Celebrating Black Life, Love, and Legacy at Adobe
Black History Month (BHM) is a time for me to reflect, celebrate, and honor my ancestry, but this year BHM took on a greater significance as I’ve yearned for connections and community amidst the pandemic and on-going racial injustice incidents. My Adobe family has helped lift me up during this challenging time through the strong ties I have developed with my fellow members in Adobe’s Black Employee Network (BEN), and through engagement with leaders and colleagues to address how we can support the success of our Black community.
This year, as the Executive Sponsor of BEN, I was proud to be a part of Adobe’s BHM events centered around the theme: Celebrating Black Life, Love, and Legacy. Our goal was to bring members of BEN and our many allies together to celebrate the talent, leadership, creativity, and stories from the Black community. We helped unite the global Adobe community through these programming highlights:
- An energizing kick-off event, with more than 1,000 employees across 11 countries, showcasing talented artists and musicians including virtual performances by artist Kwame S. Brathwaite, musical guests Brandee Younger, Marcus Gilmore, Nicholas Payton, and hip-hop performance group 1520 Arts.
- A series of employee story spotlights with Ronell Hugh, Bria Alexander, and TJ Rhodes
- sharing their legacy at Adobe and beyond, and Markeia Brox-Chester and Earnest Mack sharing their personal journeys and triumphs.
- A fireside chat with Major General William J. Walker, the leader of the Washington, DC National Guard, who shared his experiences as a Black leader in both the military and law enforcement.
- A Black Women Creatives Panel, a food and cultural showcase, and a virtual marketplace to support Black-owned businesses.
- A celebration of Black creativity across the industry by elevating and amplifying diverse voices through multi-media content, grants and scholarships, and media partnerships.
- Donations to help the larger Black community through corporate and individual contributions to: 100 Black Men, Educational Video Center, and Greene Scholars Program.
Throughout the month I was humbled by the courage and vulnerability of my Black colleagues in telling their unique personal experiences. And as the daughter and granddaughter of servicemen, hearing from Major General William J. Walker not only brought nostalgia for my beloved father and grandfather, but also underscored the sincere appreciation I have to all those who serve.
Our impactful BHM events and programs helped set the stage for ongoing investments and progress throughout the year. A key driver for this is Adobe’s Taking Action Initiative (TAI), which was established in 2020, in response to the death of George Floyd and other incidents of racial injustice. I am honored to be a co-leader of the initiative with the mission to accelerate the representation, development, and success of Adobe’s Black employees through five task forces: Community, Hiring & Recruitment, Growth & Advancement, Responsibility & Advocacy, and Transparency & Governance. I collaborate with task force participants – encompassing BEN members and organizational subject matter owners – to strengthen our commitment and initiate new programs. Given the level of focus and engagement from senior leadership, including our CEO and Chief People Officer, I am encouraged that TAI will make an impact on the success of our Black community and overall representation at the company.
And while I know this is a marathon, where meaningful progress will take time, I’m motivated by recent TAI milestones including establishing aspirational goals relative to employee representation, increasing investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and investing in growth and development through programs such as the McKinsey Black Leadership Academy.
As BHM concludes I am invigorated by the commitment of BEN members and allies who united employees at a whole new level throughout BHM 2021 and by the ongoing efforts at Adobe to accelerate the success of Adobe’s Black employees while creating a change in the broader landscape of social justice.