During Black History Month, Inspire celebrates the stories of our corporate and franchise team members, as well as franchisees as we reflect on the significant roles that African-Americans have played in shaping U.S. history. Today, we spoke with LaToya Southern, who is the Director of Meetings & Events at Inspire. She is also a member of our Black Voices @ Inspire Business Resource Group, which is dedicated to advocating for diversity at all levels of our organization and cultivating an inclusive culture.
What drew you to joining the Black Voices @ Inspire BRG?
I felt it was a great opportunity to lead and be a voice that brings another perspective to the company outside of my daily role within Inspire. The time is now to be a positive voice and put action behind words.
Why is being a member of this BRG important to you?
Simply, representation matters and being included and apart of the conversation is key. Being able to connect with other people that look like me in the workplace can help to create additional opportunities for growth and success.
What excites you about the future of the Black Voices @ Inspire BRG?
The opportunity that stands before us. Creating a space for conversation and understanding. Reaching team members who maybe felt there weren’t chances to network, connect and grow. Highlighting a culture that has been forgotten and helping others learn and ask questions in an authentic way. Working with others to create programs that allow mentoring, entrepreneurial and leadership roles that may have been overlooked in the past.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It means a realization and celebration of history good and bad. It’s blatantly clear that our race has not always had fair treatment or support yet through all of those trials and tribulations Black people have repeatedly made lemons out of lemonade. I am proud to be a Black woman, but more so proud to share information and educate other people that regularly wouldn’t have known about these issues.
How are you celebrating Black History Month?
I truly celebrate it 365 days a year, but specifically in February I lean into all of the experiences past and present that are highlighted during these 28 days. My husband and I take advantage of sharing programming, books, museums exhibitions and other events that generally aren’t highlighted outside of BHM to our children. We are happy to see initiatives taking place that invokes change which many know is past due. It’s so awesome to teach my young men about Dr. Maya Angelou while they are watching first-hand Amanda Gorman step into her light. I am a true believer that Black History is American History, so for that I celebrate.
To learn more about the Black Voices @ Inspire BRG or to join the group, contact Daija Griffin.
This story is part of an ongoing series that celebrates the stories of our corporate and franchise team members, as well as franchisees as we reflect on the significant roles that African-Americans have played in shaping U.S. history. Click here to read other stories like this.