Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Extreme: How Employees are Celebrating Black History Month

Black@Extreme (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. Over the course of the last year, BEX has had several accomplishments:

  • Our team has helped facilitate a 20% increase in new hires of Black employees, with most of those hires coming from employee referrals.
  • We raised enough money to provide 10,000 meals to food banks in Central Texas.
  • We launched a mentoring program to help members stay connected and feel like they have someone to talk to even if they don’t want to share with the large group of us, to enable more one-on-one guidance and discussions.
  • We regularly bring in guest speakers to promote conversations around legacy living, imposter syndrome, and finding mentors, among other topics.
  • We also launched our internal podcast, The Purple Lounge, where we have members come on to discuss the Black experience at and outside of Extreme.

I am so happy that Extreme has prioritized D&I, as a diverse and inclusive work culture with visible representation is critical to business success. Not only does this type of culture bring people and diverse ways of thinking together, but it is also good for the entire company. Workplaces with an inclusive environment see 2.3x higher cashflow, 30% better performance, increased employee retention, and a greater ability to capture new markets.

This year, Black History Month explores the past and present through the theme “Black Health and Wellness.” This theme is designed to promote health and wellness among black communities, raise awareness to mental and physical health options available, and encourage more black people to explore career paths in the medical industry.

One way that Extreme plans to celebrate Black History Month this year is by encouraging employees to participate in our Walk-A-Mile-In-My-Shoes Challenge. We’re asking employees to walk, jog, or run 54.4 miles over the course of the month, which is a little over two miles per day. We came up with 54.4 miles as the Civil Rights Trail runs 544 miles across historic landmarks and locations - from Selma, AL through Independence, MI and Memphis, TN to Washington, DC – that each played a pivotal role in bringing social justice to African Americans across the United States. To commemorate the journey to justice throughout the challenge, we will highlight different locations from the Civil Rights Trail, explain why a location is so meaningful, and share a quote a day from a Civil Rights Leader.

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In addition to our exciting wellness challenge, BEX is bringing in a guest speaker to talk with employees. Two-time Paralympian, Paralympic Games Silver Medalist, Persian Gulf War veteran, and TEDx Motivational Speaker John Register will join employees on February 16 to discuss hurdling adversity. Employees will also have the opportunity to purchase a themed t-shirt with part of those proceeds going to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a scholarship fund we’re partnering with this month to benefit from our fundraisers.

The true goal of our employee resource group (ERG) is to connect with one another in a safe place to share stories and ideas. A few of our members have taken the time to share their experiences with you in the form of videos and quotes:

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I am so proud of everything that our BEX council is able to do and Extreme Networks for our amazing diversity and inclusion program. Companies everywhere will share their core values, but Extreme truly walks the walk and shows commitment to our core values of teamwork, transparency, candor, curiosity, ownership, and inclusion. Extreme empowers all employees, which is what I believe has been the key to our success so far. Employees feel empowered to do their job, they feel empowered to work together, and they feel empowered to foster a work culture that is inclusive and supportive of one another.

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
Lisa Yeaton Headshot
Lisa Yeaton
Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing

Lisa Yeaton is a Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing at Extreme Networks. In her role, Lisa oversees all of Extreme's corporate social media accounts and creates corporate communications content.

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