Celebrating African American Forward

If you’ve ever perused our ever-growing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), you’ve read about African American Forward – a group that focuses on expanding and empowering Black leaders throughout Gannett.

Mizell Stewart III is one of those leaders. He joined us four years ago as the Senior Director of Talent Partnerships and News Strategy, and less than a year into his Gannett journey, Mizell joined African American Forward as a Co-Chair.

“I had been working on media diversity issues for my entire career,” Mizell explained. “I knew this was a great opportunity for leadership in this area.”

Claire Harris (Content Workflow Analyst), on the other hand, had been a leader with Gannett for more than three decades, but there’s no slowing her down!

“I started with African American Forward about two years ago,” Claire recalled. “I raised my hand and immediately went, ‘I’d be interested in this.’

I’ve seen the cohesion of the members expand in the past two years. Everyone is willing to open up and express their thoughts within the group. It puts you on a broader scale; you’re not just talking to the people in your building, you’ve opened a complete virtual world across the whole organization.

Mizell agreed. As a remote employee working from his home, he appreciates the closeness he’s been able to experience within African American Forward.

The main thing we focus on is building connections and relationships. We want to bring people together for professional development. We’re a national organization, so we meet virtually each month and plan a professional development activity as part of our regular meetings. We’re also going to build local chapters so people focus on one-to-one relationships. We have a very active chapter at corporate headquarters, but we’re building them out around the country as well.

African American Forward’s mission is to not only have an impact on your fellow employees, but the organization as a whole.

We work on an array of issues that have to do with inclusion, diversity & equity. We’ve done a company-wide webcast about diversity and technology, as well as diversity as it relates to tough conversations in the workplace. We give people practical advice about how to respond to these issues. 

Above all else, African American Forward has inclusion in its heart.

“It means a lot to me have a group like this,” Mizell continued. “When we talk about inclusion, diversity, and equity in the workplace, we want to make sure people have a safe place to talk.”

Claire echoed his sentiment.

“You should join African American Forward if you have the mindset of inclusion, diversity and equity, and that goes for all of our ERGs. They help grow understanding and perspective.”

But don’t get ahead of yourself—the first step is to apply to Gannett. Only then can you meet with amazing people like Claire and Mizell!

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