The UK’s Black History Month recently marked an annual celebration of Black trailblazers and their cross-cultural impact. But some argue that one month does little to acknowledge Black people’s historically integral societal role.
Moreover, Black history extends far beyond a month and one continent. As more conversations dissecting the consequences of systemic social biases on the lives of Black people across the diaspora emerge, corporate companies are analysing new strategies to support Black professionals in more meaningful ways.
As such, global management consultancy Baringa recently launched its Black at Baringa network, which focuses on driving recruitment and retention of Black talent throughout the business and celebrating the richness of culture within the Black community. The group was developed and led by Black colleagues, including Manager Sally Dwamena, who felt it was essential to facilitate open and transparent forums about race where Black people could be themselves and connect over shared experiences unapologetically.
Throughout October, Black at Baringa hosted five events candidly addressing the mental, physical, emotional, and financial experiences of Black colleagues and the community. These included:
- Self-Care and Confidence workshop: delivered by award-winning entrepreneur Bami Kuteyi, who shared the importance and power of confidence and gave some tips on increasing confidence and prioritising self-care.
- UK & US educational session on Black Wall Street: An in-depth discussion of the Tulsa race riot where mobs of white residents attacked black residents in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1920s.
- Black Pound Event: where the company transformed its offices into a marketplace for 14 incredible Black-owned small and micro businesses to encourage staff to meaningfully alter shopping habits and grow the Black economy and Black communities.
- Personal stories panel: where people heard stories from inspirational leaders on how they managed work-life balance throughout their careers and had ‘broken the glass ceiling’ as Black leaders in their field.
- Virtual yoga: a session for anxiety management, imposter syndrome, and racial wellness run by a Black female with a focus on Black History and wellbeing
Considering the collective financial toll racism has on Black Britains, Baringa amplified Black businesses by using Black-owned food, drink, and music vendors in the community during all events.
Dwamena said, “There was something incredibly special about this year’s Black History Month events, probably because it was the first one led by the Black at Baringa network and a planning team who put in months of hard work and gave up a lot of their time. Seeing so many allies celebrating the month with us was fantastic, and it’s encouraging to know that the impact of the events we organised will continue even longer!”
Aside from the Black History Month celebration, Black at Baringa earmarks substantial cultural shifts within the company and is part of Baringa’s galvanised effort to make significant changes for the betterment of its team. The company understands that true diversity lies in its ability to deepen the knowledge and study of Black history all year long whilst empowering, supporting, and listening to Black colleagues and emerging talent for Black History Month and beyond.
“Over the past year, I’ve worked with some inspiring colleagues and my amazing co-lead Sally Dwamena to launch our Black at Baringa Network. I’m excited to see where we’ll all take this Network and how much impact we’ll have, said Abisola Fatungase, Black at Baringa co-founder and Senior Consultant in the company’s Supply Chain and Procurement practice.
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