During Black History Month this February, we are spotlighting some of the employees that help make Molson Coors great. Today we speak with Nate Causley, a senior chain sales executive for the on-premise in the Southeast region. He's based in Atlanta and has been with Molson Coors for seven years.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
As I sit with this question, a laundry list of thoughts come to mind, and it's difficult to simplify. To me, Black History Month means the appreciation and acknowledgement of Blackness and how it permeates all aspects of society. It’s an opportunity to proudly shine a light on the Black diaspora’s multifaceted histories and give recognition to the unsung historical figures, a people, and a culture that transcends the formation of the United States.
It is a celebration of Black men, women, nonbinary, trans, disabled and others. It's a celebration of our ancestors and their excellence, a motivation to always strive for the greatness that lies beyond our current circumstances, a sense of community, the task to create better paths for our successors and the outward invitation for others to join in the ongoing celebration of Blackness. It's unity in its highest form. That is what Black History Month means to me.
How do you celebrate and recognize Black History Month?
I focus on supporting Black businesses, films, events and literature all month, of which Atlanta fortunately presents plentiful opportunities to do so. I volunteer my time and efforts toward community service events every Sunday of the month to ensure I am doing my part to be helpful to those less fortunate than myself and not forgetting my own evolution from where I came from.
Black History Month for me is also a real-life documentation of what our people are capable of accomplishing no matter the environment, setting, opposition or difficulties. It’s a reminder to me that the level of reverence shown and that we're reminded of during this month is something that needs to remain consistent and constant within me throughout my life’s journey. I reconnect with my elders and give thanks for their contributions and make sure they know their struggles will never be taken for granted.
How can others celebrate and honor Black History Month?
I would look at Black History Month as an opportunity to engage with and embrace the endless contributions of the Black diaspora. It's a chance to better understand and connect with the struggles Black people around the world face. But it's also an opportunity to celebrate that resilience. It’s a call to action to continue to advocate for and uplift those within society who are often pushed to the margins.
Celebrating diverse voices shouldn’t be limited to one month. How can people be strong allies throughout the entire year?
Celebrating diverse voices shouldn’t be limited to just one month. There are many ways people can be strong(er) throughout the year.
- First, before jumping into action with any social justice movement, you need to know the history. There is a lack of knowledge about racism and discrimination, but do not turn to your colleagues and friends to explain these concepts to you. It is not their job, and most importantly, you do not have a measuring stick of how deep and real these traumas and scars could potentially be. Do your own research to learn the history of the movement you want to align with. Learn what has been done before, what has worked, and what still needs to change moving forward.
- To better understand how to help, you must listen. If friends or co-workers who are a part of marginalized communities decide to engage with you on the subject of discrimination, listen to them and offer support where appropriate.
- Try not to fall into the practice of “performative allyship,” in which one uses the struggles of others to make themselves look like a better or more moral person.
- If your friends or family members use racist or derogatory language directed at others, challenge them, and speak up for those who are not there.
- Acknowledge when you were or are wrong, and make necessary adjustments not to repeat those mistakes again.
- Amplify the voices and messages of those from marginalized communities.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable. If your life has been one of comfort, it is difficult to voluntarily give up that comfort. But to work towards being a good ally, you will need to forfeit your own comfort because it may come at the expense of others. Challenge the status quo of social structures that harm marginalized communities. Progress is uncomfortable, so to be a good ally you will have take on temporary discomfort in acknowledgement that it constantly exists for others.
- Lastly, make your actions match your words. Educate your peers, attend protests and marches, sign petitions, donate and volunteer when you can.
What motivated you to join Black Employee Voices (BEV), one of Molson Coors' employee resource groups?
2020 was a very trying time period for the entire world, especially for Black people. We were at the center of divisive agendas being waged among different cultures. The world was awakening to the impact of police brutality. And a light was finally exposing systemic racism for all to see, one which we were already too familiar with. Personally, this was a very dark period in my life, where getting up another day and carrying on business as usual was getting more and more difficult to do. It seemed every day brought another incident that represented injustice broadcast throughout the media that I could see myself in. I found myself with major frustration, stress and pain, and I felt that I needed something positive. BEV became an outlet for making progress within my workplace, and I have yet to regret my decision to get involved.
What has been your proudest moment as a member of BEV?
My proudest moment has been being a part of the awesome task force that eventually chartered the BEV Field Chapter. There was a lot of research, planning and action behind the scenes to bring this goal into a reality. I am beyond proud that I was able to be an active participant in something of this magnitude that is bigger than myself. I am hopefully that BEV will forever remain a part of this company’s DNA and will still be here long after I am gone.
Throughout your time at Molson Coors, how has the culture evolved?
Molson Coors has made major strides in improving company culture, and it shows through in our first value of “Putting People First.” The data suggest that when companies commit themselves to a stronger and more diverse culture, they are better able to attract top talent, improve employee satisfaction, improve employee decision making and be more customer-oriented. Building a company culture takes time and energy.
How do resources such as the BEV Field Chapter and other employee resource groups strengthen all of our values?
In my opinion, Molson Coors has an opportunity to implement real change by continuing to champion the amazing communities that exist amongst all the amazing employee resource groups within the company. These groups aid, support and empower all employees, thus improving the culture we are all striving to strengthen.
The BEV field chapter’s strategic pillars support the value of "Putting People First" specifically, as we have a vision that is dedicated to developing the careers of our employees through professional development and promotion, contributing to the community through service and investment and building an inclusive and collaborative workplace. From this foundation, employees are given the necessary terrain to effectively grow in all of our other values as well.
What are some books, movies or podcasts you’d recommend people consume to learn about Black History?
Movies: "When They See Us," "Moonlight," "13th," "Selma," "42," "Harriet," "I am Not Your Negro," "The Freedom Riders," "Hidden Figures," "Just Mercy," "Remember The Titans," "The Color Purple," and "Black Panther."
Books and essays: "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome," by Joy DeGruy; "Stamped from the Beginning," by Ibram X. Kendi; "Four Hundred Souls" by Ibram X. Kendi; "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin; and "Notes of a Native Son" by James Baldwin.
Podcasts: "Code Switch," "Still Processing," and "Strong Black Lead."
What would you say to Black people who are interested in pursuing a career at Molson Coors?
Like all industries, there is much more progress needed, but I can say Molson Coors is committed to change, and you will find a home in BEV that will support you in any way.