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Black History Month: Driving Change at Uber

February is Black History Month which honors the collective richness, innumerable contributions and accomplishments of Black folks yesterday, today and going forward. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, otherwise known as the “Father of Black History,” first originated Black (Negro) History week in 1926 which was eventually decreed a national observance as Black History Month in 1976 by U.S. President Gerald Ford.

At Uber, Black employees add to the tapestry of talent through many contributions that aid in ensuring that Uber is not only the leader in ridesharing but a forerunner in creating the most inclusive workplace ever. UberHUE, the employee resource group (ERG) for Black employees and allies, is committed to providing a forum that supports Black employees and promotes diversity, culture and inclusion for all employees globally at Uber. Through efforts led by UberHUE, they contribute to advancing inclusion and diversity (I&D) by proactively working to help cultivate a work environment that leverages the diversity of our voices to better understand and operate in the communities we serve around the globe.

Members of UberHUE, Uber’s Security Team and the D&I staff recently teamed up to form a key partnership with the Hidden Genius Project (HGP), an organization that trains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities as well as providing a pathway to join the tech economy. Through this partnership with HGP and the Uber Career Prep Program, we are investing deeply to ensure that greater opportunity is available for entry into STEM.

Not only do we work to invest externally in strategic partnerships with diverse professional organizations such as HGP, we work to build greater recruitment presence at conferences and events such as devcolor.orgNational Black MBA AssociationProspanicaTech Jobs Tour, and AfroTech. Along with external investment, we also make investments internally to upskill our staff — take for instance folks like Dr. Nandi Shareef who spearheads one of Uber’s flagship development programs, EMPOWER. EMPOWER is a 12-week coaching journey designed to help managers develop their teams more effectively and support their direct reports’ growth at an individual level. Nandi has launched EMPOWER globally, directly developing more than 700 Uber managers and employees to catalyze learning through action, reflection and impact.

Then there is Amber Clifford who started with Uber as a marketing manager in Atlanta, GA in 2014. Amber moved to Amsterdam to launch UberEats, which has been massively successful, has seen exponential growth and operates in over 165 markets worldwide. She’s also been integral in the formation UberHUE EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Chapter and helping to imbue Black culture in the region.

And finally, there is Delon White who joined Uber in 2014 as the General Manager of Ohio for ridesharing and then moved to Brazil to launch the UberEats markets in Latin America.

Uber is more than a pioneer of the gig economy, it is an incubator of opportunity for not just our employees but also for our drivers, riders and couriers. The stories of Amber, Nandi and Delon illustrate the types of opportunities that Uber makes available and the impact we can make globally.

We also recognize that making a difference also requires giving back and that’s why UberHUE took the lead in sponsoring The Coalition of Black Excellence Week, in collaboration with Our Collective for The Code Black Tech Gala in San Francisco. The inaugural gala is a celebration and culminating event sponsored by Black employee resource groups from Uber, Facebook, Google, Ebay, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Ropes & Gray LLP, to name a few. Together, we are working collectively to support and empower communities of color to advance STEM and guarantee others have the opportunity to be a part of the tech ecosystem. All proceeds from the event will go to a designated STEM nonprofit.

It is said that Dr. Woodson stated, “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” We honor his legacy and strive to inspire and add to the record of Black excellence and accomplishments today, tomorrow and forever.

Bernard Coleman is the Global Head of D&I @ Uber, former Chief Diversity & Human Resources Officer @ Hillary for America and frequent Forbes ContributorThis article was originally published on Medium. Republished with permission from Uber.

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