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Aon - Celebrating Black History Month

Category: testimonial, black history month, Testimonials, Aon, women in insurance, Staff Testimonial, Insuranace, black, black women, Black Talent, Black Diversity, Black History

Global Ethnic Majority

Aon - Black History Month 2021

October is Black History Month, a time when people from many different backgrounds come together to celebrate the positive role of Black people in shaping our communities.

Black History Month promotes knowledge, understanding and recognition of Black history and achievements. It aims to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by Black people to the cultural and economic development of the UK.

It also serves as a reminder that there is more work to be done, and momentum must be continued to create an entirely inclusive society – this includes Aon's commitment to Inclusion and Diversity.

Colleagues from our UK team have shared what Black History Month means to them.

May the words of Elisha, Deangelo and Marianne inspire you to continue the conversation this month and beyond.

Elisha St Hilaire 

Elisha St Hilaire

Please tell us about your current role
I am Project Manager in the Global Project Services team of Wealth Solutions and I also co-chair Aon’s Multicultural Network (MCN).

What do you most enjoy about it? 
I really enjoy the variety of projects I get to manage plus the new colleagues I get to meet and work with. Where the MCN is concerned, I am passionate about advocating for change and providing opportunities for ethnically diverse colleagues’ voices to be heard.

What’s the most important part of Black History Month to you? 
As our national curriculum brushes over Black history in schools, BHM provides an opportunity to speak our truth, raise awareness and celebrate being Black.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What commitment has Aon made to support Black colleagues?
The biggest and most inspiring commitment to date is that all of our colleagues are empowered to be allies and take ownership to reflect, educate and grow. We must continue to accelerate our actions to drive impactful change.

Which Black historical figure who inspires you and why? 
As I consider myself to be somewhat of an activist and a disruptor, my key inspirational black figures are:

  • Rosa Parks – as I would have refused to give up my seat too!
  • Nelson Mandela – empathising with what he must have endured during his 27-year incarceration, and then becoming President of South Africa
  • Doreen Lawrence – for her tenacity to keep fighting to bring her son’s murderers to justice and the inspiring legacy of the Stephen Lawrence Foundation​​​​​​​

Deangelo Rigby

Deangelo Rigby

Tell us about your current role
Associate Director in the Aon Mergers and Acquisition and Transaction Solutions Group (AMATS)

What do you enjoy most about it? 
I get to work with a lot of different clients and companies who are undergoing strategic review and I get to add value which is exciting. I have worked with many sectors from Care homes to Renewable energy and I feel like my work is doing positive things in the wider society.

What’s the most important part of Black History Month to you? 
I like to see and hear people’s stories of how far they have come as it ignites a fire in me to do better and to be my best self because I understand what it took for me to be in the position I find myself in

What commitment has Aon made to support Black colleagues?
The Multicultural Network has organised listening sessions with leaders. These interactions have allowed our voices to be heard, respected and appreciated. There is still work to be done but Aon is paving the way with its support for Black Colleagues thus far.   ​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Which Black historical figure who inspires you and why? 
I am inspired by Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, lead scientist on the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine team. At the age of 35, she had proved herself to be a leader in Immunology and Microbiology. It's a huge accomplishment and it allows other minorities to see possibility and dream bigger.

Marianne Daniels

Marianne Daniels

Tell us about your current role
I work in Global Mobility, part of the People Organisation responsible for colleagues who move internationally on assignments or transfers within Aon.

What do you enjoy most about it? 
I enjoy being part of a team that supports Aon colleagues going on international opportunities. Having lived abroad myself I know what a brilliant opportunity this can be to learn and grow whilst immersing yourself in an intercultural experience.

What’s the most important part of Black History Month to you? 
Black History Month is a time to reflect on the past, present and future in equal measure. As the white half of a biracial couple, I am only too aware of the inequalities that surround us. Despite this, BHM is a chance to re-engage if we find we have taken our foot off the pedal. To celebrate Black achievement, my husband and I have booked to see Phantom of the Opera in the West End with Lucy St. Louis starring as Christine Daaé.

She is the first Black actress to play this role. With regards to the future, for me, it’s all about better understanding firstly, the predominantly invisible obstacles faced by Black people and secondly the invisible ‘guide rails’ that often pave the way forward for people from privileged backgrounds. Only then can we structure organisations and institutions in a way that allow Black people (and other minority groups) the chance to reach the top rungs of the career ladder. ​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​What commitment has Aon made to support Black colleagues?
Ultimately this can only be judged by our Black colleagues and I write here as an ally. I have been really motivated by the work that Aon has been doing in this area. The Ethnicity Impact Plan stands out for me since this is all about embedding change into Aon processes. In the People Organisation I also can see a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes to connect the dots to ensure that initiatives are aligned.

Which Black historical figure who inspires you and why? 
I admire Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, Co-Founder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation. Following the untimely death of her daughter Ella Roberta, aged nine, from severe asthma, she now campaigns for clean air in London. Rosamund also confronts the issue of inequality since Black and Asian communities are more likely to live in urban areas, and are therefore more exposed to air pollution. I am inspired by her relentless campaigning for change.

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