Notable Alumni: Michael Barber

Chief diversity officer, General Electric

  • Category: Notable Alumni
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 40
  • Undergrad degree/university: B.S. Electrical Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Graduate degree/university: Honorary Doctor of Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering

MSOE – 1982

Michael Barber has had a variety of roles in engineering, operations, product management and executive leadership during his 40 years at General Electric, where he is the chief diversity officer. 

His career at GE began prior to his graduation from MSOE in 1982 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. Today he leads the company’s inclusion and diversity strategy to drive sustainable change.

Barber also was the first leader for GE’s strategy on global health, healthymagination. He and his team delivered 50 products targeting cost, quality and access, while establishing key partnerships for GE in the cancer, maternal and newborn health, and emerging markets. 

Barber has been a champion of GE’s employee resource groups including the African American Forum, focused on professional development for African-American employees, and for over a decade was the executive sponsor for the sustainability portion of GE’s $30 million philanthropic commitment to improve health care in sub-Saharan Africa.

Barber, who also holds an honorary Doctor of Engineering from MSOE, is a member of the MSOE Board of Regents. He is a staunch supporter of the university, student scholarships and MSOE’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, which he co-founded with his now wife, Jacqueline Herd-Barber, when they were MSOE students.

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