The Black Affinity Group (BAG) is our newest affinity group at HomeAway and they are ready to hit the ground running in 2018. Founder and President, Trayce Shaw, is sharing some big events they have planned for the year and what it means to be president of the group.
Q: How and why was the Black Affinity Group founded?
“We founded the Black Affinity Group to increase inclusion of black employees by providing the opportunity to connect, share expertise, mentor, and further their professional development. Our second goal is to increase inclusion of employees from ALL backgrounds by sharing HomeAway’s commitment to progress through diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness.”
Q: What was a win for your group in 2017?
“We kicked off in November 2017 with two meetings in which we chose officers, created committees to focus on specific priorities and completed planning for the beginning of 2018.”
Q: We would consider founding the group a HUGE win! What does it mean to you to be a leader of BAG?
“Leading BAG is truly an honor, but it is also a reflection of the commitment and responsibility to give back to the black community and to HomeAway for the support provided to me throughout my life and career. There have been so many supportive leaders and peers who’ve helped me and others be successful inside and outside of HomeAway. I want our organization to provide the same community of support for others.”
Q: What are your goals and plans for 2018?
“We kicked off the year with Black History Month, highlighting black leaders and pioneers in the STEM fields. Additional goals for 2018 include establishing an internal mentorship program in coordination with our HR team and partnering with our recruiting team on initiatives like the HBCU Battle of the Brains, and the NSBE conference. We’ll be hosting several diversity awareness events like ‘Speed Baiting’ and Inclusion Talks within HomeAway. Speed Baiting is a mash-up of speed dating and hate baiting and the purpose is to extend the conversation about diversity and inclusion with someone you feel comfortable with. We also have plans to partner with community organizations on charitable efforts with high school and college-aged students. Lastly, our events leader is planning networking and social events for the year.”
Q: Sounds like 2018 will be busy for BAG! What’s something you learned since joining the group?
“My biggest learning thus far is that even when opinions and feelings are vastly different and it seems impossible to bridge the gap between two positions, almost everyone is looking for a way to connect and to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. We can build from that desire for connection. It is vitally important to me that BAG is open, welcoming, and encouraging to anyone who shares and advances our mission.”
Q: Do you connect with other Black Affinity Groups outside of HomeAway?
“Yes, we are actively working with AUTM (Austin Urban Tech Movement), a group comprised of leaders of other Black Affinity Groups from local tech companies like Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Home Depot’s Tech Center.”
Q: How can everyone learn more about what BAG is doing?
“Employees can drop by our wiki page for a schedule of our events and meetings or join our slack channel at #black_affinity. The best thing you can do is talk to our members, we’re all happy to tell you about BAG and encourage anyone who wants to join.”
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