Celebrating Black History Month: The Color of Achievement

As published on the Pentair blog

By: Lori-Ann Harrington and Kristina Foster, co-leaders of the Pentair Black Employee Network

Black History Month is a time to recognize, learn about and celebrate the contributions of African Americans. In acknowledgment of the critical role that education plays in the advancement of Black people, Pentair’s Black Employee Network (BEN) is highlighting the historical and current importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other cultural organizations in shaping future innovators and leaders.

As part of our Black History Month celebrations, we were proud to host Dr. Keith Mayes, a professor in the Department of African American & African Studies at the University of Minnesota, for a discussion centered on equity in education and its impact on inclusion, diversity and representation across various professional fields and industries. Pentair employees gathered in-person and virtually for his presentation, “The Color of Achievement: Black Education as the Foundation for Freedom and Equality.”

With more than 100 HBCUs across the United States, Professor Mayes spoke about the importance of these institutions from not only the academic perspective, but also the cultural experience. HBCUs provide an environment for young Black people to discover their unlimited potential as they are immersed with other Black scholars and intellectuals. This sentiment was supported by several of our BEN members who are HBCU alumni, and who shared that they emerged from their college experience with a greater sense of pride and confidence in both themselves and their culture.

According to Professor Mayes, creating a cultural connection for employees is essential for companies that are looking to cultivate an inclusive workplace. At Pentair, our employee-led business resource groups such as the BEN work to help foster a sense of belonging across the organization, and provide an opportunity for employees to develop connections and share experiences and perspectives while also supporting each other in professional and personal development.

The BEN has also been focused on collaborating with Pentair’s talent acquisition team to attend recruiting events at HBCUs as well as other organizations to connect with students as we work to attract, engage and develop up and coming talent for career opportunities at Pentair. Through these efforts and more, the BEN strives to strengthen and enhance the relationship of Pentair’s Black employees with each other and with the broader organization.

Read more about Pentair’s business resource groups and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

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