Here at Victra, our People of Color United [POCU] ERG is celebrating all month long and invite you to join us! Here you can find an archive of the entire month’s events so that you don’t miss out.
Black History Month Teams/Zoom Backgrounds
Click each image to be able to download them so you can celebrate with us all month! We invite you to use the HBCU background every Tuesday for HBCU-esday!
Employee Spotlight: Christina Dudley
Meet Christina Dudley, Customer Care Manager at our Greenville Telesales Center.
Christina is originally from Somerset NJ, while her parents are from South and Central America. She made her way to NC in 2010 to attend school, while simultaneously raising her 2-year-old son without a local support system. Her drive and ambitious nature took her from Telesales Representative at a previous company, to leading teams of her own. After the sudden passing of a dear family member, Christina had a renewed passion for reaching new heights personally and professionally and found her home at Victra in 2021. She thrived as a Store Support Supervisor and was a top performer for several months. Her leadership and drive landed her current role of Customer Care Manager where she is a valued and successful leader at the GTC.
Christina’s biggest motivating factor is her son who she describes as the highlight of her life. She invests heavily into his education, as he attends ECU Innovation early college. He is on course to becoming an African American Oncologist and a pillar in the community by volunteering on the weekends at the local homeless and animal shelters.
In her free time, Christina enjoys shopping and contributing at the local farmers market, scoring big at a yard sale, trying new recipes found online, and spending time with her son and spouse, who she married on New Year’s Day, 2020. Christina is excited to be part of #VNation and believes that the People of Color United [POCU] ERG encourages authenticity and is a great representation of our people-first culture. “Victra has reframed professionalism by creating an open-door policy for vulnerability by allowing employees to have a voice and be heard.”
Throwdown Thursday: Cheese Enchiladas
This recipe was submitted by one of our board members of POCU, Roberto Gomez.
Wisdom Wednesday: Civil Rights Movement Timeline
The Civil Rights Movement was an organized effort by Black Americans to end racial discrimination and gain equal rights under the law. It began in the late 1940s and ended in the late 1960s. Although tumultuous at times, the movement was mostly nonviolent and resulted in laws to protect every American’s constitutional rights, regardless of color, race, sex or national origin.
HBCU-esday: Greek Life
Greek life is a defining feature of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Black culture on campus. Historically Black fraternities and sororities were established at HBCUs to offer Black students the opportunity to cultivate friendships and meaningful relationships, celebrate and honor Black culture, and contribute to the social and economic vitality of BIPOC communities. Follow the link to learn more about HBCU Greek Life!
Motivational Monday: Dr. Marian Croak
Marian Croak is one of the most prolific inventors of our time with over 200 patents. She is best known for developing Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIP), technology that converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer or other digital device. She was inducted into the Women in Technology’s International hall of fame in 2013.
For the past six years she’s been a VP at Google working on everything from site reliability engineering to bringing public Wi-Fi to India’s railroads. Now, she’s taking on a new project: making sure Google develops artificial intelligence responsibly and that it has a positive impact. She also has a passion for humanitarian work and serves on the board for the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education Center.
Employee Spotlight: Jason Shepherd
Meet Jason Shepherd, District Manager of our North Jersey District.
Jason is a graduate of Bowie State University, a HBCU [Historically Black College or University], with a Bachelor of Computer Science. He started his wireless career working at Excel Communications selling long distance service as a door-to-door salesman and continued his career through 4 major wireless carriers, before finding his home at Victra in 2020. “The best part of working at Victra is the culture. It is a place that continually demands excellence while still allowing a healthy and positive work environment. I feel comfortable saying there isn’t anyone I can’t speak to or collaborate with.”
Jason’s biggest motivating factor has always been his family and community. He understands that many people have made sacrifices and invested in him, and he strives to pay their kindness forward. “Helping others and empowering people is very important to me. There are times when the people around your need that extra drive or an example to follow. I relish the opportunity to be a source for all that are in need.”
In his free time, Jason enjoys cooking and dining at new restaurants. In 2021 he managed to eat at 229 different restaurants. He also enjoys sports, live music, plays guitar, DJs, and is even writing a book! Jason loves that Victra established the People of Color United [POCU] ERG and believes that groups like this are the key to creating more inclusive, successful organizations, and workplace transparency. He hopes that we continue to empower people in #VNation by respecting and appreciating what makes them different.
Throwdown Thursday: Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is one of the most common West African dishes eaten in the regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Liberia, Dominica Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. However, each of these countries has their own variation of this meal. It is inexpensive and easy to make yet, delicious. This family recipe was submitted by one of our members of POCU, Omar Veras.
Wisdom Wednesday: The African Burial Ground
The African Burial Ground became a National Historic Landmark in 1993. National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. In 1991, construction began on a 34-story federal office tower positioned on 290 Broadway and overseen by the General Services Administration (GSA).
When talking about HBCUs one thing that can not be ignored is the bands! As popularized by the movie Drumline, in most cases at HBCUs, the bands are just as and even more of an attraction that the actual games themselves. HBCU bands have always played a major role in fostering school pride. Follow the link to learn more about HBCU Bands!
Motivational Monday: Lisa Gelobter
If you ever enjoyed an animated GIF on the web, then you have Lisa Gelobter to thank. She has been integrally involved with the advent of several pioneering internet technologies, including Shockwave, the genesis of animation on the web, and the emergence of online video by way of Brightcove, Joost, and The FeedRoom.
Previously, Lisa was the Interim Head of Digital for BET Networks and ran Technology, Product and Business Operations. She was also a member of the senior management team for the launch of Hulu.
Employee Spotlight: Tinitra Holley
Meet Tinitra Holley, a Sales Supervisor at our Greenville, NC Telesales Center.
Tinitra is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University, a HBCU [Historically Black College or University], where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English with a Concentration in Mass Communications. She is also a veteran, having served in the military before being medically discharged. Tinitra spent time in the mental health industry, department of corrections, social services, and other telecommunications companies before finding her home with Victra in 2020, where she is a valued leader and consistently exceeds performance expectations.
Tinitra is motivated by the drive of ensuring that she makes a better life for herself both financially and psychologically. She hopes to honor the memory of her late father and stepfather by continuing to maximize her potential. “Becoming a part of the Victra family is honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can truly say that I’m very happy and I’m excited about my potential growth here.”
In her free time, Tinitra enjoys shopping and adding to her enormous shoe collection. She has a passion for fashion, hair, and the love of her life, who she recently married in 2021. She loves that Victra established the People of Color United [POCU] ERG and looks forward to seeing our continued efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout her career with #VNation.
Throwdown Thursday: Louisiana/Southern Texas Gumbo
This recipe was submitted by one of our board members of POCU, Jeremy Edosomwan, to celebrate on of his favorite southern dishes: Gumbo!
Wisdom Wednesday: Maya Angelou Quarter
The Maya Angelou Quarter is the first coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program. Maya Angelou was a celebrated writer, performer, and social activist. She rose to international prominence as an author after the publication of her groundbreaking autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Angelou’s published works of verse, non-fiction, and fiction include more than 30 bestselling titles.
While many university homecomings come and go without much notice, homecomings at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are annual events that everyone circles on their calendars. Whether you had the opportunity to attend the HBCU or not, the experience given at a HBCU homecoming is like non other. Follow the link to learn more about HBCU Homecomings!
Motivational Monday: Dr. Shirley Jackson
Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT. Her experiments with theoretical physics paved the way for numerous developments in the telecommunication space including the touch-tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber-optic cable.
Employee Spotlight: Marlon Pretty
Meet Marlon Pretty, a Help Desk Supervisor at our Raleigh, NC Store Support Center.
Marlon is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, a HBCU [Historically Black College or University], where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance. After college, Marlon started his career with an internship with Brightstone/Firestone as a Manager of Tire Sales. From there, he worked for Red Hat and IBM before finding his home at Victra in 2018.
Marlon is motivated to do his best by his wife Alexis of 15 years, and his children Aries, Mason, and Morgan. He wants them to have a comfortable and happy life so he is always looking to improve himself personally and professionally. Marlon also loves traveling internationally, collecting rare bourbon, playing basketball, and bowling. He also hopes to travel to Australia and Aruba in the future.
One of Marlon’s favorite parts of working for Victra is the community. He enjoys the people he has met and worked with over his tenure at Victra. He is also happy that the People of Color United [POCU] ERG is spotlighting the diverse employees who make up VNation. We are all different and Marlon enjoys seeing different experiences and walks of life front and center. He believes that our DE&I efforts will “allow everyone to be recognized for their contributions and accomplishments rather than for the color of their skin, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Throwdown Thursday: Fontain Family Recipes
These recipes were lovingly submitted by a member of POCU, Jina Williams, to honor a traditional meal prepared by her late mother, Artisse LaRue Fontain.
Wisdom Wednesday: The Hayti District
African Americans began settling on the southwest edge of Durham, North Carolina after the Civil War. The community came to be known as Hayti, (pronounced HAY-tie and often spelled Haiti). Named for and inspired by the nation of Haiti, the Hayti district established financial independence at the height of the Jim Crow/Reconstruction Era. Follow the link to learn more about Durham’s Black Wall Street!
Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been a big part of the economic and social structure of the United States for nearly 190 years. Many students of color, many of them notable, have attended HBCUs thanks to the rich cultural and educational opportunities provided. Follow the link to learn more about the history of HBCUs and how to support them!
Black History Month kickoff blog post