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Celebrating Black History Month: Understanding Individual Journeys and Lifting the Black Voices of Trellix

Celebrating Black History Month

After more than 40 years of Black History Month, February (in the United States and Canada) has become synonymous with celebrating and recognizing the contributions of Black pioneers, inventors, artists, leaders, and heroes. But here at Trellix, we’ve been discussing how to continue the celebration throughout the year, making Black history part of every month. I believe Black history is a year-long celebration because it should be perfectly interwoven into American history. However, I do enjoy having a month that highlights the Black heroes who have shaped this country and me personally. Often, the heroes we learn about during Black History Month are well-known figures, but we tend to overlook the Black men and women we run into every day. This year, we want to look at Black history at a company level and meet some of our Black colleagues who continually make the world around them—and our company—better.

As a leader of the Trellix Black Heritage Voice Employee Resource Group, I had the pleasure of speaking with co-leader Warren Sanders. I asked him questions about his personal journey and the Black role models who shaped his path, and I think you’ll find his answers enlightening.

Carmen: Warren, can you share a bit about your personal journey that brought you here to Trellix?

Warren: Embarking on my professional journey, I've navigated the dynamic landscape of HR and Technology for more than a decade. As a Black man in this space, I found myself grappling with the unique challenges that come with breaking barriers and carving out a niche in an industry that often lacks diversity.

While my personality might not conform to the stereotypical image of a business or data analyst, I've learned to leverage my unique strengths. This journey has not only shaped my professional identity but has also allowed me to challenge preconceptions about who belongs in the tech space.

It's a testament to the idea that sometimes the most fulfilling paths are the ones we least expect, and breaking barriers in the workplace is not just about diversity but about embracing our individual journeys and stories.

Carmen: What are some of your experiences as a Black individual in the workplace?

Warren: Depending on the size of the company, the industry, and the organization, I often found myself as the only one or one of the few Black professionals. Many colleagues struggled to approach me, perhaps unsure of how to navigate conversations around shared experiences or cultural differences.

Success in such an environment demanded relentless dedication and a willingness to work twice as hard to overcome implicit biases. It became clear that as a Black man or woman in this field, the onus is on you to take control of your future. Adaptability became my ally as I navigated changes in companies and my personal life, always ensuring that my actions aligned with the best interests of myself and my family. Through these challenges, I've embraced the philosophy of always striving to be the best at what I do. The key, I've found, is to continually seek opportunities for personal and professional development, never allowing myself to become stagnant. This commitment to self-improvement has been integral in making myself more valuable in the ever-evolving landscape of the tech industry.

Reflecting on diversity, it's a powerful force that can enrich the workplace, but its impact depends on the ability to authentically showcase one's real self and be accepted for it. In fostering true diversity, organizations must create an inclusive environment where individuals can bring their whole selves to work, thereby contributing to a more vibrant and innovative professional landscape.

Carmen: Who are some role models within the Black community who have inspired you in your career?

Warren: My role models embody a trio of inspiration that transcends conventional expectations: LeBron James, Daymond John, and Eric Thomas.

LeBron James, renowned not just for his prowess on the basketball court as a professional NBA player, but for his profound impact within the community. His commitment extends far beyond slam dunks and three-pointers; he has erected schools, championed Black businesses, and given a resonant voice and influence to individuals across various domains, be it in communication, talent management, or education. Daymond John, a beacon of entrepreneurship, didn't start at the summit but at community fairs and out of his living room, selling T-shirts that laid the foundation for what would later become the iconic FUBU brand. Wearing FUBU growing up inspired me and a group of friends to embark on our entrepreneurial journey at the age of 12, starting our own clothing line.

Eric Thomas, Ph.D., a motivational speaker hailing from the Southside of Chicago like I did, emerged from humble beginnings to evolve into one of the world's preeminent motivational speakers. His reach extends across schools, businesses, and the digital landscape. Eric Thomas passionately addresses those often overlooked, offering inspiration to individuals based on where they are in life and fostering hope and belief in their untapped potential.

Carmen: Warren, thank you so much for sharing your story. Learning more about the challenges and unique backgrounds of our fellow Black team members at Trellix is an important part of understanding Black history on a larger scale.

Black History: February and All Year

Working at a company like Trellix that actively works to celebrate Black history and make it a year-round part of our company culture is important to me. This month is always a great opportunity for us all to expand our knowledge of the contributions made by Black Americans.

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