Alysia Terrell: It’s being resilient. It’s being a change agent. It’s calling out things that were ignored in the past. It’s improving our overall experience. It’s bringing the confidence to have uncomfortable conversations with our managers and our teams and getting to know each other on a more personal level within our work groups.
Kenneth Bruton, Puerto Rico BBN Member: It means that you have a unique perspective, and that we need to create an environment where we all feel comfortable sharing that perspective. Everybody contributes more and better when they’re at ease and happy.
Dr. Nombini Habangana, South Africa BBN member: It means remembering that you earned your place at that boardroom table, which gives you the right to use your voice loudly and proudly.
Tony Shaw: It means cultivating Black talent to advance, grow and take on more responsibility. It's paving a path to success for people who are underrepresented. It’s the ability to influence a Network that continues to grow, to take something that’s been shepherded by key leaders and bring it forward yourself, to help the next Alysias and the next Kiearrahs.
Abigail Garcia: It means being better and working together to make the world a place where color, sex, race, limitations and diversity transcend beyond what the eye can see.
Kiearrah Lawrence: It’s a weight on your shoulders, but a good one. You have people lifting you up. It’s living in two different realities and trying to maintain them both. Hopefully one day that will change. The ability to navigate through unknown spaces makes you a natural adapter, a chameleon.
Alysia Terrell, BBN Co-Chair: It shows the great commitment AbbVie is making to change. We have people like Rae committed to carrying out initiatives and opportunities for employees connected to important moments like George Floyd’s death and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
Get to know our Chief Equity Officer Rae Livingston in this Q&A
Kenneth Bruton: For me, diversity either is or it isn’t. It’s not a matter of saying it, you have to make sure you implement the right practices. We’re all different people and we bring different perspectives, and as a global organization we are in a position to make change in this world. By bringing on Rae, it’s living it. It’s doing it. It’s not just saying it. It makes me think that my personal beliefs and the beliefs of this organization are aligned.
Tony Shaw: It brings credibility because Rae is leading from the standpoint of equity and equality. She has taken our EED&I mission and translated it to facts, behaviors and ways to measure our progress. She has a seat at the table, and she brings her experience and her perspective to advocate for underrepresented populations.
Kiearrah Lawrence: During the pandemic, we’ve been able to help members around the world access events that would have typically been in person at our Lake County, Illinois headquarters. We’ve also worked to bring more accessibility to these events for people with hearing and sight impairments.
Beyond the pandemic, the Black Business Network and really all ERGs over the years have transformed into a business imperative that helps drive the mission of our broader organization. They give us the tools and resources to do better work here at AbbVie
Tony Shaw: This evolution has been in the works for years. We have always been very purposeful about elevating the social consciousness of Black colleagues and our allies as well. A lot of what we’re trying to do is improve cultural competence, for people to understand the history of their Black colleagues over the last 400 years, because our history doesn’t start with civil rights. We’re intentional about sharing what it has meant to be Black in America. Bringing in dynamic speakers like Dr. Bernice King and lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson helps us bring this to life and increase understanding.
Alysia Terrell: It’s so important to have these speakers because they are part of our history, of American history. The fact that we’ve brought them to speak to employees, it makes it more tangible. It’s not just a news story, it’s not just a hashtag. We’ve all heard about the events with Trayvon Martin, but now we know much more. We hear firsthand about how she’s taking an event that was a tragedy and turning it in to her life’s work to prevent this from happening to someone else.
Kiearrah Lawrence: These are my personal heroes and sheroes. I was fangirling over being able to speak to them one-on-one as we prepared for their talks. We heard from employees that many mothers felt a connection to Sybrina Fulton. And it doesn’t get any more personal when celebrating MLK Day than having a meaningful conversation with Dr. King’s daughter.