Cassie Grosjean is a business development advisor at Oracle NetSuite, a founding co-chair of the Oracle Generations of Leaders Organization (GLO), and a proud Cherokee Indian woman. GLO is our employee resource group that aims to foster an inclusive culture of learning and collaboration across generations in a meaningful way. Her passion for inclusion stems, in part, from her strong sense of personal and cultural identity—something which she believes helps her thrive at Oracle, and in life.
Cassie’s sense of identity wasn’t always as defined as it is today. As she grew, she came to see the nuances that made her unique, and they resonated with her deeply.
“When I was little, I didn’t really understand what being Cherokee Indian meant,” Cassie begins. “I just thought it was what my grandma embodied with her thick, black hair, high cheek bones, and natural healing methods. But it has become a large part of how I identify myself today. As I grew up throughout high school and college, and then went into my early career at Oracle, I quickly felt a sense of pride for my heritage. With each year I learned more about it and how I differed from those around me; it helped me not only understand my family’s culture and the reasons behind the traditions we have, but also helped me accept all of what makes me, ME.”
Knowledge should be shared
As someone who has learned so much from her own development journey, Cassie is keen to help others find their way too—especially those who are in their early careers who may be working to accept themselves for who they are, develop a specific skillset, or purely trying to find their place in the world. She praises Oracle’s commitment to advancing STEM education through scholarships as a way to create more opportunities for underrepresented minorities, and goes on to emphasize the importance of role models and mentors for these young minds.
Cassie’s top 5 principles for achieving success
5. Pay-it-forward mentality
Creating your own reality
Cassie’s diversity and inclusion philosophy expands on her belief that everyone deserves to feel loved and be accepted. She recalls how entering the workforce as a first-generation college graduate helped her overcome the stereotype that she built in her head around having “x” amount of dollars by the time she was “x” age.
“I was paying off my student loans when I saw others buying houses,” she says. “I believe everyone should feel supported to reach their goals, because it can be a lonely road when your path is different from everyone else’s around you. I want to show Oracle NetSuite employees of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences that you can create your own reality. Find the ones who understand and accept you, and who will empower you to keep fighting YOUR fight, and we will all ultimately be successful.”
Cassie shares some further words of wisdom: “Be proud of who you are! If you have distinct physical differences from those around you, be confident in your skin. If you have a different accent from those around you, speak up more so your voice can be heard. No one will be able to achieve success for you, so I encourage you to find your support system and tap into their energy.”
Celebrating culture, honoring heritage
Cassie feels proud to share and celebrate National Native American Heritage Month with her colleagues each year. For her, it’s a time that means so more than words on a calendar. “It means celebrating my family’s heritage and rejoicing in the fact that they have done so much for me to be able to be here today. Working at a place that not only accepts what makes you different, but also celebrates it, empowers me to give my all every single day. The benefits might not always be tangible, but they will always be worth it.”
November is also the month that Oracle celebrates Veterans Day, with US employees enjoying a paid holiday to mark the occasion. This recognition is also important for Cassie’s family, as her grandmother was half Cherokee Indian and her grandfather was a World War II vet. “This month’s focus and celebration gives me hope and peace that they both are looking down on me knowing that I am celebrating their legacy,” she adds.
We’re in this together
Cassie offers a final piece of advice to anyone who has ever struggled to feel like they belong: “If you ever start to question yourself and why you’re different from others, or you’re still learning to accept yourself for who you are, know that diversity and inclusion would not exist without you or me. People can look at you and assume whatever they want to, but who you are inside is something no one can take away from you. Be proud of your heritage, your family’s culture, and any other way you identify yourself. You’re never alone—I’m right here with you!”
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