February is Black History Month, and we are proud to have a diverse team of talented individuals, whose varied backgrounds and perspectives make us stronger as an RCI family. Each week we are sharing stories from our associates, and learning more about their heritage and traditions that are special to them. This week we spotlight Melissa Livingston, Senior Marketing Manager for Panorama Travel Solutions.
“I love warmness of the Black culture. I grew up in Saint Lucia and I loved how everyone looked out for each other. I immigrated to Brooklyn, NY and was embraced by that same welcoming culture. It’s nice to know that people care about you and have your back. It seems like no matter where we live or work we always seem to find each other. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by a lot of support.”
As a member of the Black community how has RCI demonstrated inclusion?
I was very impressed with how RCI navigated the aftermath of George Floyd murder. The action was swift, meaningful and it came from the top. I was amazed at how quickly the company rallied around all associates, specifically the Black associates, to make sure everyone was heard. RCI encouraged dialogue and provided the forums for everyone to be heard.
As a minority in the US what are some of the key lifestyle differences from other ethnic communities?
What are some of the traditional ways the Black community connect and support one another?
Music and food are two traditional ways that black people connect.
Black people use music to connect with each other and to express things that sometimes there are no words to describe. From the deep pain that has been part of our history to the incredibly joyful moments that connect us, there always seem to be a song that best captures the essence of the moment. I love that there are certain songs that literally everyone knows every word to so you never know when we will burst into song. (And if don’t know now you know).
Food is another way we show love. Whether it’s a simple cookout or a Sunday dinner, sharing a home cooked meal brings everyone together. (No recipes though, it is all in our heads.)
Describe something meaningful to you, with regards to your heritage.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m passionate about helping the next generation so I spend a lot of my time giving back to young people. I’m on the board of Girls Inc and since Covid-19, we’ve had to spend a lot of time coming up with creative ways to raise money to serve the girls who depend on the organization for afterschool services. I’m also a Girl Scout Troop Leader which is an excellent way to spend time with my twin daughters while teaching them valuable life lessons.