To help commemorate Black History Month, we will be sharing profiles featuring the founding members of our new EMBRACE employee network throughout February. Today, get to know Persabelle Berhane from our Corporate Finance team. We invite you to learn how Black history has influenced her life and why she is building our EMBRACE network for our BIPOC community and their allies.

Why is Black History Month important to you?
Black History Month is important to me because it is the month to represent and be represented. It is the month dedicated to acknowledging and appreciating blackness; to honoring the triumphs and struggles of Black Americans and African Americans throughout U.S. history.

As an Africana Woman who immigrated from Ethiopia, Black History Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions of all black individuals, including black immigrants, to society. I feel so proud of my heritage and the rich history and culture of my Ethiopian ancestral homeland, as well as the achievements of black people throughout the diaspora collaboratively living in the melting pot culture that is unique to the freedom enhanced here in the United States of America.

Black History Month serves to acknowledge our ancestral struggles and helps to shed light on the need for ongoing efforts to promote equality and justice for all people, regardless of their background.

Tell us about someone from the Black community who influenced or inspired you, and why?
Chang’aa Mweti was my African and African American Studies professor while I was attending the Labovitz School of Business at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Professor Mweti has a PhD in Curriculum and Instructions from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Kenya, Chang’aa is a well-respected and valued member of his community. He portrayed lessons in the form of Folklore and told inspirational stories that break barriers of differences and challenge adversity. Chang’aa taught me the art of storytelling and the grave power it holds. Chang’aa often talked about his village and his people but did so eloquently highlighting the paradox that exists in the uniqueness and sameness within one another.

Chang’aa Mweti’s charismatic work continues to inspire me and positively influence the way so many of us see the world.

What are you hoping EMBRACE brings to our community?
The great gathering of people from different backgrounds coming together to share, learn and grow personally and professionally. I am hopeful EMBRACE will foster unity, collaboration, and community, paving the way in living, working and exemplifying DEI values.

Why should our BIPOC colleagues and allies consider joining EMBRACE?
Often, I challenge my views on topics once I learn something new and gain a new perspective. I encourage our BIPOC colleagues and allies to join EMBRACE, be part of a community to learn about one another and foster growth within, EMBRACING the differences that drive our greatness.