#LifeAtHireRight: Spotlight on our BLM Affinity Group
Our #LifeAtHireRight blog series shares our team members experiences, in their own words. In honor of Black History Month, we talk to Kim Coy, the VP of our BLM affinity group. Kim gives us insights into how the group started, what they do, and about her role here at HireRight.
Here at HireRight, our teams work hard to build the future of screening services while striving to put the customer first. But what is it like to work here? And who are the employees behind our background screening and workforce solutions?
In honor of Black History Month, we talk to Kim Coy, the Vice President of our BLM (Black Lives Matter) affinity group. Kim, an Account Analyst, shares her career, passions for diversity and inclusion, the BLM affinity group, and the group’s plan for the rest of the year.
Kim, we are excited to celebrate Black History Month! Can you share with us its origins and what it celebrates?
Black History Month was first suggested in 1926 by U.S. historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life. Then, it was suggested by the association that the second week of February be recognized as “Negro History Week.” This week also coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Years later, in response to a proposal made by black students and educators at Kent State University, February was celebrated as Black History Month in the United States for the first time in 1970. In 1976, U.S. President Gerald Ford officially declared February Black History Month, and since then Black History Month has been widely celebrated by the country every February.
Share with us a little more about the BLM group and how it got started.
The BLM Affinity Group was started by our colleague, Zeena Wright, in June 2020 in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. It was a place where everyone at HireRight could come together in a safe space to share our thoughts, our grief, and our anger.
Out of these feelings, our group has worked together to educate group members and allies about Black history and the current racial climate. The group empowers everyone to call out and speak against racial injustices including systemic racism, and microaggressions. We have monthly virtual coffee breaks to which all employees (allies and members) are invited. We have a variety of discussion topics, games, and movie watch parties, as well as general conversations. For example, topics range from how to be an ally, to Cancel Culture, to recognizing the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Why did you feel it was important to create an affinity group around BLM?
The BLM Affinity group gives marginalized POC (persons of color) a place to feel safe to express themselves and be their authentic selves. Although a tragedy, one outcome of the George Floyd murder was the public response. People all around the world were finally able to see an often overlooked and tragic experience that many black people regularly encounter. They were able to witness systematic racism up close. This gives us an opportunity to educate and welcome allies into our group that would like to help the cause. The group is for everyone, and we are so happy many allies are in our group!
What are some of the current projects planned for the group?
The BLM group is very excited to be working with HireRight’s Human Resources team and other Team Member Resource Groups (API, PRIDE, HOLA, World Wide Women) in many initiatives to further HireRight’s DEI efforts. It is important for us to have representation of marginalized groups at all levels of leadership at HireRight. This includes working with the other Affinity Groups on a mentoring and sponsorship program. Additionally, we are working closely with HR to continue to build diversity at higher levels (Director, VP, Sr. VP, etc.).
We are planning special activities for Black History Month to continue educating and bringing diverse groups together. Our February Coffee Break (an informal Microsoft Teams meeting) is centered around the 2022 National Theme of Black History Month -“Black Health and Wellness.” We are including daily posts in our BLM team promoting inequalities in healthcare for Black Americans and promoting Black Pioneers in Medicine and Science.
Let’s learn a little more about you! How long have you worked at HireRight, and what is your role?
I have been at HireRight since July 2007. I started at the Irvine, California, office as a Customer Service Representative and have been working from home since 2009. I currently work on the EWS (Extended Workforce Screening) Vendor Support Team. I also am in the process of joining the HireRight Training Department, which I am very excited about.
What was it like to join the HireRight team, and what do you love most about your job?
As an Account Analyst, what I love doing right now is training our new clients, often via live webinars or video chats. I can see them respond with feedback that this is really good information, or, “I didn’t know I could do that from my HireRight Account.” I just started facilitating these “Getting Started with HireRight” classes on my own after shadowing trainers on HireRight’s Training Team. I have been blessed to have great mentors and sponsors! They have encouraged me and put together a career plan/path to ramp me up so I can continue developing my role and taking on more responsibility.
What does inclusion and belonging mean to you? And why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important for organizations?
Inclusion is a basic human right. Inclusion means everyone, regardless of their race, gender, disability, etc., has equal access and opportunities without barriers based on the former. Belonging is that feeling that you are accepted for your authentic self, no matter who you are or where you came from.
Employees, especially in non-leadership roles, should be able to see themselves at all levels of leadership. It isn’t enough anymore for people of color to just be in the room, we need to be around the table too, and able to weigh in on decisions that affect everyone.
How do you feel that the BLM affinity group is making a difference here at HireRight?
We have members from all over the organization, all races, and genders, who post in our group to share information and join our Coffee Breaks. It’s a very bonding experience and a great way to get to know people you wouldn’t normally interact with.
What do you hope to see in the future for the BLM group?
We would love to see even more people join our group and to be able to offer more events and a great sense of community to everyone. It is important to us to continue to be an inclusive group and have a place where team members can continue to share and be themselves.
I am so proud of everything we have accomplished and am blessed to be on the BLM Affinity Group Leadership Board.
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Release Date: February 8, 2022
HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.