Kevin Beckford

Senior Vice President Chief People Officer

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When Kevin’s brother and sister-in-law were diagnosed with stomach cancer and colon cancer within a matter of months, he knew he needed to be there for his family but what he didn’t know is that those diagnoses would change the course of his career.

Kevin joins the team from Pittsford, New York, a suburb of Rochester with his wife, daughter, and toy poodle, Sunny. His favorite place in the world is Pepperpot, a Caribbean restaurant in his community. It is his second home because that’s where he goes when he’s having a rough day to get the comfort foods that he grew up in the Caribbean. Kevin would love to go to Hawaii but hasn’t ever been yet. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up predominantly in the Bahamas so he believes that Hawaii has a similar but different feel to island life that he would love to experience in person one day. The other place Kevin would love to go is Europe. His daughter was named after Paris, France. Both Kevin and his wife love Europe and dream of visiting the city their daughter is named after as well as many other places in Europe. 

When Kevin was younger, a family in Henrietta, New York, another Rochester suburb, sponsored him to come to the US. That was a little over 30 years ago. Kevin loved island life growing up, but he is not sure he’d want to return to island living now. Over the years, global warming has increased the frequency of hurricanes and other environmental aspects of island life that he would not feel safe dealing with on a regular basis. 

Kevin has an associate degree in applied science and electrical engineering technology and a BS in organizational management and design. As a transition leader, Kevin has had a lot of opportunities to make positive impacts on several organizations. He spent 18 years at Eastman Kodak, 12 of those years were in leadership roles. He also spent about 10 years with Bank of America, during which he and his family relocated to Florida. When his brother and sister-in-law were diagnosed with different cancers, the family returned to Rochester to support them and their family. 

As Chief People Officer at Gryt Health, Kevin combines aspects of operations, human resources, recruitment development, and performance management into one role to support the company and employees. Kevin also has a vested interest in the entire Gryt Health community and works daily to help us improve the experiences of everyone who comes in contact with Gryt Health. Kevin uses a people-centered approach towards his role and works to incorporate technology into what we are doing so that everyone has a positive user experience. 

It has been exciting for Kevin to be the first Chief People Officer in Gryt Health’s history. While we did not have a lot of structure in place when he started, he has reveled in being able to create a people-centered structure that allows him to advocate for both the company and the team at the same time. Kevin shared that when you work with a company that has had policies in place for years, it is really challenging to initiate people-focused changes within those companies. Here he is able to put these things into practice quickly and promote win-win circumstances for all stakeholders. It is within this that Kevin is driven to use his voice to promote equity for all and have meaningful impacts on the lives of the people he leads. 

Kevin’s primary cancer connection is through his brother and sister-in-law which he was a part of their caretaking team. The news of their diagnoses took their family by surprise and it was quite devastating to have husband and wife with two children at home diagnosed so closely together and then, later, passing within a short period of time. The news was so shocking that Kevin is just now beginning to process and heal from the experience. 

The fact that cancer affects every facet of a patient’s life is one of the reasons that Kevin joined the Gryt Health team. Working for an organization that is supporting the lives of cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers on a multitude of levels through the use of technology in collaboration with a number of professionals in the oncology sphere was not only appealing to Kevin from a professional standpoint but from a personal perspective as well. 

Lisa, Kevin’s sister-in-law, was the first to be diagnosed. She was 50 and had already scheduled a colonoscopy, but weeks before she could have the procedure, she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. He began flying back to Rochester every weekend to spend quality family time with them.

Nine months later, his brother, Lisa’s husband, Paul was diagnosed with stomach cancer, triggering Kevin’s move back to the area. Kevin shared that he did not really cope with the news of their diagnoses because he immediately went into service mode. He did what he could to help them manage treatment appointments, advocate with insurance and the hospital in regards to their astronomical medical bills, and seek creative solutions to challenges the family was facing. Kevin did everything he possibly could think of doing to help make their lives easier during that time. 

Paul passed away in March 2016 with Lisa following just a few months later. Kevin had an opportunity to be interviewed by a local television station with Paul and Lisa. You can learn more about their battle here

Kevin is forever grateful to have spent the time with them when he could and to witness their love and optimism through the biggest challenges of their lives. The only thing that Kevin wishes he’d done differently at that time was to engage with a therapist or counselor. He needed to process the grief and his feelings, to receive permission to grieve and be angry. The only thing that Kevin wishes he’d done differently while caring for his brother and sister-in-law was to seek therapy so that he’d had someone to talk to about how he was feeling and that he’d given himself permission to grieve and feel the anger he had at the situation. 

Special memories are held by Kevin surrounding the quality time he spent with Paul in hospice playing dominoes, checkers, and chess. Being adults and allowing themselves to feel like children again were special times when they could laugh and have some fun despite what Paul was facing. 

A deciding factor in joining the Gryt Health team was Kevin’s first interview with Founder, David Craig. When Kevin heard his heart and vision for what Gryt Health wanted to accomplish, it just made sense for him to be a part of the efforts. The humanity that David allows to shine throughout the company was also appealing to Kevin as he started to process his experience with his family’s cancer diagnoses as Gryt Health allows our team to be human. At 56, Kevin had never experienced interactions with a company that allowed him to show his humanity. It was an easy “yes” when he was offered the position. 

It’s Kevin’s nature to stay busy. In addition to being a leader in the companies he’s worked with, he also became an elected official in his town in order to make a difference in his community while addressing issues of diversity happening in the community. Doing so, Kevin became the first African American on the town board in the town’s 226-year history. He finished up his 4-year term in December 2021. 

Kevin is driven to use his voice by his belief in equity for all. He does his best to use his understanding, position, power, and agency to create a cup for change and bring equity into any space he occupies. Kevin is immensely grateful and humbled for the opportunity to serve humanity in a different way by being here to support Gryt Health from the top down. 

When Kevin isn’t working hard to make a difference in people’s lives and his local community, he immensely enjoys reading. He will often listen to the audiobook and purchase the same book so that he can make notes in the margins. He enjoys several genres of literature, but lately has been drawn to biographies and autobiographies. 

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