music is all about improvisation and by its very nature it
incorporates new sounds and rhythms. Cook up a new riff with a hot
performance and now you’re talking. Pat Pearman is a jazz music
aficionado, but it’s not a stretch to say jazz is also a metaphor
for her professional and personal life.
Manager of Global Diversity at GE Healthcare Systems, her office is
in Waukesha, the home base of its 47,000 employees spread around the
world. It is her "privilege" to assist the corporation in
getting the job done even better by incorporating people from many
countries, many languages, many skills and many points of view. The
final product is richer by far because of the multitude of inputs. She
says, "We reflect the world in employee makeup and we leverage
our cultural differences."
Pearman lives in Menomonee Falls with her husband and is the
daughter of a jazz musician. She initially studied music herself at
Crane School of Music in upstate New York. She became interested in
early childhood education during her junior year, which led to her
involvement with the Head Start Program, and she graduated with an
Early Childhood Education major. After years in education, she became
interested in life and health insurance for women and worked in that
industry. Eventually, those different strains led to one piece of what
she would call beautiful music: her current job. Organizing seminars
and assisting in the education of GE’s employees, she travels the
world each year: France, U.K., India, Ghana and all points in the U.S.
Much of her personal community involvement revolves around her
early love of education, especially math. She works through the Urban
League with a program called Math Plus run in conjunction with
Marquette University. "Kids need to know the importance and
reality of math skills. One area we work on is getting the word out in
the popular media. We also know by sixth grade, that children’s math
ability eclipses their parents. Parents can no longer help with
homework and so we work with both parents and children. I knew we were
successful when I saw a child ask a teacher for an autograph."