Chris has been a very valuable part of #LifeAtPetSmart in our Distribution Centers for over 10 years now. We sat down together (socially distanced!) to chat about his Belonging experience at PetSmart and the significance of Black History Month.
The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other. To learn more about the “I Belong” Series or to submit your stories, please visit our new Belonging Fetch Page.
Meet Chris - DC Regional Director
Black History Month (B.H.M.) is a particularly special month for me for several reasons. It's a time of reflection, appreciation, and celebration of those before me who paved the way through struggles, sacrifice, and persecution, giving people like me a platform and right to have the opportunities I have before me today. Black History Month is also a time to remember that when we welcome new points of views and value unique experiences, we can achieve unbelievable heights.
As a kid, I gravitated to sports, and I had several role models who I admired. Aside from my older brothers and my dad, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson was one of my favorites. Baseball was my sport of choice and learning about the barriers that Jackie fought through to become a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947 was very inspiring. It would ultimately be the beginning of turning Major League Baseball into one of the best examples of belonging that we still experience today.
I celebrate B.H.M. by taking time to give back and learning. I am currently volunteering my time with youth to learn and practice interviewing etiquette. I believe that limited access to resources or a lack of role models who look like me should never act as a roadblock to opportunities. Additionally, every February, my two older brothers and I take turns sending each other black history events, which has turned into our sibling tradition over the years. In most cases, it's proven very educational when considering we had never been taught some of these stories in school. I pass these stories on to my kids to remind them why we should live our best life, every day and not take opportunities for granted.
"Walk the Talk" is what comes to mind when I think of how PetSmart brings belonging to life for me. My voice is heard, and my value is appreciated, which puts me in a position to bring my best self to work every day. I love what I do, and who I do it for, and most importantly, the fact that I have an opportunity to do it because someone else realized the importance of equality and valuing our differences.