#BlackHistoryMonth – CPSC Public Affairs Officer Karla Crosswhite-Chigbue on Working in Product Safety

Karla Crosswhite-Chigbue

What brought you to CPSC?

As a journalist, I was very much aware of the good and important work that was being done by CPSC. On numerous occasions I would either be on the receiving end of a phone call from CPSC telling me about a major recall coming up, or I would be the one calling CPSC’s media office seeking answers about a dangerous product. “Why isn’t this product being recalled?” I would inquire. I always had a passion for consumer news and was one of a few in the newsroom who pushed to get consumer-oriented stories on the air. Communications has been my life’s work. Somehow I knew that when my journey at CNN was complete, I would work in public service as an advocate for consumer safety. What better place than CPSC?

What do you like most about working in product safety?

Working in product safety is an honor and a privilege that I don’t take lightly. As the saying goes, information is power. If I can help inform and educate consumers about safety in their everyday lives, I can make a difference, and that is a gift.

Who has inspired you the most throughout your life?

I have been blessed to have many people in my life who have inspired me on many levels, but I must say my mom and dad take top prize! What an amazing couple they were. (My beloved father has passed on.) They were a power couple in the true sense. They married young, started a family, dad worked his way through college with a wife and three little ones at home, a fourth was later to come. Mom always said she would be CEO at home, while dad became CEO in the business world. He broke all kinds of barriers as an African-American male in the world of advertising in New York. My parents instilled in us a strong sense of faith and family, good character, hard work and lots of love. I was always told there was nothing I couldn’t do in this life and to treat everyone with respect. Excellence and integrity were the themes of the day. Because of my parents, I have always been comfortable in my own skin, proud of my heritage, and able to go after my dreams. I am forever inspired by them both.

What are you looking forward to in your career at CPSC?

I am still considered a newbie here at CPSC. But I look forward to making a real impact on keeping all consumers safe, particularly children and underserved communities. I hope to leverage my decades of experience in the news media to achieve that goal, so I too, can say like the late former commissioner Edith Barksdale Sloan, “We’re in the business to protect consumers from unreasonable risk of injury.”

For #BlackHistoryMonth we asked a volunteer group of African American staff what it means to work in product safety. Karla Crosswhite-Chigbue is a Public Affairs Officer in the Office of Communications.

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