This February, our U.S. Protiviti offices are celebrating Black History Month with a series of events designed to inspire and open conversations, fostering a culture that lives and breathes our value of inclusion. Leaders and Influencers of African and African American cultures highlight a broad spectrum of innovation this year during Black History Month at Protiviti.
Protiviti’s Black Employee Inclusion Network Group (BEING) will host special events with Kwasi Fordjour, a Grammy-nominated creative director; Raul Edwards, a leader in African food, music, dance, and culture; and Dr. John Chiles, a professor who will talk about the impact of hip hop on American culture.
Inspiration and Celebration
Cara, a Senior Manager in our Houston office, is at the center of planning the month-long celebration in February.
“My purpose in this role is to focus on how to destigmatize a community and culture that is marginalized often due to lack of awareness and misperception. Growing up, I was immersed in an all-white environment in school, in church, and many other activities. Despite being different, I never felt inadequate,” said Cara. “My mom, who is an African-American studies professor, explained to me at an early age that the world is going to minimize African and African-American history and culture, but she would always remind me, ‘Don’t internalize that. Remember the truth is we come from greatness.’ “
Cara was inspired working on this year’s Black History Month celebrations. “I love to share the knowledge and values that I’ve gained over the years, provide more inspirational content for our employees who identify as Black, and bridge that gap between people and culture to generate an inclusive environment.”
Launching an ENG
This is the second year BEING is hosting Black History Month events. Last year the group, which had only formed a few months prior to February 2021, collaborated with the Smithsonian Institute to conduct a Transcribe-a-thon. The team worked with the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center to transcribe documents from the Freedmen’s Bureau records dated between 1865 – 1872, a period of Reconstruction in the U.S. The Protiviti team included 145 participants across 26 offices who contributed their time to transcribe 1,169 documents in the Smithsonian’s historical collections. Our team’s effort helped to digitize documents making them more accessible and text-searchable to the public across Smithsonian online databases and search engines. As a result, our team helped to uncover previously untold or unknown stories. We also helped honor the contributions of people of color and other under-acknowledged and marginalized groups.
“Last year’s approach was to create an educational foundation. And now this year is more about celebrating African American and African influences across the world,” Cara said.
How We’re Celebrating at Protiviti
All month long, we’re hosting many conversations to mark and honor this historic month through a plethora of topics. Take a look at what Black History Month activities look like in action at Protiviti:
Week One: Innovation
Grammy-nominated Creative Director Kwasi Fordjour will share his story on being an innovative trailblazer in the entertainment industry. He will talk about his approach to overcoming obstacles and staying true to one’s authentic self.
Week Two: Music, Dance, and Food
Raul Edwards will talk with us about the African influence on food, music, dance, and culture across the world.
Protiviti’s BEING and Robert Half’s Black Employee Network (BEN) members will host a conversation with Dr. John Chiles about the impact hip hop has had on American Culture.
Week Three: Health and Wellness
We’re hosing an exercise class with our BEING and BEN members! Raul Edwards will provide a virtual dance lesson to our teammates illustrating the intercorrelation of European, African, and Latin dance.
Week Four: Career and Development
We’re closing the month out with an inspiring BEING Successful Series session on Networking, Relationship Building, and Self-Confidence.
Ruth-Ann, a Senior Manager in our Chicago office is an enthusiastic BEING participant and ally. Looking ahead at the Black History Month calendar, she says she’s looking forward to broadening her horizon and learning about the influence of Black artists.
“This is of interest to me personally because I simply don’t know enough. The more I know, the more I understand and look at the world from a different perspective.”
Senior Consultant Anastasia, who works in our Atlanta office, has attended BEING’s podcast discussions. “I found those to be very informative and definitely helped to foster a sense of a community. It also was a great networking opportunity.”
Anastasia feels a personal responsibility to become involved and help others. “As an African-American woman in technology, I think it is my responsibility to help pave a way for others looking to enter the field.”
Amanda, a Senior Manager in our New York City office, adds that “every event I’ve attended has been very informative, engaging, extremely relevant and essential (in my opinion)!”
“I think we are fortunate to work for a company that gives us these platforms where we can take some time to focus on topics that may not directly impact our work product but help shape us as individuals and as a company,” Amanda said. “It helps people appreciate and understand others more than they already do, and this will make working together an even better experience. I want everyone to understand that these events are not the end-all, be-all. February is not the only month to learn about and discuss Black history. It is an ongoing effort, but the month gives us a platform to kick-start it! We should all continue to be open to and look for new information and ways to share it with others. Society will be much better off, if people take time to learn about others, rather than judging them.”
In addition to the events, Oluseyi, a Senior Consultant and BEING member from our Houston office, is hoping Black History Month inspires more dialogue among colleagues.
“I’m also hoping to experience Black voices being amplified within the organization,” Oluseyi said. “People sharing their success stories and any relevant details about their work/life that they feel comfortable sharing. I believe this would be a great way to connect with other colleagues.”
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