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Personal Communities: An Essential Part of Connecting to the Power of Intel’s Culture of Diversity

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laurie-charringtonBlack History Month is a time to come together and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and the contributions Blacks have made to our country.  For me, Black History Month is also a time to come together as a community, to celebrate ourselves and each other, and to reflect on our community.

When I joined Intel as a Patent Litigator two and a half years ago, I didn't see many people that looked like me—I am one of a small handful of Black attorneys in the Law and Policy Group (LPG).  Being “the only one” can be hard.  It can make you feel like an outsider, like you don't fit in or belong.  When there’s no one that looks like you, or has a similar background, you begin to question whether there really is a place for you, and whether it’s really possible to succeed.  Luckily, I had joined a fantastic team that made me feel welcome and valued.  Any sense of feeling like an outsider was short lived.

In addition to being part of a fantastic team, what helped me integrate so quickly into Intel is connecting with a community of people who have had similar Intel experiences—despite disparate career paths and roles—and who share a cultural history.  Just weeks after I joined the company, I attended my first Network of Intel African American Employees (NIA) event, and I’ve been an active member ever since. My NIA family gives me a sense of belonging and purpose at Intel that extends beyond my daily professional responsibilities. I realize that being part of a community at Intel isn't about surrounding yourself with people who are the same as you. Even within NIA, there is a wide diversity of experiences as well as political, religious, and social views. Being part of a community means we must listen and respect each other’s viewpoints, especially those that differ from our own, whether they come from within NIA, the larger Intel community or the community beyond Intel. Communities are brought together by what we have in common and they remind us that we are all in this together.  But communities should also allow us to explore our differences—to be unique without being divided.

Belonging to different Intel communities has also given me a platform from which I can give back. As the Santa Clara site sponsor for NIA, co-chair of the Intel Black Leadership council, and a leader for LPG’s Women’s Leadership program, I see it as both an honor and a responsibility to mentor and sponsor women and members of the Black community who are coming up through the ranks behind me. I am excited to see what they will build and how they will contribute to Intel and to the world.

I cannot over-stress the importance of seeking out and building a personal community, especially if you are new to Intel or feel like you don’t fit in or belong. Don’t wait, get connected now.

Find out more about opportunities at Intel and learn about our culture and commitment to diversity at jobs.intel.com.