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Purpose, Professional Development and New Possibilities

Information Technology Senior Management Forum Honors State FarmĀ®, provides opportunities for employee growth.

A new career brings many emotions: excitement, anticipation, hope, and for some, anxiety. A world of possibilities awaits, but how does an employee navigate their journey successfully? For State Farm Technology Executive DeWayne Griffin, the answer lies in two words: professional development.

“My State Farm journey began with an internship in 2000 before starting full-time in 2001. I was young, wide-eyed and determined. I let my leadership aspirations be known, which led to my involvement in the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF),” said DeWayne. “To this day, I attribute much of my success to this incredible organization.”

Formed in 1996, ITSMF increases the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology to impact organizational innovation and growth. State Farm has a long history with ITSMF, with a goal to reach, teach and cultivate aspiring technology professionals.

“ITSMF began with a conversation between tech execs who found only 3 percent of information technology management roles were being held by black professionals,” DeWayne explained. “The moment I walked into my first ITSMF Management Academy meeting, I was shocked. For the first time in my life, the room was filled with technology professionals who looked like me.”

Over the span of a decade, 24 State Farm leaders have graduated from ITSMF leadership academies. From 2019-2020, 80 State Farm IT professionals embraced the opportunity to take onsite ITSMF classes at State Farm corporate facilities.

“When the company learned about this organization, it recognized the need to increase representation of black professionals at all levels in IT and got involved,” said State Farm Technology Director Collette Fung. “For me, ITSMF was an exhale moment. I saw people at levels I wanted to be and it affirmed I can get there too.”

A member of ITSMF, Collette is also a founding member of the ITSMF EMERGE Academy. The competitive development experience specifically designed for women of color supports the progression of authentic, knowledgeable and conscious technology leaders. In 2020, Yolanda Brumfield and Sharon C Johnson Lake of State Farm graduated from the EMERGE Academy. Additionally, State Farm employees Kentrica Coleman and Jhay Davis are 2020 ITSMF Management Academy graduates - a rigorous program designed to sharpen IT leadership skills and competencies.

“Partnerships with companies like State Farm enable ITSMF to offer premier leadership development programs that advance the careers of Black and Brown technology professionals. The State Farm leadership team stands with us as we work to create barrier free opportunities for these executives. We truly appreciate the State Farm partnership, and loudly applaud them for leading the way in ensuring their employees are working in a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace.”

Viola Maxwell-Thompson, President and CEO, ITSMF

The Journey Continues:

In July 2020, State Farm received national recognition when it was named ITSMF Partner of the Year for its ongoing commitment to support employee professional development. Retired State Farm Executive Duane Farrington received the Digital Innovator Award for championing creative tech solutions. And, out of an esteemed group of 200 candidates, DeWayne Griffin was named ITSMF Member of the Year, a coveted award honoring his steadfast mentorship, advocacy and leadership.

“I’m humbled by this honor,” said DeWayne. “But my story doesn’t stop here. Because of ITSMF relationships, educational programs and symposiums, I’m continuing to grow as a leader. At State Farm I’m applying the strategies I learn to invest in our technology, help our customers and prepare for what’s to come.”

“I’m thankful to work for an organization that supports professional development opportunities,” added Collette. “When State Farm invests in me, I’m better for them. On this adventure called life, remember you’re in control of your development. Reach out, let your goals be known, work hard for what you want and lift others up. Your dreams will be realized.”

To learn more about State Farm or its IT career opportunities, visit:

Hear From the Graduates:

“Through EMERGE I have been equipped with the tools I needed to be bold and take more chances, strategize to win and take my seat at the table, use my voice to invoke change and influence, and pay it forward. The journey over the last year has laid the foundation for me to be comfortable leaning into my energy, that safe space where I can experience life, and choose what defines me and embrace each moment. I’ve learned that I am worthy of the life I am wishing for.”

Sharon C Johnson Lake, State Farm ITSMF EMERGE Academy graduate

“My experience with the ITSMF Management academy has been transformative. As I reflect over the past year, I have learned more about myself, my leadership style and my strengths. I will continue to leverage the techniques I learned to provide greater impact to the organization and the teams I lead.”

Kentrica Coleman, State Farm ITSMF Management Academy graduate

“Through EMERGE, I experienced a shift enabling the most growth in my area of strengths! As a transformational leader, I’ve learned to embrace the power of vulnerability and how to effectively manage my energy so I’m able to give my best.”

Yolanda Brumfield, State Farm ITSMF EMERGE Academy graduate

“The opportunity to learn alongside professionals from other Fortune 50 companies provided a valuable and expanded perspective into being a leader. Providing a developmental experience that not only focused on academics but also an enhanced sense of self opened the door to helping me become a more balanced leader.”

Jhay Davis, State Farm ITSMF Management Academy graduate