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How Elsevier helped me regain trust and comfort in “corporate America”

14 June 2021

By Derrick Walker

Quote by Derrick Walker

I needed to find a company that welcomed cultural difference; I finally came across Elsevier. Derrick Walker is a Multimedia Producer at Elsevier, based in St. Louis, Missouri.

As a young man from the inner city of St. Louis, I had an ambitious goal: to mentally make it out — to achieve more than statistics said I would. With an amazing support system, the journey of hurdling the obstacles of limited resources — and knocking down doors of opportunities — seemed well worth the effort.

Derrick Walker at health fair

Derrick Walker speaks at a community health fair at Harris-Stowe State University, a historically black college in the inner city of St. Louis.

I went on to graduate from college and land the dream job in my field. Now, I was ready for corporate America.

What seemed to be a dream come true, however, became an instant harsh reality. I was ready for corporate America, but it didn’t seem like that was reciprocated.

Dream vs reality

In an office of 400+ employees, I was one of just four African Americans. Throughout the entire company, there was not a single person of color in leadership. There was no Diversity & Inclusion team and no color within HR.

Who would I go to for understanding? Who could relate to my cultural background? This realization eventually eroded my interest of creating a career in corporate America.

While finding some success within this company, I needed to branch out to find a company that welcomed cultural difference. After a similar experience at another company, I finally came across Elsevier. While researching, I found it interesting that Inclusion & Diversity was promoted. This was the first sign that this would be a company I’d be happy to tell the world I worked for.

Regaining my trust in corporate America

The first time I met my director, she informed me of our African Ancestry Network and encouraged me to get involved. While this may have seemed small to her, it meant the world to me. She also directed me to a resource group that would end up giving me the feeling of cultural understanding and comfort I longed for throughout my corporate experience.

Over the last two years, my team has supported not only growth and aspirations within the company but my personal passion projects as well. As a person of my community, I have been able to use RE Cares(opens in new tab/window) days to take time off to give back in ways that I cherish.

I have slowly but surely regained my trust in corporate America, and I realized, this is the standard — this is how things should be. Elsevier has realized cultural differences, and created a way to make all cultures feel included and valued. Our Employee Resource Groups not only allow people to network in a way that is comfortable to them, but also encourage cultures to work together, creating a sense of unity.

When I tell someone I work for Elsevier, I say it with confidence. Simply because Elsevier cares.

Contributor

Headshot of Derrick Walker

DW

Derrick Walker

Multimedia Producer