We believe in the power of conversations: they show us truths, challenge our beliefs, and ignite change. As we honor Black History Month, we asked three Highspot employees to share stories of the conversations that have changed their lives, from learning to find their authentic selves to create their own legacy. Here’s what they had to say.
“Your presence matters.”
I am part of a community theater organization called Theater Charlotte in North Carolina. We recently started rehearsals for a new show, which was a bit of a homecoming for us; Theatre Charlotte was the only group of its kind to survive the pandemic and this new show was our “welcome back”.
At the first rehearsal, the director gathered all twenty-five of us in the cast to talk about the importance of this moment and what we were doing for our community. As the only ones coming back after a very long break, there was heightened meaning to our work: we were re-opening the pathway for others to potentially come back, too. We were proving to our community that our stories and art mattered.
As a Black woman, that message resonated. I’m often the only Black woman in spaces and I’m very aware that I have a responsibility to show up, be present, and also make space for the people who follow me. But when you don’t see yourself represented, it’s easy to doubt your value and question whether or not you belong here. It’s okay to sit in those feelings — but it’s also important to be courageous and brave. His words were a reminder that our presence here matters, and it carves an easier path for those who come after us.
–Brianna Mayo, Services Executive
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself.”
Up until the pandemic, I had always struggled to consistently be authentic. It was something I didn’t really know the value of growing up. When you’re young, you want to blend in, be a part of the group, and not stand out. I definitely went through that phase of being who I thought other people wanted me to be.
It wasn’t until I started college that I began to understand what being true to yourself meant –– not just in front of others, but for myself. That started to change how I felt internally. I realized I was hindering my own growth. During the pandemic, I was able to reflect a lot. And in the past five years, I began to take therapy really seriously. I’ve done a lot of self-discovery, and asked really deep questions.
This journey has actually been really exhilarating. I’m getting to understand who I am at my core. Now, and especially as a Black woman in corporate spaces, I bring my full, authentic self. I encourage everyone to hold true to their values –– don’t live life feeling like you’re wearing a mask. You don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself. And once you have that foundation of self-love, nobody can take it away.
–Eryne Zerihun, Account Manager
“Control what you can control.”
My mantra is “control what you can control.” There’s so much in the world that you can’t control; focusing on what you can, gives you a chance to step back and ask, what is really going on in a situation, and how do I want to respond.
As a fairly emotional person, this mantra is really helpful. It’s overwhelming to feel so much all the time, and all those emotions can be hard to unpack. When I tell myself to focus on what I can control, it’s like putting my feelings on a timer. What can I actually do about a situation? If I can’t change what’s bothering me, then maybe I shouldn’t be mad about it. Maybe it’s not worth my time. It gives me perspective and a new understanding of a situation –– and then I can actually move forward in a smart way.
People have more power to determine their outcomes than they think they do. When your feelings are hot, it’s easy to get stuck in what you can’t do. It anchors you. But if you give yourself some breathing room, and think about what you can control, you can actually start to make progress.
–Jarrod Stout, Account Development Representative