3149Portrait of Bright AboagyeInclusion

Building a Bright future: Why I became a Black Inclusion leader in Amsterdam

Bright shares how he balances his growth in his Sales career with being an advocate and leader for the Black Inclusion Group in Amsterdam.

portrait of Bright Aboagye

Bright Aboagye is a Senior Account Executive and a Regional Co-Chair for BIG in EMEA based in Amsterdam. He comes from a Sales background and runs his own community business when he’s not busy helping people get jobs! He has a love for football, a passion for board games, and loves to travel and watch movies to relax his mind! 

When I joined Indeed in September 2018, I started as an Account Executive but had my eyes on progressing to a Senior role from early on. I knew of people here who were busy making significant steps in their career and that was really appealing to me. I knew Indeed was the place for me.

September 2018

My first few weeks on my team were a huge surprise for me and I noticed quickly that I was cracking jokes, being the real me! I felt included, accepted, all emotions which gave me the drive to push my career forward.

The training here also played a significant role in my development and quick success. Because of the solution-driven, client-centric approach Indeed stimulates, it really helped me to understand the foundations for selling the Indeed way. When I naturally adopted this approach it became a battle with a victorious end. 

2019

2019 was a little different than I’d originally planned. I was still leaning on friends and family for support and encouragement to reach a Senior Account Executive position, but found myself listening to stories and getting to know the new employees joining our office in Amsterdam. Their stories saddened me as they were not having the same great Indeed experience I had in late 2018.

This sadness planted a seed in me to strive for change and my interest was sparked to learn more about other people’s experience in the office. Around the same time, my manager Ceagan Codrington introduced me to Francis Aremo who was leading an Inclusion Resource Group in London. These groups were and still continue to be employee-led business resources that are formed around traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups in tech and they support company-wide diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts.

Francis was serving as the first Regional Co-Chair for the Black Inclusion Group (BIG) in EMEA during this time and was actively recruiting for a second Co-Chair so that BIG could expand across the EMEA region. All of this really excited me and I knew discussing and sharing feedback with Francis was how I could start making change.

Black Inclusion Group Co-chairs pose in front of graffiti logo wallMine and Francis’s relationship grew quickly and I found myself feeling more passionate and driven about an IRG and the events and change it could support for our office. I wanted to see more black employees being hired into Indeed, and more being promoted into leadership positions.

A force for positive change

I remember attending a happy hour in our Amsterdam office, weeks after speaking with Francis. During this event, a racial joke and comment was made directly to my face by an employee. I remember how quickly the atmosphere turned tense, but also how nobody stood up and said anything. Anger and upset, nicely sum up the emotions I felt heading home that day.

Deep down, I knew these feelings were going to be my driving force to take the steps needed to see a change in our Amsterdam office.

Within a couple of months, I had used this negative experience to drive more action from my side. I met with our Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging team and flew to London to meet Francis as I wanted to understand more of the challenge I was facing and how I could set up a successful Black Inclusion Group in Amsterdam, a group not just for black employees, but a group for everyone, to learn and see what makes employees different and what ignites us!

B.I.G. (Black Inclusion Group) members pose with former SVP of Marketing, Paul D'ArcyBIG was born

In March 2019 BIG Amsterdam was born and I was appointed as Co-Chair for Amsterdam the Regional Co-Chair for EMEA  and I was co-managing the entire EMEA vision for BIG alongside Francis. I’ll admit, last year brought with it a whole host of new activities and emotions alongside my Sales job and target to reach the Senior position I really wanted.

While I was striving for growth in my Sales role, I was also so driven to bring my Inclusion vision to reality, a vision to build a future at Indeed where people were more understanding of cultural differences and where everyone celebrated each other!

Being one of the most pivotal years of my career so far, I not only reached my target for promotion, I knew deep down I was helping others to feel safe, supported, and included just like I was.

Zoom meeting attendeesWhat’s next

For BIG, the biggest change still needs to happen. My goal for 2020 has been to expand our Black Inclusion Group into different countries across EMEA and to utilize the support I’ve been getting from Indeed’s Leadership team.

One of the most special changes I’ve seen this year is how employees have grown into allies. They feel empowered to speak up, stand up for what’s right, and have the serious conversations needed with no judgments attached. The long term effect of this means we are all learning and are gaining a deeper understanding.

Advice on being an IRG Leader and advocate for change

Taking on the role of this kind takes more than a desire, you need to have a passion, a passion for change, and a passion for overcoming hurdles that come your way. I’ve honestly never done anything like this before and it’s a huge step forward for me. My involvement in this program so far has really helped me to connect with great people, learn more about relationship building all whilst developing new competencies that are valuable to my sales job. It’s been a win-win.

B.I.G. co-chairs If you are somebody who wants to make a change, learn more about people, and develop new skills I’d highly recommend joining an Employee Resource Group at your company.

See more about Bright’s story in this episode of Here to Help where we learn about the meaning of Black History Month in Europe, and how we recognised and celebrated at Indeed in 2020.

Learn more about Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Indeed.

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