Five African American employees who go above and beyond to make DB Schenker great.
An annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history, Black History Month is the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of African Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.
Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. An important month for DB Schenker’s team members, leaders, business partners, and customers, Black History Month is a great time to continue integrating diversity into our business, promote cross-cultural comprehension, and focus on building out a diverse base of suppliers.
It’s also a time to honor valued team members and the contributions that they make to DB Schenker on a daily basis. “At DB Schenker, we value the dividends of diversity,” says Marta Ramirez, CHRO, Region Americas. “A mixed workforce always allows for insightful views, creative problem-solving and significant contributions.”
Here are five employees who go above and beyond to make our company great:
Accounts Payable Manager
A proud Air Force veteran, Fonda Jordan worked on the F117 Stealth Bomber Weapons systems. Her career at DB Schenker started nine years ago, and it’s been “onward and upward ever since,” says Jordan, who started as an accounts payable coordinator in November of 2009.
Within five years, Jordan found herself working with trucker payables, airline payables, and overhead payables. In April of 2015, she was given the opportunity to lead a team of nine as the overhead payables supervisor. Just over one year later she became the AP lead for the transition to the Global Shared Service Center, traveling to the Philippines on two occasions to offer guidance, lead on process and control initiatives, and be a point of contact for the GASSC Manilla department.
Today, Jordan is an accounts payable manager who has been managing a team of 15 since August 2017. “It seems as if my daily tasks are never ending, but I’m grateful for having the ability to be able to manage it all,” Jordan says, calling her four children her “driving force.” Her eldest is 20 and her youngest is five.
“I have a responsibility to them, to deliver and give my all, and I put forth the same effort here at DB Schenker,” says Jordan, “while managing the AP team, assisting my colleagues locally and globally with questions and concerns.”
Jordan says DB Schenker’s diverse culture has helped her cultivate relationships and create positive interactions with her fellow colleagues throughout the organization. “We are constantly evolving to improve upon processes and maintain a competitive edge in the logistics marketplace,” she says.
That translates into empowerment, advancement, self-perseverance, and cultural awareness – all the things that Jordan wants to help instill and exude for her culture for generations to come. “Black History Month is also a time of humble reflections, and to uphold all of the positive achievements of blacks throughout the country, and the world. I’m encouraged; no matter what obstacles I face, I can persevere just as they did.”
For Darrick Jackson, Black History Month serves as a reminder to honor those individuals who have made the positive changes that allow him to be where he is today. “Black History Month is a time to celebrate our trailblazers,” says Jackson, who unfortunately lost two of his most valuable mentors during the final months of 2018. Both had huge influences on his life, and he’ll miss them dearly.
“My father-in-law taught me the meaning of humility and staying the course no matter what storms come my way,” Jackson says. “The second was my step-dad who opened my eyes at an early age and gave me glimpses of the many possibilities that are in front of me.”
As he celebrates the lives of those mentors and continues to heal, Jackson says he’ll also be honoring those who came before him during the month of February. “When I think about what I enjoy most about my culture,” he says, “it’s definitely our uniqueness, our history, and our possibilities.”
Compliance Manager, USA
With over 10 years of regulatory compliance and privacy experience, Corenzo English joined Schenker, Inc., in October of 2018. Currently, English serves as the company’s U.S. Country Compliance Manager. He works diligently to support Country Management and ensure that Schenker’s Compliance Management System is implemented on a country level.
“Each day, I can be found reviewing contracts, conducting trainings, vetting potential business partners, and/or answering compliance-related inquiries from colleagues abroad,” says English, who believes that diversity leads to innovation, and that innovation often leads to business success.
“Working at Schenker over the past couple of months, I have met a lot of colleagues from different nationalities and countries across the globe,” says English, “which speaks to Schenker’s diverse corporate culture.”
For English, Black History Month is a celebration of past and present achievements of African Americans and their contributions that “helped shape the U.S. as we know it today.”
Director Human Resources, USA
Dave Grant’s HR experience spans about 18 years across several industries, including manufacturing, retail, and third-party logistics (3PL), inclusive of automotive and logistics. He’s been with DB Schenker for about 18 months now, and says most of his time at work is spent managing various employee-related issues and joining or hosting conference calls regarding how HR can better support the business.
“The current area team that I support includes nine HR leaders and four recruiters,” says Grant, and ensures that any global and corporate directives and or initiatives are carried out in my areas. “In support of my HR leaders, I conduct site/branch visits and try to hold weekly one-on-one calls,” says Grant, “to ensure that my team members feel supported and to understand better the challenges and opportunities they encounter.”
Besides his responsibilities at work, Grant is the husband of the “awesome Christine Grant” and a father to two wonderful children. His daughter, Joydan, is a sophomore in college, and his son, Ryan, is a sophomore in high school. An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Grant serves as an associate minister at Christ Our Redeemer Church in Irvine, California.
“I am also involved in charitable organizations that seek to look out for the hungry and the homeless,” says Grant, who enjoys DB Schenker’s diverse culture and feels that it helps to encourage tolerance for one another while also strengthening camaraderie among the workforce and the organization as a whole.
“The honoring of a diverse culture and workforce can also help to foster an environment of mutual respect which will no doubt prove beneficial to our organization,” says Grant. He sees Black History Month as an opportunity for organizations to highlight and celebrate their diversity, and in particular, the culture and contributions of African Americans and other minority cultures.”
“Black History Month should also serve as encouragement to continue our practice of ensuring that we continue to highlight the importance of having a diverse workforce at every level of the organization,” says Grant. “In organizations sometimes by default, the culture of the majority is what is routinely featured or focused on, and so it is prudent to ensure as many cultures as possible are highlighted. The world in which we live and conduct business is becoming increasingly diverse, and it will serve our organization well to continue to make it known that we welcome all.”
Human Resource Manager
Kimberly Sims started with DB Schenker in September 2014 after working in human resources for a uniform company for several years. A manager in her previous positions, Sims took on a management position immediately upon joining DB Schenker.
Today, Sims is responsible for sites in Dallas, Houston, and Mexico, most of which have HR reps that rely on her to provide accurate compliance, policy, and procedure information and oversight. “I’m their lifeline,” says Sims, who enjoys her employer’s diverse workforce and how it comes together to make “DB Schenker a great place to work.”
Sadly, Sims lost one her most valued supporters on Christmas Day 2018, when her beloved grandmother passed away. “She encouraged me to be the person that I am today,” says Sims, who feels that Black History Month should be celebrated year-round, and not restricted to a single month.
“We’re all the same, so it doesn’t matter if you’re African American, or if you’re of Hispanic or Asian descent,” says Sims. “We’re one big melting pot here, and we’re here to encourage one another. It’s not just about one month; it should be embedded in us every day.”