Celebrating Black History Month in Europe

October 23, 2020

In this episode of Here to Help, we learn about the meaning of Black History Month in Europe, and how we are recognizing and celebrating at Indeed.

Chris Hyams, is joined by Bright Aboagye, the Regional Co-Chair of Indeed’s Black Inclusion Group and a Senior Account Executive based in Amsterdam, to discuss why setting up Black Inclusion Group (B.I.G) in the Netherlands office was paramount to him.

- Hello everyone, I am Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed. And welcome to the next installment of "Here to Help." This is our look at how Indeed has been navigating the global impact of COVID-19. Today is October 13th, we're on Day 224 of Global Work From Home. Now, for those of you who have tuned in the past, you know that at Indeed, Inclusion and Belonging is one of our five core values. And here in the U.S. where I live, we recognized Black History Month in February, but in the U.K. and in the Netherlands, October is Black History Month. So today we'll be talking about the meaning of Black History Month in Europe and how we're recognizing and celebrating at Indeed. I am very happy to be joined today by Bright Aboagye, Regional Co-Chair of Indeed's Black Inclusion Group and a Senior Account Executive based in our Amsterdam office. Bright, thanks so much for joining me today.

- Thank you for having me, Chris. It's a pleasure.

- Great, well, let's start off the way that we always start off here, which is just a check in, how are you doing today?

- Well, today has been a buildup up to this moment to be honest. Obviously did my day to day job, had some team meetings et cetera. So today's a good day, I feel good. I feel empowered and excited for the future.

- Fantastic, let's talk a little bit about just your job here at Indeed. You're senior account executive, you're based in our Amsterdam office. Just talk a little bit about what you're responsible for and what a typical day is like for you.

- So as a senior account executive, I work for the Benelux Market based in Amsterdam, and I'm on the DE, my manager is Keegan Coldrington.

- And for those that are outside of Indeed, what is DE?

- DE, it means Direct Employer. Yeah, so I work directly with my clients and make sure that we can help them succeed in their recruitment goals. Also, if they have employer branding goals, we make sure that we take those into account and see which kind of products that we have within Indeed can help them succeed in those goals. And obviously the work of CS is so important, so we work very closely with CS to make sure that all challenges that clients have are taken into account and we make sure that we provide them the right solution to make sure that they can hit their goals, yeah.

- Great, so in addition to your responsibilities, day to day as a Senior Account Executive, you are the Regional Co-Chair of Indeed's Black Inclusion Group. Can you talk a little bit about what BIG as we call it, is and your role as a Regional Co-Chair?

- Yeah, so it's very nice to be part of BIG. You might look at me and think like, okay, seems like he's not excited. Guys, it's the nerves of having this conversation, but I am all good, I can put it there. Black Inclusion Group, I think this adventure started last 2019, after a conversation between my Sales Director and Francis, who was the Regional Co-Chair of the UK office. And they were talking about Black Inclusion Group and what Black Inclusion Groups actually stands for is that we try to empower all Indeedians within the office of color, mainly from the Black perspective, and also try to see how can we move the needle from the current position that we have in the role, like getting more people in senior roles, but also to get more numbers of Black Indeedians within a company, 'cause we believe that if we can see more representation within the company, that's obviously better for the whole company, because when you have a very mixed workforce, we've seen through research that it helps the company to perform even better, and that can be mixed with gender or mixed with race, but we really stand for diversity, inclusion, and belonging. I think BIG is playing a great chapter within the Amsterdam office, yeah.

- So we're talking today because October is Black History Month in the UK and the Netherlands. And last year this time, you and I met, I think in person for the first time we were at a Black History Month event that we held in our London office that Francis and Lillian and other folks had put on. And you came up to me afterwards and said, "You got to come out here next year "for Black History Month in the Netherlands." So we had a plan, unfortunately, a little pandemic got in the way of us getting together physically, but we had an amazing event last week that was co hosted by your office and the London office. Can you talk a little bit about that event and what we did and it was amazing for me to have the opportunity to be a part of it, but for those that weren't there tell us a little bit about that event.

- It was actually amazing that event and I think what I love more about the fact that when we got in contact to talk about the event that we're going to do in Amsterdam, your willingness to just help was very interesting. To see that, "Okay, when is it, "just let me know before ahead, "so that I can make sure that my Chief of Staff "can put into my agenda." I was like, "Okay, so is that easy? "Just ask the question and he's going to be present." So that made me feel like there is support from SLT, from the office. So that was a very great gesture and right now having this conversation is also in addition to that, but what we did last week was amazing. And I really want to give shout out and kudos to my colleague and also Regional Co-Chair of the Black Inclusion, Francis, is that we really wanted to change the conversation that we're having 'cause this year was a year full of horrific and tragic events when it comes to Black lives all over the world, not only in the U.S. but all over the world, also in the Netherlands, we gave the Black Lives Matter one-on-one because we saw that the conversation was really focused more on what was happening in the US and we were like, "Nah, there's also something happening, "in our backyard." So we need put emphasis on that as well, but it was all about emotion and we said, no, I think it's time to really talk about what have Black people contributed to the world that we live in right now. So we divided in two events and first event was based on Black pioneers. So what Black people, Black women and men have invented. So for instance, we focused on Lonnie Johnson who brought a Super Soaker to the world. And I spoke with a lot of enthusiasm about that 'cause I'm kind of gamey. And when I was younger, I love spraying the elderly in the building wet. So it was amazing to see that Lonnie Johnson brought that who was actually an aerospace engineer at NASA for 12 years and came with this product. But even going deeper, we have for instance, Otis Boykin, who came with a product that made sure that the pacemaker was enhanced and the pacemaker is a product that we use to keep people alive when it comes to regulating their heartbeat. Can you imagine these inventions really change the conversation we're having about Black people or even the Black History Month. And when it came to the second part, that was The Power of Black Voices. We had Jacky Wright, who's a Chief Digital Officer at Microsoft, but also in Humberto Tan, who's a writer, author and also presenter in Netherlands. And he gave a splendid story about his life and the lessons that he got from his mom. and Jackie Wright also spoke about empowerment, but also the level of representation that needs to be in companies, 'cause if it's only from bottom up, it's not good, we need to make sure that also people of color are in positions of power so that it can give people a sense of inspiration that it is possible to reach there. But also when it comes to product development, if you have people of different backgrounds in a room who brainstorm a product, it makes sure that the product is also representing all kinds of people, all kinds of genders, and that makes the product even perform even better. And yesterday I heard something very interesting on the, on news, on the television, they said the car, the cars that we drive and the seatbelt that are designed, they were actually designed on the male body. So they didn't take into account the female body when they made the seatbelt. And I was like just a sole small things that we have in the world that we didn't stand by and think about we need more people in the room before we bring this product to the market, but obviously there's always chance to improve. But when that stuff acknowledgement, if you see that there's room for improvement, make sure you have that conversation and drive the development of the product to the next stage. So I'm very much pump up about information we had last year. It gives me a better feeling of where I'm from, where I'm going to, and I hope the people in Indeed, 'cause we did it for you all, enjoyed it. And also going to do your own research to understand more about the world that we live in.

- Yeah, both amazing events. And I'm really looking forward to hopefully all being together physically next year to celebrate. So you were talking a little bit about Humberto and his story that led to where he is today. I'd like to actually back up and talk a little about your story. I got to hear a little bit more about it last week, and it's really inspiring to me. Tell us just a little bit about your background and about your early years that helped shape who you are today.

- Yeah, the young Bright, yeah Bright, I'm not going to talk in third person, I'm just going to speak for myself. But as a young boy, I was different. I was, really a reflection of my environment. And what do I mean by that is that I grew up in Amsterdam, born and raised in Netherlands, grew up in Amsterdam Bijlmer, and that was a time where all migrants or most migrants were put in one segregated area where we all lived. So obviously what you had there were people that were struggling to really make a living. You saw a lot of negative things around you. People beating each other, stealing whatever, but also a lot of good stuff. Seeing children just play around from different cultures, the foods, the clothing, like it was a blend of what really a multicultural environment looks like. And as a child that was quite difficult to be honest, I'm the oldest of three boys, but in my upbringing, I think I was encircled by people that were of the great influence. So when I say that I was really staking into and drawing to the things that we're doing. So when it comes to for instance, going to the store and you see candy and you know can't afford candy, what I would do is that for instance, put in my pocket and walk out of the store. So those were the small things that I will do as a child that really didn't help me to see the value of really staying in line and having those norms. But I was really tamed at home and not tamed like, it was actually tamed like with a belt and everything, very African, "Stubborn boy, you've done this, "I'll give you punishment." And it wasn't helping at that age. But at a certain point, my parents saw that Bright is very distant from where he's from, 'cause I wasn't very proud of my background because I was being teased and bullied because I was African. Can you imagine, just because of your color and where you're from, it was very crazy. But when I looked in the mirror I knew I was born in the Netherlands and I was like, "I'm Dutch." But when I walked outside, people confronted me that, "No, you're not." So at a young age, when you come to deal with that, it gives you a lot of insecurity, but also a sense of pride that never grows within you because where are you really from? And where do you stand? So at that very young age, I got to see the world as it is, it was a harsh world, a real world, but also got to see that if I'm not willing to go for something to make my life better, I might not have a good future. So luckily I have parents who saw that and navigated me the right way to become the person that I am today, yeah.

- Part of the story that you shared with me last week that I would love to talk a little about. So when you were nine years old, your parents decided that you needed to go and to get appreciation of, of where you're from and you all moved back to Ghana. And so you were heading into a new environment, a new school, new challenges.

- That was a very interesting phase of my life because in the Netherlands, we lived in flats and I never knew what Africa was about, was all I heard about when I was in school, it's like Africa, trees, sand, nothing really looking like the modern world. But when I got to Ghana, we had a big house. I was like, "That's bigger than the house we were living "in the Netherlands. "I have a dog, a dog." So it was so much fun. We had a swing in the house. I was like, "Okay, this is much better." But he said, I would have a lot of friends there, but that wasn't the case immediately. It took some time because people saw that you were not from there or you weren't born there and needed some time to really blend in. And it's crazy to say that you were born in Netherlands and people who see you as a person that's not Dutch, but when you come to your own country, people also see you're not from there. So if I'm not from there, where do I belong? So at that young age, I already knew that I think then I am a global citizen, because if I can make sure that I can fit in both worlds in my world. But the difference between the Netherlands and Ghana was after a year, because you, let's say you're shining, the shine that you have fades away slowly the longer you are in the country. So after a year they already knew. "Yeah, yeah, this is Bright. "Yeah, he's from here, he was born here." They don't even see the difference anymore. Your glow is gone. So I felt at home there, but when I came back to the Netherlands at the age of 12, after I've learned so much, I got to meet my grandparents, understood more about our tradition. What do Ghanaian people stand for? Got to understand the language more. But also I think the connection with God, 'cause Ghanaian people are very active with religion and we have different religions in Ghana, but my parents were Christians. So the church became very important for me. So once I embraced the church, also the rascal that I was the stubborn boy, the disobedient boy started like fading away into a very respectful boy who actually spoke to everyone with respect. So I was the guy that you can play ball in your team and the ball hits your hand. Obviously it's my teammate. And he said, "Bright did the ball hit your hand." And I'll be like, "Yes, it hit my hand." And they'll be like, "What are you telling them, "the truth." I became that kind of guy so straightforward and so honest, but that's the impact that Ghana had on me. And also understanding why studying was important because at a young age, at nine, when I was in the Netherlands, I would just go to school because my parents told me to go to school, but in Ghana, I got to understand that you go to school to become a person of value. You become a person to provide for your family. And that's where I started really focusing on the books and becoming better as well.

- So from nine to 12, you were in Ghana, then you came back to the Netherlands, another big transition. What changed for you when you came back?

- Yeah it was a shock. It was a different world because, I was one step behind the group. When I say one step behind the group, is that my peers at that age, they were also already in their final year to go to high school, to go for the test. And no school really wanted to accept me because my record was so bad that they said, we're not going to take him. So I had to go to primary school, but they said, no. So I was in the house for two months and I had my brothers going to school and making new friends. I'm like, "I also want to make new friends." The Dutch was also improving. Mine was slowly improving by watching cartoons all day. But then at a certain point, I got an opportunity to go for a test at a high school. So I needed to be at primary school for the last year, but I went to high school and they said, "Okay, we can do this admission test." And I was so eager and so willing to make improvement in my life and show them that I can do it. So I went for the test and I actually passed the test. So I started in high school a year before, but I repeated the year and that enabled me to also really get to understand the language better and also get to a high level of education. And that's why I scored quite a good score to become an Hafele Dutch. We work with a system where you have a level of knowledge, and I was categorized in the sub top. And I was happy with that because that enabled me to also learn things differently. But it gave me that shot to prove them that I can do better once I got back to the Netherlands. So it was a pivotal moment in my life, coming back but also to really show that my parents that okay, you give him a second chance. I was disobedient as a young child, but I'm going to prove you guys that I have changed and I'm going to change for the better, yeah.

- So in talking to you, it became clear that education, work and career are very important and big factors in your life, so talk a little bit about how that shaped who you are today.

- Yeah, so when you come from a background where I come from, we weren't like, let's say I could see we were a very struggling family when it comes to finances and it wasn't that easy to get the things that you wanted. So as a child, I had to deal with things that were in the house. Like I was eating rice with eggs scrambled a lot of times and noodles a lot of times. And obviously there were moments that you had good dishes, African dishes definitely, but it wasn't that easy. So I always had a mind, I had to work hard to make a good living. So education was my way to really get to that point 'cause I didn't have parents that I can go to and borrow money from, no, I had to make sure that I can make a living for myself and also try to provide for them once I grew up. So when I started my high school, when I finished, I finished it within the four years that I was actually given. I went to the Hess Institute for Economic Studies. Then I did an International Business and Management Studies. 'Cause I didn't know what I wanted to become. All I knew is that I want to be a person that does business. And I was so intrigued by the movies where I saw businessmen flying, holding the suitcase, speaking the English language so fluent. I was like, "I want to be just like that "because those people look very well. "And I think if I am able to get a position "then I can also be able to provide for my family "and for myself." So I studied and I learned a lot at school, but I learned a lot of everything. And when you learn a lot of everything, you know a little of everything and you're not very specialized. So when I was done with my education, I got my bachelor, I said, I thought I wanted to do something in marketing. I love marketing by the way. And I enrolled for a course called consumer marketing. I wanted to do my MBA, but my challenge was that I worked very hard to get my bachelor, but wanted to find a job and also do my MBA besides that, it wasn't possible, I wasn't getting to the part time jobs that I wanted. They wanted full time people and when I applied for marketing roles, they said, "Yeah, you need four years of experience." I was like, "But I just graduated. "How can I get four years of experience "if I just graduated?" So those were the hurdles that we had some come over, but it was very hard 'cause I was just, walking towards the hurdles and falling all over constantly. So at a certain moment, after a few months doing my education for consumer marketing, I just dropped out. I said, I have to provide for myself, I have to be also there for my mom, my family, so that I can also help them when they need help, because I know what it is to struggle. And they work so hard to get me to this point where I'm at. So I need to start something. So I rode into sales job and that's where my journey started. Yeah, what I am today, as it with sales, I started getting, earning the money, but I wanted to go back to school, but it wasn't that easy to really go back to school because once you're really building that life and you're still stepping your career step by step, you still need to grow in your income as well. So I told myself, my dad was always calling me from Ghana telling, "And have you started your MBA already?" I'm like, "Yeah, I'm going to start dad, I'm going to start." He's like, I'm thinking, why should I focus on that if I first need to make sure that I'm okay. Make a living for myself and then continue that. But to keep a long story short, as education played a very important role for me, but because if I didn't follow that education line that I was, I'm not sure that we'll be having this conversation with you right now.

- So, talk a little bit about when you were starting career, what were some of the challenges that you faced?

- So I think I touched on it briefly the marketing role. So I wanted to really do something in marketing and the experience part was very difficult to have, but what I saw was that my peers, the ones that were able to get marketing internships, they found the way to roll in within the company and then maybe get a marketing job, but a majority of the people that wanted to do marketing they didn't do marketing. So even that was the first challenge, getting what you wanted and just accepting it and moving forward. But then it came to also the real concern, me being Bright, Bright Aboaji a Black Dutch Ghanaian person getting into the market. And it took a lot of applications for me to really land the jobs. So I'm always given people that, the short version of the story, 'cause I've written application so many times that I can even call myself an expert in application writing because I applied for roles and I really, it helped me to get a thick skin because when you get so much nos, it can really demotivate you. And also the environment you live in, you also, people will be knocking on your door to do things, to get quick money. So if you don't have a strong willpower, you might just fall off and just end up having a very different life. But I knew that I needed to stay firm, I need to believe in myself, I need to stay positive, stay on track that if I showed that resilience, eventually I'll get there. And that's how I landed my second sales job. We wish we did the opening for where I'm at right now, I worked at a newspaper company and it was quite interesting 'cause I was progressing, making good moves. I got a contract. And then the next day they called, "We're going to fire 110 people and you're also one of them." That was a big blow, but I accepted that blow. And I continued after two months I landed another job. And that's where I worked like two and a half years. And then I was recruited to Abroad. I was recruited to a competitor of Indeed. And I had shown, I think my CV had shown that I was capable to do a lot of work and to bring value to a company when it comes to sales. So let's say when it comes to the applications that I wrote, I can say at least 250 applications, but it was all worth it. It brought me to where I am right now.

- One thing that was really clear on the conversation we had last week was that mentorship has played a really pivotal and important role in your development in your life. Can you talk a little about the story that you told me last week about this professor and the impact that it had and then really your, how that drove you to focus on social entrepreneurship?

- Yeah, at a very young age, we were very active within our community to help our parents like loose bills or let's not lose it, lessen the bills off on utilities. So we'll be going to them asking them, "How much are you paying?" We can help them save. So making calculations for them. And there was this one session that we organized with parents. And there was a man who was very active within the Ghanaian community. His name was Tony Kofi, he was a professor and he helped youngsters. Pardon me, he helped youngsters to get better grades at school by talking to teachers and having giving them a correct score to go to the middle bottom school, just like high school in the Netherlands. And that man was there as well. And he saw us engaging with the elder people and he was like, "What'd you guys are doing "is actually social entrepreneurship. "Do you guys know that?" "We have no idea. "We just tried to help our parents "and our aunties and uncles to lower the bills "so they can have more money to spend on the things "that they really want to spend on." So he invited us over to his place and he became our mentor. He really taught us about the world that we live in and how we see the world that we were Dutch, Ghanaian but we should also look at how can we share knowledge to our community because it's nice to progress in your career, having a good income and helping friends one or two, but the impact of leaving a very good seed in your community, and once that starts to grow, your whole community grows. So when we had a conversation around the things that were happening in Netherlands, and he was giving us historical facts like the Dutch team in the priors, in the seventies and eighties, they can only select three black people. 'Cause they really controlled that way. And we were like, "What serious, all those things were happening?" And there were just factual things and also about his part in the Ghanaian politics and why he moved to the Netherlands and what he's bringing to the Netherlands. And we knew that I think we had more in us than we actually knew at that time. And that's where we started the Rainmakers Foundation. And the Rainmaker Foundation was actually with the model, the development of the youth by the youth and for the youth. So everything that we did was through the lens of the youth for the African Diaspora. So we wanted to really speak to everyone in Netherlands 'cause our friend groups who were people from White people, Black people, Asian people, whatever. But he tried to lit the lights on your community as well. And we were like, "No, we're not going to listen to that, "we like all people. "So we got to get all of them to our events." But his message scheme over anyway. And during the course of years, we started an event called Never Not Networking. And that event was all about networking 'cause when we looked at where we were in our careers, we saw that one thing was very common, was a red line concerning network. Our network brought us to where we were. But we didn't get us when we're going up, That is very important to go network, so we were like, if that's something that we've seen that has helped us, we need to share our people that network is important, but also show them how they need to network. So with several events being done, it was amazing. We even had people meet each other there and now becoming a married couple. So I think we've done quite our part in the community, but that's where the line regarding the African Diaspora, but also the focus on community started with Mr. Tony Kofi. May he rest in peace.

- Thank you for sharing that. Let's come back to where we started, which is it's October, it's Black History Month in parts of Europe. And you mentioned, what's been going on in the U.S. especially since the spring and the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, really gaining international attention, but that it's not just focused on what's going on in the U.S. so what does it mean to recognize and celebrate Black History Month for Europeans?

- That's a very interesting question and I can only answer it from my perspective to be honest, Black History Month, I think the past five years is where it really came to my attention that it was being celebrated in the Europe. I know it's a very American thing. And when I saw it in Europe, I was like, this is interesting, I want to know more and do more. And also because we were acting with our Rainmakers Foundation, we were invited to more things and were put on an agenda regarding Black History Month. If you asked me is Black History Month throughout the year, and that needs to be celebrated throughout. But because we, as a underrepresented group, marginalized group, do not always get a chance to celebrate what we bring to the world. We have a specific Monday, we can bring that to light. We can bring our foods more to light, our culture, our clothing, our arts to the world. And I think that highlights also moments like what we did last week with the Black pioneers on The Power of Black Voices, that we can really put a bigger lens on the voices that have been silenced for so long to learn more about our history. So for instance, when it comes to history of the Netherlands and on Africa, for instance, that isn't something that comes back very much in the news or in the books or at schools it's like briefly discussed, but the month Black History Month really gives us initiatives or events that we can go to to learn more about it. And the more equipped I am with knowledge, the better I can understand the world that I'm living in or the better I can have conversation and pass on information to the next generation. And I think the more we are able to celebrate our differences, but also the things that unite us, the better we can have conversations and grow as a people. And once one thing I think I loved about the Black History Month for EMEA was it was usually also done from an immediate perspective. For instance, in the UK, they also did an event that was in the Black History Month, but also regarding the carnival there. And I learned so much when that presentation was given by Keith. I think these things that Indeed enables for also us to have BIG in Amsterdam in the EMEA in general, that helps us to also really do our own research and understand more. And then we can pass on the word to all Indeedians, yeah.

- So we were talking before about some of the issues that are specific to cultural tensions in the Netherlands. Can you talk about some of your own experiences that help demonstrate what those issues look like? - Where we grew up as a young child respect is so important in the Ghanaian household or an African household. Respect is everything. So even when it comes to parents, having a conversation, you as a young sir, can not just walk into the conversation and talk to them. 'Cause when elderly people are speaking, the youth and the youngest are quiet and when you're asked to have interaction, they can give their inputs. So that's also something that you bring back to when you go to school, for instance. So when you go to, the work life that you don't shout and let people think what you see or know, but you just wait until you're asked. And I think that's sometimes it does not let us really show our strength and our power, but also the ideas that we have because we have so much respect. And a great example is that for instance, in Ghana, when you want to show respect to parents, when he's speaking to you, or she's speaking to you, you don't look the person in the eyes, like you don't do this. You really look away. And when they're done speaking, you speak back, but you avoid eye contact. But whereas when I come to the work life that we have, for instance, in the Western world, respect is when you give eye contact. So that's something that can be so difficult because you've been taught so much things differently than when you came into the work life, so you need to adapt. And that coding, they call it coding, is something that we always need to work on and always need to be focused on. And that already gives us a step backwards compared to a person that is thought, just pick up, speak your mind, whatever you think, you know, just go for it because they might be perceived as better or more assertive or more outspoken. But a person that was actually asked to speak when he was asked, might have a big, better idea, but you need to invite the person's conversation. So I think those different cultural barriers that we have does not help us to improve very much in let's say in the Western world, because when you're taught differently, you really need to unlearn that. And sometimes the unlearning part can be very hard. 'Cause even for instance, when I speak to my, my girlfriend's mother and my mother-in-law, she says, "You don't have to always talk to me with so much respect, "like call me by my name." But in Netherlands we see a lot of like, "U", and that's like you, but with more respect. I keep on saying that my girl will be like, "Stop saying that, she doesn't like that." I'm just like, it doesn't get out of my system. I've been taught this for my young age. And that's like one of the example of the cultural differences that we have, but there's also a lot of things that do match. But I think that once we understand each other more and go into that conversation, then we can also create better work relationships as well.

- In terms of BIG in the Amsterdam office, you were instrumental in helping get the chapter started there. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration for getting it off the ground and why you thought it was so important?

- Yeah, so the inspiration was obviously after the conversation I had with several people in the office where I came into the office, I had a team where I saw five Black people, including myself, "I was like five Black people, "in one team in the tech company. "I've never experienced this before." And that was a warm welcome for me. So it took me not a long time to adapt. Like it took me a few weeks where normally when I got to new company, because I was usually the only Black person in the team, or even on the whole department, it took me a bit longer to learn and really to show them Bright. 'Cause Bright is quite outspoken can be very jovial and whatever, but can also be very quiet and very focused on himself. But to show the full Bright, it needs the person to be comfortable in the office or in his team. So when it came to those conversations I had with colleagues that came to the office and didn't have the same experience as me. They're like, I heard them making jokes, like racial jokes and I'm like, "Oh, serious, I haven't had that in our team." I understood that even though if I'm fine, that's cool. But we need to make sure that everyone that joins the company feels at ease. 'Cause once you feel at ease and you feel comfortable, then you can show your true potential. Then you could show you a real wolf. And then you can also be more willing to show your ideas. And maybe you have, you might have the greatest idea in mind, but because you don't feel comfortable, you will keep it to yourself. And that doesn't help the team to, excel in performance. So, and also, like I said it several times I had own racial experience in the office, which I was surprised when it happened. But when it happened, I was like, even when we're outside the office, I might've reacted differently, but we're in a professional setting and I need to make sure that I'm always professional when I do my work, I'll handle this professionally. So I use that feeling, that disappointment to fuel my interest to start a big chapter in Amsterdam, because I believe that if something unjust happens in the office and people are around and see what happens and don't say a word about it, then we are all creating and making a problem bigger 'cause if you say something about it and even if it was one person that I knew that, okay, we're in progress. But if no one says a word, then that it's like, we need to work on microaggression. We need to work on how do we deal with people and make certain joke or avoid certain jokes. So that even in your relationship with clients, that you might not rephrase that same joke, because you thought the last time it was good, which might have impact on your relationship with the client. But also when for instance, someone goes out for a, cultural events, cultural activity, for instance, Ramadan, you might have more understanding for why they had a full month of fasting and not ask questions. "Why, so you cannot even have a sip of water." You have more understanding. And when people see that you have have to standing the respect that you have for each other also grows as well. So I believe that that's the thing that we really want to make a change in the office. But I think if we held that change in the office, people will take that with them also in their personal lives. And that will also help them become better human beings in general.

- So can you talk a little bit about your role in BIG once you got it started and off the ground, how has your role changed and expanded over time?

- Well, they said it was like 10% of your time. Well, I could tell you it wasn't 10% of my time, it was a bit more than that, but if you have counterparts like Jerome, Mural, Susannah, Val was a very good ally for me also because she's a regional co-chair a woman at Indeed really helped to make things easy. But Francis, I think Francis is the most important person when it comes to BIG and how my role has also changed because I'm really a person that can bring good ideas and change it up and Francis more like the guy, "Hey, let's do this, let's do that." So joining that as a team makes us very good to really bring our message and ideas across. But I also believe that my role changed when there was more structure that came into what we were doing. I think Jill, as a program manager helped us to really format things very well. And also when LaFawn came, all of things were structured in a company and also really having these feedback forms, letting us know what was going well, what can be approved really helped us to get to this point. And I believe that it has been a blessing to take on this challenge. But one thing that I do know what also Humberto said, sometimes when you represent a cause or representing marginalized group, you become a target in a way. People don't see you only as Bright an Indeedian, or Bright, the person that really wants to change things that are in the office. So it has been challenging to get to where we are right now and not with full support things didn't it come very easy, but I'm a believer and I'm a fighter. I fight the right way, fight with words, good conversations. And I believe that once you do that, you can you can have that change on the long term. And as we do what I stand for, because I see myself as a leader of people within Indeed, but I want to leave for whole Indeed 'cause BIG is not only for Black people, BIG is for everyone. Is for everyone that's open to understand the differences that we have, but also the similarities that we have and celebrate them. But because once we are able to understand people of who have disabilities, physical or not physical disabilities, you understand how to engage with them, when you understand women more, it all helps us in everything that we do. So that's what I always want to bring people across that BIG is not for Black people, BIG is for all Indeedians So if you feel like the word BIG, or the word Black and BIG has kept you away, this is an open invite. Just join the Slack channels, come to the events, get in touch with the leaders and have the conversation because we're more than willing to talk, more than willing to show you what value we want to bring to the company. Because the value that we bring, if you take that into you, you obviously do your work even better than you already do it.

- Beautiful, thank you so much. Well, let's, we've got just a minute or two left to wrap up here. And one thing I like to close with is the last seven months have been incredibly challenging for so many millions of people around the world, but it has also been an opportunity to open our eyes and look at things differently. And so I guess I would just love to hear from you, is there anything that's happened over the past seven months that has given you a new perspective or some optimism for the future?

- That's a very good question. Actually, a lot of things, but I'll give two examples. One example is with COVID happening, obviously people were very afraid to get in close contact with people. And there was this one time we'll looking outside at our wind there and there was this crash. There was a motorcyclist and a car that crashed. Luckily, no one that had major injuries, but what happens that even people would wear masks or people were just walking, just pass each other, they all reacted as human beings. They all came together and all people of different religions, different ages, different genders, they come together and just asking, "Are you doing well? "Should I call the police?" And they were just giving aid. And when I saw that, that was again that sense of humanity is still there regardless of the fact that this pandemic has really drawn us away from each other, people were still reacting as human beings. So they remembered longer than what they were before pandemic. And another thing that what I love was the willingness for people to try to learn more when it came to the Black Lives Matter movement. There had colleagues that said, "I don't understand what is happening. "I don't know what you feel, "but what I can do is I want you to just learn more "about what you're doing, so I'll read books, "I'll watch documentaries so that I can at least understand "or try to understand the pain that you're going through. "Also try to understand the real mission behind "what Black Lives Matter stands for." And when people tell us that for instance, Black Lives Matter, no, all lives matter, obviously that's the case, but if a certain group is having pressure or when, for instance, you see that they're being mistreated, sometimes you need to put more focus on them and listen to what you're saying to also make sure that you can handle that. Because if one group is not getting enough attention and not given enough support, then we all are not getting that same support. So it's very important to also put emphasis on that. I just want to just say, I love the fact that we're growing as, as Indeedians in general, glad that SLT has given us these informations, support our ways and supporting all marginalized groups. Because once we see that we are also able to give our full self every day of our times in the office. So thank you for the question that you gave Chris. Thank you.

- Okay, well, Bright, thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you. Thank you for being Bright and bringing your whole self to what you do every day with such clarity and such passion and determination. And thanks for everything you do for people all over the world, helping people get jobs.

- Thank you, it's a pleasure.