For nearly 1.5 million students across the U.S., working in the office of a big company during the summers between their junior and senior year has become a rite of passage. Aspiring salespeople, engineers, creatives, and others make plans to reside in a new city, learn about the workplace culture, and take on assignments that would make a meaningful impact in their respective industries. D&I initiatives were calling my name, along with a flight ticket to Boston to get started within my program.
But much like everyone else these days, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted those plans and I was back to square one. It felt like the loss of a milestone, and life had moved backward a few steps. What could I do to make this summer count when quarantining in my family home? Maybe a bigger entity of the universe heard my plea. Because within a few weeks I became an official team member of ALLY Energy.
I’d first like to recognize the occurring events going on in the world during my time with ALLY Energy.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd repeatedly told the police officers who detained him that he could not breathe, and he died a tragic and senseless death. In the midst of a pandemic, people who are still grieving and angry are having to go to work, look after their families, and be able to move on despite the tragedy of Floyd’s death. This hits a little closer to home for me, for more reasons than one. One was that he was a member of my home city community. He grew up in the Third Ward and had an immeasurable influence on Houston music and culture in the 1990s.
We don't have all the answers on how to make things right in the world. But what we can do is commit to asking the important questions: What is preventing us from doing what is right? How can we take the appropriate action to address social injustice, systematic racism, and further prevent great inequities that continue to exist? It's not enough right now to sit back and believe we’ve met any sort of responsibility without action.
So, we launched ALLY℠. Beyond being a start-up, ALLY℠ is a space that brings together people to move people forward: Leveraging technology to accelerate the D&I and energy workforce development movement. This is likely one of the proudest projects in my academic career, and I can’t thank Pink petro enough for letting me be part of it.
My Last Project Was A Personal Favorite
For my last big assignment, I was assigned to write a piece for Black Women's Equal Pay Day 2020 featuring three black women in energy:
Paula Glover - President and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE)
Hilda Pinnix-Ragland - Former Vice President of Corporate Public Affairs at Duke Energy and RTI International Board Member
Rose McKinney James - Managing principal of Rose McKinney-James and Associates and Energy Works LLC.
Interviews were conducted via Zoom meetings, and their stories were both touching and fulfilling. Beyond the interview, I did not leave empty-handed.
When speaking on my fears about looking for a job after college, Hilda advised me not to settle for the first offer. At one point several years ago, Hilda received offers from eight huge auditing CPA firms and was determined to set her own trajectory. She did not go with the highest pay or driven by money alone. The culture of the company and the advancement opportunities was key for her. "I didn't just want an audit. I wanted an exciting audit."
Paula told me about her studies in marketing and granted me her knowledge of advertising - my degree focus! Her husband was the one who developed and launched the first U.S. introduction of aseptic packaging (Hi-C Drink Box). I told her about possibly switching my focus to corporate social responsibility or global sustainability in advertising. To which she recommended I inquire Rose about.
Rose leads firms that provide business-consulting services and advocacy in the areas of public affairs, energy policy, strategy, community outreach, diversity and equity training, economic and sustainable development. She helped me pinpoint where to get my headstart in the industry once school starts. As well as, never being hesitant to go to her if I have any questions.
2020 has been a year unlike any other. I was able to overcome a sullen mindset that life would only get tougher from this point. By sticking to a mission dear to me and keeping my focus on gaining new learnings. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to create change from home through ALLY℠.