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Keighan Gunther is one of the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty honorees. Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.
Keighan Gunther is one of the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty honorees. Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.

2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree: Keighan Gunther

Keighan Gunther, Project Lead: Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance at The Vanguard Group, will be honored during the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty.

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The third annual AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event serves to highlight and showcase some of the most diverse and impactful young professionals across the Philadelphia region. 

At this year's event, taking place Friday, Aug. 26, Keighan Gunther will be one of the 40 honorees. 

Biography

Keighan Gunther serves as Project Lead: Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance at The Vanguard Group, leading their strategy, operations, and research efforts to create sustainable supply chains and socially responsible and ethical investing. He also supports Vanguard's supplier diversity, sustainability and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming.

Prior to Vanguard, Gunther founded and led the Philadelphia branch of The LaunchCode Foundation, a nonprofit opening doors to free tech education and job opportunities for aspiring developers and technologists. In his prior role as Vice President of Company Relations and Assistant Vice President of Philadelphia Operations, he and his team worked to engage Philadelphians in free training and career development programs and support placement through their apprenticeship and direct-hire employment initiatives.

Over his career, Gunther has worked in the Philadelphia region supporting various organizations such as JEVS Human Services, Philadelphia Youth Network and Family Support Line in workforce development, education, business development and children's advocacy. 

As part of the lead-up to the AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees a set of identical questions and collected their responses. 

Here are Keighan Gunther's responses: 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your professional career? 

Burnout is a huge challenge that I know myself and many other professionals face — forcing me to push to keep the strong sense of drive and optimism that I started with in my career. On a personal and professional level, I have been consistently striving since starting my career to both prove myself as a serious leader and driver for social good but that can be difficult when the city is vastly un-resourced to address the problems it faces. Many young professionals often work countless hours to advance the goals of their organization and their career aspirations. This overcommitment that we are seeing with increasing frequency causes mental fatigue, burnout, and in many cases a transition out of work we are passionate about. My biggest professional growth has been the ability to say “no” to overworking myself, taking a step back, and using my PTO days as both rest and relaxation. 

What are steps that can be taken to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your industry? Why is it important to do so?

Hiring individuals into leadership positions at organizations that represent the demographics of the region we are in is a crucial step. Looking at the hiring trends of communities who have historically been left out of leadership positions, including women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ individuals is important because it allows organizations to create true and intentional change for the communities our businesses, programs, and organizations reside in. The inclusion of diverse perspectives at senior and executive levels of leadership drives innovation in programming, communication, and strategy, and has been proven time and time again to be the key to creating strength in historically underrepresented communities.

What does being a leader mean to you? 

I think being a good leader is understanding that people drive the work and without them you are sunk. I think a large part of my success as a leader, and as a professional, stems from my background in the human services field and being able to relate to others on a personal level even as I am negotiating business or complex challenges. The success of any organization is dependent upon supporting the talent and dedication that your team brings to the work.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself continuing my work of integrating business, relationship stewardship, and community engagement at the local and state level. I love pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning about how others both nationally and internationally are thinking about the future of diversity, sustainability, and environmental/social/governance (ESG) work and what their lessons learned are. Outside of that professionally, I will have my 12 year old son on my hands and have been married to my husband for 12 years as well so hopefully I will be ready to head into his teenage years with poise and a level head. 

The 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event will take place Friday, Aug. 26 at The Vie at Cescaphe. To learn more or purchase your ticket, click here

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