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Uplifting Voices During Black History Month
February 1, 2024
At Balfour Beatty, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is woven into the fabric of our culture. In honor of Black History Month, we are celebrating and recognizing the invaluable contributions of Black and African Americans past and present. United under the theme “Uplifting Voices,” our employee affinity group NOBLE (Network of Black Leaders and Executives) is commemorating Black History Month by leading important conversations about the importance of DE&I in the workplace and beyond.
To kick off the celebration, Britani Harris Dunn, a California project manager and the national lead of NOBLE, led a discussion with several members of NOBLE about how the group has evolved and expanded since it was formed in 2020 and how they hope to grow into the future.
“I have been around since the inception of NOBLE and even started the first unofficial local chapter in San Diego,” says Britani. “As a founding member, I was able to aid in forming the group’s identity, vision and mission. It was important to me that there was a space where employees could talk about what they were feeling personally and have their experiences validated.”
Uplifting Voices isn’t just a theme for the employee affinity group, it is a common thread that joins together NOBLE members from across the country.
“NOBLE has provided the opportunity to connect, outside of my normal projects, with peers and leaders that share the same/similar cultural background as me,” says Lanasia Thompson, assistant project manager and leader of NOBLE’s Mid-Atlantic chapter. “I always feel seen, heard and understood when we get together.”
“NOBLE gives us a platform to share our experiences,” agrees Royce Dawkins, tax assistant director and leader of NOBLE’s Texas chapter. “We’ve built a network where we can find deeper connections within our workplace and in our communities.”
When discussing the future of DE&I in our business, several local NOBLE chapter leads highlighted the importance of diverse recruiting, including reaching out to their communities to educate the next generation of workers about opportunities available to them in the architecture, engineering and construction field.
“Recruitment is a key component of our goal to increase diversity in our workplace,” says Keenan Arnold, senior preconstruction manager and leader of NOBLE’s Georgia chapter. “We have expanded our recruiting efforts and made time to connect with students outside of career fairs to assist them with things such as interview prep, resume building and expanding their network.”
“When we do participate in recruitment events, we’ve been very intentional about ensuring there is always a person of color in attendance,” says Veersamy Samuel, project manager and leader of NOBLE’s Florida chapter. “Representation is extremely powerful in making people feel comfortable and letting them know that they are included in our business.”
NOBLE has been a vital part of fostering a more inclusive workplace for Balfour Beatty. This month and all year long, we look forward to uplifting the voices of those around us in celebration of the strength and resilience that is integral to Black History Month.