Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’" In my personal and professional life, I have taken this very much to heart.
Ever since I was a child, I have always been willing to help others. Attending a parochial school and growing up in the church helped to instill within me the virtues of selflessness and gratitude. As I matured, I realized that it was also a good way to connect with good people. My volunteer activities opened me up to opportunities that I would never have imagined. For example, during my annual check-up, my optometrist invited me to join a medical mission to Haiti—an invitation that turned into five different trips to do volunteer work on the island!
On my second mission to Haiti, one of our translators seemed very familiar to me. We started talking and I realized that we had met before in Philadelphia, at a school clean-up project I led at Drexel University. How could we run into each other, years later and a world away from home? It was service: a few years after we met, Dumas moved back to Haiti to take care of his family.
Being generous with my time and willing to help has allowed me to grow my personal network, travel internationally, and touch people’s lives. And while my role as a senior project manager in the enterprise platform and services organization at Oracle doesn’t scream advocacy and activism, the intersection of good work and working for good has become very much a part of my professional life.
I came to Oracle by way of the Primavera Systems acquisition in 2009. It felt very uneasy as I had just transitioned into the IT department the year before. It was a great opportunity, but as we worked through that transition period, I became very concerned about finding a new role in Oracle. However, I was very fortunate to have a sponsor that found a position and a team that matched up—almost exactly—to what I was doing at the time as a customer support relationship manager.
A year after my arrival, the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) effort was founded at Oracle. Over the years, I have seen Oracle grow, adapt, and embrace D&I; we have gone from having a conversation about diversity and inclusion within the company to having a fully funded and supported D&I group to help drive honest, sometimes difficult, conversations about building (and keeping) a talented and inclusive workforce.
|“Not only is it important for us to have a seat at the table, it’s important for us to share our thoughts and ideas and be a part of the conversation when it comes to discussing how to create a better environment to live and work in.”
|—Edwin Montouté, Senior Project Manager, Oracle
During my tenure here at Oracle, I have made it my "side hustle" to connect the community to our corporation in the areas of education, community, and environment. I love the fact that Oracle supports my passion through not only D&I, but also through Corporate Citizenship. And when I meet the executive leadership and internal customers in my organization, I am always looking for ways to connect at a deeper level. I can’t remember how many meetings I’ve joined where executives recognize my name from D&I initiatives or volunteer projects. This allows me to quickly establish a rapport and connection with my coworkers.
I have also had the opportunity to connect with similarly minded Oracle employees though the employee resource groups (ERGs) developed in partnership with the D&I office. Those include:
I joined ABLE after learning about the group from a fellow volunteer. Pre-COVID, I was heavily involved in the college recruiting efforts as I have visited several colleges for college fairs and speaking engagements. As the past national chair of ABLE, I am still involved with community efforts and supporting chapters across the US, specifically with their volunteer efforts.
I was fortunate enough to join ABLE and grow my network within the company. Some years later, I held the honor of being one of the chairpersons and was able to grow my network and reach outside of the company—even outside of the country. I have been able to collaborate on D&I projects with my fellow coworkers in Brazil, England, and Canada as well as in partnership with global Fortune 500 companies. I completely appreciate every experience and opportunity that I have I gained from D&I, and I will continue to support and guide my coworkers in learning more and becoming active in this space.
For more than 25 years, Oracle employees have been helping advance education, protect the environment, and improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. Through year-round activities and focused initiatives, we support hundreds of nonprofit organizations and public institutions, locally as well as globally. This says a good deal about Oracle’s commitment to communities today, as well as back in 2010 when the D&I office was developed.
Edwin Montouté is a senior project manager at Oracle and past co-chair of Oracle’s Alliance of Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE). He was also named Project Leader of the Year in 2018 after leading 16 Oracle Volunteering projects in Pennsylvania.