AT&T Dream in Black is a lifestyle platform designed to merge Black culture with technology. Through their Black Future Makers programming, they are tapping in culture shapers, influencers, activists, entrepreneurs, and entertainers who are making a difference in their communities. Recently, the brand celebrated Black excellence at this year’s Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans with a series of interactive panels. The events featured so many of our faves like Lori Harvey, Coco Jones, Lala Milan, and Ashanti to discuss important cultural topics such as generational wealth, budgeting, and leveraging our collective and individual power to impact the future for good.
While attending Essence Festival with AT&T Dream in Black, I had the opportunity to chat with its Vice President of Talent & Leadership Development, Michelle Jordan, and Marachel Knight, Senior Vice President of Technology Planning & Operations — two of the platform’s front-facing female executives. We spoke about their AT&T Black Future Makers programming, what makes a successful diversity and inclusion initiatives, and how to connect with a Gen Z audience.
Unbothered: What is AT&T looking for in leaders when it comes to new initiatives like Black Future Makers?
Marachel Knight: I’ll start off with curiosity — just continuing to ask why. What problem are we solving? How do we know when we’ve solved it? Curiosity is what drives that rather than just taking things at face value or a surface level.
Michelle Jordan: The second value is communication. Not just in its basic form, like writing an email or knowing how to draft a message, but always thinking about the notion of constant communication. Who to communicate to, knowing how to communicate why, and then sending the message. Lastly, you’ve got to know who your customer is so you can drive credibility and trust while also meeting your customers’ needs. Understanding your customer collaboration, being curious, and always communicating are all so critical from a leadership standpoint. And our future makers, the other thing that really makes them stand out uniquely is their investment in their communities.
Yes, I love that! You gotta always bring it back.
MJ: Exactly. Paying it forward and taking care of your community is the centrepiece for future makers. Understanding and recognizing those who are making an impact on their career.
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SOURCE: Refinery29, Sandy Pierre