Focusing on the now and the future this Juneteenth with BE@GoTo



Voices of GoTo: In this series we highlight the people that make flexible work, work: our employees! GoTo is a global company with over 3000 employees around the world, these are their stories.


“Thank you for an opportunity to talk about something that’s not comfortable or easy to talk about,” said Eric Jackson, Leader of BE, GoTo’s Black Employee Resource Group, as HELM Life concluded a Juneteenth “Clear the Board” game show. GoGetters came together to test their knowledge of how this federal holiday in the United States came to be before joining breakout room sessions to reflect on celebrations, food, and songs.


This event, along with a word search quiz and a Stronger Together session – a forum where GoGetters practice conscious inclusion and develop cultural IQ – resulted from many conversations among the BE leadership team. “The biggest takeaway I want those who participate to walk away with is acknowledging the past but looking to the future and how we can all help each other,” said Femi Akintoye, Events Lead of BE.


Annie Brown, Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at GoTo, says ERGs provide opportunities for learning, career development, friendships, and visibility – allowing for personal and professional growth. And one step that GoTo people leaders can take for underrepresented employees to be represented at the managerial and executive levels is to attend Stronger Together sessions. “Emotional intelligence is such an important quality for leaders to grow, and during these sessions, we talk about expanding our capacity to listen and how to lead more empathetically.” Through being vulnerable, leaders can create trust.


Kikelomo Abegunde, Customer Engagement Executive at SAP, shared during a Stronger Together event co-hosted by Annie and Eric that she grew up as the first-generation kid of immigrants in a diverse community, until she moved to a suburb in Philadelphia. Kikelomo has seen her parents spoken down to because of their Nigerian accents. So, Kikelomo is empathetic towards people for whom English is not their primary or first language. When Kikelomo moved from working in financial services to tech, it was a mirror image of how she needed to assimilate during her childhood. Kikelomo – often the only woman and black person in workspaces – navigates these environments through knowledge, preparedness, and practice. “The foundation of our experiences informs how we interact with the world.”   


ERGs are for everyone – whether you identify with certain communities or not – because they allow you to learn and be more inclusive in your behaviors at work, says Jo Deal, Executive Sponsor of BE. ERGs can drive employee engagement on a wider scale when you show how events are of value for everyone, no matter who you are. As a global company, it’s important to account for the fact that celebratory months for different communities vary around the world. “Having an ongoing spotlight of different communities helps us be more aware of our global diversity.” 


BE honors the Black community year-round by creating a safe space for people to be seen and heard. And through BE’s carefully selected lineup of Juneteenth events, Eric hopes that people are reminded of the importance of the human experience and that collectively we are better than we are apart.




We like where we work. We think you will, too. Interested in joining our team?

Related Posts

  • Leading with purpose: holding ourselves accountable to invest in our planet, together

    By Ilana Gensler
    Read Article
  • From vision to reality: GoTo's BE group and their journey to success

    By Crystal Diaz
    Read Article
  • If we see it, we can be it: women leaders pave the way

    By Ilana Gensler
    Read Article