Sylvia B. Hamer
Chief Diversity Officer
New York Power Authority
White Plains, N.Y.
Sylvia Hamer’s vocational track in high school caused her guidance counselor to state she would not succeed in life. But Sylvia thought differently. “It’s not about how you start, but how you finish. My guidance counselor’s dire prediction motivated me to prosper,” says Hamer. Yet, it was her grandmother’s love and nurturing that helped Sylvia turn her challenges into stepping stones toward her realizing her potential.
As the chief diversity officer at New York Power Authority, Hamer advises the president, chief executive officer and senior management on diversity and related issues, policies and procedures. “I have always been passionate about issues pertaining to equality and the betterment of mankind. So my current position is a natural fit,” she asserts. Her guidance counselor’s dire prediction notwithstanding, she earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a master’s in career development at the College of New Rochelle in New York, and subsequently embarked on a career path that resulted in positions at the New York State Senate, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, and the New York State Office of the Governor prior to joining the New York Power Authority.
Hamer enjoys fine dining at her favorite spots in New York City, wine tastings in Italy and live performances at both Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club and the London Theatre in Britain. “My really guilty pleasure is shopping—especially when I’m vacationing in Europe,” she says. Growing up, Sylvia suffered from a speech impediment. Today, she speaks in front of large audiences with ease and has yet to meet a microphone she doesn’t like. “My stuttering as a youngster had the potential to cripple me on the road to victory. However, when I mastered that seemingly insurmountable challenge, it was full speed ahead. And I haven’t stopped talking since!”