In February, we celebrate Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada. At Thomson Reuters, we’ve had the opportunity to sit down with several members of our Black Employee Network to find out what Black History Month means to them and participate in various in-person and virtual events throughout the month.
We also had the privilege of speaking with Jimma Elliott-Stevens, Global Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel of the TR Enterprise Center. In our conversation, Jimma shares a unique perspective on using Black History Month to inform and educate; she also explains how the Black Employee Network is helping foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace at Thomson Reuters both regionally and globally.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
History is important. It continuously shapes modern-day places, behaviors, societies, and technologies. Black people throughout history have faced systemic racism and numerous injustices, and those parts of our history should not be forgotten, as there is still much work to do. This month is also an opportunity to discover and acknowledge Black achievements. As a Black leader at Thomson Reuters, I need to educate my friends and colleagues of the challenges that I, and other Black colleagues, have faced as we continue to climb the ladder of success. It is even more important to share how we overcome those challenges and why we will continue to do so.
What issues matter most to you and that you feel deserve more attention?
Diversity, at large, is a critical issue to me. I believe mentoring or sponsoring diverse individuals is even more critical. Regarding Black talent, in particular, it is important for Black employees and potential candidates to see someone who looks like them in a leadership role. And, by continuing the conversation on how Black people can advance their careers, we increase the chances of enhancing and diversifying our talent pool.
Why is your participation in the Black Employee Network Business Resource Group important to you?
Business resource groups, including the Black Employee Network, aid in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. They encourage healthy activism and create opportunities to network with individuals of different ethnicities, cultures, and even different parts of the organization. They serve as excellent forums for educating and growing our employee base, and this is especially important if that base is under-represented.
How have you celebrated Black History Month with your friends, family, and colleagues?
I currently live in Switzerland, where I do not see many people who look like me or share a similar cultural background. Therefore, I educate while I celebrate. I educate my friends and colleagues of the challenges that I, and other Black employees, face as we continue to climb the ladder of success. I display a colorful, striking banner behind me to mark Black History Month when meeting virtually for those who are unaware. I participate in various forums designed to bring about awareness, and I continue to mentor my Black brothers and sisters (at large) in growing their careers.
Is there anything else you want to share about yourself or Black History Month?
As Thomson Reuters continues to build and empower a more diverse employee population, I urge Black employees to continue striving to make a difference by joining the conversation, raising their hands, and applying for opportunities we offer as a company. Also, seek mentors and sponsors invested in your growth. We, too, can share stories of how Black leaders work to design, develop, and secure our products, how we make strides in sales and marketing by exceeding our targets, how we play significant roles in our mergers and acquisitions, and how we collaborate and innovate to ensure that the history behind some of our legacy products continues to reshape our modern-day offerings.
While February may be top of mind for remembering our Black history, I can proudly state that Black people make modern-day achievements every day of the year.