Community Spotlight: Black History Quarter

Your stories have power. They bring ideas to life and can shape how others see the world, and here at Hearts, we use stories to build community. 

This is one of many posts in our Community Spotlight Series, where we feature Hearts who identify with a group and have important conversations about how we can support one another. 

Throughout the series, we will work closely with these individuals to create an experience where they can share their culture with fellow Hearts. We’ll hear directly from them about their lives, the safe spaces they’ve created to live their truth and how we can be better allies. 

And then we listen. 

Because more than ever, stories that celebrate our differences need to be heard.

Cultivating a connection through curiosity

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the incredible contributions and impact that the Black community has made throughout history. 

It’s a time to reflect on the past, honor the present, and look toward a future where Black voices and experiences are valued and uplifted. Here at Hearts & Science, we believe there’s so much to reflect on in just one month that we’ve expanded it to Black History Quarter. 

Here’s what we’re doing to recognize Black History Quarter:

  • History of Black Cinema Class (Thursday, February 9, 2023)
    In a fun, casual talk setting, uncover backstories and little-known facts about Black Americans in cinema. The host will guide participants through engaging conversations, photos, and videos around the evolution of Black cinema, highlighting Black actors, writers and directors from the Golden Age and beyond and exploring Black cinema as it is today.
  • Black History & Culture Mini Games (Wednesday, February 22, 2023)
    Learn about Black activists, media, pop culture, organizations, and more—all while having a blast with your team.
  • Talley & Twine Fireside Chat (Tuesday, February 28, 2023)
    Our very own Nahla Shepherd, associate strategist, will join Talley & Twine COO Eric Heyward for a fireside chat to discuss how Eric began his business and why he was inspired to develop quality timepieces.

Safe spaces to share

Moya in her path from learner to giver

Moya Leung grew up in the Bronx with her parents and sister, who were the first in the family to move there from Jamaica. Over time, as aunts and uncles joined them, it grew into a deeply meaningful sense of community for Moya.

Though she had to leave the Bronx at the young age of nine for a small town just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, the Bronx still holds a special place in her heart—she even named her dog Bronx! To maintain a sense of connection to her Jamaican roots, her family continued to visit Jamaica every summer and build community there as well. 

After graduating high school, Moya attended Georgia State University. Here, she was surrounded by Black culture at a scale she had never seen before. It helped her to solidify her sense of self and build a lifelong community. She actively participated in organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (the first African American sorority) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). 

“There were so many organizations that felt like safe spaces that helped me learn where I wanted to go in my career.”

It was here at NABJ that Moya quickly learned the value of putting herself out there and taking advantage of the opportunities that came her way. While Moya was leading a Her Campus (online magazine) at GSU chapter meeting, the head of sales for Her Campus was a guest speaker and talked about her career. She invited anyone who wanted to connect later to get in touch at the end of the meeting. 

Moya shares, “I’m so glad I reached out because it has turned into one of the most important relationships that I have. She’s the one that introduced me to the job at Hearts and taught me about marketing. It’s not even just mentorship—she’s one of my really good friends. I’ve learned so much from her—I can trust her. But it never would have happened if I hadn’t reached out.”

Now that Moya has graduated and is out in the working world as an associate strategist at Hearts & Science, Moya still looks for opportunities to pay it forward to the next generation in her organizations.

“Now I’m in the helper role and it has been the best part for me. Being able to help someone else is what truly feels like sisterhood.”

And her love for connecting and learning from others goes well beyond university organizations. She recently started her own book club because “We can always continue to learn from each other and educate ourselves,” says Moya.

Pro tip: Maya shares, “The learning never stops. There’s always someone or a community that you can learn from. Community is so so important. You don’t know the opportunities it can bring—learning or actual experiences. We’re better together in terms of community. Never be afraid to reach out and try to connect.”

Korey creates doorways for a deeper connection 

Korey Ambrose is almost a year into his role as a supervisor on the AT&T account and works from his hometown of Dallas, Texas. While the COVID pandemic has him working from home a lot, he finds balance in the great outdoors, biking, traveling and connecting with friends.

Korey grew up attending schools with predominantly white students. From this experience, he learned to adapt and adjust. He went beyond simply trying to fit in and tried to build doorways to more diversity by meeting others where they were at. While attending the University of North Texas, he joined—and is still a part of—Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, where he was able to find solidarity with many other African American students. He and his friends navigated the landscape together while giving back to the community.

The ability to connect has always been a strength of Korey’s. He is not only uniquely able to find moments for connection within his own group but also with others as he takes those principles of connection to build solidarity through common ground.

In fact, Korey brings this special skill to his role at Hearts & Science. At Hearts, he is able to bridge the gap and relate to people of different cultures to help everyone grow together. On the AT&T account, he brings his perspective to the end audience as well. 

Early in his career, he was often one of a few minority groups. Even then, he was able to connect with people and feel comfortable and confident and see a brighter future for himself. Now he is seeing a drastic change in the diversity of leadership and who is in business today. This has inspired him to keep creating bigger and bigger dreams for himself. 

“I’m a part of a younger generation that is changing the face of what corporate America looks like.”

While attending college, Korey caught the travel bug. He traveled to study abroad in London for eight weeks through the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. There, he found his ability to navigate many diverse groups of people and cultures. Through this experience, he leveled up and realized just how many different perspectives, cultures and groups there really are. Korey photo of London group

Without much hesitation, Korey was able to find his sense of safety and belonging in the unfamiliar. While many may find it uncomfortable and challenging to be in that setting, Korey feels right at home. 

Pro tip: Korey challenges us all to find ways to create diversity. “You may be the only one or two in a certain space, but if you can break through and change the perception in those spaces, it creates a doorway for others to follow. It brings a level of confidence for you to move forward and to find the next door,” says Korey. He leaves us with this last thought: “Be willing to embrace other cultures because all of it is connected—community, workspaces and social spaces. We have to be able to adapt and embrace others in order for them to embrace us.”

Work should be a safe space too

Hearts & Science is dedicated to building a space where its employees are recognized and feel seen. There are many ways we are supporting inclusion efforts.

Here are two initiatives we’re supporting:

  1. Participate in a network. Hearts & Science invites employees to access OMG’s Black Leadership Network and have a voice in how it supports Black employees and allies. Team members can also check out Change of Hearts, our employee-led DE&I group focused on diverse hiring, retention and development.
  2. Show your support. In recognition of Black History Quarter, Hearts & Science encourages making donations to support antiracist efforts and Black-led nonprofits that serve and empower the Black community. Consider finding your own organization to support. 

Andriena Coleman, associate director of DE&I at Hearts & Science, shares, “Hearts is a workplace where new ideas can flourish. Together, this community of amazing individuals changes and grows through unique experiences and perspectives. Our differences are celebrated and truly invaluable to our organization.”

As we follow Black History Quarter, let’s take a moment to be a little more open—to learn from each other and open doorways for a deeper connection with others.