Meet our Black team members fostering connection and engagement within their Belonging Group
Black at Calendly (BAC) is one of the first belonging groups ever created in Calendly’s history. As we reflect on Black history and important Black figures this month, we wanted to highlight our own team members building connections and making meaningful impacts within our BAC belonging group.
Adeola Sokunbi and Jaquez Hodo are Calendly’s newest BAC co-chairs and are proud of their community members thus far in Finding a Way to engage in a remote first environment. But it wasn’t always like that. When the group launched back in 2021, engagement was low amongst its members and a lot of it had to do with Calendly’s shift from in-person to remote first. It became more challenging to build rapport and trust with others and thus, engagement waned. It wasn’t until July of 2022 in the city of Atlanta, that a spark ignited that launched this group’s connection to new heights.
Sokunbi and Hodo are both born and raised in Atlanta and believe that their home city was the perfect location for Calendly’s first ever, in-person retreat and for their BAC members. “When I think of Atlanta, I think of how it Strives for Excellence just like Calendly.” Sokunbi said. “I’m reminded of so many Black leaders in business, entertainment, politics and prominent historical figures. Also, for a lot of people, Atlanta gives them the feeling of home. It’s a southern city known for southern hospitality and making people feel a sense of comfort. When you combine these two sentiments, I think it is what really drove the connection of our people when we got to meet each other in July.” Hodo continued sharing similar sentiments. “When I was able to experience [meeting friends, team members, people I hadn't met yet in person] and build an instant connection with someone in the city I call home, it warmed my heart. My great grandparents were here living in Atlanta during segregation and to see the city today and to work for a tech company owned by a Black man, something my great grandfather never thought he’d see, it makes me proud. That opportunity to connect and be together [not just as team Calendly but as members of Black at Calendly] it paved the way for how we connect with each other today.”
With Sokunbi and Hodo recently taking leadership positions within the belonging group, they’ve created various committees that are focused on continuing the momentum from Atlanta’s retreat in driving engagement and connection amongst their members but now with the external community as well. Recently, BAC has coordinated local meet-ups for members, supporting Black businesses through gifting and donating to a mental health organization, Free Black Therapy.“ Atlanta’s retreat really drew me into BAC. I am usually the only Black face in a crowded room. Seeing the vibe, feeling our Black culture, knowing it was a safe space for me and my community just really impacted me. Its a big part of why I was thrilled to be asked to be a co-chair and lead this group with Adeola” said Hodo. Sokunbi continues, “connecting as a group in Atlanta also highlighted the diversity of culture within BAC. Hearing the different accents from members born in U.K., Caribbean, and West Africa also goes to show how important it is to take the time to learn about the shared experiences of one another. The future of 2023 is so exciting and I can’t wait to see what this group grows, expands and drives impact.”