Creating a shared understanding of data starts with considering a wide range of perspectives. That’s why authenticity and belonging are embedded into our culture.
This Black History Month, Collibrians around the globe are honoring the Black and African American community’s countless contributions by celebrating the accomplishments of Black and African American leaders — including leaders at Collibra. We asked Pamela Jones, Enterprise Customer Success Manager and Co-lead of Collibra’s BLEND (Black and Latino Employee Networking and Development) Community, to share what BLEND has planned for the month and what leading the BLEND Community means to her.
Thank you to Pamela for sharing her experience and for her tremendous support and leadership of BLEND. The work she and all of our Equity & Impact Community Co-leads do to cultivate belonging and inclusion is the embodiment of #OneCollibra.
Why do you participate in the BLEND Community?
One of the main reasons I participate in BLEND — and why I’ve participated in similar organizations at other companies — is that I believe representation matters. The fact is that Black employees are underrepresented in the SaaS space, as are other historically marginalized groups. Groups like BLEND offer community, which helps people feel like they belong.
When you feel like you belong somewhere, you start to feel confident about charting your course forward within an organization. You also have a community of people who have been where you’ve been, have experienced what you are experiencing, and can offer ideas and advice for navigating challenges and opportunities.
You can also share what you’ve learned with others. I’m really passionate about providing that hand up for folks who are a little bit earlier in their career than I am. BLEND has been a great place for supporting people and finding support.
How is BLEND celebrating Black History Month?
The contributions of the Black and African American community are countless and far reaching, so each year we choose a theme to dive into with our activities. Last year we highlighted important Black inventors, and this year we are shining a light on Black business leaders and influencers.
I’m excited to be moderating a fireside chat with Steve Cosby, VP of Enterprise Security Architecture and Application Security at American Express, to discuss his journey to tech leadership. Steve has accomplished a lot in his career, and I’m looking forward to learning from his experience and sharing it with the community and all Collibrians.
In addition to the fireside chat, we are sharing facts each week in the company-wide Slack channel about people who have shaped and continue to shape our daily lives for the better. So far we’ve featured modern-day leaders like Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Morgan Debaun, founder of the news and digital media company Blavity and AfroTech, an organization dedicated to increasing Black and African American representation in tech.
We’re also highlighting historical figures like Nathan “Nearest” Green, who taught Jack Daniel the art of whiskey distillation. Sharing stories like Green’s is one of the things I have enjoyed most about these celebrations. While most people are familiar with Tennessee whiskey, many don’t know the full story of how Black and African Americans contributed to that industry and numerous other successful businesses in other industries. Shining a light on and celebrating these examples of excellence is what Black History Month is all about.
What is your role in the community?
I wear a lot of hats, but above all I see myself as a connector. I do a lot of connecting people in the community with others throughout Collibra, and I amplify ideas and concerns that come out of the community to Collibra leadership.
Of course there is a good bit of event planning and communication for some of our bigger initiatives, but I also enjoy sharing little ideas or opportunities here and there. Whether that’s posting a podcast about diversity in the workplace or an article about Black women scientists wearing natural hair styles in the lab, I try to keep the community connected.
What have been some highlights of serving in a leadership role? What have you learned?
Some of the most rewarding moments have been seeing people engage with what we are doing as a community — both Black and Latinx Collibrians and Collibrians who don’t identify as Black or Latinx. For example, last year we hosted a panel of tech leaders for Black History Month and later hosted a fireside chat with a Latina tech executive for Hispanic History Month. After each event, multiple people told me they connected with the speakers more than they ever expected.
One thing I’ve learned in this role is the importance of intersectionality. We’re all multidimensional, and understanding the different aspects of each person’s identity and how they intersect can really deepen our connections.
Seeing this play out at some of our BLEND events has motivated me to dig deeper with people. You can’t necessarily experience the world the same way someone else does, but you can ask questions and listen to what their experiences are like. I feel like I’ve expanded my horizons through leading this community.
In general, I appreciate how being part of BLEND has helped me connect with more Collibrians and customers on a deeper level than just the day-to-day responsibilities of my role. It’s a different level of connection when you realize you have a shared understanding with someone, either because of your shared identity or a shared experience.