor Company Fund via Campbell Marketing and Communications; Palace Sports & Entertainment with the NBA Detroit Pistons and WNBA Detroit Shock; and Central Michigan University (CMU).

He also has been recognized for his career accomplishments including the Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 Award, CMU 10 Within 10 Recognition, and the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment Employee of the Year.

Booker is proud of his CMU heritage; therefore, he continues to be engaged and invested in many facets of the university. He faithfully serves as a board member of the CMU Alumni Association, Chippewa Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee, CMU Detroit Advisory Task Force, and the CMU Black Alumni Chapter. Additionally, he serves on the Legal Services Corporation’s recently established Emerging Leaders Council.

In January 2020, the Lester Booker Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion was established at CMU. This annual $5,000 scholarship is awarded to one undergraduate student who demonstrates an active commitment to the participation of underrepresented communities in educational pursuits.

A Detroit native, Booker holds a Master of Science in Administration degree, with a sport concentration and a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in broadcast and cinematic arts both from CMU.

A little bit more about Lester:

When I reflect on a moment that I am proud of, I think of…

“The four young men that I have had the pleasure of mentoring throughout their educational and professional careers. Watching them thrive and excel as African American men brings me great joy as they all have undergraduate and graduate degrees, with two of them pursuing doctoral degrees.”

As I continue to grow, I am hopeful for…

“Continued opportunities to learn and expand my skill sets, while contributing to society in a meaningful way that represents my faith, loved ones and culture in a positive manner.”

During my free time, I …

“Traveling, spending quality time with people I love, working out, and participating in cycling classes weekly, in order to maintain my physical health, strength, and well-being

If I could give advice to my 20-year-old self, I would say…

“Be fearless and be a risk taker. These basic principles will put you on the path to success. While you are young, start setting money aside each month for your financial future, and be aggressive in the pursuit of your career goals.” 

20 years from now, I see myself…

“As a family man, successfully thriving in my career, while traveling the world. I will continue to have positive impact in the community by serving as a mentor and board member for several non-profit organizations. Finally, I will make time to perfect my golf game!”