February 3, 2020
In the United States, February kicks off Black History Month, a celebration of Black culture, influence and pride.
Our African American Networking Group (AANG) launched an awareness campaign to show how our Black employees “show up and show out” both in and out of the workplace.
The theme of Black History Month this year is “Culture Creators: Black America’s influence on global culture”. What better way to honor this theme than by highlighting those who are changing culture with their everyday interactions and passions?
The campaign “I Am Black And ___ “ gave participants an opportunity to share a different side of themselves; highlighting the intersectionality, diversification and talent within the black community that lives right here at Gap.
Throughout the month, you’ll see images, videos and profiles of a few of our incredible Gap Inc. employees. We hope to spark awareness, conversation and celebrate the unique personalities our company is fortunate to have with us.
Teniola Adedipe, Gap Inc. Senior Director Data Analytics
I AM BLACK AND I AM A LEADER
As one of the chairs of Gap Inc.’s African American Networking Group, Teniola Adedipe’s leadership shines in and out of the workplace. At Gap Inc., Teniola has become a mentor to other employees, helping guide their careers and serve as a “beacon of light.” Outside work, Teniola interviews undergraduate applicants seeking admission to her alma mater, Duke University. The students Teniola interviews largely come from an underrepresented location, Newark, New Jersey. This choice in location was intentional, Teniola wanted to serve as an example for students of color, or students who might be the first in their family to attend college.
“I believe you can’t be what you can’t see, and I try to use this example to show people that it’s possible to get promoted, it’s possible to get to the top of the organization by seeing an example of that nearby. Friends of mine have always said I was inspirational, but it wasn’t something I owned. As I get further along in my career, I’m starting to understand the importance of it, and have it be something I’m not trying to shy away from but lean into. This is especially important in communities I’m passionate about, and people of color is certainly one of them.”
Greggy Amisial, Intermix Manager, Learning and Development
I AM BLACK AND I AM A FATHER
Greggy Amisial always knew he wanted to be a father. He grew up in a household filled with love, modeled by his parents’ relationship with each other and their children. The assumption that he’d be able to create similar dynamics in his own life always felt like a given, until he realized that it’s not always easy to find the right partner and have a healthy child. Now, Greggy sits in awe of his six-month-old son, Gavin, as well as his wife. Becoming a father, he says, has changed everything about him for the better and has been the most important thing he’s ever done.
“Becoming a father has made me more selfless, mainly because of the level of responsibility I’ve had to take on both as a father and a husband. The responsibility of taking care of this child and making sure he’s okay is scary, but it’s everything I ever wanted. Now, I find myself cutting things I used to enjoy short, just so I can get home to be with my wife and son. Fatherhood has created this clearly defined line of what I ‘want’ versus ‘what I need.’ My son makes everything better. I can be upset and I look at him, and that’s it. Everything that’s negative goes away.”
Joelle Bond, Athleta Associate Technical Designer
I AM BLACK AND I AM A DESIGNER
At the age of 18, Joelle Bond decided to make it her life’s work to make women feel beautiful and confident in the clothes that they wear. Before landing an opportunity in technical design at Athleta, Joelle spent her extracurricular time throughout school participating in design competitions, completing internships in the industry and even studying fashion abroad in Italy to hone her illustration skills and gain exposure. This passion led her to SCAD where she earned her master's in fashion design, followed by joining Athleta as a technical designer. In her role, she helps bring sketches to life via fit and construction. One day, Joelle plans to launch her own responsibly-made contemporary womenswear line.
“I'm a firm believer that women are the most confident when they look and feel great. I want to design clothes that are beautiful, refined and feminine; but I also want to design for the practicality of her everyday schedule. I want to make pieces with the long term in mind; both from a style and quality standpoint."
Delonte Hailstock, Banana Republic Senior Designer
I AM BLACK AND I AM AN ARTIST
Delonte Hailstock has been a “perfectionist” and “control freak” his whole life, with a heavy dose of creativity that shows up through his designs at work, his artwork at home, and his interior design. The freedom to create is something he seeks out, the result being an organic sense of style that sparks joy. To become a successful designer both at home and work, Delonte says you need to choose things that feel important to you, even if they seem random. If you love it, he says, everything will work out in the end.
“Creativity runs through my veins, it’s in everything I do. It makes me feel free and lets me do anything I want to do and claim it in the name of art. In life, you get freedom where you can, and this is where I find mine. This is my space, my work, this is me.”
Janet Hayspell, Gap HR Coordinator
I AM BLACK AND I AM WHITE
For most of her life, Janet Hayspell grew up in an environment where no one looked like her. It was a struggle, she said, being the only girl in her school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with a Black father and a White mother. She lacked self-confidence and pride in her heritage, despite the fact that being African American and specifically, bi-racial is a huge part of her identity. It wasn’t until she moved to New York City that she finally felt at home. The first thing she noticed was hair, hair that looked like the hair she had pulled back in a bun or ponytail her entire life. Seeing other African American women around her embracing their beautiful hair, and this revelation, that her hair was something to be proud of, instantly boosted her confidence and pride.
“The I Am Black And” campaign has allowed someone who identifies as African American, like myself, to talk about something that’s important to them aside from being African American. The opportunity for my friends and colleagues to be able to elaborate on what is important to them as individuals empowers us and humanizes us in the eyes of a society that sometimes does not. This experience has been personal and has made me feel vulnerable, but if it helps someone with a similar experience find their own confidence, it’s worth it.“
Stephen Myers, Old Navy Allocation Analyst
I AM BLACK AND I AM A CONNECTOR
Stephen Myers has a genuine curiosity about others that helps him to establish meaningful connections. Grounded in authenticity, his varied interests in all things art and culture allows him to cast a wide social net and connect people whose paths might not normally cross. At work his role is to get the right products, to the right stores, at the right time. In his personal life, his desire to help others drives him to connect the right people in the right space at the right time, creating a network that crosses all barriers.
“A lot of people use the things they’re involved in to create barriers, or define themselves and put themselves in a box, but really we’re all human and we’re all in this together. At the end of the day, it’s better to understand our differences than separate ourselves using those differences. The biggest goal of my life is to bring people together knowing that we’re all just human, and then have the empathy towards other humans to make life better for everyone else.”