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Bringing Black History Month to the Forefront of First Advantage’s Culture

Highlighting and celebrating Black culture year-round is a goal at First Advantage. Since the inception of the African, Black, and Caribbean (AB&C) Employee Resource Group (ERG) a few years ago, the company has demonstrated a commitment to uplifting Black employee voices. Every February, however, there is a special emphasis on celebrating the community due to the annual observance of Black History Month. Tanya Johnson, Sr. Business Analyst, serves as a Co-Chair for the AB&C ERG and emphasized the importance of remaining active during the yearly observance month.  

“It’s important for us to stay engaged, to network, and to continue our quest for learning…let’s expand our knowledge and let’s expand our circles,” she said.  

Johnson also suggested that every employee who can participate in an ERG do so by joining planned events in and outside the organization. At First Advantage, the AB&C ERG worked together to put on a series of events and activities to celebrate Black History Month. For example, leaders hosted a trivia event and encouraged members to participate in a virtual field trip to learn more about Black history. Ultimately, AB&C leaders wanted all members to have fun while they simultaneously steeped themselves in informative and educational environments. As Michelle Gearring, Director, Occupational Health & Wellness and AB&C ERG Co-Chair put it, “Black History Month is also a time for other cultures to learn more about our culture and history. After all, Black history is American history.”  

The mindset of embracing and educating ourselves about cultures outside our own has been actualized by company leadership. At First Advantage, all ERGs have been given an executive sponsor. The AB&C ERG receives support from Aaron Cook, Chief Operating Officer Americas, someone who has witnessed the growing passion and engagement for ERGs across the company over the years. Though Aaron is the executive sponsor, he credits AB&C ERG participants for championing the work to drive change. He is already looking forward to the group continuing to serve as a company pillar. “It’s been inspiring to be a part of, I think we’re off to a great start, and I’m really looking forward to what’s coming in the future,” he said. 

Investing in employees through ERGs can pay dividends if the work is done intentionally. Finus Douglas, Sr. Director, Service Solutions and Project Management, has spent 7 years with First Advantage. He’s also the current Co-Chair of the Generations ERG, and a proud member of other groups, including the AB&C ERG. Through his participation over the last three years, he’s immersed himself into learning by taking time to really hear others as they authentically share their stories. Douglas has been a strong proponent of ERGs and advocates for all employees to participate when they’re ready. “I’d encourage anyone to get involved not only because it is a safe environment to learn about other communities, but also because we all have stories to share, and they deserve to be heard.”  

Interested in learning more about how the AB&C ERG leaders helped bring Black History to the forefront of First Advantage’s workplace culture in February? Visit our LinkedIn page to watch the full video capturing some of the thoughts they shared in this blog, and more! 

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