ERG Highlight: Twende Celebrates Black Ancestry

ERG Highlight: Twende Celebrates Black Ancestry

Samantha Shankman

8 Mar 2022
4 minute read
Blog Image // ERG Highlight: Twende Celebrates Black Ancestry

Diversity, equality and inclusion is a priority at Navan. Read all the content highlighting our Employee Resources Groups and programs here.

Imagine a workplace where you can show up as your full self each and every day so you can be the most productive, creative, and fulfilled version of yourself. That’s our goal for every single member of the Navan family and it helps to have support and community from those who you identify with most. This is why Navan introduced Employee Resource Groups, or voluntary employee-led groups that support and unite diverse communities to cultivate a greater sense of awareness and belonging throughout the company.

One of the largest ERGs is Twende, which celebrates African ancestry and promotes opportunities for people who are curious about or identify themselves as part of the Black community to learn, share, and engage with each other.

“Twende is a dynamic group of TripActioners who identify with the Black Experience,” explains Twende co-lead Kenny Williams. “Our goal is to foster a deeper understanding of our heritage and traditions so that we ensure that we are respected and represented at all levels of our business and to embrace our allies so that we all learn to work better together.”

Every ERG has two global co-leads who help lead the group and form part of the Belong: DEI Council, which helps further the company’s DEI strategy, foster collaboration, and support company-wide efforts to build awareness and increase visibility.

Twende co-leads Kenny Williams and Justine Williams (not related) help organize the group as well as activities and outings. For example, Twende recently hosted a virtual cooking event along with special guest chef, published cookbook author, and founder of Dinner with LG Lauren Bell.

But if you really want to hear about the impact of Twende, it’s best to listen to employees themselves:

Steven Falconer, Navan Expense Operations Manager

“It is very important for Navan to have an ERG like Twende – this group allows Navan to support Black employees on an organization level and gives a voice to employees who may not otherwise have one. Since its creation, this group has been a critical resource for me where we share information, support, and community values.

I read this quote the other day: ‘I’m a firm believer that talent is equally distributed; opportunity is not.’ I completely agree with its sentiment and believe DEI programs bring opportunities to people who may be overlooked.”

Kenny Williams, Travel Agent

“It is important that Navan creates ERGs to give each individual a place to connect with colleagues of similar mindset and interests in a positive environment that fosters empowerment and collaboration. These groups also create opportunities for us to learn more about one another and become protectors of each other's best interests.

The DEI program at Navan provides an incredible space for each of us to bring our whole selves to work without fear of rejection. Our program continues to highlight the unique qualities that make each of us great. The DEI initiatives here really help us to strengthen our bonds with one another so that our value of ‘one global team’ comes to life and is more than just words. DEI at Navan is vital to ensuring that we are taking care of our internal clients with the same passion that drives the incredible service we provide to our external ones.”

Kam Hill, Travel Agent

“Twende has done nothing but enhance the appreciation that I have for Navan. Previous companies that I've worked with have never offered resource groups like Twende or any group at all. It is moving to be a part of a space where people who look like me can laugh, get encouragement, celebrate, and relish in the shared experiences that we have as Black people. Twende is amazing in all facets and I am so thankful that I am a part of an amazing employee resource group.”

Jessica Johnson, Manager, Travel Experience Leads

“Quite simply, Twende facilitates connections around the globe. Despite our lack of physical presence, we can be fully present for one another as we navigate our professional journey. It has been fulfilling to meet Black employees outside of my home office and I feel a greater sense of pride in my colleagues’ accomplishments because we are united by a shared connection.”

Alexis Goodman, Associate Recruiter, Travel Experience

“What I’ve enjoyed the most about being a part of Twende is the collaboration. It gives me the opportunity to meet and speak with other people in the company that I may have otherwise never crossed paths with.

The DEI program at Navan has been instrumental in supporting Twende’s budgets and programs together. Without their backing, a lot of initiatives could have fallen by the wayside. The support that we receive from DEI is phenomenal and can’t wait to see it continue to grow.”

Learn more about DEI at Navan today.

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