All Things Work Together: Reflections on Black History Month
A critical component of what I do as a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is educating organizations on the power of togetherness. In fact, our company slogan is Together We Transform Cultures. As a Black woman who is a former corporate executive and now business owner, I am grateful for the influences of the women who blazed the trail to make this and many other opportunities available to me. Although we still have a way to go, their unwavering belief and determination to make equity and inclusion a reality opened doors for me, some before I was born. As a CEO and believer, I now carry the torch to create opportunities for other women while shining the light of justice into organizations to ensure there is an opportunity for authenticity and a sense of belonging for everyone. As I mentor others, I am grateful for my personal mentors: Linda Jimenez, who drew me from my corporate communications career into DEI, David O’Shaughnessy, who showed me that courageous and caring leadership could co-exist, and Dan Walker, who championed my climb to executive leadership.
Unbeknownst to me, my early childhood experiences were preparing me for a career in this industry. I have not always felt like I belonged. From the time I was a young child I remember feeling as though my skin color was consistently off the popular shade of the color wheel. I always just missed the mark of acceptance because in some circles I wasn’t white enough and in others I wasn’t black enough to fit in. This caused me to keep my eyes open towards those who felt like an outsider. Because I grew up socioeconomically disadvantaged, in a single parent home, I carried shame, fear, and feelings of isolation. I was conditioned to keep the pain stuffed inside. My relationship with the Lord caused me to surrender to Him and find strength. I was able to emerge from my shell of perceived safety. God showed me the value of our differences through His infinite love and wisdom. He later gave me an assignment based in Micah 6:8, “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This was my awakening into another level of understanding DEI, and Infinite: Exploring the Power of God's Love for Diversity and Inclusion, a six session Bible Study was birthed.
During Black History Month, I am reminded that as a Black woman, my heritage has been community driven, in part out of necessity for survival, but equally rooted in a relentless pursuit of righteousness and justice. My life's work is committed to building strong communities for everyone from every social status, faith, culture, gender, and identity. My work centers around helping organizations grow through employee engagement, fairness and belonging. I am most drawn to this work because I have experienced what we at KEIRUS like to call,