Celebrating diversity and Black History at Schneider Electric

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In February Black History month is celebrated across the country as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of Black Americans and remember and recognize the history, contributions, and achievements of the Black community.

But Black History Month is not merely a reflection on the pages of history.  It’s a vibrant testament to the brilliance and contributions of the Black community, sketching a canvas of boundless possibilities.  Corporations emerge as architects of progress in this celebration, pivotal in amplifying these powerful narratives. 

Consider the groundbreaking impact of trailblazers like Dr. Patricia Bath, who restored sight and illuminated the path for future generations.  Dr. Mark Dean, a luminary in technology, co-invented the personal computer, leaving an indelible mark on the digital landscape.  These achievements are not mere milestones; they are beacons of inspiration, testaments to how diversity in S.T.E.M. ignites innovation. 

But while many organizations have implemented policies, programs, and procedures directed at creating equity in the workplace, there is still progress to be made.

Paving the way for a more inclusive workplace

Schneider Electric’s Black Professionals Employee Resource Network (BPERN) advocates internally and externally for the recruitment, development and retention of Black employees. Their engagement and efforts promote cultural diversity, intellectual growth and systemic change.

This month, the BPERN invites all employees to embark on a journey of inspiration. Each chapter will have activities to embrace the celebration and promote a more inclusive environment with all employees.  Whether at vibrant local hubs or virtual, together, we pledge to nurture environments where every individual can thrive and soar regardless of background. We celebrate this #InfiniteHeritage as a reminder that our history is vast, our potential boundless. We celebrate Resilience, Achievement, and the Indomitable Spirit that intertwines with our shared history.

Driving organizational change

Schneider Electric is already making great strides in becoming a best-in-class employer for diversity and inclusion.  And it hasn’t gone unnoticed – the company recently earned a place on Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity 2023 and America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity for 2024 by Newsweek.

It is important for our workforce to reflect the diverse customers we serve.  “Joining the sales development program in 2017, I was the only black person in my training group,” shares Thaddeus Busby, Customer Success Manager – Digital Services.  He continues, “Today, as the president of the Nashville BPERN I am happy to facilitate a professional network for the vast number of diverse colleagues starting out in the development programs.”

The BPERN has been instrumental in driving change in our workforce. Many ERN members are also part of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) community, striving to increase the attraction, recruitment, and retention of Black professionals at Schneider Electric through a company-funded multi-touch transformational partnership. 

“This year we have onboarded 24 new black professionals to our development program,” shares Lanecia Jones, Talent Acquisitions Consultant for U.S. Operations.  “This stark shift is a result of our NSBE and local ERN engagement.”

Inspiring the next generation of tech talent

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the U.S. Founded in 1975, NSBE supports and promotes the aspirations of pre-collegiate, collegiate, and technical professionals in engineering and technology. Since incorporating as a 501(c)(3) in 1976, NSBE has grown from six founding members to over 30,000, and from one chapter to more than 790 chapters in the U.S. and across the world.

As a member of the Board of Corporate Affiliates for NSBE, Schneider Electric partners with NSBE to create and sponsor impactful recruiting, branding, and outreach events. Schneider Electric employees played a large part in ensuring that Schneider had its largest presence to date at the most recent NSBE National Convention (NSBE49).

Celebrating our employees

Our #SEGreatPeople make Schneider Electric a great company. We are proudly shining a spotlight on the exceptional members of the BPERN.  Read more about some of our leaders and their experiences below.

Sifon Akpakpan, Senior Training Coordinator

Over the past three years, Sifon Akpakpan has participated in various diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. She is also a member of the Black Professionals ERN, serving on the board of the Nashville chapter.

She shares, “I find inspiration where diversity and technology meet. In the last three years, Schneider Electric has left me feeling inspired, and I have taken the inspiration to fuel my participation in various DE&I efforts. I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact that diversity and inclusion efforts will have in the coming years.”

Dr. Kambria Jean-Baptiste, Executive Services Coordinator

Dr. Kambria Jean-Baptiste is passionate about people operations and talent development. Kambria firmly believes that prioritizing the well-being and growth of employees is pivotal to achieving organizational success. Nurturing a positive and inclusive work environment, where individuals feel valued and supported, is at the core of her approach. By implementing robust talent development strategies, she aims to empower employees to reach their full potential, driving both personal and professional growth.

Kambria is committed to fostering a culture of continuous learning, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities, recognizing that a motivated and engaged workforce is the cornerstone of a thriving business. She firmly stands by the principle that when you invest in your employees, they become invested in the success of the organization. Together, let’s cultivate a workplace where every individual is inspired to excel, and where the collective achievement of our people fuels the prosperity of the business.

Mallori Walker, NSF Key Account Manager

Mallori Walker works as a NSF Key Account Manager and is the BPERN Dallas Chapter President.

She shares, “Malcolm X once said ‘The most disrespected person in America is the Black Woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black Woman. The most neglected person in America in the Black Woman.’

Dear Black Women: We are not small. It’s ok to be boisterous, opinionated, and animated without feeling guilty. Love who you are and be exactly who you want to be. We are magic and nothing can take that away from us.”

Thaddeus Busby, Customer Success Manager – Digital Services

Thaddeus Busby works in Digital Services where he is building a digital touch model to support hundreds of customers with digitally connected assets. He leverages colleagues with different viewpoints and backgrounds to best build sustainable and scalable customer serving solutions.

Thaddeus currently serves as the Nashville BPERN President and is proud to help facilitate a professional network for the vast number of diverse colleagues at Schneider.

He shares, “I am motivated by the intersection of sustainability, digitization and identity. Sustainability and digitization gain meaning when addressing who they impact. My goal is to strategize with groups that reflect those most imminently impacted by the climate crisis.”

Lanecia Jones, Talent Acquisitions Consultant – U.S. Operations

Lanecia Jones works in Talent Acquisition at Schneider Electric where she recruits for our U.S. Sales Development Programs. Hiring for both spring and summer classes, Lanecia strives to put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront in every recruitment aspect.  She also serves as the Nashville BPERN Events Leader, coordinating local events for employees.

She shares, “Diversity and Inclusion is a true passion of mine, and I enjoy getting able to work in a space where my passions align with the culture and values of the company. Being in the Black Professionals ERN (BPERN) is important to me, not only to increase awareness, but to continue to create a space and community that feels inclusive to everyone.”

Lanre Adeola, Senior Manager, U.S. Services

Lanre Adeola leads a team of sales support and tendering engineers in the US. Services organization. He has over 16 years of Multi-Business Unit experience within Power Monitoring and Backup Power spaces, and a passion for helping customers deploy quickly and operate facilities efficiently to save on energy costs, enhance their environmental performance, and reduce their risk exposure. Lanre is a member of our Nashville BPERN chapter, and NSBE.

He shares, “I’m grateful to work with people in a company that exemplifies diversity and promotes an inclusive culture; one where new recruits and candidates can look at our leadership team and see reflections of themselves!”

Ali Ali, Tendering Technical Engineer (Quotation Specialist)

Ali Ali works in North American operations as a Tendering Technical Engineer (QS), leading and managing the tendering process for electrical projects.

He is also the Nashville lead for The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. As a member of the Board of Corporate Affiliates, Schneider Electric partners with NSBE to create and sponsor impactful recruiting, branding, and outreach events.

Being able to lead and plan events at colleges has had a huge impact on Ali.  He is proud to be able to help students figure out their next step during the transition from school to the workforce. “I was one of those students and I was able to find the help I needed at that time,” he shares.

Marco Coleman, Channel Manager ISR, Secure Power

Marco Coleman has been with Schneider for one and a half years. During his time at SE, he has worked in channel sales with IT partners to provide reliable power & physical IT infrastructure solutions.  He also serves as the Vice President of the BPERN Nashville Chapter. His experience and involvement with the BPERN have reinforced the importance of networking, collaboration, and mentorship.

He shares, “An organization is only as great as its people. Schneider shows a commitment to greatness by creating an inclusive culture – one in which all people feel seen, heard, valued, and empowered. I am personally committed to diversity-conscious leadership & collaboration. Diversity of backgrounds will lead to diversity of thought. Diversity of thought leads to greater ideas.”

Continuing the celebration

Though we highlight Black History in February, Schneider Electric will be celebrating Black excellence throughout the entire year. Beyond February, let this celebration be the catalyst for an enduring commitment, propelling us toward a future where diversity is not only celebrated but intricately woven into the fabric of our Schneider Electric spirit. 

Let’s all commit to continue fostering an environment where all people feel safe and empowered to be their authentic selves. And let us keep building a culture of equity and fairness, not only within our organization but throughout our communities as well. Whether by engaging in open and honest conversations, supporting initiatives that promote equality, or challenging our biases, each action has the potential to make a difference.

Join us!

At Schneider Electric, we’re on a mission to create a brighter, more inclusive future for all. Check out our job opportunities on our careers website.

About the authors

This blog was co-authored by Raymond Mills (BPERN President), Thaddeus Busby (Nashville BPERN President), and Lanre Adeola (Nashville BPERN).

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