October 19, 2023
Workplace Operations Manager and EMEA Blaccsara Employee Resource Group Lead
October is Black History Month in the UK, giving us the opportunity to celebrate the achievements, contributions, and history of black individuals and communities.
With Black History Month in full swing, Samsara is hosting a series of engaging events that include panel discussions, workshops, trivia nights, and cultural celebrations. These activities provide our employees with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage with the wider community.
All the events are being run and coordinated by Blaccsara, Samsara’s vibrant community where black and African, and Caribbean employees come together to celebrate their rich culture and heritage. Formed with a clear mission — it has been instrumental in raising awareness both within Samsara and in the broader community. Blaccsara operates on four pillars: culture, talent, community, and insights & innovation. These pillars form the foundation of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
This year's Black History Month theme — "Saluting Our Sisters" — aligns perfectly with Samsara's recent recognition as a 2023 UK Best Workplace for Women. The theme recognises that the challenges faced by black women often intersect with various aspects of identity — making intersectionality a key focus. Intersectionality recognises that people may experience multiple dimensions of oppression — or privilege simultaneously, and these intersections can create unique experiences and challenges. When organisations such as Samsara develop DEI policies, it’s vital that they recognise intersectionality.
Through "Saluting Our Sisters," we celebrate and honour the unique contributions of black women who have played pivotal roles in various fields, underscoring the importance of recognising diversity in all its forms.
Flavilla Fongang from Black Women in Tech highlights the role of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) — such as Blaccsara — in fostering change within organisations. Their insights emphasise the critical role that individuals and communities play in advancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging. "ERGs such as Blaccsara are instrumental in creating positive change within organisations. They serve as a powerful catalyst for advancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging. These groups empower underrepresented voices, educate, and raise awareness, ultimately building bridges toward a more equitable, inclusive, and innovative workplace culture.”
One of the essential roles of Blaccsara is education. Through panels, workshops, and the sharing of personal stories, our community actively promotes awareness, allyship, and a deeper understanding of the unique challenges faced by black employees. By fostering open and candid conversations, Blaccsara contributes to a broader discussion about diversity and inclusion encouraging a more inclusive work environment.
Earlier this year Samsara hosted the Black Tech Fest launch event at our London office.
Ashleigh Ainsley, co-founder of Black Tech Fest and Colorintech.org, shares his perspective on the importance of diversity and equity in the tech industry. “Diversity and equity in the tech industry are not just buzzwords – they are crucial elements for innovation, growth, and competitiveness. The same business case for hiring the best people extends to this. A diverse workforce brings in varied experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives that lead to richer ideation and more robust solutions.”
He continues, “By aligning with corporate values, through partnership across initiatives such as Black Tech Fest initiatives, ERGs can amplify their impact within organisations, driving awareness, fostering a more inclusive culture, and advocating for policies that promote diversity and equity.”
As part of Black History Month, Blaccsara members joined the Black Tech Fest’s events spread over three days, dedicated to celebrating black culture and its influence on technology.
Samsara's commitment to diversity and inclusion extends far beyond Black History Month. It is an integral part of our company culture and ethos. One of our values is “be inclusive,” and we strive to create an environment where every employee — regardless of their background —feels welcome, valued, and empowered.
Alongside Blaccsara, we have other ERGs where our employees can connect with people from similar backgrounds and find a safe space to work through the challenges that they face. These include “Women of Samsara,” “Pride at Samsara,” “Veterans of Samsara,” and “Samswana” (for South West Asian & North African employees).
Ade Morton, our Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion describes our approach perfectly: “Creating an inclusive culture starts from the top down. Diverse representation at the leadership level as well as self awareness about the impact of DEI at Samsara, informs better decision-making, and ensures DEI is everyone’s responsibility until it becomes a part of our DNA.”
To contribute to this mission, Blaccsara has initiated a global mentorship program tailored for our black employees. By bridging the gap between black leaders and employees, our aim is to bolster representation in leadership positions and empower black team members to flourish in their careers at Samsara.
The Black History Month celebration within Samsara is just one facet of our ongoing efforts to foster a workplace built on meritocracy. Our ongoing commitment extends to both our talent and the broader community. We recognise our pivotal role in fostering diversity and inclusion and are dedicated to providing a culture of belonging. We will continue to enhance growth opportunities for our team members while maintaining our partnerships with community organisations that reflect our diverse world.