Challenging Dominant Voices to Listen and Encouraging Non-Dominant Voices to Speak Up

At Extreme Networks, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe in embracing our differences, and we hope to create an atmosphere where all employees thrive because of those differences, not in spite of them.

As the leader of our employee resource group for African American and Black employees, Black@Extreme (BEX), I am excited to share some of the initiatives we’ve been working on as well as our Black History Month celebrations.

BEX champions and facilitates workplace diversity by embracing cultural differences that foster inclusion and promote awareness of perspectives that enable more intelligent decision making, driving better business outcomes at Extreme Networks. This year, Black History Month explores the past and present of African Americans through the theme “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” BEX is working on numerous internal and external initiatives to engage, embrace, and educate our stakeholders.

As we look back and reflect on the accomplishments of African Americans, we’re sharing powerful quotes from historical figures and highlighting key technologies and inventors that have impacted our society and will feature them on our employee communication channels. And as we look at the present and envision the future, we’re hosting a special guest speaker, Dr. Gloria Burgess, author of Flawless Leadership: Connecting Who You Are With What You Know and Do, to lead a discussion with employees as well as hosting a virtual employee celebration to conclude the month.

We’re also encouraging employees to commit to volunteering in their local communities as part of our BEX Community Connections initiative – “Giving Back To Help Us All Move Forward” – in conjunction with Extreme’s Corporate Social Responsibility Council. Our goal for 2021 is for employees to donate at least 1 hour per month to volunteering in their communities. We are excited about this opportunity and are finding creative ways to serve others virtually or in a safe, socially distanced manner.

In addition to this year’s theme and the reflections that have been occurring around the world over the past 12 months, we asked some of our employees to share their thoughts and I’m pleased to share them with you.

As many of my colleagues have expressed, the successful path forward for representation, identity, and diversity is going to take an effort from us all to step up, eliminate unconscious biases, and be the best version of ourselves. My challenge to each of you reading this is to listen and speak up. By challenging dominant voices to listen and encouraging non-dominant voices to speak up, we gain valuable perspective that drives better decision making and business outcomes.

If you’re interested in joining Extreme Networks, I encourage you to visit our careers page and learn more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives at Extreme Networks. And stay tuned for more updates from BEX, Extreme’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, and the many more Employee Resource Groups at Extreme.

About the Author
Demetrius Cunningham Headshot
Demetrius Cunningham
Director of Strategic Alliances & Executive Chair of Black@Extreme (BEX)

Demetrius leads our employee resource group for Black and African American employees – Black@Extreme (BEX), in addition to his role on the business development team.

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