NextRoll Celebrates Black History Month

NextRoll’s RollDeep Employee Resource Group (ERG) promotes inclusivity, awareness, and education amongst the Black community within and outside of NextRoll. We asked Melina Owusu, a leader of RollDeep and Enterprise Sales Manager for our RollWorks business unit, to share a bit about what celebrating Black History Month (BHM) means to her and how NextRoll supports learning and inclusiveness now and all year long.

What is the value and importance of celebrating Black history and culture in the workplace?

Celebrating BHM in the workplace is important as it allows us to foster a culture of diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging. It also allows us to understand that it is safe to recognize and enjoy cultural differences. It brings my heart joy that we have DEI leaders and advocates who care tremendously about how we can better our workplace through a collaborative and supportive culture.

How can we celebrate Black culture not only during BHM but also year-round?

BHM should be celebrated year-round. This can be done through continued education with books, webinars, and events.

This year, RollDeep is choosing to celebrate and educate in a variety of ways:

  • Several times each week, we will highlight African American inventors whose creations changed the world.

  • We are partnering with RollVeterans (NextRoll’s ERG supporting Veterans and Veteran families) to host a weeklong dinner and movie, where folks will receive an MRE (Meal, Ready-To-Eat) and a $5 Google Play movie credit to use towards a film from a compiled list of movies that highlight contributions made by African American military and veterans. After viewing, Rollers are invited to share their thoughts regarding common themes within the films they viewed.

  • Our Culture Club will also host a Black History Mixology Class where participants will receive a kit to make drinks while learning about the real stories and history that inspired each drink. Culture Club focuses on supporting employee engagement through fun, non-work related events, both in the office and virtually, that provide our Rollers the opportunity to connect over shared experiences.

How do you/does NextRoll inspire and support future Black leaders in tech?

How I continue to support and inspire future Black leaders in tech is always by providing work and personal support, advice, and continued mentorship. I also like to rely on my LinkedIn network to connect and learn from other Black leaders.

NextRoll continues to support Black leaders in tech through continued education. Most recently we had a number of Black professionals participate in our URG Development Program. The program is designed for Rollers who identify as Asian, Black or African-American, LatinX or Hispanic, Native-American, or Two or More Races and focuses on navigating organizational environments, leadership skills, and self-discovery.

Who are some Black leaders, past and present, you admire and why? 

One of the Black leaders that I look up to and admire is Michelle Obama. Her tenacity, grace, and professionalism reassure me that I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to. As one of the leaders of RollDeep, I hope to continue to lead with empathy, support my colleagues, and continue to push our DEI efforts through the organization.

NextRoll thanks Melina for taking the time to share her sentiments around Black History Month, and we look forward to celebrating Black heritage every month and learning from our RollDeep ERG, its leaders, members and allies.

Learn more about our RollDeep ERG, our other NextRoll ERGs, and our Culture on the NextRoll website.