Celebrating Black History Month

March 2, 2016

February marked the beginning of Black History Month, and Adobe was proud to once again celebrate cultural diversity with all our employees. With the help of our Black Employee Network (BEN), we were able to honor and spread awareness of Black History Month by hosting a handful of events to commemorate the occasion. Festivities included inspirational guest speakers, recipe contests, and lively happy hours to celebrate the moment.

From FlyGirls to Songwriters – Adobe’s Guest Speakers

Vernice and BEN members
Vernice and BEN members

BEN was delighted to welcome Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African American female combat pilot at an employee event. As someone who began her career as a beat-cop, and propelled it into serving two tours over the deserts of Iraq, Vernice shared with us her insights and experiences and her 7-step process called the Zero to Breakthrough™ success plan. Vernice delighted the crowd with her inspiring stories, energy and natural humor. Met with enthusiastic responses, one Adobe employee described that “Vernice painted a picture that made me feel like I was a part of her incredible journey”.

Things didn’t stop there though—in San Francisco we welcomed Grammy Award winning and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Barrett Strong. Barrett captivated us with his storytelling and amazing songs, and later took the stage for a live Q&A, where he spoke about his long spanning career.


Down the Bayou – Recipe Contest

Tomeka and her winning recipe
Tomeka and her winning recipe

There’s no better way to celebrate and bring the community together than the sharing of food, and BEN encouraged this by hosting a recipe contest. Contestants scoured through their family recipe cards, but it was Tomeka S.’s family jambalaya recipe that came out on top. Employees enjoyed the spicy favors of Tomeka’s recipe, passed down from her grandmother, Daisy. As their family’s go-to dish, Tomeka explains that the recipe is “traditional Cajun soul food”. Our chefs from the San Jose, San Francisco, Lehi and Seattle offices recreated the dish, and also featured Portia’s Belizean Meat Pie and Cathy’s Banana Pudding. We thank all of the employees that shared their family recipes—they were delish!


Food for the Soul – Happy Hours

Get up and groove

To round everything together, happy hours were also hosted in our offices. In San Francisco, we served soulful cocktails with African-American inspired dishes. In San Jose, drum and dance performances by the Oriki Theater took over our new San Jose café, Palettes, followed by a jazz performance and lecture by the Marcus Shelby Trio.

Music also continued to get us out of our seats in Lehi, where the Kris Johnson Trio was a hit. Kris, who is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Utah and the Director of Detroit Symphony’s Civic Jazz Orchestra, played a special lunchtime concert that serenaded employees with the harmonies of cool jazz. It was no surprise that many brought their work down so they could continue listening even after lunch.



Celebrating Diversity Together

BEN members and Barrett Strong

Even with an extra day, the month of February went by quick. From incredible guest speakers who shared their stories, to delectable recipe sharing, we were thrilled to offer a platform where employees could share unforgettable memories. What we always hope employees take away from these events is a new sense of community and togetherness. Thank you BEN for organizing everything and for sharing with us the importance of cultural diversity.

Contributed by Kurtis Choi, Talent Coordinator