The son of Jamaican parents, Nathaniel Cooper was born and raised in New Jersey, USA. When it was time for college, he chose one of the most prestigious HBCU’s (Historical Black College & University) to attend, Howard University.
“Black people are so often stereotyped and being at Howard University opened my mind to the black diaspora and the many contributions to society that Black intellectuals have made around the world. We’re more than just athletes and entertainers, we can be anything, we can do anything. The opportunities are endless for me, just like anyone else,” Nathaniel says.
An opportunity for impact
After attending college and earning a degree in economics, Nathaniel moved back to NJ to explore his career options. From being an assistant basketball coach, to being a loan officer, and then a litigation specialist at a law firm – he was open minded about his future.
In 2016, he made the move to Atlanta, Georgia, USA to work at an insurance agency owned by a family member. “I spent five years working there and was proud to work at a successful small-Black owned business. That experience showed me the importance of supporting family, community, and especially black owned businesses. It opened my eyes to the many ways that we can strengthen local economies.”
After five years, Nathanial decided it was time for a change and he looked to tech as his next step on his career journey. Not knowing much about the industry, Nathaniel was eager to learn and was excited to see what Collibra and a role in Enterprise Business Development had in store for him. Once here, Nathaniel came to realize two things – he had a lot to learn and the opportunities were endless for him at Collibra.
“I wasn’t familiar with the tools, the product, or the industry but I knew they had hired me for a reason and I was excited to be here.”
“One of the great things about Collibra is that anytime I need help, I can ask my team and my colleagues. People are open to help. It’s easy to think you can do everything on your own, or that you don’t need help, but being able to rely on peers and coworkers uplifts you,” Nathaniel shares. “When I look back over my time here – my experience has been great. I love my team and I can’t think of anything I would change. The company is great. I love what I’m doing and I feel like the company is making a difference.”
From new hire to community member
Growing up, Nathaniel had not heard of Juneteenth and while at Howard, Nathaniel learned about the history of Juneteenth, but it wasn’t until the death of George Floyd that he really understood its significance. As Nathaniel said when asked about the significance of the day, “It’s one thing to acknowledge Juneteenth but it’s another to truly commemorate and celebrate the emancipation of Black people with your community.”
At Collibra, we see inclusion as a mindset and an opportunity. We encourage Collibrians to be inclusive by design through our Equity and Impact Communities. Nathaniel is a member of the Black Latinx Employee Networking & Development (BLEND) community that aims to develop, amplify, celebrate and promote Black and Latinx Collibrians.
“Living the Black experience in corporate America can sometimes feel like you can’t be your authentic self without being judged or stereotyped, Nathaniel shares. “Since joining BLEND, I’ve seen how Black voices and the Black experience have been amplified. You’re not alone and there’s a community here to help you along the way.”
The impact of these communities isn’t bound by the physical or virtual walls of Collibra. Nathaniel says, “One of the most impactful things I’ve experienced at Collibra was during Black History Month. We hosted a panel of customers who shared their experiences as Black professionals in the tech industry. In an industry that is historically male and white, it was great to hear and learn from different Black industry leaders across companies.”
When asked what Nathaniel wanted to share about Juneteenth, he said, “Although Juneteenth symbolizes liberation, it also reminds us that we must continue to work to overcome systemic disadvantages. The systemic denial of rights has long-lasting effects on institutionally marginalized communities: physically, financially, professionally and emotionally. We must continue to educate ourselves and take action to advance racial equity. Within our everyday communities, we can be part of the solution by simply educating ourselves on “touchy” race-related topics, supporting Black-owned businesses, investing in Black-owned initiatives, and amplifying Black voices within our communities.” Some ways you can commemorate Juneteenth include: