Eddye reflects on creating opportunities for the Black community in the workforce
In honor of Black History Month, we interviewed leaders in our Cara community, as they reflected on being a Black leader and what this month means to them. Today we hear from Cara alum, Eddye Ervin, Associate Vice President of Business Solutions at Gobel Group.
“Before Cara. I was working part time at a movie theater while I was attending college. I wasn’t happy at the theatre and barely received any hours. I was in my early twenties and had two young children. I was a teenage mother, but I was determined to do all I could not to be another statistic. I knew I needed a job that was going to lead to something substantial to support us. My mother told me about Cara, and said if I took a step back to go through their program, it would lead to a better job, and I could do better for my kids.
“At first, I thought it was just a job training program, but it ended up teaching me a lot. I learned to work hard and to want and expect more for myself. I waited for the right opportunity, one that appealed to me and the future I wanted to create. Before that, I was just willing to accept anything that came up for me.
“I waited for the right opportunity, one that appealed to me and the future I wanted to create. Before that, I was just willing to accept anything that came up for me.”
“I started at Northwestern Memorial Foundation as a receptionist and stayed there for fifteen years. I grew and learned a lot in that role. I don’t think I would have gotten as far as I did without the skills and opportunities I received from that job. It helped me learn what I would like to do in my career. I left that job two years ago to pursue another opportunity as a Director at Heartland Alliance, where I matured my skills and was eventually recruited for an even bigger opportunity.
“I’m now currently the Associate Vice President of Business Intelligence at Gobel Group. I am responsible for consulting on and managing all phases of Gobel’s Business Intelligence offerings
“I think it’s a privilege to be a leader. I see myself as part of the team responsible for carrying out our collective vision. As a leader, I accept the accountability that comes with how our teams does that. I want to be a mentor for my team and suppor them in reaching their highest potential.
“As a leader, I find it important to develop people and their skills, so they’re ready when the right opportunity comes along. Companies can create opportunities for the Black community, but I think it’s vital to invest in the development of the talent first, before the roles are created. Organizations like Cara can mentor and coach people to make sure they have the skills and stamina to stay and grow in those roles. Additionally, companies can help their own employees advance. So even if they’re not quite there yet, taking a chance on people from these communities and developing the talent internally can make a huge difference.
“As a leader, I find it important to develop people and their skills, so they’re ready when the right opportunity comes along. Companies can create opportunities for the Black community, but I think it’s vital to invest in the development of the talent first, before the roles are created.”
“I think the biggest challenge as a Black female leader is that there is not enough representation, especially in the tech industry. There aren’t enough people of color in general. Anytime you are a minority in any field, you just have less of a voice. Diversity in any industry creates innovation, so it’s important when we see a lack of diversity in an industry, we try to do something about it.
“There is also the responsibility to educate and create interest for people of color in this industry. We need to encourage and motivate people to pursue this field. It’s also important that people of color have an equal voice and they are not just there to check a box. I’m glad to be working for a company that understands this and values the contributions I make as an individual without a need for me to suppress my identity.
“I think the biggest challenge as a Black female leader is that there is not enough representation, especially in the tech industry. And that’s why I say it’s really important for people to create opportunities and to develop people into these roles.”
“I think that Black History Month is a time to reflect on just how far Black people have come. In my family, we try to remember that every day. Even outside of the month. It’s important to remember the history as well as the daily contributions that Black people make to society and our culture.“
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