Hiring Spotlight – Leigh Roberts

April 28, 2021

Leigh Roberts joined the Yale School of Public Health in October 2020 as the administrator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Programs. In her role, Leigh provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage in meaningful conversations around this topic. We sat down with her to discuss her career path and remote work.

Tell us about your career journey to Yale?
I had applied to Yale University on and off for several years but did not get a response to any of the applications that I submitted. I met Fallon Thomas from the New Haven Hiring Initiative (NHHI) at a networking event and offered to help me out. Fallon shared information about New Haven Works, NHHI’s networking events, and connected me with a few recruiters for exploratory interviews. With new insights into how my resume should look and assess the information from the job postings, my applications soon began to get more traction. I focused intently on my job search and kept applying for my targeted positions, and as they say, “the rest is history”!

What can you tell us about your newly created role at Yale?
In my newly created role at the School of Public Health, I am responsible for the operational management of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and the Advanced Professional MPH programs. As a Managerial & Professional employee in the Dean’s Office, I lead special projects, process correspondence, and prepare briefings, reports, and presentations. This position allows me to work in various roles within the school, all while working with many departments and collaborating with diverse groups.

How does your work at Yale impact the community?
Yale University is a staple in New Haven, and the work that we do affects the community. I try to be thoughtful about programming, creating resources, establishing partnerships, and connecting with the community at large because ultimately, the Yale community is the New Haven community. I want to ensure that the work I am involved in here is beneficial to the faculty, staff, and students, but also to the residents of the city in which I grew up in and still live in. 

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about a career in the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) program? How can more people become involved?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) work should be the foundation of everything: how a budget is created, what kinds of programs are developed, the lens through which hiring occurs, and the spaces we look to create for all people. It should be an ever-present lens that we use to view the work that we are doing. It is not just critical in higher education but in any organization or institution.

Throughout my professional journey and though my changing roles, advocacy work for people who could not or would not advocate for themselves has always been what got me up every day. I always found ways to create resources, pipelines, and access for people of color, marginalized and underrepresented groups. I would suggest that if you are interested in doing DEIB work, meet with people that do it. Attend workshops, go to seminars, read articles and books, and become rooted in the work.

What is your message for job seekers interested in a position at Yale? 
Do not give up! There is a stigma that it is very difficult to get into Yale University. Attend networking events and talk to people who work here. They may be able to connect you with people that can help. Keep applying. Request exploratory interviews. Get involved with the New Haven Hiring Initiative and New Haven Works. At the end of the day, your grit and active engagement in the process will help motivate you during your journey.

How has working remotely during the pandemic helped to support your work-life balance?
As a working mom, I am pulled in many different directions. I have always tried to prioritize a work-life balance in any job that I have held. The School of Public Health has provided amazing flexibility regarding my work schedule during the pandemic. I can still make a doctor’s appointment or pick up my daughter from volleyball practice. I do, however, find myself working on emails or letters late at night simply because my office is in the living room.