Every new year I challenge myself to a new years resolution just like nearly half of all other Americans. I do it for my own self-improvement because you need to figure out ways to better yourself as a person. Anyways, this year my new years resolution was to elevate. Very different right? The reason I chose elevation as my way of living is because my father and I were having an interesting conversation about how I answered a simple question: How have you been? I answered, “I have been maintaining Pop”. And that’s when we came up with a better answer if we were asked that exact question by anyone else. Our new answer is, “I have been consistently elevating, How about you?” We came to the conclusion that if you maintain then you are ultimately leading to slow death, even though everyone dies one day. Nonetheless, if you elevate, the goal would be to better yourself every day.
My first chance to elevate began during the beginning of my last semester at Delaware State University. Brian Reaves, Sr. Vice President & Global Lead, D Studio, had been invited by the College of Business to come speak to the business students about life, goals, and success. Leah Williams, SAP’s first intern hired under Project Propel, had interviewed Brian in front of the entire College of Business student body. The interview went very well and afterwards the College of Business held a lunch for Brian and students that wanted to meet a successful black man in the industry. Since SAP is in my field of study, I made it my duty to meet Brian at the lunch and pick his brain on different topics surrounding Management Information Systems, SAP, and diversity. We connected on LinkedIn and moved on with our lives. I honestly thought that was all of the SAP experience I was going to receive other than supply chain management module we had to complete in class.
Boy, was I wrong! A month before graduation I was invited to the SAPPHIRE NOW Conference in Orlando, FL. Of course, I went to Orlando because I needed a vacation after that stressful final semester of my undergraduate career and with strong intentions on receiving a job offer from someone in the SAP ecosystem. I went to Orlando with the Dean of the College of Business, the provost, and three other propelled students, Leah Williams, Hope Brown, and Kayla Reynolds. This conference truly opened my eyes to the development of the world and how we are all very much connected. The presentations and demos were all new experiences that were not easily seen unless you were at the Conference. The keynote speakers featured top executives like Hasso Plattner, Bernd Leukert, and SAP’s CEO, Bill McDermott. Lastly, at the SAP conference, Project Propel was officially signed in as a new initiative collaborated with DSU, ASUG, and Black Employee Network. After leaving the conference and coming back to my home state of Delaware, I had two new insights:
- I wanted to work for SAP. (Point, Blank, Period.)
- There were not many people that looked like me in the ecosystem, the African Diaspora.
I have been blessed with an opportunity that was beyond my wild imagination. I am now officially an employee of SAP and I am working to deliver more diverse talent in the SAP ecosystem by opening a fruitful pipeline throughout HBCUs. My Alma Mater, Delaware State University, has been chosen as the Center of Excellence and other HBCUs will come to our school to get trained in the latest and greatest technology from SAP. This is what I call extreme elevation. Not only did SAP take the initiative to elevate its diversity, but also HBCUs are taking a transformational leap to elevate the college experience.