Ayana Champagne

Ayana Champagne
Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer (U.S.)

Education: Bachelor of Science, finance, Bradley University; dual master’s degrees, technology and operations management, and human resources management, Aurora University
Company Name: Ferring Pharmaceuticals U.S.
Industry: Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals
Company CEO: Brent Ragans (President, Ferring Pharmaceuticals U.S.)
Company Headquarters Location: Parsippany, New Jersey
Number of Employees: 700
Words you live by: “Lean into the discomfort….” –Brené Brown
Whenever I’m in a situation where I can take the easy route or the more difficult route, I say that to myself. I know that it is in the space of discomfort that the most growth happens.
Who is your personal hero? My grandmother, who fostered more than 100 children!
What book are you reading? Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It: 99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve, the Success You’ve Earned, and the Life You Want by Carol Frohlinger (JD) & Lois P. Frankel (PhD)
What was your first job: My first job was at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop
Favorite charity: Black Mamas Matter Alliance, which advances maternal health for Black women
Interests: Spending time with my husband, daughter, and siblings, exploring Brooklyn or connecting virtually; practicing mindfulness, meditation, and yoga; and photography
Family: I live in Brooklyn with my husband, almost 2-year-old daughter, and our Great Dane, Pharaoh. I’m the oldest of seven children born to Haitian immigrant parents.

Stay Open to Possibilities

Believe it or not, I started my career in finance before going back to school to get two master’s degrees—one in technology and operations management, and the other in human resources management. Before all of that, my big dream was to trade derivatives on the stock market.

But one day, a friend dragged me to an undergraduate career fair for moral support, and I ended up talking to some people at a family-owned company. Before the day was over, they offered me a full-time job. That’s where I was eventually put to work on some human resources projects and totally fell in love with the field.

About a year later, I went back to school for dual Master’s degrees—one of which was in human resources management.

Fast forward to today. My typical work day is a healthy mix of strategic thinking with fellow members of the Ferring executive leadership team—talking through attraction and retention priorities or strategic business planning. I also get to connect with employees to understand how they are feeling, what’s going well, and how we can improve things at the company at all levels.

For example, I recently launched a structured process to ensure that over the course of the year each employee gets connected with senior leaders from outside their reporting chain.

I also look forward to having separate meetings with the broader executive team about 2021 planning.