February is Black History Month in the United States. This month, the BUILD (Black Upcoming Individuals in Leadership and Development) employee resource group at UKG is spotlighting Black U Krewers every day to recognize the positive impacts they’ve made at work, at home, and in their community. Here are a few of those inspiring stories.
Joan, Lead Solutions Consultant, Georgia (six years at UKG)
During Black History Month, it’s important for me to… Reflect on and remember my ancestors who have paved the path for me, but more importantly, to honor and respect every African American who ever fought for the freedom of the Black American because without them, this African girl would never have had an opportunity to immigrate to the U.S. I do not take that for granted.
Please share a defining moment in your career/education/upbringing that helped mold who you are today. On August 7, 1998, my father was killed in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Though my father was estranged from the family, this event was a defining moment in my life because no human deserves to die the way he did. I had to face my experiences with him head on. I had to process all the compounded grief, his premature death, and, more importantly, a much-needed understanding and reconciliation.
Kirk, Presales Manager, Canada (four years at UKG)
During Black History Month, it’s important for me to… Reflect on contributions of Black Canadians, currently and historically. I would normally attend events locally in person but will look out for any virtual offerings this year.
Please share a defining moment in your career/education/upbringing that helped mold who you are today. The Christmas I turned 7, I got my first computer (Commodore VIC-20), and it sparked a passion for all things computers/technology that I know was key in me being in the technology space. When I graduated college, my wife encouraged me to attend the HRPA (Human Resources Professionals Association) tradeshow, where I made contacts that led to my first job as an HRIS specialist. Many mentors along the way pointed me to my next roles, as they often saw traits in me before I could see them myself. My parents instilled a passion for excellence and being good to people.
Vicki, Lead Solution Support Specialist, Florida (four years at UKG)
During Black History Month, it’s important for me to… Connect with others. So much about Black history has not been taught in schools or highlighted in the media. It seems we talk about the same people every year, and when I connect with others on the accomplishments of those who came before us, I learn of some new historical figure or challenge overcome that has helped shape the present.
Please share a defining moment in your career/education/upbringing that helped mold who you are today. Very early on in my career leading a team, I encountered a scenario where I was asked to overlook something which went against what I stood for. I voiced my concern but was overruled. That day, I not only made the decision that that organization wasn’t for me, but also learned a lifelong lesson that you can’t separate your personal values and morals from how you operate at work. I have become much more discerning since then and found a home at UKG because of what we stand for.
Lionel, Software Engineer Manager, Florida, (three years at UKG)
During Black History Month, it’s important for me to… Learn, listen, appreciate, support, and share.
Please share a defining moment in your career/education/upbringing that helped mold who you are today. Growing up the way I did, moving to various African countries, Haiti, and the U.S., I was often the outsider, the new kid. Eventually, I got used to not fitting in. It is liberating to become comfortable in your own lane, regardless of how it compares to others. The less you care about being like everyone else, the more you can dig into the things that make you valuable — your perspectives, insights, the different ways you approach things. My exposure to many different groups, and the opportunity to integrate into new groups many times as a youth, eventually increased my self-confidence.
Want to connect with these and other great U Krewers? UKG is hiring! Explore our Careers page today.