Black History Month offers an opportunity for all of us to honor the legacy of the Black Americans who’ve helped build the foundation and culture of our country, and fought so hard in the struggle for civil rights. 

It also represents a chance to focus on working towards racial equity in the workplace – and a key part of that strategy means amplifying the voices of Black employees so that they can share their unique cultural perspectives with their peers. 

Here at Loop, we recently sat down with some of the members of our BIPOC employee resource group to showcase who they are, share their perspectives around Black History Month, and offer advice for young Black professionals who are entering the workforce today.

Here’s what they had to say:

Reece Price

Merchant Support Specialist | 7 months at Loop

Who is a person in Black history that influenced your life?

Maya Angelou has always been a profound source of inspiration in my life. Her essence embodies poise, grace, resilience, and the remarkable ability to captivate with her words. I vividly recall my childhood days when my grandmother would immerse me in the beauty of Maya Angelou’s poetry. We would watch her recite her verses and share her narrative through television. Even as a child, I was deeply moved by her unwavering strength and grace. Ms. Angelou’s presence resonated with me then and continues to shape my perspective on resilience, courage, and the power of storytelling.

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?

“Life is lived forward, but understood backward.” 

It can be challenging to comprehend the significance of events as they unfold in your life. However, by fostering a reflective and introspective mindset, you lay the groundwork for gratitude. Every chapter closure, every relationship ending, and every uncomfortable moment contributes to your journey, propelling you to the person you are today. 

This perspective is particularly vital during Black History Month, where we have the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the historical moments that have shaped our present day.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

As a person of color, my motivation to come into work every day is rooted in the desire to be a representation for those who share my identity. For a substantial part of my career, I’ve often found myself as the sole person of color in various work settings. Initially, this situation caused discomfort, but over time, I’ve come to realize the powerful role I can play as a trailblazer.  

Understanding that I can be a source of inspiration and a symbol of possibility for others who look like me has transformed my perspective. Instead of viewing the isolation negatively, I now recognize the opportunity to break barriers and open doors for individuals from similar backgrounds. 

My presence serves as a reminder that people of color can indeed thrive in professional fields, and I aspire to continue encouraging and paving the way for others, including those in my family, who may find themselves in similar circumstances.

Jonathan Anestin

Sales | 3.5 years at Loop

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?

“Focus on the message, not the messenger.”

Recommend a show, movie, song, book, or podcast everyone should check out during Black History Month.

A song called “I’m Not Over You,” by Sha Stimuli.

Who is a person in Black history that influenced your life?

Malcom X

Tammy Robinson

Engineering | 7 months at Loop

What advice would you give to young Black professionals who are looking to get into your field?

Don’t be afraid to show up and take up space! Embrace opportunities to ask questions, share your ideas, and demonstrate your value. 

Remember to cultivate resilience, as the tech industry can be demanding and challenging. However, it’s also incredibly rewarding, offering endless possibilities for innovation and impact. Seek out mentors early on in your career who can offer guidance and support, and prioritize continuous learning to stay ahead of the game.

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?

“Embrace your inherent strength, empower your purpose, and forge your own legacy.”

Ahlya Branch

People and Operations | 9 months at Loop

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Who is someone making Black History today?

By winning at the Emmys this year, Quinta Brunson and Ayo Edebiri marked the first time two Black women have won Best Lead and Supporting Actress for comedy in the same year. Moments like this make you realize that although this is a huge accomplishment, 2024 is a little late for “firsts.”

Erica Kier

Merchant Success | 3 years at Loop

What does Black History Month mean to you?

It’s a celebration of the achievements, contributions, and resilience of Black women and men. It’s a time for reflection, education, and it encourages broader conversations about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, not only within the Black community but also across society as a whole.   

Growing up, my school curriculum about Black history was limited, even though Black history is far more extensive than what traditional education presents. Like so many others, I’ve taken it upon myself to self-educate about Black history, which is untold American history, and share this knowledge with my children. For me, it’s a reminder of the challenges and struggles we have faced and continue to face while striving for a more equitable and inclusive world. I love that Loop recognizes the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

What experiences have helped you most in your career?

Early in my career, I felt pressure to be “perfect.” 

I avoided uncomfortable conversations and did not take much risk. Reflecting back, embracing tough conversations, and learning from my failures gave me the most invaluable experiences for shaping and advancing my career. Through these impactful lessons, I’ve gained resilience, empathy, a broader perspective, and the confidence to take calculated risks.

What motivates you to come to work each day?

I’m a big fan of the culture at Loop, and my dedicated colleagues I work with daily inspire me to approach each workday with excitement. I get the opportunity to partner with our remarkable merchants from diverse backgrounds worldwide, learning from their stories, and recognizing our positive impact on their businesses and daily activities. I’m also blessed with the love and support from God, family, and friends that uplift me every day!

Jamila Feaster-Rawls

Merchant Success | 1.5 years at Loop

What advice would you give to young Black professionals who are looking to get into your field?

I would advise young Black professionals entering our field to embrace and be confident in their abilities. It’s crucial not to dim their light to accommodate others, but instead shine brightly and authentically. Being genuine and true to oneself is a powerful asset. 

Additionally, cultivating positive relationships is key; surround yourself with individuals who uplift you and challenge you to grow. Treat everyone with kindness and professionalism, and seek out mentors who can provide guidance and support. 

Remember that diversity and uniqueness contribute significantly to innovation and success, so embrace your individuality and contribute your unique perspective to the field.

Who is someone making Black History today?

Today, it’s important to recognize that every Black person is actively contributing to the ongoing narrative of Black history. Each individual’s journey, achievements, and impact on their community and beyond are shaping the collective story. From professionals breaking barriers in various fields to activists advocating for change, every Black person is making their unique mark on history. By acknowledging and celebrating these diverse contributions, we honor the richness and significance of Black history being written every day.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month holds significant importance to me as a time to celebrate and reflect on the invaluable contributions of the Black community. It’s a dedicated period to recognize the profound impact Black individuals have made not only in this country, but also globally. 

This month allows us to acknowledge the resilience, achievements, and cultural richness that have shaped history. It’s an opportunity to amplify Black voices, share stories of triumph and perseverance, and foster a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences within the Black community. Ultimately, Black History Month is a reminder of the profound legacy that continues to influence and inspire positive change in the world.

LeAnna Martin

Engineering/IT | 7 months at Loop

What advice would you give to young Black professionals who are looking to get into your field?

Stay true to yourself, ALWAYS. And never let the color of your skin stop you from reaching great potential.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

To me Black History means celebration and love. It’s the time of the year where black people, both past & future, are recognized for great achievements, their creativity, and simply just existing. It’s also a time where love is more of a focus and is spread abundantly & unapologetically.

Want to learn more about life at Loop and our commitment to diversity and inclusion?