Penn State Alum Talks Equity, Diversity in Virtual Event

Story posted December 9, 2020 in CommRadio, News by Trevor Grady

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alum Kerri-Laine Prunella joined the Penn State community on Wednesday morning through the School of Public Policy’s “Strategies for Career and Leadership Success” virtual event.

Prunella is the chief human capital officer at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and has more than 20 years of experience in the private and public sectors. The event focused heavily on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Prunella was asked about what leaders should do to ensure their organization will have a good culture.

“The first thing is committing to it,” Prunella said. “It is more than just issuing a statement for or against something. It is really about what you are doing to connect with your staff. How are you talking with them?”

During the webinar, a question was raised about how a company or leader can keep score or know when they have reached the end of their journey towards diversity, equity and inclusion. Prunella responded by saying that there is no end to this journey. This is an ever-evolving journey, and there is always room for improvement.

Prunella also touched on how the year 2020 has affected so many things.

“I think, right now, you will find that because people are more at home and they’re not going out and being social in the traditional setting, it does present an opportunity for people to learn about different topics and connect with others,” Prunella said. “People connection is something I don’t [think] that people utilize to the fullest extent.”

Prunella talked a lot about how important it is for Penn State students to use their resources. She said that she regrets not using the career center more when she was in school, and she thinks it is a valuable tool for students to have.

She also mentioned how it is OK to ask for help when you are not sure what to do. There are so many different people with different perspectives that are always willing to help, she said. Prunella has found that very important in her journey.

Prunella closed the event by saying, “Making those connections, having that teamwork, and really looking at a situation from all viewpoints will help you be more successful in your endeavors.”


Trevor Grady is a junior majoring in management information systems and minoring in journalism. To contact him, email