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Rooted in diversity: How a Black History Month celebration turned into a career for me at HPE

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I first visited the Hewlett Packard Enterprise campus in February 2019 when the University of Houston, my alma mater, was invited to join the Black History Month Celebration in Houston. I’m a woman of African descent, and the idea of this celebration immediately piqued my interest. Frankly, this was my first time hearing about a company celebrating Black History Month, so I was intrigued and curious to see what it was all about.

I arrived at the event not knowing what to expect and left feeling inspired and excited to learn more about HPE.  The event was produced by team members throughout. volunteers who are members of the Black Employee Network Resource Group and they put together a wonderful experience for us all. We heard about the achievements of Black and African American employees inside and outside of the company, set off by a presentation of Black and African American “Hidden Figures” who have made significant contributions in the past. HPE leaders from various business units then joined together for a panel discussion, followed by a fireside chat session with Brian Tippens (the company’s former Chief Diversity Officer, now Deputy General Counsel) created especially for the University of Houston students.

Picture1.pngA distinct memory I have from that day was listening to Krista Satterthwaite (VP and GM, HPE Synergy and BladeSystem). Krista shared her story of getting to and through various leadership lenses as a woman of color.

The experiences she described resonated with me and I was impressed and inspired by her story. The fireside chat was less formal and more intimate, so the engagement opportunity allowed me to network with other HPE employees and learned more about the company as a whole.

I was excited to hear about HPE’s commitment to inclusion and diversity and particularly impressed to learn about the role played by Employee Resource Groups (ERG's) at HPE.

The Black Employee Network, for example, is a particularly dynamic group that not only organizes the Black History Month celebrations each year but also drives a number of key programs to promote the work of Blacks and African Americans at HPE, as well as programs to give back to local communities.  

 

Seeing and feeling the company’s culture first-hand, I realized I would be a good fit for HPE. I then took it upon myself to learn more about the company and, specifically, the Finance organization by talking to a few of the group’s employees. One person I met was an alumni, Zach Huie (Senior Financial Analyst for US Commercial Segment), whom I had first met when he led an information session about HPE for graduate students at the Bauer School of Business, University of Houston. Together with several members of the HPE Finance organization, we agreed to put in place a visit to the HPE campus for Bauer graduate students and, it was a great success. It was also the start of doors opening for me at HPE, starting with a series of interviews with three Finance VPs at HPE, and culminating with me landing my first full-time job as a Financial Analyst for the Commercial Segment of NA Sales Finance, working directly for Zach!

HPE is everything I imagined and more. I absolutely love and respect the people I work with. I am constantly challenged to think outside the box in my role, and I’m excited by the various opportunities to grow professionally and otherwise. I have also taken advantage of the various resources HPE offers, one of which is getting involved in ERGs. I’m now serving as the Finance Chair for the Black Employee Network Houston Chapter and play an active role with non-profit organizations, which are near and dear to my heart and are all supported by the HPE Gives Foundation.

I am truly grateful for the career journey I have embarked upon at HPE. Thanks to the Black History Month Celebration I attended as a student, I’m a woman of color who is celebrating a great opportunity to make a difference in my job and in the community.

 

About the Author:

Chidinma Aham-Neze, Financial Analyst at Hewlett Packard EnterpriseChidinma Aham-Neze, Financial Analyst at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Chidinma Aham-Neze is a Financial Analyst for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage business (US Commercial segment). As an analyst, she is responsible for supporting Sales Finance, partnering with various members of the Sales and Operations organization to help reach budget targets and maintain a healthy P&L for the business.

Since joining the company, she is actively involved in the Houston Black Employee Network (BEN) Employee Resource Group serving as the chapter’s Finance Chair.

Chidinma holds a Master’s degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with a minor in Finance from the University of Houston.

 

Connect with Chidinma on LinkedIn

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Desiree Chavez
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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DesireeCH

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