Ekpedeme M. Bassey, known to most by the nickname Pamay, is an entrepreneur, executive, world traveler, educator, writer, comedian, and philosopher. A first generation African-American, she was born in New York City to Nigerian-born parents, raised in Atlanta, lived in Chicago for over half of her life, and now lives in New York City. She has lived in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and those experiences have shaped who she is. She has friends and family all over the world and has an innate love for learning about different people, different viewpoints, and different cultures.
Pamay is the Chief Experience Officer of the “My 52 Weeks of Worship Project” which started when she made a commitment to visit a different place of worship each week in 2010 – whether that place of worship reflected her personal religious tradition or not. As a result, in one year she visited 61 churches, temples, mosques, shuls, synagogues, covens, living rooms, and other sacred spaces in the USA, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa. She delivers keynote speeches and facilitates a series of workshops, presentations, and learning experiences based on her personal and professional experiences, and on the lessons she learned from her global, spiritual, interfaith journey.
Her book My 52 Weeks of Worship: Lessons from a Global, Spiritual, Interfaith Journey (Balboa Press, 2012), shares the lessons she learned during her global, spiritual, interfaith journey, and she maintains a blog about her on-going experiences, www.my52wow.com. She received strong online, print, and radio media hits for her book, including articles in Woman’s Day, Ebony, MSN’s glo.com, Jet Magazine and theroot.com. She was also interviewed by AOL’s You’ve Got, The Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards (WBEZ-Chicago), The Lake Effect Show (WUVM-Milwaukee), The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC – New York), and The Mike Huckabee Radio Show.
Pamay is also Director, Global Head of Learning Platform and Professional Development for BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company. She is responsible for global professional development and for the firm’s learning capabilities, including analyst and employee orientation, mandatory and compliance training, and personal and professional development for the Firm’s 13,000 employees worldwide. She also serves as an architect of key inclusion and diversity initiatives.
Prior to joining BlackRock, for 13 years, Pamay was the president of The Pamay Group, an e-learning design and strategy company, and has over 20 years of experience in designing and developing learning experiences for K-12, community organizations, corporate and virtual university audiences — including e-learning, classroom-based training, blended learning solutions, and day-in-the-life simulations. She has worked for and consulted for such companies as Coca Cola USA, McDonald’s, Mabam! Entertainment, Sanofi, Accenture, Resources Global, Manpower, Kraft, The Boys and Girls Club, Siemens, HSBC, Pratt and Whitney, and GE Capital.
Pamay has managed and designed learning applications that received both the Cindy Award and an Honorable Mention from the Computerworld Smithsonian Program, and holds a patent for a “Goal based system utilizing a table based architecture,” which is a system that utilizes a rule based expert training system to provide a cognitive educational experience.
She has served as an educational researcher/consultant for projects at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. She has also served as a faculty member for several online universities, including Cardean University, American Intercontinental University Online, and the Art Institute Online, where she taught User Experience, Computer Applications, and Information Technology courses.
Pamay holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, a course of study that draws from computer science, philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, which she received at the age of 20. Her concentration of study there was Artificial Intelligence.
She holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University, where she studied at The Institute of Learning Sciences (ILS) under the visionary Roger Schank. She was selected to be one of the first Andersen Consulting Corporate Fellows at ILS.; her graduate work/research was sponsored by Emerging Technologies group at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), and focused on innovating advanced technology-enabled learning solutions for clients.
She earned a Project Management Certification from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a Master Online Teacher Certification from the University of Illinois, Springfield.
Pamay is a graduate of the acclaimed Second City Conservatory program in Chicago, Illinois, which is an advanced study of improvisational comedy and theatre. She has performed as an improviser, comedian, actress and public speaker all over the United States and in West Africa.
Pamay was chosen as Today’s Chicago Woman’s “Woman to Watch” in 2001, selected as one of the “Top 40 Nigerians under 40 in the USA” in 2005, and was selected as a 40 under 40 recipient from EnVest in 2012 for demonstrated excellence in community service, charitable giving, and professional performance.
She was chosen as a 2015 Woman of Influence by the Chicago Business Journal for participation in events focused on mentoring women in various career stages, chosen as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar in 2015, and in 2016, she was selected as a Hutchins Scholar which enabled her to attend the Aspen Executive Seminar on leadership, values, and the good society.
She was selected for the 2016 40 Women to Watch Over 40 list – a list of women celebrating women who are upending the perception that 40 is past your prime. Honorees are recognized for reinventing, leaning in, and creating momentum that will be felt by those beyond their community and field of work. In 2017, she was selected as a92nd Street Y’s Women inPower Fellow.
She serves on the Advisory Board of Spiritual Playdate, a new, fresh interfaith method to share, teach, learn, and explore spirituality with children, on the National Advisory Board of The Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University, and as a Strategic Advisor at the M&G Etomi Foundation, which exists to exists to break the harsh cycle of poverty by creating various programs and activities to teach the value of self-empowerment and improvement to the people of the Niger Delta region in Southern Nigeria.
She is a past co-president of the Stanford National Black Alumni Association, past board member for the African Women’s Development Fund, is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a public service organization.