Juneteenth stands as much more than a holiday: it represents a stark reminder of America’s past and the continued need to fight racial injustices and foster change.
At Oracle, we support diverse backgrounds and are focused on increasing opportunities for underrepresented minorities through inclusive Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like Oracle’s Alliance of Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE), employee training and development, and mentorship programs.
Forget walking, it’s time to LEAP Ahead
Oracle’s Alliance of Black Leaders for Excellence employee resource group with 15 chapters and counting, is doubling down on training opportunities with a six-month development program called, LEAP Ahead. LEAP Ahead began when ABLE asked its members to share challenges as well as skills they wanted to learn. Using that input, the planning team established its mission - to empower the next generation of Black individual contributors at Oracle by building a best-in-class training program providing cutting-edge tools and resources to enable the participants to grow professionally, reach their personal career goals, and become future leaders at Oracle.
The curriculum focused on self-awareness, organizational awareness and a strategic mindset. Classes also included guest appearances from a range of speakers and panelists, sharing expertise while providing opportunities for employees to ask questions and test ideas.
In February, the LEAP Ahead Program’s inaugural class graduated. Graduate Leonard Gill, Senior CAD Specialist, said the program “helped me step outside my comfort zone, taught me key points about self-awareness and, one particular benefit was learning more about how to be a persuasive speaker by knowing my audience inside and out.” The program’s break-out sessions help reinforce many of the key learnings and, for Leonard, “created a comfortable space to talk with fellow cohorts about how to handle different situations and brainstorm solutions that will help grow their careers.”
Fellow graduate Rachel Walters, Marketing Platforms Specialist, said, “I’m taking on a lot of new challenges and the program lined up perfectly with my career development, giving me the chance to test and apply the new skills I was learning in real time.” Like Leonard, Rachel applauded peers in the program for “coming together and creating a safe space where Black professionals can be candid, sharing relatable experiences on how to navigate our environments.” For her, one of the most rewarding elements was hearing from executive leaders and having opportunities throughout the program “to make connections and learn from inspiring people across Oracle’s vast network.”
As LEAP Ahead sets the foundation for excellence in professional development, another initiative at Oracle, focused specifically on supporting Black women and their career path is also making impact.
ABLE’S G.E.M.S. shine bright like a diamond
Greatness, Excellence, Maturity and Sincerity (aka G.E.M.S.) is a mentorship program within ABLE driven by a collective group of leaders focused on empowering Black female employees.
Founded by Nicole James, Vice President of Product Management CX Service, the mentorship program is meant to solve a problem many young women find themselves in – lacking allies, visibility and a path for advancement within their organizations. “Our mission is to enhance the course of Oracle talent, to thrive, through an equitable process of meaningful connections and leadership coaching,” explains Nicole. Nicole, who credits her early interest in technology to her high school computer science teacher, wants G.E.M.S. to create a “lifeline to underrepresented talent, offering a safe space to share experiences and realize they aren’t alone.” And it’s working. G.E.M.S. had 72 participants this year, including 12 executive mentors and 60 mentees.
“The project is exhilarating,” shared Nicole. “I’m so excited because I feel like we can touch women and let them know their worth. Let them know their presence is valuable, give them tools on how to network and show them how they can grow their influence going forward.”
G.E.M.S. plans to expand globally next year to ensure talent at Oracle has the resources, advocates, and mentors they need to succeed and grow their careers.
Juneteenth’s history runs deep and represents a day of independence for Black communities across the U.S. It’s also a reminder to be an ally and help others thrive in and out of the workplace. ABLE’s members are showing that meaningful change can come from all corners of an organization, and they are making an impact that will help accelerate inclusivity in the workforce now and well into the future.