How to Honor Black History Month at Work
How 16 Companies Are Honoring Black History Month to Encourage Open Dialogues, Promote Inclusivity, and Support Employees of Color
This month marks 50 years since Black History Month was first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970, six years before President Gerald Ford officially recognized it in 1976. Since its inception in the United States, Black History Month has helped open up dialogue about the contributions of people of African descent to our communities and country.
We asked our partner companies what they were doing this February to celebrate Black History Month and support their employees of color, and they did not disappoint! Here is how these 16 companies are honoring Black History Month at work, in their own words:
1. Launching a Black History Month Campaign - Google
Google's viral Black History Month video
"In honor of Black History Month, we're celebrating the icons and moments that have been searched more than any others in the United States.
Google.org believes in the next generation of Black leaders and in 2018, committed $25 million to help Black and Latino students develop the technical skills and confidence they need to succeed in career and life. As part of this commitment, Google.org will provide a $3 million grant and enable volunteering support to help scale the NAACP's Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) over the next three years."
Learn more about Google and their open roles here
2. Hosting Over 30 Events Throughout the US - Dell Technologies
"Dell Technologies' Black Networking Alliance employee resource group has 30+ events planned throughout the U.S. this February. The events are in every area of the nation (TX, OK, GA, TN, NC, CA, MA) and feature service events, historical education opportunities, personal growth courses and more. In addition to team member events, Dell Technologies will be hosting a roundtable event at Morehouse College to discuss building a more representative technology industry. Collaboration is key, so Dell leaders, professors from local historically black colleges (HBCUs), HBCU students and state/city leaders will all be in attendance."
Learn more about Dell Technologies and their open roles here
3. Highlighting Achievements in Tech by African Americans - Cloudflare
Logo for Cloudflare's Black Employee Resource Group Afroflare
"Cloudflare offers various opportunities to celebrate Black History Month in our Austin, San Francisco, and New York City offices through Afroflare, a Cloudflare employee resource group, comprised of members from Black African, Afro-American and African-Caribbean descent. Afroflare's mission is to help build a better, global Afrocentric tech community. Afroflare's lead members have organized activities ranging from Afrocentrically themed lunches, television and film screenings, and internal presentations to celebrate, educate, and foster awareness of Black culture. Afroflare has also produced a social media campaign to highlight the technical achievements of prominent African-Americans on Cloudflare's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Keep an eye out, some surprise events may be coming your way!"
Learn more about Cloudflare and their open roles here
4. Hosting a Talk With a Tech Non-Profit Founder - Nextdoor
Photo of member's of Nextdoor's Black Employee Resource Group, BAND
"This year in honor of Black History Month, Nextdoor is kicking off the month with a blog post featuring a few of the members of the Black employee resource group BAND (Black at Nextdoor) where they are sharing what Black History Month means to them and why it matters to everyone. Later this month, Nextdoor is hosting Lajuanda Asemota, co-founder of dev/color/ - a non-profit organization that aims to advance the careers of Black software engineers. The talk will be about diversity, inclusion and the hurdles faced by Black software engineers at tech companies."
Learn more about Nextdoor and their open roles here
5. Sharing Content Inspiring Inclusivity and Intersectionality - Avanade
"As Avanade prepares to celebrate its 20 year anniversary in 2020, the INSPIRE | Black Employee Network celebrates Black History Month encouraging people to become Allies.
The FY20 theme for Black History Month at Avanade is "INSPIRE to be". At Avanade, we INSPIRE to be inclusive and intersectional. Black History Month at Avanade includes curated educational content, guest speakers, presentations, and local-regional events designed to engage communities. Avanade partners with Junior Achievement and other organizations to INSPIRE civic engagement and foster a culture of service. We INSPIRE you to join the discussion starting with an Avanade inclusion and diversity blog here."
Learn more about Avanade and their open roles here
6. A Month of Programming Celebrity Diversity of Customers and Employees - CarGurus
Photo of CarGuru's Employee Resource Group, People of Color
"This year we're excited to celebrate Black History Month with CarGurus' newly founded People of Color employee resource group, bringing together a month-long of programming that highlights and celebrates the diversity of our customer base and our employees. As we enter Black History Month, we aim to amplify underrepresented voices and perspectives to make tangible changes and forward progress that allows our company to continue to grow and adapt in today's marketplace. Follow us on Instagram (@cargurusculture) or LinkedIn to learn more about our events and how we're celebrating BHM@CG!"
Learn more about CarGuru and their open roles here
6. Hosting Inclusive Career Workshops - Vrbo
Image from Vrbo's career workshop in partnership with Code2College
"This year, Vrbo kicked off Black History Month by hosting an event in partnership with Code2College to provide underserved students in our community with a career workshop on interview skills and resume building. Vrbo is continuing to celebrate by changing the colors of our logo displayed on the outside of our office buildings to reflect colors indicative of Black History Month; we are also displaying influential black historians on electronic wallboards throughout our offices to educate and inspire our employees. Beyond Black History Month, Vrbo has an active business resource group dedicated to mentoring, networking, recruitment and retention opportunities for black employees, as well as giving back to charitable initiatives supporting black students and professionals year-round."
Learn more about Vrbo and their open roles here
8. Chat and Chew Events - Kin + Carta
"Black History Month is an opportunity to discuss the culturally diverse community that identifies as Black/African American. For us at Kin + Carta, we're doing this through a few ways: a Chat & Chew where we'll discuss topics that impact the African American community, a night of R&B Soul with a live-performance, a cooking class to explore the diversity of Black food, and a panel over lunch to listen and learn from the experiences of a few of our Kin + Carta changemakers.
At Kin + Carta we understand that Black History is our history, so we're both educating and celebrating together over the next month."
Learn more about Kin + Carta and their open roles here
9. Hosting a Summit - Autodesk
Autodesk Black Network at a recent visit to Howard University in Washington D.C.
"For the second year in a row in celebration of Black History Month, Autodesk will be hosting a summit for one of our longest-standing employee resource groups – Autodesk Black Network (ABN). During the summit, members from around the world will converge at Autodesk San Francisco to network, share experiences, connect with Autodesk executives and listen to guest speakers. To kick-off the first day of ABN Summit, we'll also be participating in the Oakland Black Joy parade."
Learn more about Autodesk and their open roles here
10. Hosting an Event with Local Congresswoman - S&P Global
Photo of event for Employee Resource Group BOLD ( Black Organization for Leadership and Development0
"In honor of Black History Month, BOLD, S&P Global's Black Organization for Leadership and Development Employee Resource Group, and the S&P Global Political Action Committee will host Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12). Employees will gather for a dynamic conversation on the achievements of African-Americans throughout history. In addition, throughout the month of February, S&P Global will share profiles of Black employees on internal and external media as part of its ongoing awareness month profile series."
Learn more about S&P and their open roles here
11. Hosting a 1920s Harlem Swing Event - WW
"For Black History Month, a WW planning committee curates a series of events that help celebrate, honor and drive awareness to the importance of black history and heritage. This committee plans various events and activities including movie nights, dance classes, and a celebration that highlights our theme of the 1920s.
Committee members choose movies and documentaries and share a message about why they are meaningful and important to them. To bring our theme of the '20s to life, we are bringing in the Harlem Swing Society to teach employees the Lindy Hop and Charleston. Our main event will feature a 5-6 piece swing band, food catered that celebrates various African diaspora, and the dances we learn with Harlem Swing will be brought to light during the celebration."
Learn more about WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and their open roles here
12.. Lunch and Learn with Former NASA Engineer - Viasat
Photo of members of Viasat's Black Employee Resource Group, Black Professional Alliance
"Viasat is proud to celebrate Black History Month alongside its employees and our Black Professional Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG), and champion Black and African American contributions to technology. From hosting Lunch N' Learns with Shelby Jacobs, a retired NASA engineer, in 2019, to professional networking and fundraising initiatives for our Black and African American communities this year, we hope to continue the conversation on the importance of celebrating Black History Month and provide a platform for all employees to collaborate and be voices for inclusion in our industry."
Learn more about Viasat and their open roles here
13. Events and Workshops on Black Art, Mental Health and More - New Relic
"Over the past few years, we've had the honor to bring impactful speakers to our stages and spotlight our own stunning Relics. This year past year we lost a great leader of ours, Mikey Butler, and wanted to put forth programming in his legacy. This year's Black History Month is more than just a celebration, it's about enrichment for our BlackRelics, Black Owned Businesses, to the Black community and enriching our knowledge of Black History. Events include a Black Renaissance Gala, lunch and learns on mental health, a summit to de Young Museum to and MLK Historical Park and more."
Learn more about New Relic and their open roles here
14. Hosting a Film Viewing and Networking Event - Relativity
Photo of members from Relativity's Community Resource Group, (BRel) Black at Relatively
"In honor of Black History Month, and as part of our ongoing inclusion and diversity efforts, we are celebrating the rich history and accomplishments of African Americans. Our Black at Relativity (BRel) community resource group will be sponsoring programs such as a viewing and discussion of the film, American Son, as well as a museum-like exhibit highlighting African American life, history and culture. In addition, we will be hosting an open-to-the-public networking event where you can learn more about Relativity and connect with members of BRel. We hope you will join us!"
Learn more about Relativity and their open roles here
15. Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Year Round - Juniper
Graphic of Juniper Networks' #DrivenByDifferent campaign promoting the importance of diversity to Juniper's innovation and ultimate success.
"Juniper Networks is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting African American pioneers in their fields—from Anna Julia Cooper (early black feminist writer) and Lewis Latimer (inventor/engineer) to Ursula Burns (first African American woman to lead an S&P 500 company).
This compliments our year-round inclusion and diversity efforts. For example, we publish a regular series of articles and tips to educate and foster dialogue around the inclusion of all underrepresented groups. Recent topics have included actions to reduce bias in recruiting, acknowledging privilege, making meetings more inclusive, micro-aggressions and how to be an ally."
Learn more about Juniper Network and their open roles here
16.Building Social Value Inside and Outside the Office - Flexport
"Flexport is a workplace that strives to support people of all backgrounds to collaborate and celebrate individual strengths. BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership Development), our Employee Resource Group for Black and African-American Flexporters has organized over 15 events across our US offices to celebrate Black History month. At these events, Flexport employees have the opportunity to engage with leaders in the Black community to volunteer, learn, network, and build social value inside and outside our offices."
Learn more about Flexport and their open roles here
- 24 Ways Companies Are Celebrating Black History Month at Work ›
- How These 29 Companies are Celebrating Women's History Month in 2021 - PowerToFly Blog ›
Branwyn Baughman, recruiter at Lockheed Martin, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
Take a look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as some top-notch tips that Branwyn outlines on how you can make your application stand out.
To learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles, click here.
6 Tips for Companies & 5 Tips for Individuals from Indeed's Group VP of ESG, LaFawn Davis
Earlier this month, LaFawn Davis, Indeed's Group Vice President of Environmental, Social, & Governance, joined us as part of our Diversity Reboot Summit to talk about the 'shecession' experienced by many women, and especially women of color, as a result of COVID-19.
LaFawn shared some great tips for companies and individuals looking to be part of "the great rehiring." If you're looking to find a new role, or to ensure that you help bring back diverse talent displaced by COVID, check out her advice below, and catch her complete talk here or by clicking the video above!
Q: What would your advice be to companies that are looking to step up their diverse hiring in 2021?
My advice: Good intentions are no longer good enough. Nobody wants to hear what you meant to do, wish you could have do, intended to do. Nobody wants to hear that you can't find Black Women or any other dimension of diversity. We're obviously out here.
My squad and I have a saying "Impact over intentions." So, if 2020 was the year of good diversity and inclusion intentions, let's make 2021 the year of actions and impact.
So, now that we got that out of the way. If you're looking to step up your diverse hiring. Stop and get your house in order. Because you shouldn't just want to hire a diverse workforce, you should want to grow and keep them too. So there are 5 things, ready?
1. Focus on long-term systemic change.
There's a lot of momentum — and need — for change right now. It's not just about a message of support or donating to a cause one time. Take a look at your own systems. How do you hire and grow employees? Do your succession planning, talent reviews, recruiting and other processes have built-in biases? Is equality part of your core values? Are you actively working toward change? Recognize that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Above all, hold yourself accountable for the way things are, then work to improve.
2. Take a close look at your data.
Share it internally to be transparent with employees of where you are now. When possible, share it externally to be visible and accountable (I'm happy to announce that Indeed will be releasing its own diversity data this summer). Use it as a baseline for comparison against what you hope to achieve.
3. Change behavior.
Focus on behavioral changes throughout the company with an emphasis on coaching, training, and having crucial conversations with managers. Leaders and managers set an example for the entire workforce. If employees see the behavior of managers or leaders in a negative light, a true sense of belonging is difficult to achieve.
4. Representation matters.
If leadership roles are perceived as exclusive to many members of the workforce, then a broader sense of belonging will continue to elude many employees. People in leadership roles should reflect the diversity of a company's workforce. Observing someone "like me" in a leadership role helps attract and retain talent and motivates workers to pursue roles with greater responsibility.
5. Create Policies And Procedures Reflective Of The Entire Workforce.
As you work through new or existing policies and procedures, be aware of barriers experienced by different populations. Take, for example, the case of caregivers. More scheduling flexibility for calls can go a long way for employees who share their home workspace with others and must tend to family responsibilities while working remotely.
Q: Do you have advice for individuals that are looking for new career opportunities, especially women of color who might have lost their previous jobs during the pandemic?
Adaptability has always been an important part of an individual's career progression - even before COVID-19, it is especially important now.
It is important to show a potential new employer how your abilities adapt to a new role or a new industry. Focus on skills more than just experiences because skills can be applied in so many different ways. So… I'll give you 6 things for this one.
1. Perform a professional audit. Taking some time to understand your qualities, qualifications and values can help focus your career transition and narrow down your career path options if you haven't already. Doing so can also help you understand how you might position yourself during the job search.
2. Identify your hard and soft skills. Soft skills are often the most transferable, so identifying them early can help you understand the ways you might bring value to a new role or industry. Taking inventory of your hard skills will help you identify if there are certain industries that might be easier to transition into.
3. Highlight your biggest career wins. Communicating the impact you've made throughout your career can help employers quickly understand the value you'll bring to their organization, even if you come from another role or industry.
4. Utilize online job search to your advantage. Pay close attention to the requirements and duties of jobs so you can evaluate whether the career would align with your skills, interests and values.
5. You just need to meet "most" of the qualifications. Try to focus on positions for which you meet at least 60% of the qualifications with your transferable skills. Meeting 60% of the qualifications isn't a hard rule, but it's a good general guideline to help you determine whether it's worth applying for.
6. Get a sense of the company. Before interviews, do some research to learn how inclusive a company is. Peruse the organization's core values, its social media accounts, and any recent statements in support of marginalized groups. Pay attention to the interviewers themselves. Is the panel diverse or are you likely to be an early "diversity hire"? If the interviewers seem to be emphasizing "cultural fit," ask what that means. Basically, be an active participant in the hiring process. You are also interviewing the company, as much as they are interviewing you.
Stephanie Acker, director of inside sales at Commvault, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as her own career journey.
To kick things off, Stephanie mentioned the three things that make a great inside sales professional: an independent work ethic, the ability to learn and execute on their own, and an awareness of what keeps them motivated.
Over her 12-year career at Commvault, Stephanie's greatest motivation has been helping customers to find solutions and catapult them to success. In both her past role as a sales representative and her current director position, Stephanie remains committed to ensuring her team understands what motivates them to sell and setting them up for success.
The biggest surprise during her career at Commvault was becoming the director of inside sales. Stephanie shared that she loves working for a company that listens to new ideas, thinks outside of the box, and tries new things.
Don't miss her take on what moves a candidate forward in the interview process! For example, Stephanie loves when the interviewee gets into "the zone"—showing their selling technique. She also shares her favorite interview questions.
As Stephanie says, stop thinking and apply today!
To learn more about Commvault and their open roles, click here.
When you think about strong female leadership, what comes to mind? For Tatiana L., a global client partner in Miami, it's about more than having an executive seat, being a mother, or making dreams come true. "Good leadership is about being open, flexible, and able to understand different perspectives," she says. "It's about fostering collaboration, bringing people together, and empowering them to connect."
Tatiana L. is a global client partner based in Miami.
Tatiana is part of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group and helped plan Women's Leadership Day, an annual global community summit. While the highly-anticipated event takes place over just one day, its massive impact is felt over the course of the entire year.
Amy W. is an operations lead based in London.
"Women's Leadership Day is more than an event. It's energy, and it's a movement," Amy W., an operations lead in London, says. "Moments like this can completely change the perception of women in technology."
From choosing the content and programming for the event to making it accessible for women around the globe, we went behind the scenes with seven members of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group to learn more about how women are empowered—and are empowering one another— in their career journeys at the Facebook company.
Behind the scenes with Women@
Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager based in Singapore, speaking onstage at 2019 Women@ Leadership Day in APAC.
"I've always been passionate about empowering women, but I didn't know how I could do it at work. My first Women@ experience changed how I felt at Facebook," Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager in Singapore, remembers. "From then on, I wanted to help other women feel heard, valued, and confident."
Planning the global event, which brings together women from more than 20 countries, calls for close collaboration across multiple teams, regions, and timezones. Members of Women@ also partner with other Facebook Resource Groups, such as the Pride@ Resource Group, Latin@ Facebook Resource Group, Desis@ Facebook Resource Group and Black@ Resource Group, to ensure all women at Facebook are represented and feel included.
Vivian V. is a program manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Across regions and communities, we each bring unique differences and powerful stories. When one of us moves forward, we have the opportunity to bring all of us forward," Vivian V., a program manager in the San Francisco Bay Area explains. "While planning the summit, we meet weekly to talk about what women in different regions are experiencing. From the event theme and content to planning speaker sessions and fine-tuning details, we each have items to own. Two months before the summit, we meet daily to share updates and make sure nothing slips through the cracks."
"Just like me, women in APAC look forward to Women's Leadership Day all year long," Amanda says. Planning something that's deeply meaningful to so many people can feel like a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it's uplifting. I appreciate that we have the opportunity to talk about our individual and shared challenges, and we map out ways we can build community while empowering leadership for women across the globe."
Empowering confidence, equality, and leadership through storytelling
Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, and Amanda M. collaborate with women across the globe to plan Women@ programming and events.
Women's Leadership Day encourages women to talk about challenges like experiencing imposter syndrome, breaking through barriers, and how to manage work/life flexibility. "Storytelling is a huge part of the event," Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, explains.
Vivian says, "I've been at Facebook for nearly two years and help plan these events, and honestly, I never really understood imposter syndrome before I got here. Working with the Women@ community and hearing from our speakers—who are talented, brilliant superstars—I've seen firsthand how it affects them too."
Michelle C. is a client partner based in London.
Michelle C., a client partner in London, says that the summit's speaker sessions, which feature people from inside and outside of Facebook, are a highlight of every event. "We had a speaker from Tel Aviv who talked about the importance of balance in her personal life and how she co-parents with her husband. She shared specific things she's done, like adding her husband to the WhatsApp chat groups for mothers she's in and reminding her daughter's school that her husband is also available when their child feels sick. Her message was that we'll never be equal in the workplace until we're equal at home, and it really struck a chord."
Paris says that in APAC, Eva Chen's talk about facing challenges amidst the coronavirus pandemic and how she's raising her daughter was a top-rated session because it was so relatable. "From talking about her daughter's love for dinosaurs—a "boy" thing—and raising kids to fully be themselves to opening up about what it was like to grow up with immigrant parents from China and Vietnam, Eva inspired us with her authenticity and openness. Her struggle to feel supported while working in fashion and tech, rather than medicine, is something a lot of people in APAC understand."
"Every woman has a unique story," Michelle says. "Hearing from others is inspiring, validating, and truly eye-opening. It reminds us that we're not alone."
A memorable and lasting impact
It's no surprise that with the tremendous amount of planning and careful consideration that goes into the summit, its full impact is impossible to measure.
"It meant so much to me when people shared such positive feedback about Women's Leadership Day," Paris says. "We heard that some attendees felt inspired for days and weeks."
Kira G. is an agency partner based in Berlin.
Kira G., an agency partner in Berlin, has witnessed how the summit's programming can inspire action, even helping people push past a career plateau. "We might reach a point in our careers when we think, "I can't do this anymore, I'm not moving forward'," she says. "Women's Leadership Day gives us fresh perspectives, shows us new approaches, and starts important conversations. This can unlock new paths for growth and help us move forward."
Impact is felt in other Facebook groups, communities, and across teams too, inspiring interest and allyship. Amanda explains, "I felt so proud when a male VP from the Sales team came to us after hearing about what people talked about at Women's Leadership Day. He told us he wanted to learn more because it's everyone's responsibility to be an ally."
Empowering the community throughout the year
While Amanda describes Women's Leadership Day as a "bump in energy and inspiration" and "an injection of adrenaline", Vivian says that the real magic is what happens afterwards—and takes place all year long.
"When we think about Women's Leadership Day, our focus is on making sure that the powerful messages we hear and experience serve us throughout the entire year. We ask ourselves questions like, "How can we sprinkle these themes into our programming throughout the month or quarter? How do these ideas fit with our Women@ initiatives?" Going through something awesome together is just the beginning. Our work takes place year-round and we're constantly building on it to do more."
Paris agrees: "There's no shortage of amazing stories from our Women@ community throughout the year. Women's Leadership Day is just one channel for those stories, and I love how it stays top of mind with people and empowers them to do more good. When we come together, we can do anything we dream of."
"We're building a sisterhood and a community," Tatiana beams. "It feels so good to know there's always someone there to support you."
Learn more about Facebook's Employee Resource Groups, including Women@ here.